Inspiron N5050 Laptop - Questions About Charging Battery And Using AC Adapter

I just purchased my first laptop computer, a Dell Inspiron
N5050 and so far, have been unable to find any information about using the AC
adapter and also about charging the battery in the user manual. Since this is
my first time using a computer with a battery, I have several questions.

The specs say that the battery in my computer is a 6 cell, 48 Watt primary battery. When I first received the computer and turned it on
(running only on the battery at the time), the battery ran down to the point
where the computer would not operate until battery charged in about 2.5 hours.
I assumed that this was because it may have not been fully charged when leaving
the factory or if it had been, the charge may have diminished slightly from
sitting around before and during shipping. 

My first question is how long should I expect this unit to
operate from the time the battery is fully charged until it runs down to the
point where it needs to be recharged? 

Also, the AC adapter which was shipped with the computer is
a 65 Watt, 3 prong adapter, Dell part number MH4Y4. How long should I expect
this adapter to take to fully charge the battery on this system? 

Finally, I noted a number of AC adapters listed for sale
separately on the Dell site, some of them up to 90 Watt. Most if not all of
them say that these adapters permit using the computer via AC power at the same
time that the battery is charging. Can I expect the 65 Watt adapter which came
with the computer to provide this capability of simultaneously charging while
operating the computer? I can’t find anything in the information provided with
the computer or online which discusses this. 

Also, is there any benefit to getting a 90 Watt adapter
instead of using the 65 Watt one which came with my computer? Thanks in advance
for any help.

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1 Reply

Re: Inspiron N5050 Laptop - Questions About Charging Battery And Using AC Adapter

  • Yes; the internal battery may not be fully charged when you receive a new unit.  Its charge may have fully drained sitting in the warehouse.

  • Operation on battery timing is directly related to your usage and can vary vastly depending on what programs you're running.  Obviously gaming, videos, downloading YouTube stuff, etc put a far greater load on the battery than just web surfing or writing a text document.  My 17R SE 7720 varies from around 2½ hours up to 6 hours on idle.

  • Again, charging time is totally dependent on how far discharged the battery is.  Time-wise it could vary from 10 or 20 minutes to a couple of hours.

  • All DELL laptops should be running ideally (where there's a mains source) with the adaptor plugged in.  For most practical purposes—under this scenario—there's absolutely no difference between chargers of different outputs.  Their output is measured in volts and amps and not watts.  You should only use the charger that came with the laptop, as its matched to the machine by DELL for optimal performance.

  • Click  Start  >  Control PanelSystem and SecurityPower Options

  • Under your power settings options, you should adjust for the best battery v, mains options depending on your personal usage.  The best setting (in my opinion, "balanced") optimises the battery and the mains power automatically, and leaves the battery nearly fully charged should you unplug the charger and start using battery only.  Doing this also "conditions" the battery better for longevity, as it's never fully drained and/or fully charged for lengthy periods.

  • The wattage required to power an average laptop, with everything running including its fan and HDD and display is around 200W to 250W.

  • "Sleep" mode uses around 5W of power, and "Hibernate" uses less than 1W.

—Hope this helps. 

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