Last week there was a small mishap in our home. This mishap involved my wife, a power cord, and the power jack on our laptop. The end result is that we can no longer plug our laptop in to a wall jack.
A quick Google of broken power jack and what I have seen on eBay both tell me that this is a pretty common problem. The upside in our case is that we can still boot the machine up using the dwindling power in the laptop's battery, so the machine did not suffer a system-wide failure as a result of its injury. The downside is that the DC power jack is mostly detached from its connection point on the motherboard.
Thankfully, I have some experience taking apart laptops.
On eBay, I found someone selling DC power jacks that they claimed would work with our laptop. I am quite sure that I paid $10 for a 25-cent part, but not much I can do about that (the part came in yesterday and it fits the power adapter, so that is a plus.)
Installing the new power jack requires that I acquire a soldering iron. I went to Radio Shack at the local mall and worked my way through the sea of cell phones, RC cars, and iPod gadgets. Off in the back corner of the store was the little "Radio Shack of yesteryear" area. They had a coupleof tools and a very small selection of wire. For about $20 I bought a little soldering iron kit.
Note: Should you need a soldering iron, Home Depot also sells them. Unfortunately, I didn't even think to look there before venturing into a mall amidst the Christmas rush.
In the coming days I intend to get out my little screwdriver kit, lock our cats out of the room, and delve in to this project. Should be interesting to see if I can indeed bring this machine back to life.