Learn how to troubleshoot and resolve AC adapter issues like AC adapter LED is off, AC adapter not charging the battery, AC adapter type is not determined or not recognized by the PC or other AC adapter related error messages.
AC adapter or commonly called laptop charger is used to provide sufficient power for operating the laptop for extended period and recharge the battery on a laptop PC. When the AC adapter (charger) fails to work, it will neither charge the laptop battery nor provide power to operate the laptop PC without battery power. Power issues on laptop PCs are compounded because a laptop has two power sources: AC adapter (charger) & battery. When AC power is not available, power is provided by the laptop battery.
If you notice the following AC adapter symptoms:
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.
Error message - The AC adapter type cannot be determined. This will prevent optimal system performance.
Caution: Using a non-Dell or incompatible battery may increase the risk of fire or explosion. Replace the battery only with a compatible battery purchased from Dell that is designed to work with your Dell PC. Do not use a battery from other PCs with your PC.
Note: Like most laptops, Dell laptops use lithium ion batteries, which can swell for a variety of reasons such as age, number of charge cycles, or exposure to high heat. While a swollen pack does not represent a safety concern, damaged or swollen components should not be used. Should you have an issue with a battery pack swelling, we recommend discontinuing use and replacing it with a Dell authorized battery.
Troubleshooting AC adapter issues
Expand the sections below for more information on how to troubleshoot AC adapter issues.
AC adapter cable and power cables may get frayed, cut and wires exposed at either end of the cables. This may be due to the way the cable is wrapped around the AC adapter or if the cable is subject to undue stress. If the damage is severe enough to expose wires, you should discontinue using the AC adapter. To check the AC adapter, cables and adapter port on the laptop for any damages:
Caution: Dell recommends using only Dell branded AC adapters that are compatible with your laptop PC. Dell does not recommend using 3rd party branded AC adapters or batteries on a Dell laptop PC.
Unplug the AC adapter from the wall outlet.
Unplug the AC adapter from the PC.
Check the AC adapter and cables (including the power cable) for signs of physical damage or overheating.
Check if the pin inside the plug or adapter port is bent, broken or damaged.
Warning: Grasp or hold the plug and not the cable while disconnecting the AC adapter from the PC.
Warning: Dell AC adapter works with electrical outlets worldwide. However, power connectors or power strips may vary among different countries.
Caution: If the AC adapter or cables are damaged, discontinue using the AC adapter immediately.
USB-C is a popular cross-platform standard for charging, connecting peripherals and transferring data. Select ultra-thin Dell PCs use USB-C power port to charge the PCs. It is essential to ensure that the USB-C charger is connected to the correct USB-C port that allows charging and data transfer, especially when the PC comes with more than one USB-C ports.
Using an AC adapter that has a lower wattage may show an error message "The AC adapter type cannot be determined. This will prevent optimal system performance" or "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.
Dell laptop PCs may use either a 65W (Watt), 90W, 130W, 180W or 240W AC adapter. For optimal performance, use the AC adapter that came with the Dell laptop PC. AC adapter's wattage information is printed on the label which is located at the bottom of the AC adapter.
Note: Refer to the printed label located at the bottom of the AC adapter for wattage information.
To verify if the PC is recognizing the AC adapter correctly:
Restart the PC.
When the Dell logo appears, tap F2 key until the message Entering Setup appears.
Verify the AC Adapter Type in the BIOS options.
If AC Adapter Type is None - Ensure to connect the AC adapter to the PC.
If AC Adapter Type is Unknown - Follow troubleshooting steps to resolve AC adapter issues. If AC Adapter Type is recognized correctly, proceed to the next step.
Running a hardware diagnostic test can help you identify what the issue may be and provide you troubleshooting steps to help resolve the issue. Dell offers both built-in and online diagnostics. Dell ePSA hardware diagnostic test will help check if the AC adapter is recognized correctly.
To run the Dell ePSA built-in hardware diagnostics:
Turn on the PC and tap F12 key at the Dell logo screen.
BIOS is a firmware that is embedded onto the System Board of your computer. Updating the BIOS to the latest version may help the PC recognize the AC adapter. Updating the BIOS to the latest version requires the laptop PC to be powered by the AC adapter and battery.
Warning: Dell laptop PCs must have the battery installed and also be running on AC adapter power prior to updating the BIOS. Some Dell laptop PCs need to have at least 10% battery charge before you begin the BIOS update.
Caution: If the battery charge is less than 10% you may be able to force the BIOS to update from within a DOS environment. A failure during this process may result in your system becoming unusable and users must proceed at their own risk. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in this article.
To learn more, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article How to update your System BIOS using a USB Flash Drive.
How to Fix AC Adapter for Laptop - (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (4:43) English Only
Can't Turn On Your Laptop (with subtitles) - (01:46)
Care for Your AC Adapter (with subtitles) - (00:41)