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// Tales from software development

Dell Vostro 3700: Plugged in, not charging

with 6 comments

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.


Written by Sea Monkey

January 11, 2011 at 8:00 am

Posted in Hardware

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6 Responses

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  1. I’ve got a vostro 3700 as well and I think this an excellent feature. With the dell OSD software installed you should get a reminder that the battery is not being charged when the machine awakes from sleep.

    I use my laptop with AC far more than I do running on battery and this feature will certainly prolong battery life. Although the VCB will stop charging when the battery reaches full to avoid overcharging it will fire on again when the battery starts to drain.

    I do agree though that for some users this may be confusing and they should really have made some sort of status tray icon that lets you know that battery charging has been disabled.


    February 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

  2. I have got Dell Vostro 3500 Laptop.No such option as DELL BATTERY METER comes in my laptop.How do I disable battery charging and run the laptop directly from AC power.Also can I assume that whenever my battery is fully charged my battery charging gets automatically disabled and it directly ruuns from AC power?


    January 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm

  3. I had to get a replacement Vostro as my last was stolen and unfortunately the newer models no longer seem to have this ability.

    The laptop will stop charging when the battery is full (if it didn’t it would go on fire!) but as soon as the battery begins to drain it will start charging again. This is generally bad for battery life expectancy but short of removing the battery from the system I don’t think there is much that can be done – unless there is some sort of 3rd party software out there I haven’t heard of.


    February 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm

  4. I own a Vostro 1720 and I had the same problem.
    I started the computer on safe mode. Then I turned it off. Then started it up normally and it fixed the problem.


    July 2, 2012 at 1:54 am

  5. Ha ha ha, today i was checking various function key combinations and wondering what fn+F2 (with battery icon) does. In the evening I noticed that battery is not charging. Shit. Uncle google says that probably the charging circuit on the mainboard is broken and I have to replace whole MB. Double shit …

    Sooo then I found your post. Thank YOU! 🙂


    October 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm

  6. i have a dell vostro 3350 with not charging problem,but during the boot it says that the adapter wattage cannot be determined please connect a dell 90w charger i also purchased a new dell 90 w charger but the problem is still now my battery is 0% charged.i checked the battery,charger with other laptop of same model


    February 19, 2017 at 9:06 pm

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