Sunday, October 21, 2012

Plugged In, Not Charging?

plugged in not chargingThis is an issue I have experienced myself, you plug the laptop in, but it will not charge the battery, even though the battery is present and in good condition.  I did some research on the issue and one thing I came across with was a lot of people blaming Windows Vista for the troubles, which is what I had on my Dell laptop back when I had these issues.  Now, I knew that the operating system did not have anything to do with the battery not charging, since the battery charging is controlled by the hardware and not the software.  I purchased a new a battery but this did not fix the problem.  I next purchased a new power supply for the laptop and this solved the problem, the battery would now charge.

I did some more research to see if I could determine why a new power supply would fix the problem – I had checked my old one and it was outputting the proper voltages the best I could tell.  It turns out, in addition to the two power wires (positive and negative) there was a third wire which the laptop uses to communicate with the power supply.  The laptop uses this to determine that the correct power supply is attached to the laptop, if the correct power supply is not attached then laptop will not charge the battery!  A check of this third wire on my old power supply revealed that it was broken somewhere along the cord.  And, because the wire was broken the laptop could not determine if the correct power supply was attached and therefore it would not charge the battery.  The only laptop manufactures that use this third wire, that I have seen, are Dell and HP.  Most other laptop manufactures just a two wire power supply.  You can fix your old power supply by cutting out the old wires and soldering a new 3 wire cord into power supply and jack.

The power supply is not the only thing that can go wrong with the charging system on any laptop.  In order for the laptop to charge the battery, you need to have the correct power supply, the laptops motherboard charging circuitry needs to be working, and the battery needs to be in good condition.

Just an addition note as well, if you have a Dell or HP laptop and are experiencing these problems, you need to purchase another power supply as soon as possible.  Leaving your battery in a discharged state will wreck the battery!  And contrary to what some websites say, Windows Vista (or any other operating system for that matter) have nothing to do with the problem.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Top 7 best Computer Troubleshooting steps for beginners

Guest Post:

Got stuck with your PC? Fixing the problems of a computer may seem an overwhelming experience, but once you are through with the fundamentals, you find this job as easy as nut cracking. You need to have a little common sense and possess the skills to identify the part that is defective. It is possible for you to achieve this, only through practice and experience. You must have passion and dedication towards learning. You feel more satisfied on solving a problem on your own. Here are some simple ways that help you to track down the issue in a logical manner.

1. Relax

You may get frustrated when things go wrong with your PC. If you are expecting the results immediately, you are wrong. You should approach the situation in a systematic, cool and controlled manner. Frustration makes the computer problems appear more complex than they are in the true sense. Leave the place for some time and get back with new insight. Sometimes the problems get fixed by themselves when you give them some time. So relaxation plays an important role in troubleshooting PC.

2. Trial and error

As a beginner you may find it difficult to identify the malfunctioning component. You can do this by swapping the PC components and check if the system works. You can just connect different peripherals one at a time on different machines. Most of the PC problems get fixed by this trial and error method.

3. Check the plugging

Make sure the cables, connectors and other cords are connected securely. Sometimes a problem may be due to a loose connection. In case you are using a surge protector to protect your hardware from an electric jolt, make sure the surge protector is not destroyed. If it is damaged you need to replace it immediately. If the problem still exists, you should check if the monitor is on. In many cases, this has been the cause of the problem.

4. Take a note of the error messages

When you get error messages on the screen, write them down as they describe the problem in detail. Document the exact description of error messages. This helps the help desk to respond quickly. Sometimes your hardware may freeze without displaying any message. In such cases, try to recall what was happening before the problem occurred. You may be saving a file or removing your USB drive. Identify the cause and do a quick search on google to find people with similar problem and how they actually got it fixed.

5. Reboot

Take a backup of your data and simply reboot the system. If this does not work then you have to reboot using the keys CTRL-ALT-DEL where your data will not be saved. If the problem still exists, you need to hold the power button for a few seconds and the system gets shut down. Wait for a while and restart your PC. If this works, you can proceed with the applications you had been working. Some application programs notify you with recovered files. Just save them with a different name and proceed.

6. Run a complete system scan

Sometimes viruses hide themselves from anti-virus software. They make their way inside other programs on your system. When you identify a program that is working strangely, you need to check the system for virus. A complete system scan helps you to fight this problem.

7. Re-install

Re-installing a program is a long-term fix. Get into MS Windows Control Panel. Go to the Add/Remove programs and remove the program that caused the problem. Try re-installing the same program and check if this fixes your problem.

If you analyze the problem logically and work on it step-by-step, you have a good opportunity to tackle it by yourself. If the problem still exists, you can always seek a professional.

About the author: Brianne is a blogger by profession. She loves writing, reading and travelling. She is an avid golfer and answers how to ship golf clubs by suggesting Shipsticks.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Laptop Will Not Boot after Dying?

I have had several people with this problem in the past year – laptop suddenly dies (shuts off) and will not boot back up, even after plugging the laptop into AC power, it might not boot back up.  The cause of this problem in my experience has always been that the battery has been drained completely to 0!  Now, it is important to note here that you should NEVER drain your laptop battery all the way to 0.  The laptop should be configured by default so that it shuts off before reaching 0, usually when it reaches 5%, though sometimes this does not always work, as the computer may not be reading the battery level correctly.  Also you should receive a warning when the battery starts to get low, usually about 10%; when you receive this warning you should either plug the laptop in or shut it off!  Not following this can result in damager to your laptops as well as possible data corruption or operating system failure from data corruption.

Draining a battery down to 0, especially if it is a lithium battery, can cause the battery to drop below the charging threshold, at which point you will not be able to charge the battery and you will have to get a new battery.  I have had actually seen this happen, so trust me, when your laptop warns you that your battery is low you should plug it in, otherwise you might end paying a much greater price for a new battery or worse for data recovery.

The solution to this problem in all the cases I have had, has always been to remove the battery and plug the laptop into AC power and turn the laptop on.  All the computer to boot all the way up to the desktop and then put the battery back into the laptop.  Hopefully the laptop will recognize the battery and start charging it.  If it doesn’t try rebooting the computer, and a hint here, do not shutdown, restart!  Once the laptop starts to charge the battery leave the laptop plugged into until the battery is fully charged!  If you cannot get the battery to charge it is possible your battery is below the charging the threshold and you will never be able to charge the battery.