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Friday, October 3, 2014

Power Connector for Chromebook Fixed

After about nine months of use, the power supply for our HP Chromebook stopped charging.  It looked like some wiring broke close to the end of the connector.  Too much flexing where the cable plugs in to the computer finally caused the wire to break.  What to do?

Best Buy sells a universal charger for $55.  That's bit steep.

Fortunately, I am a member at the Milwaukee Makerspace.  A few Fridays ago, I took the broken PSU to the 'space in hopes of saving myself $55.

My first idea was to find a power supply with a similar end.  I looked through the power supplies on the hack rack at the Makerspace.  There were plenty of old PSUs on the rack but none were an exact match.

Option two was to fix the connector on the current PSU.

To start, I cut away the plastic covering on the connector to reveal the wires.  Curiously, there are three conductors in the cable -- one white, one black, and one blue.  The white wire is hot.  The black wire is the return.  No idea what the blue wire is for.  I probably would need to break open the power supply brick to see what the blue wire is connected to.

The white and black wires were a bit frayed.  This was the problem.  I cut through the wires to separate the connector from the PSU.  Next, I used a Dremel tool to grind away the hard plastic that covered the connections on the connector.

Finally, I soldered the wires to the connect.  Heat shrink tubing was used to cover the wires.  The hole thing was also wrapped with electrical tape.

A quick test showed that the repair was good.  It has been charging the Chromebook for the last few weeks.

It felt good to fix the PSU.  Plus, saving $55 pays for one month at the Makerspace.  Bonus!