Smartphone Charge Port Issues?

Tech Tips

Power, without it our lights would go out, car dealerships would look like graveyards and our phones would turn into expensive of paper weights. The ideas of being without power makes you feel, well… powerless. A huge issue consumers are running into these days is having their charger port (the component on the electronic device used to charge the battery) fail and being forced to watch their battery percentage drop like a countdown to Armageddon! But what is the cause of this problem? User error? Manufacturer defect? The truth is it’s a little bit of both.

There are a few different ways charger ports are built into electronic devices. Some are built directly onto the motherboard; others are replaceable parts that plug into the motherboard. Most older electronics and many of them that are still being produced today have the charger port built onto the motherboard, a design that makes the ports more complicated to replace and can potentially cause more serious issues. The way these ports are mounted is they usually have prongs that fit into small holes on the motherboard that are then filled with solder, these are just to keep the port in place. Small pins on the back of the charger port are soldered onto traces located on the motherboard; these are the components that actually cause the phone to charge. The biggest problem with this design is with the constant plugging and unplugging of your charger into the port it can wear down the mounting brackets and also potentially damage the traces on the board. Once the traces get damaged replacing the port will not fix the issue and thus means you must buy a new product.  Numerous amounts of smartphones, such as HTC, Motorola, and Samsung as well as laptops sound docks and video game systems have charge ports built into the motherboard. It is, from any technician standpoint, a less than ideal design because the repair is more complicated and the potential for the board to be damaged is much greater than with a port that is simply plugged in.

Standard Charger Port


The second style of charge port, the plug and play style, is the much more repair friendly version and the one consumer’s should be asking for from the electronic companies making all of their favorite devices. The biggest adopter of this design is Apple, apart from their line of iPods which space is restricted on, just about all of their phones, tablets and laptops come designed with replaceable charge ports. Apple most recently redesigned its charger port so you can plug the device in either way with no risk of damaging the port (something that happened quite often in their older phones and tablets).  Not only do these replaceable ports make it faster and cheaper to repair but they also make it less likely to break! The reason for this is the ports are no longer mounted to the motherboard with tiny prongs, but rather, mounted to the frame with screws. This is a much stronger design and lends itself to only be broken by user error as apposed to manufacturer design flaw. Although Apple is the biggest adopter it is not the only company to embrace this design. Samsung’s newest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, uses replaceable parts as well as many of the newer LG smartphones like the Optimus G. What this means is that these companies whose names scatter our living rooms and entertainment centers are starting to pay attention to what consumers want, and that’s a more reliable product.


iPhone 4/4s Plug In Charger Port

The final part and probably the part you are most interested in reading about is what can be done to prevent damaging these ports so you don’t have to replace it in the first place. The first and most important thing to do is simply, be careful. We all live busy rushed lives but when you are plugging and unplugging your phone slow it down a bit. The most common reason for these things breaking are because consumers unintentionally plug the devices in wrong.  Another common occurrence is the device falling when plugged in, either by a child, pet, or just not being placed on a balanced service causing the port to get bent or damaged. These devices cost $600 on average and with younger generations becoming more tech savvy these devices are now their new play toys. Storing your devices to charge in a secure area, out of the reach of toddlers and pets will help prevent these little accidents. The last thing you can do to prolong the charge port is to clean it from time to time.  Lint, dust, and grime get stuck in this port and over time they can wear down the internal connection. Simply take a dry toothbrush and gently dust out the port or take a can of compressed air and blow out any debris that may be clogged up.

That's one way to do it...

Like a car, your phone needs to be maintained to function well, and unfortunately things will sometimes break. By being careful and choosing your electronic purchases with hopefully a little more information then you had before you started this read you can see your devices last you until you are ready to replace them.  So keep in mind what you just read and know that if you ever do need to have your smartphone, laptop, or any electronic device repaired, uBreakiFix is there to help.

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