Help with a strange laptop power issue? Thanks!
by Chicobo - 4/7/12 10:37 AM
So! We have an Acer Aspire, model number PEW76. (The red model, 17 inch screen.)
Just for some basic background info:
Laptop is running Windows 7 with no problems. It has been refurbished and the graphics card changed to a dedicated graphics card (as opposed to the Acer standard integrated).
Recently the laptop has stopped charging the battery from the AC adapter while the computer is powered on and running. To be clear, the computer:
1. Cannot run on AC power alone (with the battery removed). However, the other Acer in our home (same make and model, without the dedicated graphics) can.
2. ONLY charges the battery when the computer is powered OFF and shut down.
3. Only partially recognizes the AC adapter while powered on and running.
a. The software (battery icon) does not recognize the charger. The software shows that the battery is not being charged, no "AC adapter connected" icon.
b. The hardware (the indicator light on the side of the laptop) is showing that the AC is plugged in. The light blinks orange when the AC adapter is plugged. It SHOULD show a solid orange light when the AC is plugged. When the battery is fully charged, the light is a solid blue. On the other Acer in the house, this remains accurate (solid blue for charged, no light while the battery is discharging, solid orange while the battery is charging). No blinking orange on that laptop, ever.
4. We have tried:
a. Removing the battery entirely and running on AC power (doesn't work).
b. Using the AC adapter that is working with the other Acer laptop (doesn't work).
c. Removing dust and debris from the chassis, and checking the fan, as well as monitoring core temperature. (Reads at 50-60 Celsius, which did decrease by 10-20 degrees after dusting.)
d. Exchanging the battery in the non-charging laptop with the battery in the charging/functioning laptop, which is the same make and model. The battery from the non-working machine works fine in the other machine.
e. Using the non-working machine's AC adapter with the working laptop. (The AC adapter charges the working laptop just fine.)
f. Updated the BIOS software to 2.14 from Acer (identified as a potential source of the issue.)
g. Reset and updated the device drivers related to general power, battery, and AC power.
We're running out of ideas. I can't think of anything that would cause this except a motherboard issue. This laptop was purchased from Tiger Direct right around Christmas, 2011, so it's not all that old. The laptop DOES work, the real problem is that it only runs for 3 hours before needing to be shut down so the battery can charge again (which is SUPER annoying).
We're not computer idiots and we do have friends who can help. Right now we're trying to decide if we should just scrap the current laptop for parts (or try and take a part from the working Acer to replace what MIGHT be broken on the newer machine, because that one has the dedicated graphics, which it would suck to lose).
Right now we are working on dual-booting from Linux (Ubuntu) to see if that will help us isolate a problem.
Does anyone have any idea what might cause this? It just doesn't seem to make much sense. As far as we can tell, it looks like a software or hardware problem that is NOT the AC adapter itself or even the DC connector port, since the battery charges when the laptop is off. I thought maybe it could be a voltage/current issue but that would only be so if it were the "wrong" charger or a replacement charger, and testing the AC adapter with the working Acer laptop shows that the current amounts are correct since the AC adapter charges that laptop without issue.
We're just stumped.
Any ideas? Thanks in advance.