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Dell AC adapter could not be determinded

stenders asked
Last Modified: 2013-12-11
In this case, the same power supply that came with the computer now generates an error at bootup stating the AC adpater cannot be determined.  Press F1 to continue or Press F2 to not display the message again and maybe F3 for some other function which I can't remember right now.
Dell Latitude D600 and maybe many others have something about their AC adapters that the computer is looking for but not finding.  Sometimes the computer starts up and runs fine, other times the computer does not start up, and at others it won't recharge the battery.
What is it about these adapters that make them recognizable to the computer and can it be fixed?  I can find only bits and peices of this on the Internet but no definitive answers.  Yours would be greatly appreciated.
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Top Expert 2007

I assume you are out of warranty, if not contact Dell.
The Dell forums are littered with this problem.
There are a few possibilities.
The AC adapter itself is defective, (damaged cord or internals) and needs to be replaced
The motherboard power regulation circuit is damaged and the motherboard needs to be replaced.
Both adapter and motherboard are damaged goods and need to be replaced.


Yes, the computer is way out of warranty.  Aside from throwing out an otherwise well functioning computer, is there a way to get around this issue?  What is the computer seeing on the adapter or vice versa that can be bypassed or repaired?
Distinguished Expert 2019



I really appriciate your effort.  However, I did a lot of hunting on the Internet for a solution and had seen these at the links you provided and many others.

Apparently there is no solution other than replacing the adapter, reasonable but maight just get another bad one, or replacing a motherboard, unreasonble due to cost, effort, and age of computer.  I was  looking for a mechanical solution to the problem like diabling the communication at the computer to the adapter  or a repair of the adapter itself.

Since this seems to be an issue for which reasonable and concrete solutions are scarce I have increased the points to 500 as an incentive for someone to find a better solution.  Just being able to understand more fully what is going on, ie, how does the power supply communicate with the comptuer might help in developing a solution.

I hope I'm not out of line in doing this.
Top Expert 2007

I found this post that seems to at least try to explain what this issue is. There is no real explanation from Dell as to what can be done other than to test and replace the components. There seems to be some thought that an identification signal comes from the adapter and this is either not sent by the adapter or is not received by the motherboard component .
Top Expert 2007

As per the previous post, I find it very strange that the person tried his wife's known good laptop adapter on his laptop, but after doing so, when he tried to use it with his wife's laptop again, it showed the same "AC adapter cannot be determined" error.
Distinguished Expert 2019

from the links i posted, it seemed to be the DC power plug on the mobo, or from the adaptor, that does not connect


Thanks sparkmaker and nobus for all your remarks and help.  There does not appear to be a good and permanent solution to the problem despite what appears to be thousands of folks with the same problems on several makes of Dell latops.
I, personally, shall never buy another Dell laptop unless everyone else is out of business and Dell is the only source.  I have recently discovered IBM/Lenovo laptops and although they have higher initial costs, it seems they do not have a great deal of problems as noted by a local company, a division of a very large international company who uses only IBM/Lenovo laptops.
I guess I shall end this and maybe sparkmaker and nobus can split the points between them since both were helpful to me.
Thaks for your time and effort.  It is very much appreciated.
Distinguished Expert 2019

well, i don't know about MTBF for laptops, but all release sometime a model that is not really holding up, and causes headaches. Lenovo has a good name, but so are HP laptops and others (they have a numeric keyboard next to the alfabetic one on e the large screen ones)
But in the end - the choice is yours


I certainly agree with you.  Maybe Dell shows more problems than others because it commands more market shre than others, I don't know.

But it does seem that Dell has more than its fair share of problems.  My experience is that most computers all have the same components installed in (hard drives and processors for example) with minor changes that make them particularly a Dell or some other part.

Even in my repair business I seem to see more Dells with problems than others but I always thought it was just because there were more Dells out there than others.  After reading on the links that were suggested here maybe Dell does have more problems than they acknowledge.

Thanks again for your help!
Distinguished Expert 2019
This one is on us!
(Get your first solution completely free - no credit card required)


Inasmuch as there was not a good solution, the information, nonetheless was quite valuable and will save me much time in the future.  Much thanks to nobus and sparkmaker for the  replies.
Distinguished Expert 2019

then i would like you to review your accepted answer, and use a split instead, so sparkmaker gets his part too !
just post a question in the community section to a mod, they'll reopen, the Q or adjust the accept

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