[svlug] Laptop horrors: AC Power supply breakage

Rafael Skodlar raffi at linwin.com
Mon Nov 19 19:08:02 PST 2001

On Mon, Nov 19, 2001 at 01:32:04PM -0800, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> 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.  

Dropped computer? And you expect them to cover it under warranty? Sorry
but that looks like abuse to me.

If it's a simple resoldering job then it's worth doing it yourself 
assuming you have some experience with it. Power connector is the easiest 
thing to replace. high density chips is another matter.

> 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

That's not common if you don't drop the computer.

>     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.

EVERY computer I've seen in my career has annoying or in some cases a 
fatal 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?

Dell design sucks too. Apple computers, as much as I try to avoid them,
have some nice design touches.

> Other information that might be useful is appreciated.
> Peace.
> -- 
> Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>       http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
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