Dell BIOS mod to allow charging from unrecognized power adapters?

Discussion in 'BIOS Mods' started by MattL, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. MattL

    MattL MDL Novice

    Nov 29, 2009
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    Hi.

    I own a Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop, everything about it has been great right up until about a month ago. I started receiving the following message when plugging in my laptop: "The AC power adapter type cannot be determined. Your system will operate slower and the battery will not charge. Please connect a Dell 65W AC adapter or higher for best system operation."

    For a while I was able to just unplug and replug it a few times to get it working again. Now it refuses to recognize the adapter. I am using the Dell power adapter that came with my laptop. I called Dell about the issue and they want me to send them my laptop to replace the motherboard. I use my laptop for school and work, I can't be without it for however long it will take them to receive it, fix it, and return it.

    I have done a lot of googling and have failed to find a fix other than one that involves disassembling hardware (which I'm not comfortable doing with a laptop). Shouldn't a BIOS mod allow this adapter check to be circumvented?

    (I have the latest BIOS update - A13)

    Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. shakeyplace

    shakeyplace MDL Addicted

    May 5, 2007
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    The Dell bios can't be decompressed, couldn't possibly start unless it was decompressed!
     
  3. MattL

    MattL MDL Novice

    Nov 29, 2009
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    :(

    Well is it possible to use an alternative BIOS?
     
  4. shakeyplace

    shakeyplace MDL Addicted

    May 5, 2007
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    I don't believe so, as far as I know..
     
  5. MattL

    MattL MDL Novice

    Nov 29, 2009
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    That's disappointing, thanks for your response nonetheless. I guess I can't do anything. :/
     
  6. TheOldScout

    TheOldScout MDL Novice

    Nov 7, 2009
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    #6 TheOldScout, Nov 30, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
    I would try someone else's power adapter, I got that message once on my Vostro 1500 which uses a 90 watt adapter after a power bump. It's been fine ever since. Since you have a Inspiron 1545, I would imagine that it's still in warranty as they have not been out that long. Some interesting stuff on Dell power adapters at http://www.laptop-junction.com/toast/content/inside-dell-ac-power-adapter-mystery-revealed
     
  7. MattL

    MattL MDL Novice

    Nov 29, 2009
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    Interesting link.

    First, I apologize if anything doesn't make perfect sense, I've been drinking. I'll do my best to write correctly.

    Unfortunately I don't have any friends who own Dell laptops (or at least I'm not aware of the ones who do). I know I will never buy a Dell ever again. I have always been a desktop person, and I have always built my own computers. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, while having complete customizability, and the small savings in cost - now I know those aren't the only reasons to avoid buying prebuilt computers (my problem in this thread is a prime example). If only I could build a laptop. ;p

    I really don't know what to do here. I do have a warranty, but as I said, I cannot send in my laptop to be fixed, I need it for my job as well as school work. I'm glad, today I replugged my laptop in several times and got it charge once again. It's too bad I can't just leave it plugged in 24/7. :/

    Ha, it looks like I wrote pretty well for being intoxicated (I proof read it twice, it should be legible - probably grammatical errors).

    ;p
     
  8. TheOldScout

    TheOldScout MDL Novice

    Nov 7, 2009
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    If you are willing to risk 10 bucks, just search on Ebay for Dell PA-12. You can buy them brand new $10 with free shipping. They don't say Dell on them, but they both come from China...:rolleyes:
     
  9. shakeyplace

    shakeyplace MDL Addicted

    May 5, 2007
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    actually, 1545 specs are pa-21, but pa-12 works. I would buy the correct model of it were me
     
  10. MattL

    MattL MDL Novice

    Nov 29, 2009
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    If I got a power adapter that provided more power than my laptop needs, would that be alright? I mean wouldn't using a power adapter that provided more power fix the issue? Isn't the issue related to not receiving quite enough power? I know with desktops I purposely use bigger power supplies than I need to ensure stability. Does it work the same on a laptop, or would it actually overpower the components and cause physical damage?

    Also, my laptop is under warranty still. So I could just lie and tell them that the issue is fixed when I use a friends adapter (even though I don't have a friend with one to test), then I'm sure they would just send me a free replacement. But then if that doesn't fix the problem and I eventually give in and want to have the motherboard replaced, they may not believe me. Hmm..
     
  11. fireshark

    fireshark MDL Novice

    Sep 20, 2008
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    It doesn't work that way, if it doesn't receive its rated wattage it won't charge qiute as fast, is all. Wrong amperage is another story.
     
  12. jbeauchamp

    jbeauchamp MDL Novice

    Mar 15, 2010
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    Unfortunately, I know this well - been looking for the same answer, and I guess I just got it - it is not possible to fix the dell bios for this. http://www.laptop-junction.com/toast/content/inside-dell-ac-power-adapter-mystery-revealed is one article. Dell put a chip in their adapter to communicate with a chip in the motherboard of the laptop. This is via the middle pin and the wiring is prone to damage, as are the chips in both ends. Of course, they tell no one about this extortion. If your laptop decides that you are not using a dell adapter (look at the bios on the page for battery, at the top you'll see "unknown" for adapter), then it slows down the CPU (mine went from 1600mhz to 600mhz) and refuse to let you charge the battery.

