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Dell laptop / Vista showing incorrect charging, battery status?

Posted on 2008-06-14
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Hello -

I have a Dell Inspiron 1526 laptop (basically one of the very cheap laptops from Best Buy).  It is running Vista Home Premium.

Lately, the charging status indicator on the task bar is showing erroneous information.  For instance, it never shows a charging battery status anymore - it thinks it's always discharging the battery - despite the fact that it is physically charging.  As a result, it shows very weird numbers, like right now (while plugged in) it's saying 19% left with 886 hours remaining.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with this is that the laptop uses the different power schemes, like dimming the monitor, etc, which can be quite annoying.

Does anybody have any idea how I can correct this?  Is this a Vista problem, or Dell's?

Thanks,

Brett
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Question by:DaBretty
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by:MiniDevo
ID: 21786995
Sounds like it might be a BIOS issue, which would in turn make it a Dell issue. You may want to update your BIOS and see if that corrects your issue.
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Expert Comment

by:authen-tech
ID: 21787257
Yes could be bios...be sure you're using the correct power adapter for that laptop.  Looks like it should be model # PA-12.

Here's a link on how to change the advanced power settings for the dimming and all that:
http://www.maximumpcguides.com/configuring-windows-vista%E2%80%99s-advanced-power-settings/

If you want to use Dell's recommended power settings...here's a utility from the Dell website that will set them for you at recommended settings: http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen&releaseid=R182065&SystemID=INS_PNT_PM_1526&servicetag=&os=WLH&osl=en&deviceid=17886&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=1&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=1&libid=7&fileid=248262

You can also download the BIOS update here:
http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen&releaseid=R181459&SystemID=INS_PNT_PM_1526&servicetag=&os=WLH&osl=en&deviceid=15721&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=2&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=1&libid=1&fileid=247392

Hope that helps!

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Expert Comment

by:shekharsom
ID: 21787315
try calibrating the battery. I once had the same problem. After calibrating it, it became fine.
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Author Comment

by:DaBretty
ID: 21793838
So, I tried updating the BIOS, but (surprise!) it told me that I couldn't until I plugged in the laptop.  (Obviously this was a problem)

Shekharsom, how can I calibrate the battery?

Also, I already changed the display settings and that's kind of a temporary band aid on the problem.  I'd really like to get this guy back to knowing when he's being charged and not.
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Expert Comment

by:authen-tech
ID: 21794002
You may be able to get around the windows prompt for plugging in the laptop prior to bios upgrade by doing the following:

Run the BIOS update utility from DOS environment (Non-Windows users):

NOTE: You will need to provide a bootable DOS diskette. This executable file does not create the DOS system files.



Copy the file 1526A11.EXE to a bootable floppy.


Boot from the floppy to the DOS prompt.


Run the file by typing Y:\1526A11.EXE (where y is the drive letter where the executable is located).
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shekharsom earned 250 total points
ID: 21794074
to calibrate the battery, follow these steps:

1. change power settings to cancel sleep/hibernation. also cancel screensaver and monitor turn off
2. run the laptop completely to drain out all battery. (you can run some music or something to drain out power fastest)
it should result into computer being switched off... not slept

3. charge battery to fullest for around 4-6 hours with computer off.

repeat the processes 2 and 3. you can do this two more times.
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