Inspiron 5160 Saga

So my Dell laptop is crapping out.  I’m having some luck with electronics lately (did I mention the turn signals on my car went out today?  I’m guessing blown fuse, didn’t have time to look).  Anyway, the power supply is breaking loose of the motherboard.  It’s a common problem on that model motherboard.  My options are pretty much 1) send it to some company that charges $180+shipping to repair the a/c plug.  2) buy a refurbished motherboard from Dell for $250 (the cost new isn’t worth mentioning).

I decided to go with option 3, fix it myself.  The a/c plug got so bad that the laptop no longer worked off a/c power.  So I tore the thing apart, got my soldering iron out and went to town.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a ton of free time during the week to do this, so I went the lazy man route.  I didn’t completely remove the motherboard from the case.  Thus, I could only reasonably access the a/c plug from one side.  It seemed to be held in place pretty nicely, but once I re-assembled everything, the thing was noticeably loose, still.  However, it does work off a/c power again.  It’s back to the previous state where you can wiggle the plug and the power will cut in and out.

So, I guess over the weekend I will be tearing the laptop apart again.  This time I’ll do it right and remove the entire motherboard.  I really didn’t want to disassemble the heatsink and everything else involved.  I suppose it will be worth it to get it done for nearly free and quickly.

The laptop a/c plug officially died Tuesday night.  If I sent it out today for repair, I would get it back Tuesday at the earliest and I would be $180 + $40-50 in shipping poorer.  Let’s see if I can get this fixed by Monday for under $15 (I had to go to Radio Shack, because my low-watt soldering iron is lost in storage).


Jay Ratkowski runs this joint, which is why his name is on the front door. You can find him elsewhere at Google+, Facebook, or Twitter

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Author: Jay

Jay Ratkowski runs this joint, which is why his name is on the front door. You can find him elsewhere at Google+, Facebook, or Twitter

2 thoughts on “Inspiron 5160 Saga”

  1. Hey there,
    Same problem here except I cannot get the back of the machine off to have a look. It is most frustrating. What tips can you offer to assist me. Its being held up in one place only middle of the back. I’m not taking it too the shop, over here in NZ they said that it would cost me about $500 nz. I can get a brand new laptop this is kick arse for around 2g so I’m not gonna waste the money.

  2. Hey there,
    The shop I sent mine to was the only place stateside at the time which seemed qualified to do the job. It seemed their process of replacing the part and doing a few other minor things was the only way to go. Basically, I wasn’t qualified to do the soldering work myself so it was best left for them. I wouldn’t recommend attempting the repair on your own unless you’ve done work like that in the past.

    At this point, the series of laptop is so old that it’s best to just move on. I paid about $220USD for the repairs, got a new laptop from Best Buy several months back that was $400USD and only needed $20 worth of RAM upgrades to be very capable.

    Good luck.

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