Dell Latitude D610 Power Brick question

Discussion in 'Dell' started by noespaem, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. noespaem

    noespaem Guest

    Does anyone know the exact method the laptop
    uses to determine when to display the message

    "unable to determine power adaptor type" on
    a cold boot ?

    my D610 will not charge the battery (tried
    multiple batteries that work in a companion
    D610). on a cold boot, it displays the message
    above, and the CPU clock is throttled back
    to about 800 mhz on the BIOS screen (vs the
    full 1.73 Ghz it's capable of). Which probably
    explains the remainder of the error message,
    saying it's not configured for "optimal performance".

    talked to tech support, and they wanted to
    send me a new power brick. that made zero sense
    to me, since the same power brick has a green
    LED illuminated, and it can power the laptop
    fine without the battery packs installed. which
    tells me it's working.

    now, unless i'm missing something and Dell does
    some unusual instantaneous "load" testing of the
    power brick (determine voltage drops, or how
    much wattage it can deliver), that power brick,
    in my book, is working - so that's why i'm asking,
    does anyone know if there actually is some such
    confidence test done by the laptop ?

    being the techie wisea$$, i 'strong armed' the
    tech support person with the logic above, (ruling out
    the power brick & batteries), and had them send
    me a new system motherboard - since that's where
    the charging & logic circuitry is located.

    well, guess what ? it ain't the mother board !
    same problem still exists - "unable to determine
    power adaptor type".

    it can't be Win XP, since the message happens on
    the BIOS boot sequence, before Windows even has a
    chance to load drivers.

    could it actually be the power brick ?????
    noespaem, Mar 21, 2008
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  2. noespaem

    S.Lewis Guest

    Replace the AC adapter.
    S.Lewis, Mar 21, 2008
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  3. noespaem

    noespaem Guest

    why ? (as an engineer, i would like to know what the
    technical basis for replacing an item - that, at first
    glance, is functioning).
    noespaem, Mar 21, 2008
  4. noespaem

    S.Lewis Guest


    There was a guy posting in this very ng some months ago who ( I believe )
    posted of some reverse-engineering he performed over a failed AC adapter. To
    be honest, I didn't follow it very closely because it didn't interest me.
    That thread may or may not have had some emphasis on the AC adapter
    (identification) function of the design.

    A google search of the PA-model number (ie-PA-9 or PA-10) might shed some
    light upon the specific 'whys/whats' of the adapter design (and might even
    turn up that specific thread via google groups). I believe that attempting
    to contact Dell for such information might prove futile but you could
    certainly try.

    I can tell you that I've run into a few systems with this warning, and the
    AC adapter was at fault each time. The barrel pin(s) varied in appearance
    from undamaged/unbent to completely broken and missing.

    The good news is that replacement adapters are readily available and
    reasonably inexpensive via Dell or even ebay.
    S.Lewis, Mar 21, 2008
  5. noespaem

    olfart Guest

    "Glance" at a sealed piece of electronics to tell if it's functioning???

    Last week I couldn't even spell "enjuneer"...
    and now I are one.
    olfart, Mar 21, 2008
  6. noespaem

    wm_walsh Guest

    Yes, the Dell power bricks (and many others) communicate with the
    system. I believe the protocol is a very simple serial type.

    If for some reason this communication has failed (or is returning
    garbage data) the computer will do as much as it can to not overload
    the power supply, because its logic does not "know" what it is dealing
    with on the other end.

    Replacing the power supply is the thing to do. Who knows what else
    might fail--and being a power supply, the failure could prove fatal to
    your laptop's health. If you don't want to pay full retail price, head
    over to eBay and see what turns up.

    wm_walsh, Mar 21, 2008
  7. noespaem

    noespaem Guest

    wish the "tech support" person had known this ! their "script"
    at first led them initially to the power brick, but i objected
    based on the (wrong) assumption that the power brick was a
    dumb device.

    if they had told me directly, "yes, it actually exchanges data with
    the motherboard" - i would not have insisted on a new motherboard.
    (based on the reasoning that the power brick was powering the lap
    top fine, and it's green LED was illuminated - and charging/logic
    circuitry is located on the system board).

    well, at least i got a new motherboard. swapping it out on my own
    wasn't that big a deal - took about 90 minutes following the online
    service manual procedures. but being a veteran of old Heathkits, &
    building my own PC's, it was an educational experience of what's
    actually inside a Dell laptop.

    it's a corporate service contract, so it's all covered.

    can't complain about their service, Dell has stepped up to the
    plate many times in the past when i had a problem with any of their
    machines. reading from the posts here, i guess it's either love
    them or hate them in terms of customer service.

    thanks to all who responded.
    noespaem, Mar 21, 2008
  8. noespaem

    Fixer Guest

    Fixer, Mar 28, 2008
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