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Laptop Keyboard Cables May 18, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in Keyboard replacement.
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I get asked every now and then whether the cable on a laptop keyboard is connected. For those that are not aware, laptop keyboards have a thin Mylar wiring sheet under the keys that electronically send data to the keyboard controller on the motherboard. The sheet continues on to the cable which plugs into the motherboard. You can see from the example below how the cable is attached to the keyboard.

Bottom view of Sony keyboard

Bottom view of Sony keyboard

There are two versions of the cable that connects to the motherboard. There is the kind that has a connector that snaps into the motherboard and there is the kind that is a bare cable that feeds into a connector on the motherboard. They are fairly simple to install if you know where the mounting points are for the keyboard fasteners or screw holes. If you have lost the lock for the keyboard connector on the motherboard, you can read my earlier post here. If you need help finding a keyboard for a major brand laptop, please feel free to contact me at jeremy@laptoppartsexpert.com.

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IBM Thinkpad G40 G41 Battery Blowout May 14, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in Battery.
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Unfortunately, I got stock with an overstock of IBM Thinkpad G40 and G41 batteries a while ago and I have to blow them out. So if you have either of these models, I recommend you take advantage of our loss. These are from a Taiwanese manufacturer so the quality is higher than a Chinese battery you would see at a similar price.

IBM Thinkpad G40/G41 Li-Ion Battery

IBM Thinkpad G40/G41 Li-Ion Battery

The price on this battery is an astonishingly low $39.50 until supplies last. You also get free shipping when you buy two and it comes with a 1-year warranty. You can find it here:

http://www.laptoppartsexpert.com/i-59089-battery-6-cell-li-ion.html

Remember, this is only while supplies last so if you have a Thinkpad G40 or G41 make sure you get a new battery before they are all gone.
If you have any questions about this battery you can email me at jeremy@laptoppartsexpert.com.

Panasonic AC Adpater Identification May 13, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in AC Adapter.
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I don’t know what it is but today I had lengthy conversations with two people that got the incorrect AC Adapters for their Panasonic laptops. It is possible that Panasonic got one of their part numbers mixed. Just to clear things up in case you have a Toughbook laptop, there are only two types in three different wattages. Here is what they look like:

Sample Panasonic tips

Sample Panasonic tips

The first tip on the left is the sample barrel tip, it comes in 75W and 120W outputs. The second tip on the right only comes in 75W output. So before you buy a replacement or spare, make sure the tip matches your system. To find an adapter for your Panasonic Toughbook, check our Toughbook page here.

Dim LCD Displays May 11, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in LCD.
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Many people call me to get a replacement LCD or bulb since their LCD is dim. There are several problems that can cause this but it is rarely the LCD or bulb that is bad. The main problem is that power is not getting to the backlight inside the LCD.

To find where the loss of power occurs, you need to use a volt meter.  First, check the voltage coming out of the ribbon cable from the motherboard. If you are getting current, move to the FL Inverter board. You should get 6 volts coming out of the inverter. If the voltage is coming through the inverter, then the problem is with the LCD. If the voltage does not come through the ribbon cable, it is defective, this can be caused by a cut in the cable. If the power comes through the cable but not the inverter, then the inverter is bad. This is usually caused by a bad transformer on the board. However, if the voltage is coming through the cable and the board, then the LCD backlight is bad and the LCD will need to be replaced since backlight bulbs are not usually sold separately.

It is important to make sure where the probably is coming from. You do not want to buy an expensive LCD when you don’t need one. An additional word of warning, you can get electrocted if your ribbon cable is damages so inspect the area carefully.

