Hi, I have a Dell Latitude D630. I bought it new 4 years ago. I use it for audio production, but the power supply wasn't grounded so I had a ground loop hum, so earlier this year, I switched from the factory power supply to a generic one that's designed to work with my model.
I noticed at some point that my battery stopped charging. I don't think this was immediately after switching, although it could have been and I just didn't notice. I never run my laptop on the battery alone; I always use a power supply.
Now I'm getting a blinking orange battery light and the laptop doesn't see a battery as even being present. This makes me think my battery is shot.
Here's my question: how do I determine whether this is a power supply issue, a battery issue, or something else? Everything else seems to be running fine on my laptop. However, I'm worried that I have some motherboard problem and my computer's just going to break down. I don't have the original power supply for this machine anymore. I know that laptop batteries eventually lose their charge, so even though I rarely run on battery power, it's possible the battery has just died after 4 years. What should I do?
Some other background information:
Before I purchased a generic, grounded power supply, I was using an old one that came with an older Dell laptop. This one was clearly damaged; the wires around the brick were starting to frey. This other power supply didn't charge my battery, but it also gave me a warning on boot that the voltage was wrong or the supply was damaged. Since I bought a generic power supply, I've never gotten that error
the power bricks are a simple ac to dc converter. as long as the wires and the rubber spacer are fine. these bricks last a long time. the only thing you can do wink it going bad is have someone with a volt meter read the unit output. batterys on the other hard have a chip inside of them that the mb has to read to know that the battery is there. on most old batterys this chip when it goes bad the laptop will see the battery but the battery wont charge. any good store like micro center with there walk in tech support should have a brick tester or a spare battery. on the laptop mb the battery and the ac brick power come in on the same power lines in the laptop.
If you plan on keeping the computer I would replace the battery pack. Four year old NiCads need replacing anyway. Also, I would not use a generic charger. Charging NiCads is not as simple as some people think. Your original charger may be a simple AC to DC converter or it may be more. You don't know by looking at the plastic shell. BTW, there are battery replacement companies that will open your pack and replace the cells much cheaper than buying an new OEM pack.
Dell power supplies usually only have 3 pins. +14.8 volts, reference, and a 3.3 volt signalling pin which is used to identify the power supply to the PC. Everything else is internal, your battery is shot
Thanks for the replies. It doesn't sound like the power supply can fry the battery. Is this correct? I will follow the instructions and go to Microcenter, and let you know what I find. Thank you.
The battery will wear down over time. Laptop batteries are based on the 3.7 volt 18650 lithium-ion cell. After 18 months it is will usually retain between 50% and 70% of its original charge and after 3-4 years will usually be completely dead. It's not unheard of for them to short out internally as I had one just die on me completely (no charge held at all) after only a few months.
If you run the laptop only on AC there's no need to replace the battery.