Dell Vostro 3700: Plugged in, not charging
Last night I noticed that my Dell Vostro 3700 wasn’t charging. I’d unplugged and reconnected the power supply a few times during the course of the day and now, when I hovered the mouse over the power icon in the system tray, I saw the following message: 6% (plugged in, not charging)
This seemed a bit odd and I wondered why it wasn’t charging. I googled the message and found a number of forum posts describing similar symptoms and courses of action ranging from returning the power supply to Dell for replacement to a convoluted process of powering the laptop down, removing the battery, restarting the laptop and shutting it down, then putting the battery back in and rebooting again.
In my case, the ‘problem’ turned out to be user error. One of the Dell function keys on this particular model controls whether the battery should be charged or not. There’s a blue battery icon on the F2 key and pressing FN+F2 toggles between charging and not charging. This can be confirmed by right-clicking the tray icon and selecting Dell Battery Monitor. On the second tab, ‘Battery Life’, there’s a checkbox labelled ‘Disable battery charging’ which will either be checked or not depending on the current state of the FN-F2 function.
I’m guessing that Dell have added this feature so that you can disable battery charging if the laptop is used as a desktop replacement and always runs from AC power. Disabling the battery charging will probably prolog the life of the battery.
However, it seems a bit odd to have a function like this that is fairly obscure and easily (mis)used inadvertantly. I’m guessing that most users who accidentally put their laptops into a ‘not charging’ state won’t know why or how it happened and will assume that there’s a fault with their laptop or the power supply.