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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Battery charging problem: Dell Inspiron, Linux Mint

    Hi,

    After installing Linux Mint 11 on my older Dell Inspiron 1545, I thought my battery was failing, as it's charge level kept dropping. So I ordered 2 new batteries.

    Now the new battery is showing charged on the monitor app, but when I look at details, it's at 1%, and when I disconnect the power cord, it tells me I'm out of charge.

    I suspect this is an OS related issue, as when I was running Ubuntu 9 everything was OK, and when I "upgraded" to Linux Mint it went to H on me.

    Any one know of a patch to fix this? I could reinstall a new Ubuntu, but that's a pain too.

    Thanks,
    JR

  2. #2
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    I’ll bet it’s your meter, and there is nothing wrong with your batteries.

    Has it ever died on you? Have you tried booting with a Windows boot disk and looking at the meter in Windows (which was presumably the original operating system)? Even if that registers zero, I’ll still bet it’s the meter.

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
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    Agree with Dogberry, it's not the battery.

    Battery monitoring is fairly complex. "Intelligent" batteries interface with the BIOS which accumulates stats and makes them available to the battery meter software running under the OS, which interprets them in order to estimate battery charge status.

    Consequently things can go awry between battery and BIOS or between BIOS and meter app. Looking around it does seem people have had battery meter problems with Mint, though not so much on the later releases.

    I would make sure the BIOS is at the latest release, then consider upgrading to Mint 12, which will likely replace the default battery meter app. If not, check out the repositories for alternative battery apps - there seem to be several.

    I don't run Mint myself, so can't make a recommendation, but I do run an I9400 under Ubuntu, and the battery meter works (mostly) OK, although it indicates the battery is discharging faster than it really is. Never addressed the problem because I rarely use the machine on battery anyway, and when it starts giving warnings I know there is about 1/2 hr left, so go looking for the brick.

    Jock

  4. #4
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    You could try running on mains power briefly with the battery removed. I had a similar problem with a fairly old laptop running Windows, and I saw some advice somewhere that suggest removing the battery for a little while. It is supposed to reset things in the monitoring software. I did that and it worked for me.

    Garth

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    jockmullin (2012-10-04)

  6. #5
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    Charger problem

    Before you look at anything else there is a very easy check you can do:

    Go into the BIOS and see if it recognises your charger. If the BIOS does not recognise the charger it will not allow it to charge the battery but your Inspiron will still work on mains. If you look inside the charger plug you will see a tiny pin in the centre, this is not a power pin but a means by which the BIOS can identify the charger as Dell compatible. The problem is usually caused because the plug stands so proud it gets knocked around a bit and eventually the socket makes a poor connection inside the laptop. It has happened to me and cost just over 100 to repair as it required an engineer call-out to fit a replacement circuit board.
    I am old enough to remember fanfold paper tape as a blessed innovation. Unfortunately, that also means when I ask for something hot to take to bed I mean my cocoa.

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