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Can't charge my laptop

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#1 TheMJCG


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Posted 17 January 2014 - 03:41 PM

A while ago my computer would not get charged. It only worked when it was plugged in not when on battery, so I figured something must be wrong with the battery. I got a new battery and installed it and it did now run on battery but charging took way too long, I had to leave my laptop for 3 days plugged in so it would get charged. Then I decided its probably the charger and I bought a new one. Everything worked well and good for a week, the laptop got charged pretty quickly and it could run on battery. But then after that week I ended up with the same problem as before, I could only run the laptop when plugged in. Whats wrong with it? What do I need to change? 
Do note my Laptop is a 5 year old Dell. 
Thanks in advance.

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#2 Chris Cosgrove

Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 07:49 PM

First of all, welcome to BC !


From what you have said, you have cured all your problems - except you haven't !


First of all, get hold of a multi-meter, if you haven't got one, beg, borrow or steal one. Then check the output voltage at the socket that goes into the laptop. The rated voltage is normally printed on the power supply, and, since you have to disconnect it from the laptop to test the voltage you will be 'off-load'. This means that, if the rated voltage is 18V output (as an example) then you should expect to measure about 19 or 19.5 V at the laptop plug. If it barely reaches 18V off-load the power supply is faulty.


Assuming it isn't - ie you are getting about the 19V mentioned above - plug it into the laptop, turn the laptop on and leave it running for about an hour. Then check for any hotspots along the cable and at the plug where it enters the computer. There shouldn't be any. If there are any hotspots, this indicates a fault which is consuming volts due to high resistance and reducing the voltage reaching the battery. If there are any hotspots, the cable is faulty. Do this with the cable plugged in and the computer on.


Then disconnect from the mains, turn the computer off, take the battery out and see if you are getting the rated battery voltage from the battery. This is also printed on the battery. Whatever voltage you get, leave the battery for a couple of hours, or overnight, and check it again. You should get an almost identical reading the second time. If it is noticeably more than 0.1 V, the battery isn't holding charge.


The only other area that might have a problem is that there is some circuitry inside the laptop between the charging socket. However if it turns out to be this, this falls into the category 'unfixable'.


I would test the mains charger unit first, and if that is producing the correct volts, suspect the battery. Batteries can fail very young, and faulty batteries exist.


Sorry I can't offer a more specific solution.


Chris Cosgrove

I am going to be away until about the 22nd October. Time on-line will be reduced and my internet access may be limited. PMs may not be replied to as quickly as normal !

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