To expand on what I mean, I checked the voltages of each cell in the battery pack and they each read about 4.0v ea (6 green Li-ion cells in a 11.1v 53WH battery) and the total voltage reads 12.4v.

At this point I'm thinking that the problem lie in how the laptop uses the battery though I'm not sure how to test this.

Once the power cable is unplugged, the laptop will remain on but the built in battery light turns orange. It abruptly shuts down after about 10 minutes so it is using the battery to an extent.

This is a Dell Inspiron 6400.


If the battery voltage shows it really has been depleted when the indicator turns orange, than it would seem that the battery is at the end of its life. The amp hour rating of laptop batteries decrease with each charge/discharge cycle, and it seems that this battery has reached the point of being measured in "amp minutes". Sadly, sometimes a battery will reach this point rather suddenly. And when it does, its time to bite the bullet and get a new battery.

  • A test of the battery will prove this either correct or incorrect. I just have to rig up something that's burn 12v. I've revived many "dead" batteries and just because the computer has an orange light doesn't mean the battery is toast.
    – Enigma
    Mar 14 '13 at 22:20
  • 1
    Good point. In some cases, the laptop is estimating the future life based on that battery id's history and discharge rate. If there is an error, in that history, the laptop's history settings can be reset thru "recalibrate" options potentially available with that laptop.
    – jdh
    Mar 14 '13 at 22:30
  • I'll look into the bios settings for that. It's running Ubuntu so no windows functions would be possible.
    – Enigma
    Mar 19 '13 at 20:11
  • The battery was in a state that it couldn't be charged via the laptop charger. It still holds charge and I have revived it somewhat but it's life is short. Got a new battery for $16 on amazon.
    – Enigma
    Apr 5 '13 at 20:36

Sounds like your battery is definetly dead. Does it keep blinking amber. You can also make sure there's nothing wrong with your ac adapter by removing the battery and see if you can turn your laptop on. Usually that's the best way to test if it's a bad battery or ac adapter is defective. The issue with laptop battery nowadays people forget to use them. So it loses it's memory so when you're ready to use the battery again it already has a shorten life.

The Dell battery are dirt cheap you can probably find one on ebay for less then 40.00

  • Li-ion's have very good memory management. The batteries your referring to are Ni-Cad's which are crap for memory management. $40 isn't exactly dirt cheap and free is obviously better if the battery is revivable (if it is in fact dead which remains to be seen).
    – Enigma
    Mar 14 '13 at 22:22
  • it is cheap compared to what the originally manufacture price :)
    – Kien
    Mar 15 '13 at 15:23

I was able to resolve the issue on my Latitude 5590. Here are the steps I took:

  1. Install all the latest drivers and firmware. I used Dell Command | Update for this.

  2. Install Dell Command | Power Manager. (I'm not sure if this helped, but I suggest installing it anyway)

  3. Power Down the laptop and unplug the AC Adapter. Remove the battery if it's easy to detach. Mine was internal, so I left it in and this still worked.

  4. Press and hold the power button for 30 seconds to drain all the capacitors. When I did this mine started for 15 seconds and then died, so I did it again just to be safe.

  5. Plug in the AC adapter and start the laptop. Now unplug the AC and see if it worked!

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