Computer Newbies forum


Power Adapter not recognized/background programs won't close

by kpflum / February 21, 2012 2:25 AM PST

I purchased a new battery for my Inspiron 1545 after the original died. The battery works great, but recently I keep receiving an error message when plugging in: "AC Power Adaptor type cannot be recognized and battery will not charge..." Every now and then the battery goes ahead and charges, I think it is only if I have turned the computer completely off, unplugged the power and then plugged it back in before turning computer back on. However, for the past week I have not been able to get computer to power down completely. Everything appears to be off but the power indicator light remains lit. When shutting down, I briefly see the warning page that background programs are still trying to close, but it just flickers up and then disappears before I can force shutdown. My battery is completely depleted at this point and I can't get it to charge, so my only option is to stay plugged in at all times. Yet I know the battery is not the issue. Any help closing down the background programs, or better yet, figuring out why my adapter isn't recognized to begin with? Thanks!

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All Answers

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It's a known issue.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 21, 2012 2:31 AM PST

There's some detection system to disallow non-maker chargers and batteries so if you didn't get a Dell replacement you may see this. There are also times that the machine needs repair so let's hope this is a Dell supplied battery since they'll swap it out.

-> Yes, it's well discussed and can infuriate those that encounter it for the first time. Why did the makers do this? Research the BATTERY FIRES that happened a few years ago.

As to the programs that won't close on shutdown, it's a SAD problem with Microsoft, the industry and more that accepted this "almost works most of the time." I see it on many many systems and it makes you wonder if they'll ever get it right.

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How can the system BIOS be flashed when my battery is dead?
by kpflum / February 22, 2012 12:16 PM PST
In reply to: It's a known issue.

So, are you saying there is nothing to do to force shut down completely, and get the indicator light to turn off?

As for the battery replacement, it was not a Dell, but the problem doesn't appear to be with the battery; it is the charger. I went to Dell's support and read that I may need to update the BIOS. Although I have no idea what that means, I attempted to do so, installing the drivers that were recommended. (1545_A14.EXE) However, I then received an error message stating "The battery must be charged above 10% before the system BIOS can be flashed Press OK when the battery is charged." Talk about running in circles! I can't charge my battery.....that's my problem here. How can I charge it so my BIOS can be flashed? How can I flash my BIOS if I can't charge my battery??? Yes, I'm frustrated, and NO, I"m not very computer literate. Any simple answers would be greatly appreciated!!

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At this point you arrange for the machine to be repaired.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 23, 2012 12:28 AM PST

It's like your car. When you can't fix it, you let the shop fix it.

We know the machine needs service now.

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by kpflum / February 23, 2012 1:54 AM PST

Thanks for the reply, Bob. Even though it wasn't what I really wanted to hear, I kind of suspected it.

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Just back and want to offer a little more.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 23, 2012 1:25 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks!

While there might be ways to get around this, update the BIOS my fear is that any getting around the SAFETIES could result in a dead machine. If this happens at Dell they have the tools to recover. We don't.

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Battery charged! Now what?
by kpflum / February 27, 2012 10:39 PM PST


Over the weekend, I borrowed my nephew's adaptor for a similar Inspiron and now my battery is completely charged. Once again confirming that the battery isn't the issue, it was the adaptor. So, does it make sense for me to update the BIOS at this time, since the battery is charged above 10%? Can you explain the "why" for updating BIOS? Would it perhaps help the computer to recognize my adaptor or is it to force background programs to close? I'm unclear. Thanks for helping a newbie like me!


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There is only ONE question.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 28, 2012 12:27 AM PST

What does this update fix?

I can write it should not enable the use of non-Dell or busted chargers.

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BIOS update
by kpflum / February 28, 2012 1:58 AM PST

I do not have a non-Dell charger. It is the original Dell which came with my laptop. I don't know what the BIOS updates are supposed to fix, exactly, I just read on Dell's support site that an out of date BIOS can cause unknown AC Adapter issues. So I checked out the drivers and updates section and this is the BIOS update that is listed for my particular service tag #:
Dell Inspiron 1545 Intel BIOS
Release Date: 4/27/2010
Version: A14
Importance: Recommended
Download Type: BIOS
File Format: Non-Packaged
File Size: 1MB

Does that tell you anything?

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Just that the charger is defective.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 28, 2012 2:13 AM PST
In reply to: BIOS update

Dell's advice is completely off base here. If the machine never worked with this charger I'd agree but your story says the charger came with the laptop.

Many folk lose a lot of time on this but at YOUR RISK you can now update the BIOS.

