Dell power issues (no exploding battery, thankfully).
August 17, 2006 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Dell power issues (no exploding battery, thankfully): My plugged-in and charged Dell 8600 laptop recently stopped charging and the machine switched to battery power...

Normally, the green LED on the adapter will go on when it's plugged in. Now it flashes once and that's it... no light, no charge. (1) Can I safely assume this is an AC adapter issue? (2) Is there an affordable universal AC adapter that's compatable with my laptop, or should I go with a Dell replacement?
posted by timnyc to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
If you had a multimeter you could test that the AC adapter (the power cord) was producing the proper 12-20V and couple of amps, whatever the specs are.

However, it seems much more likely that something in the notebook itself has gone belly up, rather than the power cord (unless there was damage to the cord, of course).

If you think it's the cord there are many replacements available.
posted by jellicle at 7:34 AM on August 17, 2006

I have the exact same problem with my 8600, with the LED flashing once right when you plug it in. It started about a month ago. I can usually get the LED to stay on by unplugging, replugging, trying a different outlet, etc. Eventually, it just works, and continues to work until I unplug it. I think it's pretty clear that it's an AC adapter issue, since the LED does not stay on regardless of whether the other end of the cord is attached to the laptop or not.

My cat chewed on the cord a bit, and I thought that might have caused the problem -- is there any similar damage to your adapter?

I did start to look at replacements, but didn't get very far because I got the original working again. But I'm sure I'll need one in the long run. (Sorry I don't have more advice, but at least you know you're not alone.)
posted by Turd Ferguson at 8:20 AM on August 17, 2006

We just noticed some minor but visible stress near the adapter's laptop plug. We have cats too, although this probably is from inadvertent yanking.

We don't think the issue is with the plug, though, because the light on the apapter box (which is closer to the outlet), doesn't stay on. If the box were fine, the light should stay on, right?

Did a multimeter and found a mere 2V at the end (hard to get a good connection, not sure reading is right).

I tried plugging the laptop in a few different outlets already, but this silly solution didn't work either.

Unrelated, but nonetheless annoying, I have the same issue with my Samsung SCH-A650 Verizon cell phone. Plugged-in phone flashes once and doesn't charge, until one day when it charges fine. In this case, I need a new phone ...and a new carrier. And, yes, we do have electronic devices in our apt that charge fine. My wife's cell phone has no problems. iPods charge fine too.
posted by timnyc at 8:36 AM on August 17, 2006

I had this problem when I first got my 8600; turned out I had the lower power rated adapter and it was being overloaded. I can't remember the exact ratings - perhaps 65W and 90W? I got Dell to replace it with the higher rated adapter and it's been fine ever since.
posted by ny_scotsman at 9:59 AM on August 17, 2006

My wife's 8600 does the same thing. My (earlier) 8600 works with the same cords just fine.
posted by jaysus chris at 11:28 AM on August 17, 2006

chatted with Dell support (turns out i'm still under warranty, woohoo! and they're sending me new rubber feet along with a new adapter!). both the 65W and the 90W work with the 8600. the 65W is standard and the 90 watter is their fancy model... it may charge faster.
posted by timnyc at 9:32 AM on August 18, 2006

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