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Hardware Thread, Potential causes of power issues on a laptop in Technical; I have to talk to a teacher today who's laptop is playing up with regards to its power lead and ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Potential causes of power issues on a laptop

    I have to talk to a teacher today who's laptop is playing up with regards to its power lead and battery.

    The laptop is only 2 years old, and is 1 of 6 that we bought at the time. All of them have been given to teachers and have been in every day use, yet this one now has a completely dead battery (the others still hold a couple of hours charge).

    Also, the power socket is 'dodgy'. I've had to replace the power supply once, due to that having been damaged, and when looking at the replacement one I issued, the connector at the end is now bent.

    Now, before I confront the teacher about it, could anyone give me any reasons that this lot might happen other than my suspected 'teacher tripped over power lead which they left trailing somewhere, yanking it out of the socket, bending the connector and damaging the connector'.

    I'm not sure what to think about the dead battery.

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    witch's Avatar
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    I agree with your likely cause of the bent connector!
    The battery issue might be caused by the laptop not charging properly over time due to the dodgy connector. I have found that if a laptop battery is left flat or with only a little charge in it, then after a while it fails to hold charge for any length of time. This became apparent to me when handing out 'spare' laptops that had been sitting unused for a while.

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    themightymrp's Avatar
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    We have problems when staff leave the AC adapter connected to the laptop when they put it back in their carry bag. The pressure on the connector causes breakages, especially breaking off the center pin from the laptop power socket!

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    Yeap, the sheer hassle of unplugging the adapter is so great, a teacher would rather remove their own arm than disconnect it. This leads to all kinds of damage, normally if it dosen't wreck the adapter plug then it damages the socket. It's also the number one cause of laptops being dropped as teachers carry the laptop like an open pizza tray with psu plugged in and resting on the kbd!

    grumble.

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    themightymrp's Avatar
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    Or worse still, carrying the laptop with paperwork on the keyboard and dropping the lid down on it! Cracking the screen! Gggggrrrrrrrrrr

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    laptopsandspares's Avatar
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    I'd agree with Witch on this, if the battery hasn't been charging properly for a while it could have gone to "sleep" i.e. it's voltage has got so low it won't now recharge. There's a lot of reasons batteries decide not to re-charge, age, use etc. you have the others to benchmark against which are still operating which is a good indication that unless this user is a prolific recharger (li-ion technology has a "useable" life of 3 to 500 cycles), you should be expecting it to operate normally. That said, it could have been a bad unit from the outset, it does happen but I'd think the info you give about the dodgy connector would add weight to the original suggestion that it's not been charging for a while.

    You didn't mention what laptop this was. There are models that can develop charging issues due to the incorrect activation of "smart technology". This might be it.

    Regarding socket damage, the most common reasons for a socket /tip to become damaged are (as mentioned), tripping over the cable while it's plugged in (probably the most common if the actual charger tip is mishapen as well as a dicky socket), themightymrp's suggestion and along those lines, if you use the laptop plugged in but at the maximum reach of the charger cable, if the angle is wrong it can stress the socket. Usually it wouldn't miss-shape the connector though but it does stress the connections on the main board which can cause cracks/dry joints which can hinder a clean charge. Certain styles of socket are more susceptable to this than other. For example you don't see this as often on Dell/Sony style sockets, but HP "yellow tip" or other versions of the standard barrel connector are pretty suceptable to this. One other option for the charger tip being damaged could be it got stood on or runover by a chair. (more common than you think)

    Have you tried swapping the battery into a fully functioning laptop and soak charging it? I.E. leave it on overnight to see if it wakes it up or gets it running again? It sounds like you have the same model on site to try this.

    hope this helps.

    D



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