How’d They Make That 2 May 11, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in AC Adapter, DC Jack.
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After discussing the makeup of a battery, I thought I would do the same with AC Adapters. Unlike batteries, AC Adapters are very straightforward in that there are only a few different types. Usually, you will see a fixed voltage of 15V, 16V, 19V, 20V or 24V. Sure, there are a few odd ones like 15.6V for Panasonic or 18.5V for some Compaq/HP or 19.5V for Dell or Sony. The formula for AC power is simple:

Voltage x Amperage = Wattage

Now, let’s talk about why this is important. You must use an adapter with your laptop or netbook that is +/- 1V from the recommended voltage on your unit. In addition, the minimum amperage required for the laptop to get power at the specified voltage is the amperage the laptop will pull from the adapter. For example, if you have a laptop that is 19V, 3.42A, a 65W requirement, and you use the corresponding adapter, the laptop will get the power that it needs. If you use a 90W, 19V, 4.7A, the laptop will pull 3.42A of the 4.7A available. There are some manufacturers like Acer that offer the 90W because they say it is a rapid charger for the battery. Other manufacturers like Toshiba offer a 90W adapter because they have sold out of the older 75W version. However, if you have a 90W laptop that requires 4.7A of power and you only give it 3.42A, the laptop will pull 4.7A out of the available 3.42A and the adapter will burn up over time.

Over the years, I have seen HP ship a 90W adapter for a laptop that needs a 135W and the result is a bad adapter after a few months. Some laptops have a safety feature that will not allow the laptop to turn on if it does not have the proper power available.

The next step in matching an adapter is to confirm the polarity of the tip, usually center positive and match the pin size of the adapter to the DC Jack you plug it into. It is important to note that since DC Jacks have become available, many people have replaced jacks that have the same footprint as the old jack but have a different size center pin. This means that you may try to get a replacement adapter that will not match. In this case, you have to measure the pin size to get a match.

One more warning. If you have get a universal adapter, you need to make sure it has a fixed voltage for your laptop. Many of the major brand universal adapters go from 15V-24V and have a tip that regulates the voltage based on the laptop you are plugging it into. However, if the tip goes bad, you end up with 24V shooting into your laptop which will do major damage to your laptop. If you need an adapter custom made and you have the voltage, amperage, polarity and pin size, we can usually have it made in a couple days. You can email us at info@laptoppartsexpert.com.

Compaq/HP Screen Help May 8, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in LCD.
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Got a call today that I have not received in a while. But, if you have an old Compaq of HP laptop, this may be of some interest to you. Until about two years ago, Compaq and HP almost never offered screen parts for their laptops. That meant hinges, cables and plastics were not replaceable. There can be a way around this. If you have the Compaq or HP spares number or SPS number for the LCD, you can use this number to search for people that have torn down a whole laptop and are selling the spare parts under this number.

For example, my customer was looking for a hinges for an HP Pavilion ZV6233CL. This particular model uses a screen part number 383939-001. I was able to find the hinges under part number 383939-001-HINGES. This will not work with every model, but it is one more avenue to search for that part you are looking for. If you would like me to research your Compaq or HP part, email me at jeremy@laptoppartsexpert.com.

Which Netbook Should I Get? May 6, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in Battery.
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Netbooks seem to have replaced the Swine Flu as the hot topic these days. I think I will get one myself in the next couple weeks. In the next few months, cell phone carriers will be offering them for very low up-front costs with mobile broadband subscriptions. The one thing I do not hear people spending significant time talking about is the importance of battery life. The whole point of getting a Netbook is ultimate portability. You can take it anywhere, it will fit inside almost any carry bag and with the right Air Card, you can connect to the Internet from nearly any location.

What I have discovered is that you have to look for a 6-cell battery at the very least when shopping for Netbooks. Many of the Asus and Acer come with them and I have even seen some with 9-cell batteries. You should be able to get at least six hours for a 6-cell battery but you are only likely to get three hours with the standard 3-cell battery and that just defeats the purpose of getting a Netbook. Email me if you find a good deal for a 6-cell or 9-cell package in Acer, Asus or Toshiba at jeremy@laptoppartsexpert.com.

