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Yet another "new battery won't charge" question (Dell Inspiron 4150)

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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May 19, 2010 9:43:20 PM

Okay, so a friend wants me to resurrect her old laptop. All in all it seemed to be in fair shape except the keyboard (missing a few keys) and the battery (wouldn't hold a charge). Got a new keyboard and a new battery (on eBay, which made me wary, but it was from a very well-rated seller who specializes specifically in batteries, so I figured it's worth a try).

Keyboard installation went okay, and of course, swapping the battery was a piece of cake. According to the battery's instructions, it's supposed to charge 10 hours before the first use (which I'm sure is probably way more than it needs, but I was a good boy and played along). After leaving the laptop plugged in with the new battery for 10 hours, I turned it on and checked battery status. ~60% charge. I figured this was a bit low, but I've also heard new batteries might need to go through one or two charge cycles before they can charge to their full capacity.

In line with that thinking, I unplugged the laptop and allowed it to drain the battery (which worked). In a couple hours the battery had drained completely and I plugged in the laptop to AC again to charge it.

Came back a few hours later. Battery charge status: 0%, charging. "That's no good," I thought. Unplugged the laptop to see if there was really no juice at all in the battery and sure enough, the laptop immediately lost power. At this point I suspected that I had never charged the battery at all, and that the initial 60% charge that I had was probably from the factory. The laptop has two module bays, so I tried putting the battery in the other one, but it made no difference.

I've heard of the AC adapter being the problem in cases like these, and since the old one was a little worn, I figured we might as well try a new one. Got a new AC adapter, but it made no difference.

Though I'm more than willing to consider that this could be a problem with the new battery (which I can still return), I'd think even a crappy battery (that obviously held some charge) would be able to charge at least a little. Likewise, I'd think the old battery, would probably be able to hold a little bit of charge too. I'm just sort of suspicious that something might be wrong inside of the laptop that's preventing it from being able to charge its batteries.

Anyway, then I came to THG Forums hoping to find an insightful soul to suggest what my next course of action should be. :) 

Best solution

January 2, 2012 2:46:03 AM

nonoitall said:
Okay, so a friend wants me to resurrect her old laptop. All in all it seemed to be in fair shape except the keyboard (missing a few keys) and the battery (wouldn't hold a charge). Got a new keyboard and a new battery (on eBay, which made me wary, but it was from a very well-rated seller who specializes specifically in batteries, so I figured it's worth a try).

Keyboard installation went okay, and of course, swapping the battery was a piece of cake. According to the battery's instructions, it's supposed to charge 10 hours before the first use (which I'm sure is probably way more than it needs, but I was a good boy and played along). After leaving the laptop plugged in with the new battery for 10 hours, I turned it on and checked battery status. ~60% charge. I figured this was a bit low, but I've also heard new batteries might need to go through one or two charge cycles before they can charge to their full capacity.

In line with that thinking, I unplugged the laptop and allowed it to drain the battery (which worked). In a couple hours the battery had drained completely and I plugged in the laptop to AC again to charge it.

Came back a few hours later. Battery charge status: 0%, charging. "That's no good," I thought. Unplugged the laptop to see if there was really no juice at all in the battery and sure enough, the laptop immediately lost power. At this point I suspected that I had never charged the battery at all, and that the initial 60% charge that I had was probably from the factory. The laptop has two module bays, so I tried putting the battery in the other one, but it made no difference.

I've heard of the AC adapter being the problem in cases like these, and since the old one was a little worn, I figured we might as well try a new one. Got a new AC adapter, but it made no difference.

Though I'm more than willing to consider that this could be a problem with the new battery (which I can still return), I'd think even a crappy battery (that obviously held some charge) would be able to charge at least a little. Likewise, I'd think the old battery, would probably be able to hold a little bit of charge too. I'm just sort of suspicious that something might be wrong inside of the laptop that's preventing it from being able to charge its batteries.