    Because customers (let's call them....marks...), don't know this, when something damages the wire, apparently extremely easy to do, or one of the chips, also very easy, they will go out and buy a battery - oops, didn't fix it? go out and buy a dell adapter. Oops, didn't fix it, go out and buy a dell motherboard..$$$$ ouch.. And all because the bios (I still am not sure if the charging is stopped by the bios or hardware - had hoped bios and that it could be fix -- would love to have confirmation that I should stop looking because the bios cannot be fixed, or other answer) purposely sabotages your laptop!!!

    So, if you are real lucky, a new dell ac adapter will fix this. My pa-10 blew out - it was the original that I had with this laptop - and it wasn't overloaded, just flickered not even hooked up and died. I have 2 pa-12's and neither fixes it for me, and, of course, 3 batteries as I assumed it was them <ahem>. I found nch software to override the cpu speed, but nothing to fix the charging.

    You can buy a separate charger for the battery. I think it is about $30. You hook the battery to it externally to charge it.

    Annoying, no? Yep. Really ticks me off that they would do this to their customers -- Oh, I will never be a dell customer again - and I buy machines for the office and elsewhere. Class action comes to mind <sigh>..

    So, be sure that if you are going to try a new adapter, that it is absolutely a real Dell charger - the chip has locked "proprietary" code in it. Sucks, eh?

    So, can someone definitively say that this is in the bios and/or it can/cannot be fixed? The time I've spent on this, I could have gone out and bought a decent <ahem> Toshiba laptop to replace it... ;-) Thanks!
     
  13. jbeauchamp

    jbeauchamp MDL Novice

    Mar 15, 2010
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    Another thing (my original comment below), because the wiring is flaky, and you say you got it to charge by plugging it in, etc., I suspect your wiring has frayed to be intermittent. One suggestion in one of the articles that I read is to slice open the wire going from the adapter to the plug and replacing or repairing that "center" wire, which, apparently, is often not in the center buy the outer shield wiring - therefore wiggling makes it prone to separating, etc. Just plain poor wiring. You can find what I found, probably, by googling something like dell ac chip to motherboard.
     
  14. MattL

    MattL MDL Novice

    Nov 29, 2009
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    Guess what! My laptop is charging once again. I never was able to find someone with the same charger as I - so I lied to Dell and told them I did and that it worked. So they sent me out a new AC Adapter and it works! I'm very happy - until the new one fails.
     
  15. masster

    masster MDL Novice

    Jan 17, 2010
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    over 1 year after... is your statement still true ?
    because the need of charging from unrecognized power adapters is still alive and well...
    not to mention dell's decision to 'shorten' the life of batteries by throwing a BIOS error "your battery needs to be replaced" when they still have enough juice for an hour in them...
     
  16. hitokage

    hitokage MDL Novice

    Mar 22, 2011
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    Um, bump.

    Has anyone taken a look into to this now that there are tools available to extract and mod a Dell BIOS? The unrecognized adapter problem is a big pain in the rear. Since the BIOS knows when and what AC adapter is connected it has been hoped that the BIOS is what controls turning the charging function on and off.
     
  17. LappyTamer

    LappyTamer MDL Novice

    Mar 8, 2011
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    My friend also has a 1545. It'll charge using his adapter, or my HP adapter. The Dell adapter that came with it won't work anymore. Turned out to be a problem with the adapter rather than the computer, so that might be all you need.
     
  18. hitokage

    hitokage MDL Novice

    Mar 22, 2011
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    I've tried other Dell adapters with no success. The chip on the motherboard that communicates with its counterpart in the adapter has apparently gone bad. The line of thought by most is that a BIOS mod might bypass the adapter ID routine allowing the battery to charge.
     
  19. gabiz_ro

    gabiz_ro MDL Member

    Feb 2, 2010
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    Is not really BIOS who need to be modded,instead is EC firmware.
    On some BIOS update you can extract this with -writekromfile parameter.

    Pay attentions:
    This is more risky like a BIOS mod since if EC firmware is damaged then you can't do any kind of recovery.
     
  20. dissatisfied_dell_custome

    Oct 25, 2013
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    I have spent way too many fruitless hours trying to find a solution. I did the following the the dell inspiron n411z is now charging, but i doubt i've really fixed it:
    I flashed the bios (tried doing it without the battery but had to put it back in), started the computer with the battery disconnected, put the battery in while the computer was on, adapter said not charging, unplugged and replugged the adapter, it is charging. also tried wiggling it (to check the connector) but it continues to charge.