How to Wire a Laptop's AC Adapter

by David Lipscomb Google

    You tote your laptop with you to the office, class or the local coffee shop to use their free Wi-Fi. In the process, you probably also bring along the power adapter to prevent shutdown from a low battery. This high level of use along with day-to-day wear and tear may eventually create a scenario where the power cord becomes damaged. Because laptop power cords and adapters are normally two-part affairs, repairing or replacing the cord is typically not a tricky proposition.

    Cord Replacement

    Step 1

    Shut off your laptop to prevent further battery drain. Unplug the cord from the laptop, as well as the power pack from the AC outlet.

    Step 2

    Pull the other end of the power cord free from the AC adapter pack. Examine the end of the cord to determine the pin arrangement and connector shape, as well as the size and shape of the plug at the computer end.

    Step 3

    Replace the power cord with the appropriate unit. These may be sourced directly from the manufacturer or from electronics retailers like RadioShack.

    Quick Fix

    Step 1

    Unplug the damaged power cord from the laptop. Shut off the laptop to prevent further battery drain.

    Step 2

    Unplug the AC power adapter from the outlet to prevent accidental shock as you handle the damaged power cord.

    Step 3

    Examine the damaged cord to determine the severity of the damage. If any metal wiring is missing or cut, splicing will not work and replacement is required.

    Step 4

    Wrap electrical tape around any nicks or abrasions severe enough to damage the outer insulation. Start approximately 1 inch from the base of the damaged area, spiraling up and over the nick and slightly stretching the tape as you go.

    Step 5

    Cut the electrical tape 1 inch from the top of the cut. Press the electrical tape with your fingers to ensure good adhesion.

    Replacing a Damaged Section

    Step 1

    Remove the power cord from the outlet and laptop. Identify the location of the damage on the power cord.

    Step 2

    Cut 1 inch above and below the cut in the wire, removing the damaged section.

    Step 3

    Strip 1 inch of outer insulation from the remaining two pieces of the power cord. Be careful not to nick the inner wires in the process.

    Step 4

    Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from each inner conductor.

    Step 5

    Slide an insulated crimp splice connector over each half of the splice, matching like-colored wires. Insert one end of the wire into one end of the splice. Crimp it in place with the crimper combo tool. Repeat for the other end and the other wires.

    Step 6

    Wrap the entire splice fully with one or two passes of electrical tape. Cut the end of the tape and press gently with your fingers to ensure a tight adhesive seal.

    Tips

    • Bring the damaged cord and power adapter with you when you go shopping for a replacement, so there's no confusion about which to purchase.

    Required Items

    • Replacement power cord
    • Electrical tape
    • Scissors
    • Wire stripper/crimper combination tool
    • Insulated crimp connectors

    About the Author

    David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

    Photo Credits

    • Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images