When performing a repair on a Sony laptop, you may have noticed some DIP switches on certain Sony laptop systemboards. But what are DIP switches and what are they used for?

DIP switches get their name for an acronym: Dual-line Input Package. They are essentially a bank of switches that control the connection of certain circuits on the Sony mainboard. Some common uses of DIP switches are remote controls, where the switches can be used to send and receive a unique signal to avoid interference with other remote devices.

When it comes to their use in Sony laptop parts, however, DIP switches are often used on the mainboard. They can have a variety of uses. One common use is to set the clock speed and operating parameters of the CPU. If one mainboard is designed to work with multiple processor types, for example, setting the DIP switches can change the voltage and clock speed to accommodate more than one type of CPU. They are also used when multiple LCD Screens are used on a model and resolutions or other parameters are different. If these settings are required, make sure you get the switch information from your spare parts supplier.

Over the past few years, DIP switches have become much less common, particularly in laptops, as limited space has caused manufacturers to do away with any components that are not essential. Also, issues such as IRQ conflicts have become much less common with modern hardware and software, eliminating the need for these types of uses.

So is there any reason to change the DIP switch settings on your Sony laptop mainboard? In almost every case, the answer is no. Mainboards ship from the factory pre-configured, so there is essentially no reason to change them unless you have a very specific instruction to do so, replacing your mainboard or doing some other type of mainboard repair.

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When it comes to laptop repair, displays are some of the least likely components to fail. Nevertheless, problems can arise that require replacement or repair of the parts that make up the laptop display and its connection to the system board and other components. Here is a list of some of the most common repairs pertaining to laptop displays.

  1. Loose connection

The cable that connects the display to the system board is generally a very thin one, with a small connector. If this connector becomes loose, it may cause the display to go black intermittently or to fail to work at all. Luckily, fixing this problem is generally as easy as reseating the connector so that it functions properly, although it can be difficult to access on some models.

  1. Bad inverter

The LCD inverter is responsible for providing power to the backlight of the display. When an inverter is malfunctioning, it can cause the screen to go black, the brightness to dim, and other issues. You can find replacement inverters by finding individual sections on our website, such as IBM Lenovo laptop inverters.

  1. Bad backlight

Backlight problems generally cause the same problems as a bad inverter, making it difficult to diagnose between the two issues. In many cases, it can be a good idea to replace the inverter first and see if it solves the problem.

  1. Bad display/bad pixels/stuck pixels

The other common display problems lie in the LCD screen itself. Issues such as stuck pixels, bad pixels, and lines or dots on the screen can usually only be resolved by replacing the screen itself. You can find replacement screens on our website under the correct manufacturer heading for your laptop, such as Toshiba Laptop LCDs.

This list gives a general breakdown of the most common laptop repairs. If your laptop display is having other problems, or you are inexperienced in laptop repair, it is a good idea to have a professional repair shop diagnose and repair your laptop. Feel free come to our on-line shop to find whatever parts you may need to fix your display.

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Choosing a laptop AC adapter replacement is fairly easy, but it is important to understand a few terms to ensure you get the proper replacement that is fully compatible with your laptop model. Using an incompatible adapter could cause damage to both the adapter and to your laptop, so it is imperative that you take a moment to understand the main points that differentiate laptop AC adapters.

An AC adapter converts the AC (alternating current) power coming from a wall outlet into DC (direct current) power that the laptop requires. Virtually all AC adapters will support the correct AC current, so the focus should be on finding an adapter that provides the proper DC current for your laptop’s model.

If you look on the original laptop AC adapter for your laptop you will see a number of specifications for the voltage, polarity, etc. for this adapter. You can sometimes find this information on the laptop itself as well. Look on the sticker at the bottom of the laptop for this info. Sometimes this information is also listed near the DC jack where the AC adapter is plugged into the machine. This will often read something like “DC18V 5A (MAX)”.

The first important number is the voltage. Common voltages are 15V, 16V, 18V, 19V, 20V, 22V, and 24V. The second most important number is the amperage, or amps. Common amp ratings are 6A, 5.6A, 4.7A, 4.5A, and 3.8A. It is important that both of these numbers match to ensure compatibility. Both of these numbers work together to produce the overall wattage of the adapter, which is the voltage multiplied by the amperage. So an 18.5 Volt 4.1 Amp HP AC adapter would end up with a rating of 75 Watts.

Another specific marking is the tip polarity which can be found on the brick portion of the adapter. This is a symbol with a + and – sign and a graphic indicating whether the tip or ring are positive or negative. If the positive circle is connected to the small center dot, for example, the adapter has a positive polarity, meaning that the tip is positive and the barrel is negative. Make sure the polarity of the AC adapter matches the laptop; most laptop AC adapters are center positive.

The last important factor of an AC adapter is the size of the tip. If the tip is too small or too large, it will not fit the connection point on your laptop. The tip is most often expressed as a measurement, such as the 6.3mm x 3.0mm tip used on some common Toshiba laptop AC adapters. Generally if you use your model number or the original part number you should not have to be concerned with the tip size.

To simplify the process, you may consider using an online parts supplier which can help you find compatible parts for your laptop model. Armed with the information above, however, you can make a very informed decision and know the part you are purchasing is compatible with your laptop.

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