Sometimes on Answers we get a question about a battery that refuses to charge. This is not surprising. Batteries are known to last a very long time and poor conditions can shorten their life significantly. Problems with chargers or excessive power consumption can also be a problem.

Let’s address this common problem. What do you do when your battery is charged? There are several answers, and they apply to most devices with batteries — laptops, smartphones, and even tablets.

Are you drawing a lot of power?

laptop battery not charging

Every electronic device in your home, including your DVD player and microwave, has a power source. The power supply is designed to work with a certain amount of juice. In a device without a battery, there is a maximum amount of power that must be handled — but no more.

Batteries are different. They come with adapters designed to work with a particular power source, but what happens if you charge the battery and use every bit of juice that the device can extract? Your charging may slow down or stop.

The most extreme and popular example of this is the iPad 3, a device that far exceeds the adapter’s capacity. The latest Apple tablet sometimes drains the battery even when plugged in. The power supplied through the adapter exceeds the power consumed by the tablet.

Many phones and tablets exhibit similar behavior. USB charging is a common cause as a USB connection provides less power than a wall outlet connection. Laptops are less likely to have this problem, but I’ve used gaming laptops that charge slowly if they’re used for gaming and the battery is charging.

Is the battery connected securely?

tablet battery not charging

This is the reincarnation of «is it plugged in?» For the wireless world, and just like that old awkward advice, this one is equally valid. In fact, I’m saying it’s more relevant than ever before — unlike plugs, batteries come in all shapes and sizes.

What can you do? Take a close look at the battery and if you still have the user manual for your device, refer to it. Make sure there are no gaps and that the battery is flush with its mount.

If so, remove the battery and check its connectors. This is rare, but the connection may be blocked by debris, part of the connection may be bent, or the connector may suffer corrosion.

If you find any of the above, you need to clear the connection. Wipe away debris with a soft cloth, move any bent metal with a small pair of tweezers, and remove corrosion with a small amount of suitable cleaner (which can only be water) — just make sure the joint is dry before use. battery again.

Does the power adapter work?

tablet battery not charging

Sometimes the battery won’t charge because the charging adapter is broken. The easiest way to check this is to remove the battery, plug in the adapter, and see if the device turns on.

With that said, a wounded adapter might work at first, but not work when you’re trying to complete a complex task. Don’t just plug in the adapter and see if the device works. You should see if it continues to work when the device is using a lot of power, such as when you are playing a game or watching a high definition movie.

Battery recalibration

In some cases, the battery may stop charging due to a calibration problem.

Calibration problems arise because there is no sensor in the battery. The battery life indicator you see on your operating system is only a prediction. Battery size, current power consumption, and known battery life are some of the variables that are used to calculate how long your device will last, and this can sometimes lead to skewed data.

Resetting the battery may solve the problem. Let the battery fully discharge and then charge again. The recharge process can take many hours and may not seem to be going as it should, but give it time. With any luck, your battery will suddenly register 100% charge and your problems will be solved.

Give the battery time to recover

laptop battery not charging

A battery that appears empty may have been deeply discharged. This means that the amount of charge taken out of the battery was more than it was intended to handle, and as a result, there is so little charge left that it appears to be dead.

Batteries found in consumer electronics don’t often have this problem, but I’ve encountered it three times, all with laptop batteries. In each case, the laptop ran out of power until it automatically shut down. The laptop is supposed to automatically turn off at around 10% charge, depending on the operating system and user settings, but these laptops didn’t. They drained the battery until there was nothing left and then shut down.

Restoring a battery from a deep discharge, if it can be recovered, requires that you completely turn off the device and allow it to charge for an extended period of time (at least two or three hours).

It still doesn’t work!

I work with many different types of electronic devices, so I encountered a lot of batteries that seemed to be bad, did not charge or were discharged. Each of them eventually returned to normal behavior after I followed the advice above.

With that said, batteries eventually die. My old Lenovo laptop has reached the point where it will only last twenty minutes on a single charge. His battery was clearly ready to drop its death coil, and no doubt if I hadn’t replaced it.

Once your battery issues are resolved, be sure to handle them properly to preserve their longevity in the future. Read Tina’s article on how to take care of your battery. term to find out more.

Image Credit: Nerrad, Mac power adapters

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