[svlug] Laptop horrors: AC Power supply breakage

Karsten M. Self kmself at ix.netcom.com
Mon Nov 19 13:33:01 PST 2001

I'm having one of those interesting "customer service from hell" stories
at the moment.  The key plot element is the laptop I purchased earlier
this year.  Appears one of the problems is that the internal power
supply connector has broken loose from the motherboard, the connectors
being three solder points.  The problem dates to the first few months of
use of the system.  It has been dropped once, from about three feet,
onto a well-carpeted floor, after which the system seemed fine.  

The service vendor is ARM Computers (http://www.armcomputer.com/).

The system is a TuxTops Amethyst 20U, also sold as the King by QLITech
and carried by ChemBook.

At least one vendor no longer refers customers to ARM for repairs
following numerous complaints.

The warranty service vendor is calling this damage, with a total repair
and shipping cost of $325, so far.  "You were lucky not to damage the
motherboard".  I've a number of reasons to believe 

My questions:

  - Anyone have similar experiences?  How common is it to have an
    internal power supply come loose?  Anchoring to the mobo with solder
    points rather than a more solid connection to the laptop frame
    and/or case itself seems like a failure-prone design.  This would be
    a workmanship or design flaw.

  - What are the design characteristics of laptop power supplies in
    general?  Is a mobo anchor typical?  What's common for, say, Dell,
    Compaq, or IBM ThinkPad systems?

Other information that might be useful is appreciated.


Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>       http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
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