Battery charging problems

In this post I explain how to troubleshoot battery charging problems. I will discuss most common failure examples and suggest some troubleshooting steps.

Example 1.

Laptop shuts off when AC adapter unplugged.

When you move the cursor arrow over the battery icon while the laptop is connected to AC adapter, it show the remaining charge and says “charging”.

The power meter utility (if available) also shows that battery is connected and charging.

But… as soon as you unplug the AC adapter, the laptop shuts off completely.

Possible problems:
1. The battery not seated correctly. Try reconnecting it.
2. The battery contacts got dirty or oxidized and it’s not making good connection with the motherboard. Apply some electronic contact cleaner on the contacts.
3. If reconnecting the battery doesn’t help, most likely it’s bad and has to be replaced.
4. If you replaced the battery but the problem still exists, this is motherboard related failure. Apparently the charging circuit on the motherboard failed. In this case the whole motherboard has to be replaced (or repaired on the component level).

 

Example 2.

The battery not detected by the laptop.

There is a red cross on the battery icon.

If you move the cursor arrow over the battery icon, it says “no battery detected”.

Possible problems:
1. Most likely the battery is bad. You have a very good chance to fix this problem by replacing it with a new one.
2. If replacing the battery doesn’t help, this is motherboard related failure. The motherboard has to be replaced (or repaired on component level).

 

Example 3.

The battery discharges very quickly after it reaches some critical point.

The battery detected by the laptop and charges properly to 100%.
When you unplug the AC adapter, it take normal time to discharge until some critical point (let’s say 80%) but after that the battery discharges very quickly to 0%.

Possible problems:
This is battery failed. It has to be replaced with a new one.

 

Example 4.

The battery charges only if the power plug positioned correctly.

You have to wiggle the power plug in order to charge the battery. After you find the right position, it charges properly.

Possible problems:
1. AC adapter failure. The AC adapter power cable is damaged. Here’s how to test your AC adapter.
2. If the AC adapter works fine, most likely this is power jack (connector where you plug power adapter) failure. In this case the power jack has to be replaced.


153 Responses

  1. Hi! just bought a brand new ac adapter + battery but the problem is when i connect the ac wire the light on the adapter blinks but when i remove the wire from the l/top socket it stops blinking and i think it has to do with my laptop unable to startup.Thanks any help will do.

  2. I have two identical ‘Dell inspiron 1420’laptops, Dell#1 was not charging neither powering on when plugged in…. Battery in #1 was placed in Dell#2 to determine if battery was good, and it did charge with no problems.

    After switching back batteries, Dell#2 was not charging but able to power on when plugged in only.

    Now Both Dell will not charge batteries in their respective computers.

  3. @ julio,

    The laptop turns on when you press bottom, but just for a very short time , you can hear going but then stop. Screen is blank at all time while starting.

    As I mentioned in the previous comment, test your laptop AC adapter.
    It’s possible the adapter failed.

  4. Thank you for responding. The laptop turns on when you press bottom, but just for a very short time , you can hear going but then stop. Screen is blank at all time while starting.

  5. @ julio,

    Hi I have a laptop compaq v5000. I have a blank screen when I turned on. But I dont se the charging ligth on the front of laptop. It sound like is going but then you hear it stop. The ac adapter has been conected for a year. I never disconected because battery is no good.could it be that ac adapter is burn.

    It’s not very clear if the laptop turns on at all. What happens when you push on the power button? Does the laptop start at all?
    By the way, you can test the AC adapter with a voltmeter.
    It’s possible the AC adapter is dead and the battery doesn’t have enough charge to start the laptop.

  6. Hi I have a laptop compaq v5000. I have a blank screen when I turned on. But I dont se the charging ligth on the front of laptop. It sound like is going but then you hear it stop. The ac adapter has been conected for a year. I never disconected because battery is no good.could it be that ac adapter is burn.
    because i notice is very hot

  7. @ Megs,

    I was having this problem at first where it would basically say it wasn’t charging and I’d have to keep it plugged in. One day it just unexpectedly powered off and wouldn’t power back on. If I push the power button it makes noises as if it’s about to power up and lights come on but then it just powers off after about 8-10 seconds. Any ideas of what this might be?

    This could be just simple AC adapter failure. It’s possible the AC adapter went bad and the laptop stopped charging the battery after that.
    Now you cannot turn it on because the battery doesn’t have enough charge.
    First, I would test the AC adapter. You can do it with a multimeter.
    Alternatively, you can test the laptop with another compatible AC adapter.

  8. I have a Gateway laptop that is exactly 2 yrs old. I was having this problem at first where it would basically say it wasn’t charging and I’d have to keep it plugged in. One day it just unexpectedly powered off and wouldn’t power back on. If I push the power button it makes noises as if it’s about to power up and lights come on but then it just powers off after about 8-10 seconds. Any ideas of what this might be? I’m hoping it’s a cheap fix because I can’t afford a new laptop at the moment. I’ve been told so many different things I don’t even know where to begin to diagnose the problem. Any help would be MUCH APPRECIATED!!! Thanks!

  9. @ vienne,

    When I plug my toshiba laptop in to charge, it says that it’s charging, even though the power stays at 4%. It’s a new charger, so that shouldn’t be the problem, but what else might it be?

    Could be bad battery.

  10. When I plug my toshiba laptop in to charge, it says that it’s charging, even though the power stays at 4%. It’s a new charger, so that shouldn’t be the problem, but what else might it be? Is there any simple way this could be remedied?

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