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.

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