Help me figure out this strange laptop battery behavior.
November 23, 2008 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Help me figure out this strange laptop battery behavior.

This is a Dell Latitude D410 with a six cell battery.

It holds a charge, powers the laptop, recharges while running on AC, but doesn't show up as installed in either the BIOS or Windows. No battery icon, the power hot key shows it as missing, and the text in the BIOS says, "not installed."

This is extra annoying because the OS thinks it is on AC power and will run full bore until it abruptly looses power.

All drivers are current, BIOS is up to date. This problem started started a few weeks ago at an unknown time. I've looked all over the Dell forums and can't find any explanation for this behavior. Is the battery failing?

The OS is Windows Server 2003 SP2.
posted by wfrgms to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
 
Have you tried removing the battery and putting it back in? While I can't give you a technical reason why this might work, I've had good luck with other pieces of (non-vital) hardware that have "disappeared". If you haven't done it yet, remove the battery, power off and then back on, and replace the battery - see if it gets auto detected.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:33 AM on November 23, 2008


You can go into Power Management and change the settings for when you're on AC power.
posted by theora55 at 12:23 PM on November 23, 2008


Not sure if this will help in your case, but I just learned a few days ago that there's an indicator on Dell batteries that can tell you how charged they are and what the health of the battery is. Take the battery out and along the edge that is inserted into the laptop you should see a white circle and five white ovals. If you press the circle, one of three things should happen:
- The ovals light up consecutively, indicating how charged the battery is (5 ovals = 100% charged, 4 = 80% charged, etc)
- The ovals don't light up at all, indicating it needs a charge
- Every other oval lights up, indicating the battery has failed and should be discarded.
posted by platinum at 12:34 PM on November 23, 2008


Have you tried removing the battery and putting it back in?

Yes, that was the first thing I did. The battery is still undetected in both the BIOS and the OS.

You can go into Power Management and change the settings for when you're on AC power.

As stated in my question, the battery is not recognized within the OS so any power management changes I make are meaningless.

there's an indicator on Dell batteries that can tell you how charged they are and what the health of the battery is

The page says, "...press and hold the status button on the battery charge gauge for at least 3 seconds. If no lights appear, the battery is in good condition..." When I do this the lights go off, so it seems that it is in good condition. Also, when I press the indicator once all of the LEDs light up, showing a full charge (the laptop has been running on AC power all morning, so that makes sense.

Thanks for the answers so far, I'm hopping someone can help me get to the bottom of why the batter isn't showing up even under the BIOS.
posted by wfrgms at 1:06 PM on November 23, 2008


Do you have another battery you could try? I have a dell latitude d620 and a replacement battery I bought had very strange behavior. I could take it out and put it back in repeatedly, and the laptop would only recognize it as being there on the 3rd or 4th attempt. Other batteries worked fine.
posted by selfmedicating at 1:34 PM on November 23, 2008


I had this problem on my old Gateway laptop, except the battery wouldn't even power the laptop. I ordered a brand new battery and the laptop wouldn't recognize it either. I think something inside the laptop went bad. As it was more than 4 years old, I didn't try to get it fixed and just kept it plugged in all the time, and eventually got a new laptop.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:03 PM on November 23, 2008


Does Dell's battery icon work with Windows Server 2003 ? Is that OS even aware of laptops?
posted by gjc at 5:02 PM on November 23, 2008


Do you have another battery you could try?

Sadly no, but I may come across one in the coming days at my office.

I could take it out and put it back in repeatedly, and the laptop would only recognize it as being there on the 3rd or 4th attempt.

I've tried this a little with no results.

Does Dell's battery icon work with Windows Server 2003 ? Is that OS even aware of laptops?

Yes, it was working up until a week ago or so - not sure when this problem started. I noticed one day the battery icon was missing from the system tray - I didn't think much about it. Latter I tried to research what service controls that thinking that it must be crashing... no dice. The battery doesn't even show up in the BIOS.

Thanks again for the comments - I'll keep checking back here and I'll update the thread if I find a solution.
posted by wfrgms at 7:03 PM on November 23, 2008


I just had a battery issue with a Lenovo laptop - uninstalling Lenovo's battery management SW solved. If Dell has any battery management tools, may want to try killing them off. Dunno if it'll solve the BIOS mystery but worth a go.
posted by nometa at 10:16 PM on November 24, 2008


Did you ever figure it out? I have a Dell Latitude D410 that started doing the same thing 2 days ago. Now I can only get about 1 hour out of my battery because it thinks it is running on AC power. If you ever figured it out please post the fix.
posted by brewmeister at 8:09 AM on April 25, 2009


« Older RIP Mac... help me make Windows not suck   |   Help me make a cheese plate. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.