First a bit of backstory.
A client asked us to get him a laptop with the key requirement based around the weight. He wanted something that would be easier for taking out of the office. So he ended up with a Sony Vaio VPCSA. All seemed ok but a few weeks in we got a call to say he was having trouble with the touchpad not working from time to time. The mouse pointer either wouldn’t move at all or it would be very difficult to drag along the touch surface.
Plugging a normal usb mouse in was a workaround but not the solution.
He couldn’t seem to recreate the issue either and neither could we. What didn’t help was it was so intermittent that we couldn’t recreate the problem and when we were looking at the problem we never saw it happen! It was very frustrating for our client so we did our best to figure it out but after checking drivers, mouse software, bios settings and even a full factory reset, we could only surmise it was a hardware issue and it went back to Sony under warranty.
They sent it back a few days later with the fault report showing they’d changed a part in the mousepad. It went back to client but a few weeks later the problem reared it’s head again.
It went back to Sony three more times. Each time Sony changed components inside and each time the problem didn’t go away.
Eventually the client got fed up with the laptop disappearing for weeks on end so asked if he could have a new one or a different model. Sony weren’t interested in this and neither were distribution as we couldn’t consistently reproduce the problem so in the interests of keeping a long time client happy we took the laptop back, got him a new one with the idea being if someone in our office was using it every day we might finally be able to track down what was causing it and then deal with the manufacturer and distributor if needed. Seeing as all happened around the time my house was broken into I was in need of a new laptop so it ended up in my hands and of course I’ve not had any trouble with it since!
Several months later and I was at home last week and the problem flared up while I was using the laptop and I could confirm how infuriating it was! I once again experimented with software, settings. I even discovered there is a “Function & F1” hotkey for disabling and enabling the touchpad but I still couldn’t find anything that made a difference.
Until a few days later….
It was a Friday night and I’d been using my laptop on the kitchen table and the touchpad was working quite happily. The battery was running low so I pulled the charger out of my bag and plugged it in. I sat down to carry on and the mouse had stopped working.
Realising it had been working quite happily a minute ago and all I’d done was plug the power in I disconnected it and it started working again!
I now had a reproducible problem. Every time I plugged the power adapter in, the mouse stopped working.
If you’re following this you’ll probably be thinking,
”What’s changed? Surely you’ve used the charger since you’ve had the laptop.”
Yes, but not this specific charger.
Last week someone was tidying up a cupboard in the office and came across the original box for the laptop and inside was a spare charger.
Turns out the client likes to have a charger on his desk and one in his laptop bag as It makes it that bit easier when coming and going. I thought that was a good idea so did the same. The original charger was on my desk. The spare had gone into my bag.
After a bit of digging it looks like the spare charger isn’t compatible with the laptop I’ve got. However, It still plugs in and charges which is why this never came to light before.
Once i was in the office the next day I was able to confirm everything works quite happily on the original power adapter!
This has been bugging me for much longer than it should have. Especially since I’d gone months without seeing the problem! I’m very glad I can put this to bed.
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