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How to Repair a Laptop Computer Cord

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How to repair a laptop computer cord —

A Vagabond Journey Travel Tip

Traveling with gear invariably means fixing gear. Traveling with a computer invariably means that you will someday be faced with an ill functioning laptop with nobody to save it but yourself. This is an entry about how to fix a laptop cord when it finally decides to kick the bucket.

Travel is hard on the cords of electronic equipment. Very often the cord will be the first casualty of a laptop computer: they get kinked, yanked, stepped on, knotted up, soaked wet, and ravaged each day on the Road. Sooner rather than later, they often short out and malfunction.

How to fix a laptop computer cord

Fixing a damaged laptop computer cord follows the same logic as fixing a damaged lamp cord — or any other electrical cord for that matter. If the cord has a short in it, has been severed, chewed through, or has otherwise received dry damage you can use this tip. If your cord has malfunctioned as a result of getting wet or soaking in water, you may be better off just buying a new cord.

Tools needed to fix a computer cord -- pliers and electrical tape

Tools needed to fix a computer cord -- pliers and electrical tape

The only equipment that you need to fix a short in a cord is a pair of pliers that have a wire stripper piece and a roll of electrical tape. I purchased both in Eastern Turkey for a couple dollars.

Find the short or damaged area of cord

Find the short or damaged area of cord

If your cord is shorting out and the damage is not readily visible try to find the short by plugging the laptop in and twisting the cord around until you locate the part that is shorting it out — it will be the area where your computer turns on and off when you twist it. Once you found the short put a piece of tape on it.

Find short in cord and cut it out

Find short in cord and cut it out

Cut cord on both sides of short -- remove the bad piece of the wire

Cut cord on both sides of short -- remove the bad piece of the wire

Once you have located the short — or shorts — cut it out by severing the cord on both sides. If the damaged part of the cord is evident (such as if it was chewed by a dog or rodent) cut out all of the impacted area. Cut the short out liberally — give it a wide berth — as it is annoying to repair a cord just to realize that you did not fully cut out the bad sections.

The cord should now be cut into two pieces with the bad section removed.

Strip rubber off of cord

Strip rubber off of cord

Now that you have the cord cut into two pieces with the damaged section removed, strip the rubber off of the good ends that you plan on splicing together. Make sure that you do not cut through the wires — remove the rubber gently. Be sure to strip off around three inches of rubber.

Separate wires into two bunches

Separate wires into two bunches

Laptop computer cords are made up from two wires. One wire is inside of an inner layer of white rubber and the other is wrapped around it. Gently take the copper wire that is on the outside and bunch it up all together like in the above photo. Do the same with the other piece of the cord.

Strip off the rubber on the inner cord

Strip off the rubber on the inner cord

Now strip off the rubber from the inner white wire. Be very gentle and only take off around a half inch of rubber.

Tie together the wires from corresponding wires

Tie together the wires from corresponding wires

Tie together the wires from the corresponding wires: the white wire is wrapped around the white one from the other half of the cord and the outside copper wire is wrapped around the other outside one. Splice the wires together by wrapping them smoothly around each other.

Make sure that the two different wires do not touch — this is what causes shorts.

Wrap wires in electrical tape

Wrap wires in electrical tape

After splicing, wrap both wires in electrical tape

After splicing, wrap both wires in electrical tape

After the corresponding wires are spliced together, wrap them up in electrical tape. Make sure to do this really well, if the two wires touch your cord will short out again.

Wrap wires in electrical tape

Wrap wires in electrical tape

After both wires in the cord are sliced together and taped up, wrap them both up together in electrical tape.

You are now finished. Plug the computer in and check for more shorts in the cord. If you find more, do the same until it is repaired.

How to fix a laptop computer cord

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Read more about repairing travel gear on Vagabond Journey
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Filed under: Travel Gear, Travel Gear Repair, Travel Tips

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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