General Question

TexasDude's avatar

What could be wrong with my laptop charger or my charger input?

Asked by TexasDude (25269points) March 13th, 2011

I have an HP Dv7 Entertainment just like this one. Recently, I’ve been having issues with it charging and I can’t tell if it’s the charger or the charger input on the laptop itself.

I first noticed the issue when my laptop’s battery randomly died on me even though it was plugged in. The battery icon on my toolbar will tell me that my laptop is “plugged in, charging” for hours while the charger is plugged in, but every now and then it will change to the regular battery meter as though I unplugged the charger. The light beside the charger input that indicates the laptop is charging will also be off when this happens. I’ll remove the charger from the laptop and put it back in but the light won’t come back on and my laptop won’t say “charging.” If I wiggle it around and turn it slowly in the socket, it will eventually start charging again.

The cord near the input plug head is worn out, but the charger box gets warm, so I don’t think it’s the charger itself losing power or anything, though I’m not ruling that out. If it turns out to be something wrong with my input socket itself, what can I do to fix it? Could I do it myself? If not, where should I go and how much should I expect to pay? If it is the socket, why does it work when I wiggle it around sometimes?

Also, my battery is getting to the point where it doesn’t hold a charge for as long anymore, if that has anything to do with this which I doubt, but you never know.

Thanks in advance.

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19 Answers

shabbir's avatar

the input cord of your charger is damaged and the charger is working properly thats why its getting charged up and turned hot!
i think you had to buy another charger!

BarnacleBill's avatar

The charger itself has a number on it; I’ve had good luck replacing chargers for various things on e-bay. If it was your battery, the computer would work just fine while plugged in, and would fail to hold the charge.

I have problems with the power cord for my MacBook; it stems from the fact that I pull the charger cord out by yanking the cord, and it weakens the wires from the plug end that goes into the computer, causing a bad connection.

blueiiznh's avatar

There have been many a bad power brick from manufacturers. It sounds like you have a power socket that needs replacing as well as the need for a new Power supply and a battery.
I am unsure of the age of this, but I suspect you have many hours of use on it.
The socket connections have spread open after many connections. This is normal after many connection/reconnections. (this always happens to my blackberry after awhile).
It is not terribly difficult to do if you have the right tools and techniques and part.
If you are going to go down the road of fixing it all then I would suggest having it done for you. Contact HP and they can offer suggestions. Geek Squad or other local PC places can be ok and also iffy.
As far as cost, I am unsure because my computers are all corporate owned and under maintenance.
If the PC is over 2–3 years, it may be time to uplift in technology anyway and put your funds to better use.

jca's avatar

i had this problem last year and thought it was the battery. i bought a new battery from Amazon (actually got two because i thought the first did not arrive so they sent a replacement and then i found that the first did arrive) and still, it took 24 hours to charge and was discharged really fast and would not re-charge. So I was telling someone I know about the dilemma and he suggested the charger was broken.

I went to Staples and bought the Targus charger which cost a lot but is a great charger, and charges other things at the same time.

jerv's avatar

There is a reason I am very gentle/careful about my power connectors and I think you are finding out what that reason is. If the charger isn’t getting any warmer than it did when it was new, I would wager that it is fine, except possibly the plug. Personally, I have never had or even seen a screwed up power brick aside from bad connectors, though that may be luck.

As for fixing it, I would advise against trying that yourself. I am pretty good with a soldering iron and even I would leave that to the professionals. I am curious abou the age of the system though; @blueiiznh is correct that it may be time to move on anyways.

TexasDude's avatar

@jerv, my laptop is a little over a year old. The charger brick itself doesn’t get any warmer than it did when I got it, so I think you may be right about the issue not being the charger itself.

@blueiiznh, my laptop is just over a year old, but I use it heavily. It has no other problems and my performance is excellent, other than the charger socket.

@shabbir, yeah it doesn’t get any warmer now than it did when I first got it, the warmth is just how I tell it’s working, since it doesn’t have a green light or anything like that on it.

