How to Fix a Power Adapter

Step 1: Issues

While this is built around my specific plug, these techniques should be able to be applied to any plug that has inexplicitly pulled itself apart for no reason what-so-ever.

Safety Warning: before unplugging an exposed wires from the wall, please ensure that you turn power off to that outlet. Your life is more important then fixing this plug.

Getting to school and needing a computer, I set to the task of figuring out exactly what was wrong and how to fix it.

My first impressions was that there was absolutely no solder on either the cables that were ripped from the back of the plug, or the plug. There were small holes on the back of the plug, but they were too small to get any more then two strands of the threaded wire through. I currently have no idea how the wires could have been connected. I also find it awkward how much bare wire was exposed without any proper shielding, but that's just me.

All in all, it seemed an easy fix, I'd just solder the wires back on to where they popped off and call it a day!

2: Not So Simple

No stranger to solder, I tried soldering wires straight to the plug to no avail. No matter how hot I got the plug, it was too polished and the solder just wouldn't stick. It was more difficult then trying to solder something to the bottom of a can of soda.

According to MikB:

You probably struggled to solder them back because they weren't soldered to begin with, some companies delight in using what appears to be stainless steel wire, unsolderable by mere mortals. Sometimes they are spot welded, other times crimped in some odd way. I'm not a fan of that.

Plan two, try to force a separate wire through the tiny holes in the back of the plug, and solder the cables to that. Sadly, the holes were too small to get any sort of wire to pass through.

Tried of burning plastic and making no headway, I decided I didn't care about keeping the plug pretty and went with plan three!

Plan three, get a different plug, cut it and half, and solder the two sets of wire together. Having no two prong plugs sitting around, I opted to go for a three prong and just ignore the third prong.

Step 3: Figuring Out Connections

So the first thing after cutting the new cable (which was left over from some old component), was to figure out which prongs of the plug went to which wires. Since the plug to my computer only used two prongs, I needed to make sure I used the same two prongs on the three prong plug.

I set up a multimeter to test resistance and checked for continuity between each of the three internal cable wires with the three prongs.

It turned out, the green cable went to the ground prong (which I've been told is standard), and black and white went to the other two prongs. Since my computer didn't care which way it was plugged into the wall (neither of the prongs was larger then the other), it didn't matter which way I soldered the black and white wires to the plug. I did do my best to look at where the cables wanted to be, and soldered them to the plug that they would have wanted to go to, but I don't think that mattered at all.

Step 4: One Last Thing Before We Put Everything Together...

Right before I started soldering the cables together, I noticed that if I'd kept going, the power adapter would have had a large exposed side. To keep this from happening, I decided to drill a hole right in the center of the faceplate for the adapter. If my fellow classmate wasn't asleep, I might have taken a dremel to the prongs to keep the faceplate clean. Looking back, I'm very glad I didn't as the final look of the plug is perfect.

To pick a drill bit, I compared the width of the bit to the width of the wire I had previously cut in half. I picked the smallest drill bit I thought the cable would just manage to fit through.

You can use a punch to center the drill bit, but I was in a hurry and eyeballed it.

Step 5: Putting Everything Together.

Now that everything was ready, it was just a matter of getting everything set up, soldered and adding finishing touches.

Make sure you add any heat shrink and the faceplate over any cables that are going to be soldered

Solder the two cables together

Heat the heat shrink (or cut it off and apply electrical tape as I had to do).

Prep the faceplate and internals for final closings.

 Step 6: Wrapping Up

Snap the faceplate back in place and enjoy your new plug. If your plug doesn't have a snap, a little extra tape on the outside will work just fine. I did my first power check not plugged into my computer. I plugged it into the wall, and ensured the "I'm plugged in correctly" light came on. After that, I set up my computer for a presentation, plugged it in, and had it running for 6 hours. I've yet to have any problems with my fix.

As a side now, this is now my absolute favorite plug.