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I'm trying to fix my alienware area 51-m laptop (766, about 5 years old). It was plugged into a surge protector and the phone line a couple years ago when the phone line was struck by lightning. The laptop didn't power on, no fans, no lights, no post. I recently got around to taking it into a repair shop to have it fixed. The guy said it needed a new motherboard (which is what I had already assumed) so I ordered one, and gave it to him. He says he put the new motherboard in, it powered up enough to give lights and fans but no post, and then died within a few seconds. Apparently he hadn't checked any of the other parts or even tested the motherboard with the bare minimum of parts before putting it all together. He claims some other part (he thinks the video card) is shorted and fried the new motherboard. I'm going to RMA the new motherboard, but is there a way for me to check the power supply to see if that fried it? It is a 4 pin, liteon pa-1161-02 20v 8 amp power supply. I need to know which pin is what normally. Thanks for your help and any other advice in advance!

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  • drahcirdk Jul 01, 2009

    Thanks for your help Dageezer. However, I've already shelled out $80 for the motherboard, and they probably won't give me my money back, only a new board. The modem etc are all on the board, so the parts that were put back in were the processor, ram, video card, battery, screen and inverter, and cd/dvd drive. If he had put the parts in, I'd at least know which one had fried the new board. He didn't so now I'm trying to figure that out without frying the next board. Any ideas on how to identify the part without just putting them back in one at a time until it dies again? That's why I want to know which pin is supposed to be what on the power supply. Thanks again Dageezer and anyone else willing to help.

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Generally, portable power supplies are pretty rugged, and the items you need to be concerned with are what interfaces with the motherboard. Video card, RAM, Wireless, and Modem. If any of these were in the system during the strike, then they are suspect. If these componets are removeable, then booting without them in the new board it suggested. I would tend to agree, and a discrete video card would be toast after a lightning strike. This project may not be worth the cost in parts

Posted on Jul 01, 2009

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First, I admit a certain bias against switching power supplies. Their only claim to fame is size and efficiency. Take that away and a cheap linear beats them in every metric... long term reliability, percent regulation, output noise and something solid you can drive nails with.
Anyway to answer your question...
1. Hold the Liteon PA-1161-02 output cable such that you are looking at its output pins.
2. Turn the cable such that the notch (indentation between pins) is on top.
3. The top two pins are connected or shorted to each other.
4. The bottom two pins are connected or shorted to each other, the shield (the shiny ring that surrounds all four pins) and to the ground or third pin of the power cord
5. Carefully connect a DC meter between one or both top pins AND the shield.
6. The meter should read approximately 20.35V DC when not connected to the laptop.
NOTE: If you could measure it, the output voltage should be less than 20.35V DC and more than 19.5V DC when connected to a turned on laptop or one that is charging its battery.

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