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is there a stand alone universal recharger for laptop batteries?

Posted on 2013-11-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

        I have a Gateway laptop, model  M-7315U,  which has a long history of being unable to recharge its battery.  When I bought a new battery for it a few months ago, I got a  Windows 7 message indicating the AC recharge was plugged in but not charging.  Despite of this message, the battery was getting charge; was able to supply power to the laptop independently of the AC power pack.  Now, the battery does not recharge at all.  The laptop only powers on if the AC power pack is connected.  I am wondering if there might be some sort of defect in the circuitry which is preventing the battery from being recharged.  Given this technical speculation,  I am curious about the possibility of a universal recharger being available on the market.    It seems like this would be a simple work around for this problem because it would allow me to recharge the battery, then, insert it into the laptop.  However, I am not sure if this is an option.  

           In  closing, everything works well with this Gateway laptop with the exception of its failure to recharge its battery.  With that point in mind, I am open for any suggestions for getting this working again or perhaps working around it with some external device which might be available for recharging the battery.  

           Thanks so much in advance for any review and feedback given to this concern.

            George
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Question by:GMartin
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by:
nobus earned 300 total points
ID: 39618487
George - there are several general laptop adapters on the market.
usually, they have a set of connecting tips with them, and some can also adjust the voltage
here some examples : http://www.ebay.com/bhp/universal-laptop-ac-adapter

note that not all laptops will accept  another model  - some are proprietary

>>  I got a  Windows 7 message indicating the AC recharge was plugged in but not charging.  Despite of this message, the battery was getting charge;   <<  this indicates that there is another problem though -  either software or hardware
It can be the charging circuits on the mobo
Or best do a factory reset (after a backup of the data) to test first that it operates correct
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 39618784
Hello and Good Morning,

             In response to an earlier closed post addressing a different concern, I did order an AC Universal Adapter for laptops from newegg.com with an adjustable voltage setting control and a variety of different connector tips for different laptops upon your recommendation.  During the early phase of this concern, the laptop was giving a message indicating the AC adaptor was plugged in but not charging eventhough it actually was providing charge.  Now, I get the meesage in addition to the battery not charging at all.  

             At this point,  the culprit of the problem is most likely hardware in nature.  If it is going to be tricky or expensive to repair, perhaps I might need to consider purchasing a  new laptop.  

             George
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by:nobus
nobus earned 300 total points
ID: 39618798
that is probably correct
you can verify by doing a factory reset, as said, or by installing another OS, like Ubuntu
www.ubuntu.com
it's free, so you don't risk anything
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 39618855
Hi

            Thank you so much for the followup suggestions.  After reviewing what is said here, I do have a few followup questions.  First, what are the steps for doing a factor reset for this laptop?  It is a Gateway laptop, model  M-7315U,  Secondly, I do have a few questions about Ubuntu with respect to compatiability concerns.  For instance, does this operating system have the ability to load native drivers for hardware much like the operating systems such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, etc.  developed by Microsoft?  Does Ubuntu have a graphical desktop environment comparable to the Windows operating systems?  Will Ubuntu be supportive of wireless routers and network adaptors?  And, finally, will most programs install and run without issues within the operating system of Ubuntu?  

               Sorry for so many followup questions.  I have never heard of Ubuntu, so, naturally, I am interested in learning more about it.  

                 Thank you

                 George
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by:CompProbSolv
CompProbSolv earned 200 total points
ID: 39618918
I am skeptical that this is an OS problem, but still think that the suggestion to test for it is a reasonable one because of how easy it is.  I wouldn't reset the computer unless you have other reasons to want to do this.

The laptop should recharge the battery when it is powered off as long as the charger is attached and all is functioning correctly.  Connect the charger, notice that the LED is illuminated on the laptop (I assume it has one) to indicate that charger being connected, and let it charge overnight.  Remove the charger and boot to the BIOS setup screen.  If it won't stay running there for a couple of hours, then there is a problem with the charger, internal charging circuitry, or the battery.  You have eliminated the charger and battery by replacing both with presumed good ones.

