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HP Notebook PCs - Testing and Using the AC Power Adapter

This article describes how to verify that an AC power adapter is working properly. If your notebook exhibits any of the following symptoms then you should test your AC adapter using the steps in this document.

  • An HP Smart Adapter message appears near the system tray in Windows. Click here for more information.

  • When the notebook is connected to the AC adapter the notebook will not turn on and no lights or LEDs turn on.

  • When the notebook is connected to the AC adapter the display does not turn on.

  • When the notebook is connected to the AC adapter the power LED is off.

  • When the notebook is connected to the AC adapter the battery will not charge.

About the AC adapter

The following components are referenced in this document:

Figure 1: Power cord

Figure 2: HP smart adapter

Figure 3: DC connector

Quick Test

Use one or both of the following quick tests if possible:

  • Plug the AC adapter into a different notebook PC and check if the computer works normally. If the notebook PC operates normally, there is not a problem with the AC adapter.

  • Use a different AC adapter with the same notebook PC and check if the computer works properly. If the notebook PC operates properly, there is a problem with the original AC adapter.

If the AC adapter is defective and the computer is in warranty, contact HP service and support for further assistance. If the computer is no longer in warranty, see HP Notebook PCs - Ordering an HP Certified Replacement Part .

Verify the AC adapter is working properly

Use the following steps to determine whether the AC adapter is working properly

Step 1 - Examine the adapter, power cord and computer for physical damage

Check the AC adapter and cords for physical damage such as fraying or cuts. Also examine the power adapter for signs of damage or overheating.
Check the DC connector pin on the computer to ensure that the pin is not bent or broken. If the pin is broken, contact HP for technical assistance.
Check if there are no obstructions or any foreign material inside the DC connector.
Check if center ID pin is straight and not slanting inside the DC connector.

If the AC adapter is defective and the computer is in warranty, contact HP service and support for further assistance. If the computer is no longer in warranty, see HP Notebook PCs - Ordering an HP Certified Replacement Part .

Step 2 - Verify the wall outlet is functioning

  1. Unplug your AC Adapter from the wall outlet and plug in a small lamp or other device that you know is working fine.

  2. If you're using a power strip, follow the same directions as in the last step for your power strip.

  3. If any of the wall outlets are not providing power then test the lamp or other device on a different wall outlet.

Step 3 - Disconnect and reassemble the power cord and AC adapter

  1. Remove and reconnect the power cord from the AC adapter.

  2. Reconnect the power cord to the AC adapter. Be certain that the AC cable is fitted tightly in to the AC adapter inlet.

CAUTION: Adapter may shutdown and remain without output due to conditions that can trigger Overcurrent, Overtemperature, and Short circuit. To recover the adapter output, unplug the adapter from the AC inlet for approximately 5 seconds and plug again.

Step 4 - Connect the AC adapter to the PC

  1. Remove the primary (and secondary) battery from the notebook PC.

  2. Plug the AC adapter directly into a functioning wall outlet. Do not plug into a power strip, surge protector or secondary power source.

  3. Verify that the LED on the AC adapter is lit when plugged into an AC wall outlet.

    NOTE: Some AC power adapters do not have an LED.
  4. Connect the other end of the AC adapter into the computer.

  5. Verify that all power cord connections are secure.

    If the AC adapter connection to the notebook is loose, the connector or system board may be damaged and require repair. Contact HP service and support for further assistance.

If the AC adapter is defective and the computer is in warranty, contact HP service and support for further assistance. If the computer is no longer in warranty, see HP Notebook PCs - Ordering an HP Certified Replacement Part .

Step 5 - Verify that the notebook receives power from the adapter

NOTE: On some HP notebooks, the LED lights do not indicate a power state. For other HP notebooks, there may be multicolor LEDs that do indicate different power states. To determine the functionality of the LEDs on the notebook, please refer to the user guide which came with the notebook.
  1. With the AC adapter connected, look for any LED lights on the front, top or side of the notebook PC. If an LED light is on then the AC adapter is functioning properly.

    Some notebook PCs have a power indicator light in the area near power connector. If this light is on then the AC adapter is functioning properly.

    Figure 4: Power indicator light.

  2. Press the Power button on the computer.

  3. Verify that the power button or power LED is lit when the computer is on.

    If the Power LED is on , then the AC adapter is functioning properly.

    If the power LED is off , the AC adapter needs to be replaced.

If the AC adapter is defective and the computer is in warranty, contact HP service and support for further assistance. If the computer is no longer in warranty, see HP Notebook PCs - Ordering an HP Certified Replacement Part .

Step 6 - Look for the battery icon in the system tray

Windows will indicate if the AC adapter is working properly by changing the battery icon in the system tray.

  • Figure 5: Battery charging icon

    With the AC adapter connected to the PC, the battery charging icon indicates that the AC adapter is working properly and has enough power.

  • Figure 6: Battery power icon

    With the AC adapter connected to the PC, a battery power icon indicates one of the following conditions:
    • The AC adapter is not working properly.

      If the AC adapter is defective and the computer is in warranty, replace the AC adapter with the appropriate spare part. If the customer needs a replacement AC adapter and the computer is no longer in warranty, refer the customer to HP Notebook PCs - Ordering an HP Certified Replacement Part .

    • The AC adapter does not have enough power to charge the battery and provide power to run the notebook PC at the same time.

