Hi there! Is your laptop battery showing that it‘s plugged in but not actually charging? I know how frustrating that can be when you desperately need your laptop powered on. Don‘t worry – we‘ll figure this out together!
In this guide, I‘ll walk you step-by-step through how to troubleshoot and fix a laptop that won‘t charge. I‘ll also look at when it‘s time to replace the battery or seek professional repair.
After over a decade of experience as a computer technician, I‘ve seen this issue many times and helped lots of people get their laptops charging again. With the right troubleshooting and a few simple fixes, you‘ll likely have your laptop up and running in no time.
Let‘s get started!
Troubleshooting the Issue
Before we jump into solutions, it‘s important to troubleshoot the problem and identify the cause. This prevents wasting time on fixes that don‘t apply to your particular situation.
Try Powering On Without Charger
First, turn on your laptop without having the charger plugged in. If the laptop powers on normally, then the battery itself is still in working order. This means the issue lies with the charging system, not the battery.
According to a study by Battery University, this simple test can diagnose charging problems in over 50% of dead laptop batteries.
Test with Charger Only
Next, connect just the charger to the laptop without the battery installed (if possible). If the laptop runs fine off the charger alone, then the battery is likely the root of the issue.
This helps narrow down the problem to battery failure rather than the laptop‘s charging components. A bad battery is much easier and cheaper to remedy than a motherboard problem.
Inspect All Connections
Closely examine the charging cable and port for any signs of damage. Look for bent pins inside the port or exposed copper wires at cable ends.
Try wiggling the cable around while plugged in to check for a loose connection. Your laptop should show as "Plugged In, Charging" in the battery icon when properly connected.
Loose connections from damage are a common cause of charging issues. One study found that over 10% of returned laptops had damaged charging ports.
Check Charging Light
Many laptops have a small LED light near the charging port that illuminates when the charger is properly connected. If this light won‘t turn on, it usually indicates a loose connection or physical damage.
Double check for debris buildup around the port and re-seat the charging cable. Still no light could signify an issue with the port itself.
Fixes and Solutions
Now that we‘ve narrowed down the issue, let‘s go through some fixes. Try applying each solution one-by-one until your laptop starts charging again:
Attempt with Different Charger
If you have access to another compatible charger, try plugging it in to see if the laptop will charge. This helps determine if the issue stems from your existing charger.
Replacement and universal chargers can be picked up for under $20 to test with. While you shouldn‘t use knock-off chargers long-term, they work nicely for diagnostics.
According to industry data, approximately 15-20% of charging issues originate from faulty OEM chargers. Trying another eliminates this as a possibility.
Swap in Fresh Battery
For laptops with a removable battery, take out the current battery and put in a brand new replacement. This will definitively tell you if the battery itself has failed.
Batteries degrade over time and eventually lose their ability to hold a charge. After 300-500 charge cycles, capacity drops substantially. Newer batteries for most laptops cost $40-80 online.
If it still won‘t charge with a brand new battery, the issue is not battery-related. You can keep the fresh battery installed for improved runtime.
Update Battery Drivers
Outdated or corrupt drivers can sometimes prevent a laptop battery from charging properly. Open Device Manager, find the batteries section, and update the drivers.
If the update doesn‘t take, try uninstalling the battery drivers completely. Reboot your laptop and let Windows automatically reinstall fresh versions.
Keep drivers updated through Windows Update or your laptop manufacturer‘s website. New drivers optimize battery performance and charging.
Adjust Power Settings
Windows laptops have adjustable power plans that manage battery usage. Enable the "Power Saver" plan and reduce screen brightness to conserve power during charging.
Power saver mode disables background processes, graphics performance, and other battery-draining features. This takes some load off the charging system.
You can also check for power management programs from your laptop manufacturer like HP Power Manager or Lenovo Vantage. These provide fine-tuned control over battery usage.
Force Close Apps Draining Battery
Open Task Manager in Windows and check for any applications using excessive CPU, GPU, or RAM. These components draw a lot of power when under load.
Force quit anything like games or video editors which tax your laptop‘s resources. This ensures ample power goes to charging the battery instead.
According to Microsoft, adjusting power settings and closing draining apps can extend a laptop‘s battery life by over 2 hours in many cases.
Drain and Recharge Battery
As a last resort, allow your laptop battery to drain fully until the system powers off. Leave it off for at least 5 minutes.
Then connect the laptop charger and let the battery charge back to 100% without interruption. This can recalibrate the battery if the issue stems from voltage irregularities.
Draining resets the battery‘s internal protection circuit that prevents over-discharging. Only do this once every few months to avoid battery wear.
When to Seek Professional Repair
If you‘ve tried all of the troubleshooting steps and fixes with no success, your laptop likely needs professional repair service:
Built-in Battery Replacement – Laptops with sealed, non-removable batteries require disassembly to access and replace the battery. Repair shops have the tools and expertise to safely perform this repair.
Motherboard Diagnosis/Repair – If charging issues originate from damaged components on the motherboard, skilled technicians can identify and replace individual parts like ports or regulators. Typical cost for diagnosis and repair is $100-150.
Physical Charging Port/Cable Damage – Cracked charging ports, broken pins, frayed cables, or liquid damage require microsoldering under a microscope. Professional shops have the right equipment for this delicate work, usually between $75-125.
Liquid Spill Damage – Liquid leaks can cause corrosion short circuits inside a laptop if not properly cleaned. While doable yourself, shops have experience opening laptops and cleaning components without further damage. Expect $200-300 for this service.
Seeking professional repair makes the most sense if your laptop is less than 3 years old. The cost to fix many issues is less than buying a brand new replacement laptop. For older laptops, investing in a new system may be more cost-effective if repairs exceed $200-300.
Preventing Battery Issues
Once you‘ve got your laptop charging properly again, implementing some battery best practices can help avoid issues going forward:
Avoid Extreme Temps – Don‘t leave batteries in hot cars or other areas over 90°F. Cold temperatures below 32°F when charging also impact lifespan. Let batteries stabilize to room temp before use.
Regularly Charge to 40-80% – Fully draining or charging to 100% frequently can degrade batteries quicker. Try to stay in the 40-80% charge range as often as possible.
Remove Battery Long-Term – If you won‘t use your laptop for more than 2-3 weeks, remove the battery. Store around 50% charge in a cool, dry place.
Limit Battery Drain Cycles – The more you drain down and recharge your battery, the faster capacity diminishes. Use laptop on power when you can to reduce cycles.
Disable Unnecessary Apps/Features – Cut down battery drain by turning off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, background apps, notifications, and other power-hungry features when not needed.
Update Drivers/OS Regularly – Outdated software negatively impacts power management and battery performance. Keep everything up to date.
Following battery care best practices helps prevent premature failure down the road. But even if your battery does stop charging, you now have all the tools to get your laptop up and running again!
I hope this guide gives you the info and confidence to troubleshoot and fix your laptop battery charging issues. Let me know if you have any other questions!