The BIOS setup may have a screen to show you battery state.  That would be a good screen to watch while doing this test.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 300 total points
ID: 39618959
i have no problem with follow up questions, George - just fire away.
here is how to reset it :  
http://en.kioskea.net/faq/6809-reset-a-gateway-computer-to-factory-settings

ubuntu is FAR more superior for loading drivers, and applications on install
you may be surprised when you test it (i was , at least)

and yes -  it has a graphical environment  like windows (but it cannot be the same, otherwise MS will sue them)

and yes it supports all devices; but unlike in windows, you don't have to load many manually.
In most cases, it finds and installs everything just fine


some info on it  :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(operating_system)
some screen displays :  
https://www.google.be/search?q=ubuntu+screens&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Mjp1Uv6PCsPX0QXH7YCABg&ved=0CDwQsAQ&biw=1429&bih=1049
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 39619135
Hello Everyone,

           I want to take a few moments and provide some updates in response to some of the suggestions given.  First, the battery light on the laptop.  It does come on when the AC power adapter is plugged into the DC recharge port.  The color of the LED light is red though.  I am not sure if that is the color it is suppose to be.  Also, the power button has to be held down before the laptop totally shuts off despite of the proper procedures exercised within Windows 7 for shutdown.  And, secondly, I want to touch on the steps outlined within the link http://en.kioskea.net/faq/6809-reset-a-gateway-computer-to-factory-settings.  The steps oulined within this link are certainly clear and easy to understand.  However, the Gateway Restore Management Utility in addition to all other Gateway software is no longer on this laptop which is needed to exercise the steps outlined.  The reason the Gateway software is missing is because the hard drive was wiped and reloaded whenever this laptop's operating system was switched from Windows Vista to Windows 7.  With this important point in mind, is there an alternative solution which can be carried out, thus, permitting the execution of the steps given within the link http://en.kioskea.net/faq/6809-reset-a-gateway-computer-to-factory-settings ?  Perhaps the Gateway software needed can be located, downloaded, and installed.  If so, where may I go to obtain this needed software?  

           Any further shared insights and tips to resolving the inability to recharge the battery within this Gateway laptop will be appreciated.  I will look forward to reviewing any additional information.  

            Thank you

            George
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Assisted Solution

by:CompProbSolv
CompProbSolv earned 200 total points
ID: 39619193
My assumption is that when Windows 7 was installed, it was done from an installation CD/DVD and the system was repartitioned and reformatted.  You will need such a disk (along with your product key) to do the process again.

Windows 7 may or may not have all of the drivers for your laptop.  If it does not, the usual approach is to go to the Gateway site, download the appropriate drivers, put them on a USB stick, and then copy them to the laptop.  From there you can install them.

I looked at the Gateway site and was unsuccessful at finding an M-7315U.  I did find an M-73 here:
http://support.gateway.com/us/en/product/default.aspx?tab=1&modelId=2359
and the M-7315U is listed under the documents for it, so I'm assuming it is what you need.

I would still suggest that this is not the straightforward way to troubleshoot the battery charging issue.  It should charge with the system off, which means it is independent of the OS installed or if any even IS installed.

As far as the LED being red, on page 6 of the manual at:
http://support.gateway.com/s/Manuals/Mobile/8513017_Avalon_eRecovery_Ref_Gde_Web_R2.pdf
this indicates that the battery is malfunctioning.  Blinking red is very low charge, purple is charging, and blue indicates fully charged.

Is there any chance that your original battery reached the end of its life and the new one is defective?  Is it a genuine Gateway battery or some other?

It would be extremely useful if you had a known-good battery, such as one from a working laptop.  The problem is that these batteries tend to be very model specific, so you would have to find someone with another M-73 series laptop.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 300 total points
ID: 39619597
connect the drive to a working system, and check if the recovery partition exists or not
(you can do the same when booted from a live cd)
if it exists, normally the system rest should work; if it's gone, you' ll have to use a windows 7  install DVD, or order the restore CD's for that model from Gateway
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 39637092
Hello and Good Morning Everyone,

                First of all, I want to apologize for the lengthy delay in providing closing comments to this post.  I did have a chance to go through the suggestions given here with the exception of downloading and installing Ubuntu.  However, I am interested in using this operating system down the road though under different circumstances so that I can truly appreciate and enjoy it more.  

                With regards to the direction I decided to go here, I will simply continue using this Gateway laptop until I purchase another one later on.  The laptop itself is fully functional when the AC power pack is connected.  Due to the fact that the new battery never charges, I must conclude there is an issue with the recharging circuits on the motherboard.  Reparing such as issue would most likely involve some highly complicated technical steps such as totally dismantling the laptop in addition to some desoldering and soldering.  While I have the tools to carry out these steps, I prefer to simply circumvent all of this by planning on getting another laptop later on.  Besides, it would probably be  cost prohibited to repair such a technical problem.  

                  Once again, many thanks for the links, tips,  and research given to my question.  Everyone's feedback was certainly helpful in getting me on the track needed here to work around this situation.  

                  George
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39637098
i'm not sure that "I have the tools to carry out these steps" George, as most likely it involves SMD soldering - which i suppose you don't have?
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 39637102
Hi

           I hope I am not coming across like I am trying to drag out this post further, but, could you explain SMD soldering?  I am not sure I follow  you there.

           Thanks

           George
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by:nobus
ID: 39637121
not at all George
Look here for more info :
https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/category/2
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