Monday, March 11, 2013

Another Computer Repair

The Internet is replete with people who have various models of Sony's Vaio Computers with bad power ports. This model seems to have an inordinate amount of breakdown in this area and it's really too bad because it can be an otherwise good computer. My computer's (VPCF12AFM) power port failed under warranty, was returned to Best Buy where a poor repair was performed and it failed again when it was out of warranty. Compared to the under warranty repair that took a full month to complete, the process of swapping the part out myself was less trouble.  

Changing the port after it cracks is not a difficult job if you have the right part. The part is available on eBay. The port comes with the port at one end and a plug that connects to the motherboard at the other. If you are a DYI'er, you do not want to get the port by itself as a separate component because that will require soldering---a difficult process if you're not a pro.

Be careful not to order the cheapest part because, in this case, cheap can get you something that literally falls apart in your hands. When you receive the part before you open up the computer, make sure that the part is well put together with no solder joints showing and is tightly and compactly wrapped. Also, my port needed wires coming out of the side---there are ports for sale with wires coming out the back; making it nearly impossible to maneuver the port  into place properly. There is very little room in the space allowed for the port. A tightly, well wrapped port will insure that you can maneuver the port into place without the wires coming undone. Ports are running $8+; buy the more expensive one.

To change out follow these steps:

  • The inside of the computer is a sandwich. The top layer contains the keyboard, speakers, and various buttons----and the power port. 
  • The bottom layer contains the hard drive and memory chips.
  • The middle layer contains the motherboard. 
  • Remove the hard drive
  • Remove the memory chips
  • Remove all the screws from the underside of the computer. There were 3 sizes of screws in my computer. Keep track of where the three sizes come from.  
  • Turn the computer over, open it up and remove the cover above the keyboard. This simply snaps off---no screws.
  • You can remove the keyboard; again no screws just tabs.
  • The power port is under the cover above the keyboard that was removed in the previous step. A wire running from the power port runs into the middle layer of the computer and there is a tiny plug that fits into the motherboard. 
  • It is possible to unplug the old power port and plug the new one in without dismantling the computer further. It requires patience---and if you have large hands, maybe borrow someone's smaller hands.
  • Be sure that the port is securely in place and securely plugged in. Also, since the fan is in the general area, make sure the wire is run in the place it came out of and will not interfere with the fan. Plug the power jack (but don't plug the computer into electric) into the port to insure that everything fits.    
  • Reverse the process above to put the computer back together.
Before you do any work make sure that your files are backed up and be careful of static electricity that will fry computers. This isn't the easiest job to do but it really isn't all that bad and, as long as you have a good, well built part this job should only take 4-6 hours to perform.      


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