Common Battery & Charging Issues on Laptops

Typically, a notebook comes with 2/3 years of warranty, excluding the battery. Ever wondered why?

Batteries are considered consumables since their lifespan is dependent on how you use them. So most manufacturers won’t provide a warranty of more than a year. on average, a lithium battery will last about 300-500 charging cycles before it starts losing capacity.

Since battery problems are very common, we made a list of common battery and power issues; These include unexpected shutdown when unplugged, charging issues when gaming, etc.

Laptop turns off when unplugged

Instant shutdown when unplugged is a common symptom of battery failure. On Windows 10, you may see something like this when plugged in:

The battery is detected by the OS, but does not charge.
Image: The battery is detected by the OS, but does not charge.

Battery says 100 but dies when unplugged

Sometimes the OS shows the battery is at 100%, but the laptop dies within minutes when unplugged. This is also a sign of heavy battery damage.

Why Does it Happen?

As I mentioned earlier, any lithium battery starts to lose capacity after a certain number of charge-discharge cycles. Most likely, your laptop battery has reached the end of its life.

Although rare, sometimes the connector from the battery to the motherboard gets damaged. Or maybe the connecting port on the motherboard has become faulty. If that is the case, your battery is OK. You just need to replace the connector.

What Should I do?

No matter the case, you should take the laptop to an expert for inspection and repair. The process often requires opening the case and working with the motherboard. Leave it to experts, unless you are confident that you can DIY.

How do I keep the laptop from turning off?

If your Battery lasts for very short period when unplugged, you can change a few settings to extend the backup time.

Go to Start, search for “Edit Power Plan” and open it.

Finding Power Plan Editor from Windows Search.
Image: Finding Power Plan Editor
You can change various power-related settings in Power Plan editor window.
Image: Power Plans Editor

Click on Change Advanced Power Settings. Now on your active plan, scroll down and find Processor Power Management. Click on it, then select Maximum Processor State.

Lowering max processor state, which can increase battery backup.
Image: Lowering Maxium Processor State.

On battery, set maximum processor state to 20%-30% and click OK. This setting limits CPU performance and reduces load on the battery. You should see a little increase in battery backup. Still, better than nothing!

Laptop only charges when turned off

This is commonly a driver issue. On windows, You may find the Battery Panel showing Not Charging, despite the laptop being plugged in.

Battery is OK but doesn't charge when on.
Image: Battery is OK but doesn’t charge when on.

Why does it happen?

Sometimes due to windows update or other reasons, the battery driver gets corrupted. As a result, the OS can’t properly control the battery. When off, the BIOS controls the battery, so it can charge normally.

What should I do?

1. Run troubleshooter

First thing to do is run the Power Troubleshooter. Go to Start, type troubleshoot, and open Troubleshoot Settings.

Finding Troubleshooter settings from Windows Search.
Image: Finding Troubleshooter settings.

Find Power and click Run the troubleshooter. It should find what’s wrong and try to fix it.

2. Reinstall the Battery Drivers

If the troubleshooter could not solve the problem, try the following:

  1. Go to Device Manager.
  2. Select Batteries.
  3. Right-click on the “Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery”.
  4. Click Uninstall.
  5. At the prompt, put a check in the box to remove the current driver.
  6. Restart the laptop.
  7. Go to Device Manager, again.
  8. Right-click on the “Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery”.
  9. Click “Search automatically for updated driver software”.
Uninstalling Microsoft ACPI-compliant battery driver in Device Manager.
Image: Microsoft battery driver.

Do the same for “Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Embedded Controller”, if you see it in the device list.

3. Reinstall the OS

If nothing worked, reinstalling Windows is the last thing to do. Try a different operating system (e.g: ubuntu) if you can. If that doesn’t work either, there are probably no software issues behind the problem; in which case you should go find an expert.

Laptop stops charging when Gaming

This is commonly an adapter problem. It happens when the charger can barely meet the power demand. So when you play resource-heavy games, the battery doesn’t get enough power.

Sometimes the charger can’t even meet the power demand alone, the battery has to provide for the shortage. You may see your battery percentage dropping as you play, even though the laptop is plugged in. This puts a lot of pressure on the battery, often resulting in permanent damage.

What’s wrong with my charger?

You are probably using a low-wattage charger. If you’re using the original charger, then it’s time to throw it away and buy a new one.

Find out the wattage of your original charger, and buy one that can at least deliver that amount of power. For example, if your original charger was 65 Watts, then don’t buy a 45 Watts one. Buy one with a minimum wattage of 60.

Does a laptop run slower without battery?

No. The external adapter directly powers the laptop, there’s no battery dependency. So running a laptop without the battery does not affect performance, except that there is no safety net when external power is removed.

But if your charger can’t meet the power demand of your laptop, you may see performance drops, and even unexpected shutdowns.

Rarely, a faulty battery can slow down a laptop. In that case, you’re better off without the battery.

Can I use a 90W charger on a 65W laptop?

Of course, you can. The wattage of a charger describes the maximum capacity of a charger. If your laptop’s maximum demand is 65 watts, a 90 watts charger can easily meet that.

For the same reason, never use a 45 watts charger for a 65 watts laptop. The charger won’t be capable of meeting the laptop’s power demand at times. Using a low-wattage charger for longer periods can result in permanent battery and hardware damage.

Can I use a 19V charger on a 19.5V laptop?

You can. Most laptops have integrated high-precision voltage regulators, these convert down from the roughly regulated voltage supplied by the charger. A voltage difference of 0.5 volts shouldn’t be a problem. But make sure the charger is capable of meeting your laptop’s power demand.

Can you charge a laptop with HDMI?

No. You can’t charge a laptop with HDMI. It doesn’t carry power, it’s a multimedia interface designed to carry uncompressed audio/video signals. Although one of the pins carry a +5V charge, it isn’t meant for charging. Besides, the current is too low (~50mA) to charge a device efficiently.

Take care of the Battery

Since lithium batteries have a limited lifespan, keep your laptop plugged in whenever possible. Do not unplug when the battery is full, unplug when you need to. But if you rarely use your laptop on battery, discharge it fully once a week.

Do not frequently play resource-intensive games on battery, doing so will shorten its lifespan. That’s one reason why Nvidia limits max FPS on battery.

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