In this blog, I will discuss common Dell faults such as “Plugged in but not charging”, “Consider replacing your battery” and “your AC adapter cannot be determined”. This is a step-by-step guide to resolving your issue or replacing the correct parts for your Dell laptop.
1 - The possible reasons why your laptop isn't charging?
- – A Communication error
All genuine Dell laptop batteries and chargers have an internal chip that communicates with the laptop to detect many different factors, the amount of charge held by the battery, the wattage of the charger and if there is a fault with the device. This can cause an error message to be displayed. For example, “Plugged in but not charging”, “your AC adapter cannot be determined”, "ac power adaptor type cannot be determined" or “Consider replacing your battery”.
To see if you are experiencing a communication error, follow the steps below.
- Power off the laptop.
- Disconnect any external devices (flash drives, printers, external hard drives) from the laptop.
- Disconnect the Ac adapter and remove your battery.
- Press and hold the power button for 20 to 30 seconds to release the residual charge from the laptop.
- Reconnect the battery and the AC Adapter.
- Boot the laptop to BIOS, tapping the F2 key on the Dell logo screen when you power on the system.
- Press F9 key to load BIOS defaults. Once done, press F10 key to save and exit. The system will restart. Check if the error is still there.
- If this didn’t fix your error, Go to step 2 – The AC adapter
The first step to checking the AC adapter is visually, I would recommend doing this whilst the adapter is unplugged.
- Check the cable for external damage and that the power cord is plugged into the adapter box firmly. Replace the fuse in the plug and check for fraying of insulation around laptop plug and where the cable meets the adapter plug.
- Check the laptop jack for damage:- Dell has 2 main types, 7.4 x 5mm, and 4.5 x 3mm. Both have three connections to the laptop, two are for power and the other is for the communications chip. The communications are carried by the pin located centrally in the laptop jack.
- Whilst the charger is plugged into the mains (but not the laptop), check there is a green, blue or white led present on the adapter block or laptop jack. This light should be constant and should not turn off or flicker when you plug it into the laptop if it does this indicates that there is a fault on the power circuit within the laptop and you will need specialist help. If the light doesn’t come on when plugged into the mains, this suggests the adapter has failed and you will require a new adapter.
- If this didn’t fix your error, go to step 3 - The battery
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Dell says the battery has a usable life if 18 months to two years, but it can be longer or shorter depending on how you use your battery.
- First, you should visually inspect your battery, most older models have an external battery that is released using laches on the underside (baseplate) of the laptop. On most newer models the battery is internal and requires opening the laptop to check it. (Only open the laptop if you are experienced as you could easily damage internal components). Check the battery for any swelling or damage to the cable/connector. If this is the case, you will need to replace the battery. We also have a blog on what to do if you have a swollen battery.
- If the battery has slowly deprecated the amount of charge it holds over time, it normally means it’s time to replace your battery.
- If the battery has suddenly lost its ability to hold a charge. It may well be the charger and its recommended to replace your charger. Try step 1 and 2