You’re running late, and you need your laptop. You grab it off of your desk and go running out the door. Four feet from the desk, however, the laptop comes to a screeching halt while you keep going. The laptop crashes to the hard tile floor while you wonder what just happened. You’ve come to the end of the power cord that was still plugged into the laptop, and now, at the very least, you’ve probably done serious damage to the power jack on the machine.
Nothing on a modern laptop computer is particularly robust, and power jacks are no exception, unless you happen to be lucky enough (and wealthy enough!) to own one of Apple’s laptops. They invented and patented a magnetic power connector that releases cleanly if someone trips on or otherwise yanks the power cord. The bad news is they refuse to license the technology to any other manufacturers. Bad Apple! Where’s your sense of Civic Responsibility?? Well, they’ve got a right to do that, but the sad thing is, no other manufacturer has come up with a system as good that doesn’t violate Apple’s patent, so the rest of us are stuck with having to be much more vigilant.
Power jack repairs are the most common repair done on laptops, and usually cost $100-$150 in labor costs, because the machine has to be almost completely disassembled to replace the jack. All that for a $2 part and a moment of carelessness.
Your only defense against this horror is to be always cognizant of where the power cord is. Never run it across the floor where your dog, your kid, your husband, or your wife can trip on it and drag the computer onto the floor. Try to never be in such a hurry that you forget to unplug everything from the laptop before picking it up. And let’s hope someone invents a better system.
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