How to Troubleshoot Power Issues on a Dell Laptop

Summary: Learn how to troubleshoot power issues on a Dell laptop. Follow the troubleshooting to diagnose and resolve power issues on a Dell laptop.

Article Content


Symptoms
Article summary: If your Dell laptop is not able to power on, follow the troubleshooting steps to help you resolve power issues. Learn how to perform basic checks to identify why your computer is not able to power on.

Symptoms

  • Dell laptop is not able to power on.
  • Power LED on the laptop is off.
  • Power LED on the AC adapter is off.
  • None of the LEDs on the laptop respond when you press the power button.
  • There is no LED or sound indication that the laptop is powered on.

Troubleshooting

Follow the troubleshooting steps below. Expand the sections below to learn how to perform each troubleshooting step to identify the cause of the power issue on a Dell laptop.

Most often, restarting the computer resolved many issues. The residual power in the computer may cause the laptop not to power on. Follow the steps below to drain the residual power.

  1. Power off the laptop. Press and hold the power button for 10-15 seconds.
  2. Disconnect the AC adapter or power cord, and remove the battery.
    SLN155074_en_US__1icon Note: For Dell laptops that have a non-removable battery, see the Dell knowledge base article How to reset Real Time Clock (RTC) to recover your Dell XPS, Dell Latitude, or Dell Precision laptop.
    SLN155074_en_US__1icon Note: For certain Dell Latitude laptops, we recommend you try and recover the laptop using the forced ePSA method. See the Dell knowledge base article How to Use Forced ePSA to Recover from POST or Boot Failure.
  3. Disconnect all external devices or peripherals like USB drives, printer cables, and media cards (SD/xD).
  4. Press and hold the power button for 15-20 seconds to drain residual power.
  5. Connect the AC adapter or power cord and the battery.
  6. Power on the laptop.

If this did not resolve the issue, proceed to the next step.

The AC adapter cable and power cables may get frayed or cut, and wires may become 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:

SLN155074_en_US__3icon Caution: Dell recommends using only Dell-branded AC adapters that are compatible with your laptop. Dell does not recommend using third-party AC adapters or batteries on a Dell laptop.
  1. Unplug the AC adapter from the wall outlet.
  2. Unplug the AC adapter from the laptop.
  3. Check the AC adapter and cables (including the power cable) for signs of physical damage or overheating.
  4. 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 laptop.
Warning: Dell AC adapter works with electrical outlets worldwide. However, power connectors or power strips may vary among different countries.
SLN155074_en_US__3icon Caution: If the AC adapter or cables are damaged, discontinue using the AC adapter immediately.

To learn more, see the Dell knowledge base article AC adapter Damage.

SLN155074_en_US__5ac1(1)
Figure 1: Frayed cables
SLN155074_en_US__6ac3
Figure 2: Exposed wires
SLN155074_en_US__7ac4
Figure 3: Cut cable
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Figure 4: Pin that is bent or broken

If you notice a damage, contact Dell Technical Support for repair options. If you do not find any damage, proceed to the next step.

  1. Unplug the AC adapter from the wall outlet.
  2. Connect another device on the wall outlet to verify if the wall outlet is working correctly.
  3. Try a known-good wall outlet.
  4. Plug the AC adapter directly to the wall outlet.
    Bypass any power regulators like surge protectors, UPS (uninterruptible power supply), power splitters.
SLN155074_en_US__1icon Note: If the AC adapter is connected to a docking station, connect the AC adapter directly to the laptop to verify the functionality.

If the wall outlet is working correctly, proceed to the next step.

Reseat the AC adapter by following these steps:

  1. Unplug the AC adapter from the wall outlet for 15 seconds.
  2. Unplug the AC adapter from the laptop.
  3. Plug the AC adapter to a known-good wall outlet.
  4. Plug the AC adapter to the laptop.
  5. Check the LED indicator on the AC adapter.
SLN155074_en_US__1icon Note: LED indicator may be located either on the AC adapter brick or the adapter (DC) plug.

If the AC adapter LED indicator is on, proceed to the next step.
If the AC adapter LED indicator is off or turns off when connected to the laptop, contact Dell Technical Support for repair options.

Ensure that you are using the original AC adapter that was shipped with the laptop. Using an AC adapter from other laptops or one that has a lower wattage may cause the following issues:

  • An error message like "The AC adapter type cannot be determined. This will prevent optimal system performance" or "Unknown or incorrect AC adapter detected" may appear.
  • Your system may reduce the processor (CPU) speed to save power.
  • The laptop battery might not charge or charge slowly.
  • The AC adapter might heat up.

Dell laptops may use either a 45W, 65W, 90W, 130W, 180W, or 240W AC adapter. For optimal performance, use the original AC adapter that came with the Dell laptop. The AC adapter wattage information is printed on a label that is located on the bottom of the AC adapter.

If this did not resolve the issue, proceed to the next step.

When using a docking station, it is essential to isolate if the docking station is causing the power issue. Universal USB docking stations do not provide power to the laptop. The AC adapter should be connected to the laptop. For Dell Thunderbolt or E-Series docking stations, verify that the original AC adapter that is shipped with the docking station is connected to the docking station.

  1. Disconnect the laptop from the docking station.
  2. Connect the AC adapter to the laptop.
    SLN155074_en_US__1icon Note: It is recommended that you use the AC adapter that was originally shipped with the laptop. Do not use the AC adapter that was provided with the docking station.
  3. Power on the laptop.

If the laptop is powering on without the docking station, see the docking station manufacturers website to troubleshoot the issue with the docking station. For troubleshooting guides of Dell docking stations, see the Dell knowledge base article Guide to Dell Docking Stations.

If this did not resolve the issue, proceed to the next step.

Certain Dell Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, and Precision laptops are equipped with a motherboard built-in self-test (M-BIST). M-BIST is a built-in diagnostic tool that helps identify system board embedded controller (EC) failures. M-BIST must be manually initiated before Power On Self-Test (POST) process and can be initiated on a Dell laptop that is not able to power on.

SLN155074_en_US__1icon Note: The motherboard built-in self-test (M-BIST) feature is available only on select Dell Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, and Precision laptops.
  1. Press and hold the M key and power button on the keyboard.
  2. Check the battery status LED:
    SLN155074_en_US__1icon Note: To learn about location of the battery status LED, see the User Manual of your Dell laptop.
    • If an error is identified, the battery status LED will turn amber. Contact Dell Technical Support for repair options.
    • If there is no error, the battery status LED will remain off.

If this did not resolve the issue, contact Dell Technical Support for repair options.

Helpful videos

Laptop Computer Not Turning On (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube

Duration: 01:32
Closed captions: English only

Resolution
SLN155074_en_US__14Battery(1) SLN155074_en_US__15Power(1) Visit our Battery and Power site for additional resources and information.
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Article Properties


Affected Product

Laptops, G Series, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models

Last Published Date

05 Dec 2020

Version

3

Article Type

Solution

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