Dell Vostro 1400: Battery not being recognized. Possible culprits?
June 17, 2013 9:59 PM   Subscribe

Is it even possible to replace the component that will allow my battery to be recognized again?

So for the last few months, my Dell Vostro 1400 has stopped entirely recognizing the battery. It just gives me the battery symbol with the X over it. Before that it had briefly done the recognized but not charging routine. I haven't spilled anything on it though it does probably get a considerable amount of vibration from riding a moped all the time with it in my backpack.

A. I've got decent soldering skills and have built my own computers before so replacing a component on the motherboard of the laptop should be a feasible thing.

B. I have checked the battery on another laptop, the AC adapter on another laptop, and another battery on my laptop. All signs point to it either being the power socket or the connection from battery to motherboard that allows it to recognize that it is there.

So, if anyone has any recommendations if it might be the power socket at all or if I should see if it is possible to cannibalize the connection from another motherboard onto mine. If so, the best ways to go around it or if it's even worth doing since it works when plugged in though It'd be nice to have an actual laptop again.

P.S. Buying a new laptop isn't an option right now and my Vostro 1400 came with the Nvidia GPU though it was sent in via the class action lawsuit.
posted by lizarrd to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
Best answer: Every time I've seen this issue and it was reproducible with other batteries/power adapters/etc it was a failure of the power management chip on the motherboard.

I've never seen a socket go bad, ever. I've seen sockets fall apart on batteries but never on the machine. Even when the plastic guides crack the metal bits seem to stay in place and the socket is still fine.

This, irritatingly is probably not a reparable issue without replacing the board. There's just so many points of failure. VRMs, probably several power management chips, whatever charge controller is being used(which talks to the limited logic in the battery) if it isn't integrated in to the same chip. On some systems basically 100% of the logic is in the battery. This obviously isn't one of those.

If you brought this machine in to me to look at I'd be recommending a motherboard replacement. It isn't just that its soldering here, it's super tiny surface mount stuff with ICs possibly, on a multi layer circuit board. The VRMs may punch straight through, as an exception to that but it's immaterial. Even figuring out what's bunged up would be nearly impossible.

If I really needed a laptop that worked with the battery ASAP, I'd sell this one on eBay as "won't charge battery" and buy another one used on there or Craigslist.
posted by emptythought at 12:51 PM on June 18, 2013

Response by poster: Well, I might as well just replace the motherboard since I can definitely do that. It's a sad thing that the Nvidia motherboards are more than twice the price of the Intel motherboards.

I'm assuming that this might not be one of those situations that an oven bake/reflow last resort situation might fix?
posted by lizarrd at 9:00 PM on June 18, 2013

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