How’d They Make That May 5, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in Battery.
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I seem to have caught HP in a math mistake today. Now if you aren’t impressed by math, this may not interest you. But I will attempt to pull back the curtain on what makes a battery rated for the capacity it is rated and why it is important to know the rating of a battery before you buy one. This is the listing on the HP website that was presented to me:

Battery (Primary) – 6-cell lithium-ion (Li-Ion), 14.4VDC, 2.20Ah, 47Wh

This is a Compaq/HP Business Notebook battery and it just doesn’t add up. See, every battery has voltage cells and amperage cells. The voltage cells are usually 3.7V and the amperage cells range from 2200mah up to 2600mAh in capacity. Most batteries are 11.1V or 14.8V and 4800mAh or 5200mAh. If you put three voltage cells together and two amperage cells together, you get a 6-cell battery. If you put four voltage cells and two amperage cells together, you get an 8-cell battery. Simple math, for example:

3.7V X 3 = 11.1V
2200mAh X 2 = 4400mAh
3V X 2A = 6-cell

This is the 6-cell version of the above mentioned battery I sell. But HP lists this as 14.8V (4V) and 2200mAh (1A) which makes it a 4-cell battery. As our former President might have said, “This is fuzzy math.”

Now, lets talk about why this is important. We all want our laptops to run as long as possible but battery life is limited. Typically Lithium batteries, the current standard, are good for about 300-500 charges. They work best when you charge them up, drain them down and repeat at least once per week. They can also run longer if you lower your screen brightness and lower your hard drive spin time. But the higher the cell count, the bigger the battery, the longer the laptop will run on a single charge. Of course they get heavier the longer they last, but who cares, you want to finish that long Martin Scorsese epic. If you want a good battery, you want an 8-cell minimum. If you want the biggest battery, you need a 12-cell, if offered for your model. I am only aware of one 16-cell but that is for the mammoth Dell Inspiron 9100/XPS. You also want to make sure you are getting a higher amperage rating because they will be newer cells. You want something divisible by 2400mAh or 2600mAh.

One more equation for you. If you know the Watt-Hour rating of the battery, a new labeling requirement, you can get the amperage rating by dividing the Watt-Hour rating by the voltage. For example:

48Wh / 11.1V = 4400mAh

This is the rating of the battery above. Ultimately, the higher the battery Watt-Hour rating, the longer it will last between charges. If you have any questions about battery ratings or you want to tell me I finally made math interesting for you, you can email me at info@laptoppartsexpert.com.

Tear It Down May 5, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in Disassembly, Optical drive.
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A customer emailed me today looking for a DVD drive for his Toshiba Satellite P25 laptop. Unfortunately, Toshiba sells many drives for this model and they all use a different front plastic faces while using the same backplane and bracket. Also, they offered a DVD, a combo drive and a DVD-RAM. You have to match the old drive or you will have to buy a new face for the replacement.

The customer did not specify so I told them they would have to give me the core part number on the drive to get the right one. There are two ways of doing this. The first, is to go to the Windows Device manager and check the DVD/CD category. The second is to take out the drive and look on the label. The customer however, did not know how to take it apart. So, for any of you that need to disassemble your Toshiba, I recommend teardown guides at our advertising partners’ website, IrisVista.com/Tech. These sites are specifically for Toshiba. You can find guides for other brands on the resources page of our website, http://www.laptoppartsexpert.com/p-159-resources.html.

Sony Identification May 1, 2009

Posted by laptoppartsexpert in Sony VAIO.
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For all you that own a Sony, there is something you need to know. The model number is not really the model number. As it turns out, Sony puts a model number on the bottom of the laptop, usually a PCG number, but this is the body style of the laptop. The actual model is the PCG or VGN model number on the front of the laptop between the keyboard and screen.

For example, we had a customer that ordered a keyboard for a PCG-7Z1L but the 7Z1L is a VGN-NR series, 10 models from NR160-NR180. The ones that end in W though, take a different keyboard which is currently unavailable so they ordered the wrong one. If you need help identifying a Sony model, please email us at info@laptoppartsexpert.com.