      Instruct the customer to use the power adapter that came with the notebook PC for better performance. If the customer needs a replacement adapter, refer them to HP Notebook PCs - Ordering an HP Certified Replacement Part .

Understanding HP Smart Adapter messages

Using a power adapter other than the one that came with your notebook PC—such as an adapter designed for use in a car or on an airplane—sometimes causes performance problems, thus causing the notebook PC to display a notification message in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

HP Smart Adapter message
Actions
This message indicates that the AC adapter does not have enough power to use your notebook PC. The battery light may blink rapidly 8 times and the battery icon in the system tray indicates that the notebook PC is operating on battery power.
For example, using a 65W AC adapter or 65W Travel Adapter on most Mobile Workstation series notebooks is not supported.
This message does not indicate that the AC adapter needs to be replaced or is defective. Use the appropriate AC adapter for your model notebook PC.
Please use the power adapter that came with your notebook PC for better performance. If you need a replacement adapter, please see HP Notebook PCs - Ordering an HP Certified Replacement Part .
This message indicates that the AC adapter has enough power to use your notebook PC, but not enough power to deliver expected performance
For example, attempting to use a 65W AC power adapter designed for a high performance notebook works, but performance is not optimal. High performance HP Notebook PCs require a 90W AC power adapter.
Please use the power adapter that came with your notebook PC for better performance. If you need a replacement adapter, please see HP Notebook PCs - Ordering an HP Certified Replacement Part .

Determining the adapter wattage

For best performance, use only the power adapter that came with your HP notebook and configure your power management settings for optimal performance based on your usage habits.

Your power adapter's wattage information is printed on the bottom of the adapter itself.

If you use a power adapter that has a lower wattage than your notebook requires, there may be some trade-offs. The CPU clock rate may be reduced to save power, which may cause programs to run slower, the battery may charge more slowly or not at all, or the power adapter itself may become warm to the touch.

Tips when connecting to external AC power

  • Plug the power cord into an AC outlet that is easily accessible at all times.

  • Always plug your notebook's power supply into a grounded outlet.

    If you do not use a grounded outlet, you may notice an electrical tingling sensation where the palms of your hands touch the notebook during use.

  • Check if adapter is placed in an area (under cabinets, near exhaust fans or heaters, etc) or covered by objects (ie. phone book, blankets, clothes) where the ambient temperature can reach greater than 35 degrees Celsius and prevent natural convection cooling. The AC adapter can become hot and go into thermal protection mode. Allow the AC adapter to cool for approximately 5 minutes before using again.

  • Disconnect power from the computer by unplugging the power cord from the AC outlet (not by unplugging the power cord from the computer).

  • Use only the AC adapter provided with the computer, a replacement AC adapter provided by HP, or a compatible AC adapter purchased from www.hp.com .

  • You should connect to external AC power when charging or calibrating a battery, installing or modifying system software (such as drivers and updates), and when you're writing information to an optical disc, such as a CD or DVD.

  • When connected to external AC power, the battery will charge, and the battery meter icon in the system tray, near the clock, will change appearance. When disconnected from external AC power, the computer will draw on the battery's charge to function, and the display brightness will automatically dim to save battery life. To increase brightness, press Fn + or reconnect the AC adapter.

  • If you use external AC all the time, it is a wise precaution to calibrate your battery routinely, or, once it has charged fully, remove it entirely before continuing to work on external AC. Continuously charging the battery without allowing it to expend its charge can degrade battery performance and shorten battery life.

  • If provided with a 3-pin attachment plug on the power cord, plug the cord into a grounded 3-pin outlet. Do not disable the power cord grounding pin, for example, by attaching a 2-pin adapter. The grounding pin is an important safety feature.

  • Unplug the power adapter cord, mouse, and other peripheral devices when moving a notebook.

    Do not leave accessories or power adapters connected to a notebook while moving it. Pulling, twisting, or jamming these cords can break the connectors.

  • Gather the power cord loosely in a bundle when packing it away for storage or transport.

    Use a "figure 8" pattern when bundling the cord. This allows for easy storage of the cord, prevents unintentional breaks in the wires, and keeps it from getting tangled.

  • Do not wrap the power cord around the power adapter or any other object as this could inadvertently break the cord's internal copper wires.

    Broken wires can short circuit both the power adapter and your notebook's internal power supply. Broken wires can shock anyone who touches the cord and may also present a fire hazard.

  • Use the power adapter on a hard, flat surface.

    When a high number of applications are running or when the battery is recharging, the power adapter may be warm to the touch when it reaches its power limit.

  • Connect the power adapter to a good quality surge protector if your local power supply is unstable.

    All power adapter certification tests for HP notebook PCs are performed using a grounded power adapter. Damage can occur if an ungrounded power adapter is subjected to power surges or electrostatic discharge.

About using a docking station

Docking stations may have limitations when using different power adapters. Use the appropriate compatible docking station for your notebook PC. Use the AC power adapter that is included with the docking station.

Understanding the Envy AC adapter lights

Depending on the model, the battery indicator LED (also called the power LED) may be white, green, or amber when AC adapter is connected and is providing power to the notebook.

The Envy has a different set of colors to verify that the AC adapter is working properly.

  • If the light is orange, the battery is charging.

  • If the light is white, the AC adapter is present.

  • If the light is off, the AC adapter is not present and/or the battery is fully charged or not installed.

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