How do I fix my Dell laptop battery not charging?

If your Dell laptop battery is not charging properly, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to try and fix the issue. A Dell laptop not charging correctly can be frustrating, but with some simple checks and tips you may be able to get the battery charging again.

Quick Overview of Main Solutions

Before diving into the details, here is a quick overview of the main solutions to try if your Dell laptop battery is not charging:

  • Make sure the AC adapter is properly plugged into both the wall and laptop
  • Try a different power outlet
  • Inspect the AC adapter for damage
  • Verify the laptop battery is properly installed and seated
  • Check for dust buildup in the charging port
  • Update the BIOS and other device drivers
  • Reset the laptop battery by fully discharging and recharging it
  • Replace the AC adapter if needed
  • Replace the laptop battery

Step 1 – Check AC Adapter Connection

The first step is to make sure your Dell AC adapter is properly connected. Verify that the adapter cable is fully plugged into the charging port on your Dell laptop. Make sure it clicks into place and feels secure. Loose connections can prevent proper charging. Also check that the AC adapter brick is firmly connected to a working wall outlet. Connect the adapter directly to the wall if possible instead of a power strip or surge protector.

Wiggle Connections and Cables

With the AC adapter connected to the laptop and wall, gently wiggle the charging cable and adapter connections. See if the battery status LED indicator turns on when wiggled, then turns back off. This can signify a loose connection. If wiggling seems to make a difference, firmly re-seat both ends of the charging cable into the laptop and adapter brick. Make sure everything is plugged in as securely as possible.

Try Different Power Outlets

Try plugging the AC adapter into different power outlets around your home or office. Some outlets may not provide consistent or strong power delivery. If plugging the adapter into a different outlet resolves the charging issue, you know the original outlet is the problem. Consider having an electrician inspect that outlet for faults.

Step 2 – Inspect Adapter for Damage

Carefully inspect your Dell AC adapter brick and cable for any visible signs of damage. Look for:

  • Frayed, cut, or damaged cable insulation
  • Bent adapter prongs
  • Cracked or damaged adapter case
  • Loose cable connections
  • Melted or burned areas

Any visible cable or adapter damage can prevent proper power delivery to your Dell laptop. Even minor damage to the wire insulation can impact charging. If you find any wear and tear or other damage, the AC adapter will likely need to be replaced.

Check Adapter Lights

Many Dell AC adapter bricks have indicator lights when powered on. Verify that the proper charge indicator light turns on when the adapter is plugged into your laptop and wall outlet. If the normal charging light does not illuminate, this indicates an issue with the AC adapter.

Swap With Known Good Adapter

If possible, connect a proven working Dell AC adapter to your laptop instead. See if the different adapter successfully charges the battery. If it does charge properly, then the original adapter is faulty and needs replacement. This is an easy way to isolate if the issue is with the adapter or laptop itself.

Step 3 – Reseat Laptop Battery

Another simple thing to try is removing and reinstalling the Dell laptop battery. Over time, the battery contacts can get dirty or corroded. Reseating the battery can help ensure a good connection is made for charging. Make sure to unplug the AC adapter and turn off the laptop first.

Remove Battery

The exact battery removal method varies depending on your specific Dell laptop model. Consult your owner’s manual for details. In general, the battery will be accessible from the bottom of the laptop. There is often a battery release latch or sliding lock mechanism. This must be slid or held down while the battery can be slid outward and removed.

Inspect Battery and Contacts

Once removed, visually inspect the battery pack for any damage or swelling. Also look at the metal battery contacts. They should be clean and corrosion free. Use a cotton swab with some isopropyl alcohol to gently clean the contacts if needed. This can remove dirt, oxidation, and other buildup from the points of contact.

Reinsert Battery

Carefully slide the battery back into the laptop compartment. Make sure it clicks fully into place and the retention latch locks back into position. Do not force the battery or backwards as this can damage the connectors. With the battery reseated, reconnect the AC adapter and see if the battery successfully begins charging.

Step 4 – Update BIOS and Drivers

Outdated software and firmware can also sometimes cause charging issues with Dell laptop batteries. Make sure to update your laptop’s BIOS as well as the chipset, battery, and other key device drivers.

Find System Information

To determine your Dell laptop’s current BIOS version, you will need to check the system information. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run command box. Type “msinfo32” and press Enter. This will display your full system information.

Go to Dell Support Site

On another internet connected device, visit Dell’s support website and enter your specific Dell laptop model number. Look for the Drivers & Downloads section. Here you can find the latest available BIOS and device driver updates from Dell.

