My friend asked me to look into his laptop that died without any warning. After checking motherboard i found out that chipset was fried. Unfortunately my soldering skills aren’t mad enough to resolder chipset, so i had to look for different solution.

After searching on eBay I could tell that buying replacement motherboard would cost almost half the price of the laptop, so this option was dismissed as unreasonable. After all my friend could add another 100 euro to get laptop with better specs.

Fortunately I managed to find motherboard from the same model of Dell missing just SATA connector. We decided, that despite purchase being bit of a gamble it’s still worth a try. Few emails later we managed to haggle price down to 50 quid including shipping – third of replacement motherboard price.

When it arrived, testing begun. I put radiator on the CPU, connected all the necessary cables and started praying to Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Dell Inspiron 1520 Motherboard during preparations to testing.

Fortunately lack of SATA port was the only problem with motherboard and it started nicely, showing us Dell logo. It went through POST and informed that cannot find hard drive to boot system from. After changing boot options to USB, Ubuntu started nicely.

Patient is alive. Waiting for transplant.

I shared great news with my friend. I used his dead motherboard as a donor of missing port and desoldered it. It came out much easier than I expected, but I didn’t have to worry about damaging motherboard. After all it’s hard to kill something twice.

After soldering connector to new board, we connected RAM, hard drive and pressed the power button. Laptop started straight away and booted Windows without any problems at all.

SATA connector soldered. Waiting for first boot.

And that’s what I call a bargain.