Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Byte: What could POSSIBLY happen?

Some companies have a very odd business plan...

I was in PC World yesterday to pick up a USB Flash stick for my beloved, when I thought I'd take the opportunity to pay a visit to their "Tech Guys" to see how much they'd rob me to repair my laptop, which has been broken for a couple of weeks. I explained the problem thus: my laptop has stopped charging, because I believe the power socket has somehow managed to work itself loose from the motherboard, as it was giving me an intermittent contact when I plugged the power pack in for a while, and then it decided to give up the ghost and not want to charge anymore. I'm certain that there's nothing wrong with either the battery or the power pack, since the power pack has a little light at the PC plug end, which faithfully illuminates when I plug it into the wall and the battery happily discharged its remaining power, and if it works discharging, I can think of any reason why it wouldn't want to charge. So the culprit has to be the connection between the motherboard and the power socket in the laptop itself, which is failing to form a circuit.

The "Tech Guy" listened to all this sagely, and then said, fatefully, "We don't do any laptop maintenance on site, we send it away, and there's a fixed price for laptop repairs." That price being somewhere over £230. Who the hell would pay that? For that price you could buy a perfectly good netbook. So I thought, screw that for a game of soldiers, especially since the part that's broken must cost all of a couple of quid at most. So, I thought it would be much more cost effective to go out and buy a soldering iron, some high quality electric solder and a decent mini-screwdriver to take the case apart and fix the damn thing myself, for less than £40.

Which is what I'm going to try to do tonight. I mean, WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? At worst I'll screw the motherboard, but since the lappy's absolutely unusable anyway, I don't have much to lose at this point other than pride and faith in my own ability to fiddle safely with electronics. It's been approximately 17 years since I last used a soldering iron, but electronics was always one of my favourite bits in Design & Technology. Fingers crossed I'll have a working laptop come the end of the evening. And if I don't, well, it's not like that's too different from what I started the evening with...
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