Fake Security Alerts
31st July 2015
Protecting Yourself Online – A Basic Overview
31st July 2015

Laptop Not Charging / Dead

If you’ve found that your laptop is no longer booting up (usually with blinking lights when you try to turn on), the battery may have depleted and your charger may be faulty. This is one of the most common causes, although there are more serious situations. Please follow the troubleshooting steps below.

You should first try to eliminate the charger as the issue by trying another one. Be careful to double-check the following three things though. 1) Physical connector – a lot of laptops have a standard jack, but it varies, so if it doesn’t fit don’t force it! 2) Voltage) Again, most laptops work on a standard voltage of 19v/19.5v (this half voltage difference isn’t an issue), but double check with the label underneath the laptop for what it requires. Some makes use a higher voltage (eg. a certain Sony Vaio at 20v) and some use a lower voltage (eg. 16v for an older IBM Thinkpad). 3) Amperage – Most times, the average laptop will use around 3.42A, however, most Dells for example will draw 4.74A. You can’t overload a laptop on amperage as it’s merely an ‘up to’ rating, unlike voltage. If you use too low an amperage, although the laptop will usually boot, the battery won’t charge and it may exhibit strange behaviour. If you try another suitable charger and it works, then your troubleshooting is over.

If you’re still having problems, it may be worth eliminating the battery as an issue. Sometimes a faulty battery can cause all sorts of strange problems, including a laptop not starting. On most laptops removing the battery is a case of flipping the laptop over and releasing some catches. With the battery out, discharge any energy left in the device by holding the power button on for about 10-20seconds (with the power disconnected). Following this, plug in the laptop to the charger, give it a few seconds and then try to power-on. If this works, it’s likely a faulty battery, but try it again a few times to be certain. It may actually just be an electrical glitch which was solved at the discharging stage.

Having eliminated both a battery and a charger, if you still have problems, there’s not much else to do outside of a professional diagnosis. It could be a component fault in the laptop, which may be repairable, but this varies. We do see a lot of ‘dead’ laptops which have developed faulty charging/power circuitry on the motherboard, and due to either the non-availability of parts, or cost (parts and labour), they are not viable to repair. There is an up-side if you find yourself in this position. Your personal data stored on the hard drive will still be accessible, so data recovery and backup services are open to you. An IT outfit may also make an offer on your device for spares.

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