Fixing broken Dell Laptop power supplies

Preamble

Following on from Dell M6700 or M6800, there are a lot of laptops sold without power supplies or chargers. This made me wonder:

  • Is it because they blow often?
  • Why is that?
  • Are they plugged into power hungry docks
  • Are they underrated?

See M6600 Owner’s Review – Warning – Large pics – Personal Opinions for an interesting break down of the power supplies and current draw.

Anyway, I thought that instead of buying an expensive new, or second hand, supply (the 240 W or 330W can go for up to £100+), is it possible to to fix them? Is there a common failure mode? A recurring point of failure?

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How to reverse engineer a PCB

Preamble

A colleague and I have been trying to reverse engineer a few different PCBs recently (a coin operated washing machine’s control board (see Reverse engineering the coin box) and a Bastl Trinity are a few examples) and we have been scanning them or simply photographing them, with the aim of either copying them, coming up with a schematic or coming up with a PCB mask, with mixed or limited results. Like this:

After watching EEVblog #675 – How To Reverse Engineer A Rigol DS1054Z, I saw that Dave explains a pretty good process, using a tripod mounted camera, light box and a back light.

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Smok Alien 220W – Not charging

Preamble

Oh no! Yet another Smok Alien 220W problem..?!

On top of the other three issues that have had with Smok Alien 220W in the past (“No coil”, “Ohm too low” and simply refusing to boot), I have just started to notice another problem with one of my Smok Aliens. It will not charge the 18650 LiPos correctly. When the USB cable is plugged in, the bars on the main screen start to move, in the charging animation, but after a while, 5-10 seconds, the usual charging screen flashes up, but then quickly (<0.5 seconds) flashes back to the main screen again, still with the batteries charging animation. Again, wait 5-10 seconds and then the charging screen flashes, and so on.

If left charging, then the batteries actually discharge completely..!

It used to work fine, but then this issue appeared maybe a week or so ago…

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Sticky Fire Button – Vaporesso Target Pro

Preamble

Finally, a success story..! I had acquired a Vaporesso Target Pro as part of a vape bundle (along with a couple of Crown tanks and an Alien 220W and maybe some other stuff). It is a very nice, single 18650 cell, mod. I started using it exclusively, and for a while it was my favourite mod – small in the hand, not bulky, and powerful for its size. OK, it can tend to over balance and fall over if you don’t set it down carefully and slowly, and yes, it looks like a gun handle or joystick for a home computer from the late 1980’s, but overall it is a nice little mod.

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Reviving a dead 18650 LiPo

Preamble

I had my first 18650 LiPo death recently. A single battery left in a Target Pro mod, for over six months. The mod would not charge the 18650 at all… that is to say that the charging light would show the animation of the battery charging, but no process was ever made in the state of the charge (over the space of 12 hours).

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