[svlug] Laptop horrors: AC Power supply breakage

Rafael Skodlar raffi at linwin.com
Mon Nov 19 23:39:01 PST 2001

On Mon, Nov 19, 2001 at 10:51:39PM -0800, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> on Mon, Nov 19, 2001 at 07:07:55PM -0800, Rafael Skodlar (raffi at linwin.com) wrote:
> > 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.
> Best I recollect, the system hit the carpet.  Once.

It depends how it happened. If it fell on attached power connector then 
the damage is unavoidable.

> There's this thing called a design envelope, Raph, and laptops falling
> off of desks should fall within this.  Not frequently, needs be, but
> some basic shock tolerance.


Don't aske me for $$$ :-)

> As I recall, the fall happened in March.  My first notes of power supply
> issues are in May.  That's two months for the effects to propogate.  The
> problem also evolved -- there was an increasing incidence of system
> lockups, which would seem indicative of a gradual joint failure rather
> than a sudden event.

It's possible that one of the boards was cracked somewhere and the 
corosion at the crack took care of the rest. I repaired many laptops 
earlier in my career in this part of the world. NEC was the first to come 
out with laptops that would not break your legs. Many people dropped them 
anyway. I remember using raor blades and tiny soldering iron to replace 
high density ICs.

> There are several inconsitancies in what I've been told by ARM, and I've
> heard similar stories elsewhere.  I'm currently pursuing other
> alternatives.
> > >     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.
> A design flaw is by definition a workmanship error, not a customer
> problem.

Buyer beware.

> You'll note that automobile manufacturers have these little events they
> call "recalls".  That's not 'coz they want to do them.

Computer industry experienced that as well but not to the same degree.
Software makers have yet to excercize significant recalls.

> > >   - 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.
> The more I know about women, the more I like my cat.
> The more I know about laptops, the better ThinkPads look.
> Peace.

Things are turning for the better.

> -- 
> Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>       http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
>  What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?             Home of the brave
>   http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/                   Land of the free
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> Geek for Hire                     http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html

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