Battery takes charge, but won't work!@#$
September 19, 2008 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Dell battery may be dead, or maybe it's software. I'm stumped.

My Dell Latitude D820 laptop (about 2 yrs. old) will no longer operate on battery power. The battery is model #DF192 -- specifically 85Wh. If I install it, I get the flashing orange color icon. With the battery removed, the computer is fine on line-power, and does not flash any icons at me. The Device Mgr. says that the Battery/Adapter drivers are "working".

However, the battery seems to able to receive a good charge. When I first took it out and left it on my desk about 12 weeks ago, I pressed the test button and all green lights lit. When I tested two days ago, no lights. (Does battery power slowly leak out over months?) But I simply popped it back into the laptop and later, when tested, all lites were green again!!

A) a messed up battery? or B) insidious software problem? Pls recommend the best (reliability, price) source for a new or rebuilt battery; or if B), what can a non-tech do?? How to make proper tests?
posted by yazi to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Do you know someone else that has the same battery that you can test in your computer to isolate the problem to the battery and not the contacts inside your computer and the battery?
posted by mmascolino at 8:57 AM on September 19, 2008

Battery power does leak out after several weeks. The first thing I'd do is see if you can find a friend with the same model computer who can test your battery to see if it will still take a charge. If it won't, that's probably the problem, and you can get new batteries all over the internet, just don't buy from Dell, their store is extremely expensive.

If it will take a charge, but won't charge on your computer, then it's worse. This happened to my dell after about 4 years of use. The charging mechanism may be broken, or the AC adapter connection inside the computer may be damaged in some way, preventing the battery from being charged (but still allowing you to use AC power. Yeah, I don't understand why that happens, but apparently it's pretty common).

Did you ever get an error message saying something like "power source cannot be recognize, press any key to continue on AC power"? That's what happened to me shortly before my battery stopped charging. I looked into repair, but it wasn't worth the trouble because of the age of the computer and the fact that I can still use it. Might be a different equation for you though.
posted by bluejayk at 9:03 AM on September 19, 2008

I know no one with same model Dell.

Bluejayk: I didn't understand something. Based on using the tester button, my battery apparently lost power after sitting outside for 3 mos. But it in fact now seems to have taken a new charge after I put it in the computer. But still the computer will not work on battery power. I may have got the message that you mentioned; it's vague in my memory. Not sure.

DOes this sound like the Dell itself has developed a defect and will never be able to run on battery? Yikes. I hope not.
posted by yazi at 9:35 AM on September 19, 2008

I think the battery is just dead. I have a 2-year-old Dell battery, and it shows all green lights when you push the button as well. But when you run the computer on it, it only runs for about 20 minutes as opposed to 3-4 hours before, and the software warns me "Your battery needs to be replaced".

I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about the computer being broken. These batteries just don't last that long; 2 years is pretty normal.
posted by dixie flatline at 10:22 AM on September 19, 2008

Thanks people. I got advice similar to Dixie's from another party as well. So.... I think I'll go trotting off into the web and buy a new battery. ugh. I'll see if that solves it.

Why can't these clowns just make things that work smoothly, and for long periods of time? Will it take some other country to show f---ng Gates how to do it? Like the Japanese showed us with auto manuf'ng?
posted by yazi at 12:41 PM on September 19, 2008

Mate, your battery is toast, nothing special about it. I have had a dell precision m60 and after about 2 - 2.5 years the battery fought its last battle. You could buy a new one or just deal with it like I do.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 12:53 PM on September 19, 2008

Hold down the battery test button for a few seconds. Going from memory, if none of the light light, the battery thinks its good. If a few lights light up in series (like xxxoo or xoooo), the battery has reduced capacity. If the light up in a pattern, like (xoxox or xxoxo), the battery is toast.
posted by gjc at 3:45 PM on September 19, 2008

Laptop batteries are a consumable. Over time, they lose the ability to hold a charge. Lots of good places to buy Dell batteries on the 'net, much cheaper than Dell. Please recycle the old battery; they're full of heavy metals.
posted by theora55 at 10:01 AM on September 20, 2008

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