Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My laptop is behaving rather strangely lately, and I was hoping to get some idea as to what may be causing such symptoms.

The problem: When charging, very minute or so it loses connectivity with the AC adapter for a split second, and regains it back immediately. When this happens the little light that indicates the computer is plugged in does flicker off and back on, but I checked the adapter by replacing the battery on my laptop, and this indeed solves the problem, so it is probably the battery which is at fault, not the adapter (I also tried to move the adapter's wire around just to make sure it had nothing to do with torn wires).

I suppose that the obvious solution is to get a new battery, but as far as battery defects go- this is a rather strange one; it loses connection with the adapter, but still powers the computer, and changing the power setting to a balanced plan (was maximum performance) seem to have solved the problem too. Is there a chance this is not simply the battery, but some kind of other electronic defect? And if not, what can cause it to behave so strangely?

PS I tried to recalibrate it- didn't help.

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries use an electronic driver (as in hardware, not a Windows driver per se) that prevents overcharging and overdepletion of the battery. It stops the charging cycle when full and kills the battery power when nearly depleted. When this driver is malfunctioning, the problems you described might occur.

This may also cause overcharging and overdepletion in long term which can cause your battery to heat up and melt... (Cases of Li-Ion batteries catching fire are known) Not a very desirable effect I'd say... Anyhow, if this is the problem, you're bound to notice performance effects after a while.

share|improve this answer
My battery is indeed Lithium-Ion. It seem to run OK now that I put the power plan to "balanced", so I'd like to get some more use out of it. At the sign of which symptoms should I definitely put it away? – EpsilonVector Jun 8 '10 at 22:45
On sign of overheating or huge performance loss... but again, these symptoms can show up all of a sudden and be "fatal" at the first time. (It's possible it's not malfunctioning at all, but there's no easy way to be sure.) – BloodPhilia Jun 8 '10 at 22:47
"fatal" to the battery, or possibly to the computer as well? – EpsilonVector Jun 8 '10 at 23:22
"Fatal" as in causing a fire. This article states "What happens if a battery is inadvertently overcharged? lithium-ion is designed to operate safely within their normal operating voltage but become unstable if charged to higher voltages. When charging above 4.30V, the cell causes plating of metallic lithium on the anode; the cathode material becomes an oxidizing agent, loses stability and releases oxygen. Overcharging causes the cell to heat up. If left unattended, the cell could vent with flame." – Wayne Johnston Jun 9 '10 at 0:52
Wayne Johnston said it all! ;) So it's possibly even fatal to your house if left unattended. – BloodPhilia Jun 9 '10 at 5:35

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.