By Ben Nitkin on
Last year, before I left for college, my parents bought me a Lenovo SL510. I love the computer - it's passably rugged, ugly as sin, its bezel makes a great drawing surface, and it runs Linux like a champ. (I used to dual-boot, but that's neither here nor there.)
In the back right corner, the laptop has a plug for the power adapter. Over the summer, the power plug broke. The adapter connects to the board with some wire; that remained intact. But the plug broke loose from the computer's chassis and started wandering around inside. Most of the time, it'd move a few millimeters, and I'd drag it back to the proper slot, then plug in the power. Last week, it did something different.
The adapter managed to migrate out of reach of its port. I could see the yellow adapter hiding in the chassis, but couldn't fish it back out. With my remaining battery power, I looked around for directions to get the computer open, and found next to nothing. Then the battery died. Shoot.
I decided to try and see what I could do. I turned the computer over, removed the battery, and started undoing screws. A few opened panels, but didn't anchor anything together. I put those back in.
A set of screws around the edge were promising: with them out, the computer started to open up. But it was still binding. I found three more screws hiding behind the CD drive, and a pair anchoring in expansion slots. With those out, the computer opened further. There's a seam running parallel to the base of the keyboard, with the trackpad on the lower side of the seam and the keyboard, power button, and volume buttons above. I managed to remove the lower portion, revealing a few more screws, on the left and right sides of the keyboard.
With those out, the top portion of the computer started to open. I coaxed my way to the power plug, warmed up my hot glue gun, and pumped the back cavity full of thermoplastic to hold the adapter in place. (I'd have used epoxy, but this is school.)
The computer snapped back together, the screws went back in.
The thing wouldn't turn on with the battery, or the power plug.
Okay. Don't freak out. Stay calm. Breathe. Not helping.
I waited a few minutes to calm down, then opened everything up again. To my vast relief, I'd unplugged the power button. It's connected to the motherboard with a ribbon cable that'd pulled loose when I opened the computer. I lifted up the keyboard a bit, found some slack in the cable, and plugged it back in.
Reassembled the computer, less screws for now. Pressed the power.
And the volume buttons worked!
With reasonable proof that everything was working right, I put all the screws back in, closed it up, and had a working computer!
So, Earthbound (my computer) is now a zombie. I'm happy enough, though.