@everybody, thanks for the suggestions so far. I’m gonna keep an eye on it and see if any more issues arise or if it gets worse.

incendiary_dan's avatar

The wires inside of the cord could also be worn/disjointed/crossing. The one that came with my netbook got to be so it would only charge when the cord was in just the right position.

blueiiznh's avatar

This is normal if you are a heavy user. Being only a year old and it is performant for you, find a battery and power supply and then see if you have to get the socket changed.
sprinkle it with fairy dust for good luck.

koanhead's avatar

Buy or borrow a voltmeter, plug in the brick. If the charger plug is of the hollow-tube type, then you can put one probe into the hole at the end and touch the other probe to the outside of the tube. It should be fairly easy to obtain a voltage reading if the charger has only 2 contacts (which is true of most but not all laptop chargers that I have seen). If not you might be able to isolate which contacts are for power by trial and error, though this could b0rk your brick.
If the voltage reading from the charger plug is at or slightly above the battery voltage (or the voltage listed on the laptop case where the plug goes in, if such a listing exists) then the power supply is fine and the charger is most likely your problem. If the voltage reading is lower than the battery voltage then you will need to replace the brick.

TexasDude's avatar

Ok… so I found my old generic laptop charger that I had to buy when my first laptop’s charger crapped out on me. I plugged the appropriate adapter head onto the charger and plugged it into my computer. The light lit up instantly and I celebrated with a pat on the back and a Killian’s Irish Red because I thought the issue was solved.

Well turns out it isn’t. I shut my laptop and noticed, after an hour or two, that the light had gone out. I opened my laptop back up and let it wake up from hibernation mode. I wiggled the charger input around and the light came back on. It stayed on for a while and then went out for good. No amount of wiggling would help after that. BUT, the battery icon is no longer flashing (telling me I need a new battery) and it has said that my laptop battery is at a 100% charge for the past 30 or so minutes as long as I’ve left it plugged in.

What. The. Hell.

@koanhead, that’s a good suggestion, but with all this new evidence arising, I’m almost positive it’s the socket.

TexasDude's avatar

….damn. It looks like the going rate in my area for jack repairs is $200. >:-(

blueiiznh's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard sadly the bench charges are high and the part is more than likely under $20.
The issue with replacing yourself is that you have to unsolder and resolder onto the system board or internal PS and multilayered boards cost a touch more if you muck it up.

jerv's avatar

$200? Makes me glad I have friends who can solder better than me! I was expecting closer to $120–150 :/

Now, @blueiiznh is correct that the labor costs on computer repairs border on sodomy. I mean, $50 just to install RAM? Compare that to the cost of replacing a motherboard that you just melted through with a hot iron though, and things can get a little pricier pretty quickly. That, and melted silicon smells horrible :p

If it were my laptop, I could repair it myself, but I wouldn’t; generally it’s the person who botched the repair that replaces whatever got broken and I rather that the person who pays for a costly replacement part be someone other than me :D

A 1 year old HP Dv7 probably is worth repairing though. It’s not like a netbook or a Pentium III.

TexasDude's avatar

Damnnnnn this sucks hardcore. I can solder and I’m decent with electronics and taking shit apart, but I just don’t want to risk it on my laptop, which I use for everything.

I guess I’ll have to just pony up and pay to have it done :/

Thanks for your help, guys.

TexasDude's avatar

Ok, so I think my laptop may be being powered, but not charging. I unplugged it for a while and the battery life dropped to 87% by the time I took it out of hibernation mode.

As long as I leave it plugged in, even though there is no indication it is receiving power (no light, no indicator symbol, no nothing) it stays at 87%.

I just unplugged it for a few minutes and it dropped to 83%. I plugged it back in and it’s holding fast at 83% now. Weird.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
jerv's avatar

Sounds like an oddity between the plug and the battery. The laptop itself gets it’s power in between those two, and I can’t remember if they are in parallel or series or if it varies from laptop to laptop, but a long a you can use it while plugged in, it isn’t terrible.
My guess is that the charging circuit (and only that part) is fried.

TexasDude's avatar

@jerv, it’s odd. I took my battery out and I’ve been running my laptop on pure AC power with no battery installed and I haven’t had a single problem. No unexpected shutdowns or anything.

When I turn it off, put the battery back in, plug in the AC, and turn the laptop on, it only charges when the lid is closed and will eventually stop supplying power as though the connection is messed up. I also get a warning that my battery needs to be replaced. Technology, LOL.

yeo's avatar

The connectors are prone to wear or easily distorted.
Personally I see it as another way to screw money out of users, think about it…
*You can unplug the mains from the brick, 2 parts that never fail, yet the part that fails regularly (the ELV cord and connector) cannot be detached
*The twin male/female connector is prone to ‘wear and tear’ yet is pretty much the only system used, despite other ideas being out there.
*To replace the internal connector is quite a technical job, even for those ‘au fait’ with soldering, why isn’t it a simple clip in device like so many components are?

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