- Dec 01, 2017
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HOW TO Fix a computer that is not charging
There are several reasons a laptop could be having trouble charging. Examine the outlet, cord, and connection first, since these are easily identified and often fixable problems. If you can't find any issues there, changing your laptop settings or resetting its battery management can sometimes solve the problem. If not, replacing the battery might be unavoidable.
Unplug for a few minutes, then try a different outlet. Unplug the laptop, wait a few minutes, then plug it into an outlet in a different room. Some users report that a laptop power adapter can temporarily stop working to protect itself from a perceived issue with the power supply.
2. Examine the cord. Examine the entire length of the power cord for tears, dents, a worn-down insulation. If you notice any, or if the power brick is warped or smells like burnt plastic, the cord is probably faulty. You'll need to purchase a new cord for your laptop.
- If your battery is removable, take it out while the power source is disconnected. Hold down the laptop's power button for two minutes, put the battery back in, and plug it in to a new outlet.
- Check your warranty before replacing any parts. The cost may be covered under some circumstances.
- Bent pins and other damage issues are model-specific. Take the laptop or cord to a computer repair shop. You can look up your model online for repair instructions, but this can be difficult without proper tools, and may void the warranty.
Restart the computer, removing the battery in between. Shut down the computer, unplug it, then remove the battery from your laptop. The battery can usually be accessed from the underside of the laptop, and may have a lock you can turn with a coin, or release by lifting a lever. Leave the battery out for ten seconds, slot it back in, then start up your computer. Plug the laptop in again after start-up and wait ten seconds to see if it works.
- Not all laptops have easily accessible batteries. If there is no obvious battery compartment, just restart your computer without removing the battery
4. Breaks, Burnout, and Shorts
Feel along the length of the power cord, bending and flexing as you go, to check for any kinks or breaks. Check the ends for any broken connections, such as plugs pulling loose or spots that may have gotten chewed by a pet or caught in a vacuum cleaner. Inspect the AC brick. Is it discolored? Are any parts warped or expanded? Give it a sniff—if it smells like burnt plastic, that's likely where the trouble lies.
5. Check the Connector
When you plug in the laptop's power connector, the connection should be fairly solid. If it's suddenly wobbly or loose, or if the receiving socket gives when it should stay firm, the power jack may have broken inside the chassis. Are there discolorations or any sort of burning smell? If there seems to be any damage to the power connector, repairs will be in order..
6. Beat the Heat
A non-charging battery can sometimes be caused by an overheating laptop. This problem is two-fold; with the system shutting down to prevent overheating a battery and causing a fire. Also, as the temperature rises, the battery sensor may misfire, telling the system that the battery is either fully charged or missing completely, causing the charging problems.
These problems become far more likely when dealing with older laptops, which don't have the quality of cooling technology used today, or when using the laptop on the couch or in bed, with a blanket or pillow covering the cooling vents. Let the system cool down and take the time to make sure that the air vents are clean and unobstructed.
7. Swap Out the Cord and Battery
These are the cheapest and easiest-to-swap parts on the laptop. A replacement power cable can often be had for under $10 on Amazon, and replacement batteries can be picked up for under $100.
Replacement cables are most easily found by searching under the model name of the laptop, while batteries often have their own model numbers. Look for a replacement that matches the voltage specifications of the equipment your laptop came with, and be aware that cheap replacement parts from third-party manufacturers may not have the quality of the originals.
At this point, we've eliminated the problems caused by kinked cords or environmental causes. If you still find yourself powerless, the problem lies within the computer itself, caused by either a software issue or faulty hardware. Let's start by looking at the settings and software.
8. Check Your Settings
For Windows Laptops: In the Control Panel, open up the Power Options. Open the plan settings and visually check that all are properly set. Be on the lookout for incorrect settings for the battery, display, and sleep options. For example, your battery settings may cause trouble if you set the computer to shut down when the battery level drops too low or set the low battery level at too high a percentage.
You can also assign actions like sleep and shut down when your lid is closed or the power button is pressed. If these settings have been changed, it's easy to suspect a power malfunction even though there's no physical problem with the battery or charging cable. The easiest way to make sure that your settings aren't causing problems is to restore the power profile to default settings.
For Mac Laptops: In System Preferences, select the Energy Saver pane and review your preferences. Mac settings are adjusted with a slider, letting you select the amount of time the computer can sit idle until it goes to sleep. If the interval is too short, you might suspect battery issues when settings are the true culprit. And don't forget to check these settings for both battery power and wall power.You may want to revert back to the default settings to see if a change in settings is causing the problem.
9. Update Your Drivers
For Windows Laptops: Open the Device Manager. Under "Batteries" you should see three items, one for the battery, another for the charger, and a third listed as "Microsoft ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery". Open each item, which will bring up a Properties window. Under the "Driver" tab, you'll see a button labeled "Update Driver." Go through the driver update process for all three. Once the drivers are all up to date, reboot the laptop and plug it in again. If this doesn't resolve the problem, uninstall "Microsoft ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery" completely and reboot.
For Mac Laptops: On a Mac you'll need to try resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). For laptops with removable batteries this is as simple as shutting down power, removing the battery, disconnecting power, and pressing the power button for 5 seconds. Reinsert the battery, connect power, and fire up the laptop.
For newer Macs with batteries sealed into the chassis, shut down the computer, but leave the power adapter connected. With the power off, press and hold the power button while pressing the Shift-Control-Option keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard. Release the keys and power button simultaneously, then attempt to power on the laptop.
10. Call In Outside Assistance
If you haven't already, this is probably a good time to contact tech support. Your particular make and model of laptop will likely have its own unique issues, and a seasoned tech support operator will have seen all of them. He or she will likely walk you through many of the steps outlined above, but will also be aware of software and hardware issues specific to your configuration, such as what bits of hardware commonly fail.
11. Problems Inside
When all of your options are exhausted—you've tried other power cables and batteries, you've checked and rechecked your settings, you've fixed any potential software problems—the problem is likely found inside the machine. Several internal parts can cause problems when they malfunction or fail.
Common culprits include a faulty motherboard, wonky logic boards, damaged charging circuits, and malfunctioning battery sensors.
Like a sick person consulting a doctor, you need to see a specialist. Contact your manufacturer about what repair options are covered under your warranty, or call up a local computer repair shop.