How to Keep a Plug-in Power Adapter From Falling Out of a Socket


Over time, after so many hundreds of insertions, the metal surfaces of both the prongs on the power cord and the contacts within a wall outlet can become worn to the point that heavier power adapters tend to fall from the outlet. Although it is typically the wall outlet that experiences most of the wear, it isn't always expedient or affordable to replace an entire outlet. There is a lower-cost option that is reasonably simple, requiring only a small modification to the plug prongs on the power pack.

Things You'll Need

  • 35-watt, pencil-type soldering iron
  • Spool of tin solder (not rosin-core)
  • Metal fingernail file
  • Plug in the soldering iron and turn it on. If there is a temperature selector switch on the soldering iron, turn it to no less than 35 watts and no more than 50 watts. Allow the iron about 10 minutes to come to full working temperature.

  • Unroll about six inches of solder from the spool and have the end ready to touch to the prongs when you have begun heating them.

  • Touch the soldering iron tip to one of the prongs on your power adapter and allow the entire prong to heat up for approximately 30 seconds.

  • Touch the end of your solder wire to the heated prong and allow the solder to cover the entire length and width of the prong blade on whichever side you desire (outside or inside of the blade); remove the iron and the end of the solder, allowing the blade to cool for about two minutes. Repeat Steps 1 to 4 for the other prong.

  • Use a metal fingernail file to even out the solder on the prongs, taking care to file down any areas where the solder might have created any "drip runs." File only enough to ensure the solder is even across the length and the width of the prongs.

  • Plug in the power adapter. The small layers of solder should provide enough friction to hold the adapter securely in the outlet. If not, remove the adapter and apply one additional layer of solder to each blade and file as before.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never use rosin-core solder on a power-pack prong. Use only straight nickel and/or tin solder blends only, as they will adhere better and won't wear down as fast. Rosin is a slightly sticky substance added to some solders used mainly for soldering components on heat-sensitive circuit boards and components.
  • If you choose a tin-lead blend solder, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after soldering because lead is toxic. Do not touch food or rub your eyes with your fingers until after washing thoroughly when finished working with lead-blend solders.

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