BIOS do not expire, get old. And the issue is very well known. The fact the other charger works points to a charger issue.

Your choice on what to do next.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 28, 2012 2:26 AM PST

1. Other charger works.
2. Well known issue.
3. BIOS do not wear out or go out of date in this area.

But maybe you need a little more WHY this charger is rejected by this laptop.

The story goes back to about 2007 and 2008 when a manufacturing issue caused a lot of battery fires. Big news and more. The makers had to get this under control so they recalled the bad lots and looked at other causes. The other causes were non-maker unapproved batteries and chargers.

To stop that issue they designed in more checks that the approved battery and charger were in use. This design varies a bit but it can be as simple as another wire to the charger and an electronic ID that must be presented to go into charging mode.

If this system breaks, either by a broken wire, chip death or such then you see issue like yours.

-> If a new charger by Dell fails, then it could be an out of date BIOS that does not know about the new charger.

Hope this longer explainer helps but as this is all well discussed, I'll stop here.

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sorry to beat a dead horse
by kpflum / February 28, 2012 8:50 AM PST
In reply to: Recap

Bob, I appreciate all the time you've taken and your last post really helped clarify. However, one final question for you. Does it make sense, based on what you're guessing, that the new (non-Dell) battery charged for quite some time and charger was recognized, then all the sudden it quit? And even though the charger no longer will charge the battery, it still IS able to power the computer?

Based on what you're saying, sounds like if I buy a replacement charger, I should go with Dell, not an off brand, huh?

Thanks again!


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Sure but there is more going on than just a charger.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 28, 2012 9:11 AM PST

There is the old battery issue. Anything over 18 months is iffy. Sometimes you find a 3 year old battery and you try to be gentle. But it's very hard.

Again, all this is dancing around the facts of how this all came to be. There appears to be no user diagnostics except when it fails, Dell should tell you to do this, that and this other thing. If all that fails they should tell you to arrange for service.

Here I know a little better and find a new battery and charger is cheaper than any shop counter.

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Your replacement battery is not a Dell ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 28, 2012 12:21 PM PST

battery and most likely is one you got because it was cheap (possibly less than 1/4 as much as Dell wanted) so you got it to save money. (Right so far? Don't be shy because I'll tell you right now that I have done exactly that more than a couple of times - sometimes the cheap battery last a long time and sometimes it didn't last long at all).

The problem often encountered is that the really cheap batteries are just that - REALLY CHEAP and made with cheap materials and often border line on meeting specs. These batteries will often work GREAT for a short while then start keeling over. It is quite possible that this is your problem.

To trouble shoot this see if anyone you know had a laptop that takes the same battery and try it in their computer and their battery in yours. This will usually point right to the actual problem.

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You're right
by kpflum / February 28, 2012 9:35 PM PST

My non-Dell battery was purchased b/c of its price. Let me also set the record straight; it isn't anywhere near 18 months old, either.

But, even though the battery may be really cheap, it still charges on the rare occasions I am able to get my AC adapter to be recognized. Or, like I did the other night, when I use another adapter. To me, that's an adapter issue, not a battery issue, but the answers posted here keep pointing back to my battery. So I take it the consensus is the failure to recognize my charger is because of compatibility issues between my cheap, non-Dell battery and the Dell charger.

Which means....if I were to buy a new Dell battery, my charger should be able to recognize it? Or, maybe I just need a new charger...but no guarantees, apparently, that a new Dell charger will recognize my non-Dell battery.

And if I try to save money (again) by going with a non-Dell charger, what are the chances of it being recognized by my seemingly snobby and rather prejudiced Dell laptop?!? Happy

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No one can answer with certainty.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 29, 2012 3:41 AM PST
In reply to: You're right

Those that can, cost more as they are usually at the Dell service site.

It's not that anyone or anything is being snobby, it's the fires that created big liability issues and it had to be dealt with.

If all is well, the new parts with the Dell blessing should work.

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This is one of those times ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 29, 2012 12:31 PM PST
In reply to: You're right

where you either spend the extra money for a branded and supported solution or you lay out less money for something (battery or charger) that MIGHT work great and for a long time or only for a short time or might not work at all.

There are no guarantees with the cheap Chinese "OEM Replacement" batteries whether for laptops, UPS, wireless phones, cell phones, or even standard AA, AAA, C, D batteries (none except that they look like batteries).

Batteries for laptops are "intelligent" and "talk" to the laptop and like Bob has said, since the battery problems that caused much trouble for manufacturer's companies are having their computers "ask" more pointed questions of the battery and if "unhappy" with the responses they try to ignore the battery so it will go away. Call it self preservation.

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