Diagnosing Laptop battery issues can be a painful process, but all laptop owners should know the possible problems and solutions.
If you’ve ever seen the movie iRobot, you know how helpless we’d ever be if our technological devices took on a life of their own. I’ve experienced that on a daily basis while putting my iPod on shuffle only to be inundated with repeated John Tesh songs. Sure it’s my fault for having Tesher even on my play list but it turns out he makes pretty soothing cool down music. Likewise, you may have noticed your laptop is taking on human traits in the event that it’s still operating but the battery icon reads it’s drained. Before you sit down and pen Short Circuit 3, check out some of these factors that could lead to a laptop not reading your battery.
￼Age Of Your Battery
The fact of the matter is, most laptop batteries will lose their charge in 2-3 or up to 5 years (see 10 ways to kill your laptop). If your battery is getting up there in age it might simply be time to buy a new one. If you’re certain your battery is still a young whipper-snapper, many companies offer a 1-year warranty on the battery but first you should try to find the root of the problem. The good thing is that your laptop will probably still run as long as you plug it in with the AC adapter but if you need to browse the Internet on your commute or when you’re away from a power source, you’ll want your battery working at optimum conditions.
Removed the Laptop Battery, Replaced It And Now It Won’t Work
The first and possibly easiest thing to do is take out your battery and try putting it back in. Sometimes the battery will work loose or become compromised somehow and simply reinserting it might be a big sigh of relief. This can be an easy fix if you have just dropped your laptop and find it won’t start up.
If your laptop isn’t reading your battery even after you’ve replaced it, try getting a second opinion via a 3rd party battery meter. Sometimes your laptop battery icon simply loses communication with the actual battery and doesn’t give you an accurate reading – similar to an automobile with a broken fuel gauge in which the driver has to keep track of the miles in his or her head. If your 3rd party battery meter gives you a different reading than your tray icon, trust the external application and continue browsing with confidence.
Laptop batteries can become hot and there have even been detailed studies about exploding laptop batteries.
Sometimes notice that the batteries in your laptop become very hot when you are working. Believe it or not, there is not too much you can do except give the battery room to breathe by not laying the laptop on suffocating surfaces.
For hot batteries, it’s important to pay attention to any computer which seems to be hot. If your laptop is uncomfortably hot on your lap, your first step should be to search the web for information about your model of laptop—for example, do other people with your laptop report it being uncomfortably hot? In my case, reviews of my ThinkPad R500 say it’s surprisingly cool even under heavy load, so if I sensed it getting hot, I’d immediately worry that something was wrong.
Laptop Battery Charge Doesn’t Last Long Enough
There can be many reasons why your laptop battery runs don’t quickly.
1. This occurs when you don’t let your batteries discharge completely and recharge frequently. Newer type batteries don’t have this problem.
2. You have the wrong power settings that are not power saving. For example you can turn down the brightness of your laptop to conserve power.
Laptop Battery Will Not Charge Even Though It Is Plugged In
If you have established that your laptop battery is not too old and it is not charging when it is plugged in, there are other solutions to try.
You can remove your battery to check the connectors. At the same time you can give them a bit of a polish to make sure they are clean and can connect properly.
You can also try charging the battery in another laptop if you’re lucky enough to have an extra laptop hanging around. If the battery still doesn’t charge then it might be faulty.
Dodgy Adapter Cord
You know after a while you’re adapter cord gets bent, split open a bit, and even completely cut in two. What people don’t realize is that even a simple kink in the cord can reduce the power getting through. I have seen this a thousand times, especially with young teenagers as they definitely do not look after their adapter cords.
Loose DC Power Jack on Your Laptop
Your adapter might be fine but the connection where you actually plug it into the laptop is loose. Sometimes the DC power jack on your laptop becomes loose as it is only a simple dab of iron solder holding it in. If you suspect this DC power jack is loose then it is fixable but you usually have to open the laptop casing to re-solder the loose DC jack.
Re-Calibrating The Battery
If every correlation between external apps and tray battery meters and you’re not getting as much life out of your battery as you’re accustomed to, you might try recalibrating the battery. To do this, first change all your power management settings so that your computer battery can run down the entire way. Change your power settings to “never turn off” and let the battery drain the entire way to 0%, possibly sitting overnight. In the morning, charge the laptop all the way up again and see if any changes occur.
Diagnosing Laptop Battery Quick Tips
- If you have dropped your laptop and now it will not power up at all, take the battery out, unplug the power, press the power on button. Then replace the battery and try again.
- Always check your power adapter cord for kinks and damage.
- Make sure you use the right Laptop charge adapter as this can ruin your laptop battery. I have done this myself. I have even rewired adapters to use to charge laptop batteries but they never work as good as the originals.
- Fully drain your laptop battery and then fully charge it up again. Then test it out.
- Check the connection between the adapter and the laptop. Make sure it is connected correctly.
- Borrow a compatible adapter from your friend if you can and try that with your laptop. Then you will know if your adapter is faulty or not.
- Sometimes your BIOS shows the adapter as an “unknown device” and this can cause charging problems. In this case it is probably best to update your BIOS.
- If you have checked the adapter, DC connection, the battery placement, then try getting a replacement battery to finally see if that solves your problem. You can grab a replacement battery from Amazon or ebay pretty cheap.
- If you have a laptop battery but always use the power adapter, best thing is to remove the battery to preserve its life.
- See this Tips To Care for Your Laptop article.