How to troubleshoot Dell Inspiron AC adapter that’s not turning on or doesn’t charge

Today we give you some troubleshooting tips on how to fix a non-functional #DellInspiron AC adapter. We hope you’ll find it helpful.

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Though it may look simple and has no mechanical parts, the AC adapter is a critical component that you must take care of to avoid encountering problems with your Dell Inspiron notebook. Usually called a laptop charger, an AC adapter is a specially made component that allows you to provide power to the system, and, in the event of battery loss, decay, or malfunction, can be your direct lifeline to your needed energy. If you are experiencing power problems with your laptop though, it’s a good thing to check first if the AC adapter is working normally.

Symptoms you should be aware of

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, there’s a chance that your AC adapter may be malfunctioning:

  • battery is not holding charge
  • AC adapter is not able to charge the battery
  • AC adapter is not able to power on the laptop PC, the lights or LEDs do not illuminate
  • AC adapter LED is off
  • Laptop keeps showing an error ┬ámessage that the AC adapter type cannot be determined. This will prevent optimal system performance
  • battery indicator LED does not glow or blinks always
  • battery is not recognized by the PC
  • battery charge is stuck at a certain percentage

How to troubleshoot your Dell Inspiron AC adapter

If you notice any or all of the symptoms mentioned above, you should troubleshoot the AC adapter by following our suggestions below.

Check for obvious damage to the cable and adapter

Aside from aging and wear and tear, accidental damage can also be inflicted to the AC adapter and cable. Make sure that you do a thorough ocular inspection on both. Before doing so, be sure to unplug both ends of the cable. If the cable has been cut, damaged, or bent, it may be the reason for the problem. Also, be sure to check if the pin on the end of the cable that plugs to your laptop is not bent.

Disconnect everything

This troubleshooting step is meant to verify if one of the connected peripherals, including the the power cable and adapter is causing the problem.

  1. Unplug the power cable from the wall outlet.
  2. Disconnect the AC adapter from the laptop.
  3. Disconnect the power cable from the AC adapter.
  4. Unplug external hard drives, SD card readers, mouse, keyboard, Bluetooth card, mobile phone, etc. Basically, you want to disconnect everything that can be unplugged from the PC.

Once you’ve unplugged everything, wait for a minute before reconnecting the power cable to AC adapter. Then, check if LED on AC adapter is on. If the LED remains off, consider using another known working AC adapter.

To powercycle the AC adapter, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the AC adapter from the wall outlet for 15 seconds.
  2. Unplug the AC adapter from the PC.
  3. Plug the AC adapter to a known-good wall outlet.
  4. Plug the AC adapter to the PC.
  5. Check the LED indicator on the AC adapter.

Check if AC adapter has correct wattage

While it’s not recommended that you use non-Dell AC adapters, it’s good if you can doublecheck if the current one you have has the right wattage. Dell notebook AC adapters has the following wattage:

  • 65W (Watt)
  • 90W
  • 130W
  • 180W
  • 240W

If your AC adapter has an incompatible wattage, your laptop may display the following errors:

  • The AC adapter type cannot be determined. This will prevent optimal system performance
  • Unknown or incorrect AC adapter detected, reduce the processor (CPU) speed to run slower to save power, laptop battery might not charge or charge slowly or AC adapter might heat up.

To check wattage information in your AC adapter, look at the printed details at the bottom of the AD adapter.

Try to charge in another known working outlet

It’s easy to put blame on the AC adapter if your machine suddenly dies and won’t charge back. At times, it’s actually a power outlet issue so to check if that’s the case, we suggest that you connect the AC adapter to another outlet in another room. Alternatively, you can try to connect another device to the same outlet to see if it’s working or not.

If you are using a power strip or a similar device, bypass it and connect the adapter directly to the wall outlet.

Also,if the AC adapter is connected to a docking station, connect the AC adapter directly to the laptop to verify the functionality.

Check for negative residual power effects

Excess power may sometimes reside in both the notebook and power AC adapter which can lead to boot problems. To drain residual power, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the AC adapter from the wall outlet.
  2. Disconnect any external peripherals connected to the your PC.
  3. Remove the battery. Refer to the User Manual of the laptop for instructions on how to remove the battery. If the Dell laptop PC has a non-removable battery, skip this troubleshooting procedure.
  4. Press and hold the Power button for 30 seconds to drain a residual power from the PC.
  5. Connect the battery.
  6. Plug the AC adapter to the PC.
  7. Turn on the PC.

Use Dell ePSA or PSA diagnostics

At this point, it’s more likely that bad hardware is to blame so it’s a good idea to use Dell’s own hardware diagnostic tests. These tests make use of both the built-in diagnostics and those that you can find in their online knowledge base.

Update your laptop’s BIOS

At times, updating a PC’s BIOS can fix some power- or battery-related problems. If the problem continues even up to this point, be sure to update yours.

For steps on how to update your Dell Inspiron’s BIOS, visit this link.


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