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December 20, 2005

Dell Laptop Battery Woes (and Oranges)

For work I have a Dell Inspiron 5150 that I've only (!) had to call Dell support on twice. The first time was for the DVD drive, it just wouldn't read my porn application discs. The second problem, a little more recent was my AC adapter, it just sort of crapped out. When it was connected the BIOS power display page showed it as an unknown AC adapter type when normally it should say '130W'. Called Dell, part shipped, no problem.

Then all of a sudden yesterday I got the dreaded Flashing Orange Battery Light™! Some Googling around found a couple of really pissed off people [west-wind.com] that all claimed to have their own fixes. My particular problem was the battery light flashing orange 4 times then green 1 time. The boards and collected wisdom of hardware hackers out there suggested that either (1) get a replacement battery or (2) a fuse has blown within the battery and I could (with my mad skillz) fix it.

I decided to go my own route. First, I drained the battery to about 1% though this is easier said than done. I had to chug Windows XP along until it finally went into hibernation, well when it does this the laptop won't boot by itself under battery power alone. I plugged in the AC adapter to boot into the BIOS then removed the power and let the battery run down as much as possible. Next I removed the battery and AC adapter and left the machine for about 10 minutes. Plug everything back in and no flashing orange! Good job Guy!

Posted by Guy at December 20, 2005 8:26 PM