Anyway, then I came to THG Forums hoping to find an insightful soul to suggest what my next course of action should be. :) 


I finally found my solution to no charging problem with my 4150 after taking it apart 3 times. I checked the boards and there is very little in solutions offered other than changing the mother board. I found an old post for a 4000 that talked about a broken power jack and soldering on a new one to the MB. That wan't my problem. After close inspection of the MB, I found a small block labelled FL1. The first time I opened the computer, I checked for voltage and it looked ok, but still no power. Back to the forums and no solution. As a final last ditch effort, I opened it again and poked at the FL1 and saw very small cracks in the solder where it connects to the MB, resoldered them, and now it works!!!

Now, I have found that power problems are very common with these computers.
from my hours of research, I have found that the jack is usually the problem, but if it is not, check the FL1. I am told that it is the motherboard's fuse. Tech support will not tell you about it. They want to sell you a new computer or MB. It can be repaired or replaced with a generic fuse. If your computer powers up in a docking station, that is the biggest clue. There is also a recall on some of the adapters that are defective. Overheating is common when dust clogs the fan and heatsink. Vacuum it out. You can download the disassembly instructions from Dell. If you have a broken power jack, you can find on this forum, instructions for making a replacement (again they are for the 4000 which refers to running a wire from FL1 to a spot on the MB to charge the battery. Skip that part) If you are handy with a screw driver and solder gun, it is well worthwhile taking an hour or 2 to fix it. Be very careful not to damage anything else or overheating the motherboard and components. You will have to completely dismantle it to get at the FL1. There is a hole in the bottom plate under the MB where you can see FL1, but I found it too small to reach through with my solder gun. Since you have already gone that far, you might as well take it off. If Dell spent an extra few cents on these computers, they could have installed a small replaceable fuse underneath. Just a small access hatch in the bottom of the computer would be needed.


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January 12, 2012 8:25:58 PM

Thanks for posting your solution. We finally settled for keeping the laptop plugged in all the time. :p 

This and other experiences lately have not improved my opinion of Dell's construction of laptops.
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January 12, 2012 11:40:15 PM

nonoitall said:
Thanks for posting your solution. We finally settled for keeping the laptop plugged in all the time. :p 

This and other experiences lately have not improved my opinion of Dell's construction of laptops.

Well that solution certainly works as well. :lol: 

I did also find another issue to be aware of. I, as well; bought an aftermarket Dell battery. Even after the fix above I did not like the performance of the new battery. So given my curious nature, I decided to take it apart (voiding the warranty obviously). Come to find out "they" --who I will not disclose due to the fact that I believe "buyer beware" to a certain extent--. only had 1/2 the cells in the battery it should have had (equivalent voltage but not current/amp hours).

Upon subsequent investigation and re-reading the site closely; I did find that "they" had not falsely advertised as they did claim 1/2 the amp hours of a 'normal Dell battery'. It did indeed also work (although the life decreased to the point I was lucky to make it from the office to the bedroom on a charge in the 1st month).

Anyway, just a lesson in buyer beware...if the battery is 1/2 the price compared to most out there in the market place.... there is likely a reason make sure and read the fine print....

Bottom line....my final solution.... I as well keep it plugged in all the time :whistle: 

All that said, I am no longer going to hammer Dell to hard. Power issues aside.... This is one of the few laptops among my peers/friends that is as dated as it is and still has good useful life....so all in all the 2002 investment was a good one.... I recently went ahead and put Vista on it, purchased a USB2 card and it is putting along just fine in my workshop as a window on the world when I need to look stuff up on the internet. (Wireless N on the adapter even)... all the cards/upgrades bought for under $40 in today's market place so can't beat that...

In any event, I hope this finds you well and you and yours happy and joyful...Dell issues aside... :bounce: 
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January 20, 2012 6:39:38 PM

Best answer selected by nonoitall.
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January 20, 2012 6:42:00 PM

DosWoodman said:
In any event, I hope this finds you well and you and yours happy and joyful...Dell issues aside... :bounce: 

It does indeed. Thanks. :) 
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