Download Updates

Compare your existing BIOS version and Dell system drivers against the available updates on their support site. Select and download the applicable newer BIOS and driver packages for your laptop. Make sure to only download updates specifically for your Dell model.

Install Updates

Follow the included instructions to install the BIOS and driver updates. This may require extracting files to a USB drive, booting into the BIOS menu, and running executable installation programs. Take care to carefully follow each step.

Step 5 – Reset Laptop Battery

Resetting the laptop battery can help recalibrate the battery contacts and charging capability. To reset, the battery needs to be fully discharged and then recharged.

Fully Discharge Battery

With the AC adapter unplugged, use your Dell laptop until it powers off due to the battery being depleted. Let the laptop remain off for 5-10 minutes. This ensures a full discharge of the battery.

Fully Recharge Battery

Plug the AC adapter back in and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged up to 100%. This may take a few hours. The charging light on the laptop will turn off when charging is complete.

Calibrate Battery

Once fully charged, use the laptop on battery power until almost depleted. Then fully charge the battery one more time. This calibration routine helps reset the laptop battery and charging system.

Step 6 – Inspect Charging Port

Issues with the charging port on your Dell laptop can prevent the AC adapter from making proper contact. Carefully inspect the charging port for any debris, damage, or bent pins.

Use Flashlight

Use a flashlight or other bright light source to shine directly into the charging port. Look for any obstructions, buildup, or corrosion on the metal pins inside the port. The pins should be straight and clean.

Remove Debris

If any debris like dust or dirt is present, try blowing it out with compressed air. You can also gently scrape it away using a wooden or plastic toothpick. Take care not to damage the delicate pins inside the port.

Check for Damage

Examine the charging port casing for any cracks, damage, or bent/missing pins. Damage to the port can prevent proper connection with the AC adapter. The charging port may need to be repaired or replaced.

Step 7 – Test With New Battery

If you have tried all other troubleshooting steps but the Dell laptop battery still won’t charge, the battery itself may be bad and require replacement. Connecting a known good new battery will help determine if the issue is with the battery or laptop.

Purchase Replacement Battery

You can purchase a genuine Dell replacement laptop battery either directly from Dell or from third party retailers. Make sure to get the proper battery specified for your exact Dell laptop model number.

Install New Battery

Follow the battery removal instructions covered previously to swap in the replacement battery. Make sure it clicks securely into place within the battery compartment.

Check Charging

With the new battery installed, connect the AC adapter and check whether the battery begins charging properly. If the new battery charges correctly, then the original was faulty and needs to be replaced.

Step 8 – Replace AC Adapter

If a known good replacement battery still fails to charge, then the last remaining possibility is a bad AC adapter. While rare, defective adapters can happen after prolonged use or damage. You will need to replace the adapter.

Order Replacement Adapter

You can buy an official Dell AC adapter for your specific laptop model either directly from Dell or online retailers. Be sure to get the exact right part number adapter for your laptop.

Swap in New Adapter

When the new adapter arrives, connect it to your Dell laptop and wall outlet. Check that the battery begins charging properly with the new adapter. This confirms the original was faulty and needed to be replaced.

Preventative Maintenance

To help avoid Dell laptop battery charging issues going forward, be sure to take some basic preventative measures:

  • Do not leave the battery at a 0% or 100% charge for extended periods of time. Store around 40% charge if possible.
  • Avoid exposing your laptop and battery to extreme temperatures.
  • Do not frequently disassemble the battery or tamper with internal cells.
  • Avoid dropping, crushing, or puncturing the battery.
  • Periodically clean the charging port and battery contacts.
  • Keep the AC adapter protected and avoid damage to the cord.
  • Update the BIOS and drivers regularly.

When to Replace a Battery

If your Dell laptop battery is more than 2-3 years old, won’t hold a proper charge, or is physically damaged/swollen, it may simply need complete replacement even if the AC adapter is working fine.

Battery lifespan shortens over time from normal chemical depletion. Excessive overcharging and overheating also damages batteries. If you notice a very short runtime on a full charge or other charging issues, the battery may just be worn out.

Purchase a brand new Dell replacement battery from a reputable retailer. Only use batteries designed specifically for your make and model. Installing the fresh battery should resolve any lingering charging problems.


Troubleshooting a Dell laptop battery not charging properly can be frustrating. However, methodically stepping through checks of the AC adapter, battery, charging port, and system software will hopefully reveal the root cause. Carefully inspecting connections, trying a known good adapter, resetting the battery, updating drivers, and replacing worn batteries are all techniques to restore proper charging function.

Don’t hesitate to contact Dell technical support if you still can’t determine the charging issue after checks and troubleshooting steps covered here. The experts at Dell can help diagnose more complex battery and charging problems.