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The AC power adapter type cannot be determined.

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by ConfusedMC, Dec 7, 2014.

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  1. ConfusedMC

    ConfusedMC Thread Starter

    Aug 14, 2009

    Awhile ago, I started getting this error message when I started up my computer (after the initial Dell screen). It stated:

    The AC adapter type cannot be determined. This will prevent optimal system performance.

    Strike the F3 key (before the F1 or F2 key) if you do not want to see power warning messages again.

    Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the set up utility.


    I ignored this problem for awhile by just hitting F1. However, within the last month, it has gotten worse. Instead of this error message coming up when I started my computer - after the initial Dell screen, nothing would come up except a little flashing line in the top left hand corner of the screen, and the computer would not start up passed that. I proceeded to fiddle with the plug that I plug into my laptop from adapter. I would push it harder into the laptop and/or twist it in after I hit the start up button, waiting to see if, after the initial Dell screen, I could get the error message to come up again so I could hit F1 so my computer would actually start up. I really don't know if any of that helped, but I figure if it was the adapter, then I should try something like that. I even blew it the plug and into the socket in the laptop tonight. However, tonight, I almost could not get the computer to start up all the way - I kept getting the screen with the little blinking line after the initial Dell screen and no error message. Eventually, after trying several times, I did get the error message and hit F1.

    Then, I came here and searched for 'power adapter.' I found a post here: http://forums.techguy.org/virus-other-malware-removal/815684-ac-adapter-type-cannot-determined.html

    I read over it, and it sounded a lot like my problem, especially with the whole battery no longer charging aspect. So I removed the battery, or at least I think I did (it says Dell Battery Module Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, plus my computer now does not detect any battery.) I then tried to start up my computer again, but this time still got the error message (but at least I could hit F1 and it started up!) Do you think I need to get a new battery? (even though I am not running on a battery, just AC power? Do both have to be working properly for this message, or the little blinking line problem, to go away?) I also noted in the post a suggestion to try another outlet. I am going to do that after I post this. I will come immediately back, if the computer starts up properly, to report what happened.

    Here is my SysInfo:

    Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version
    OS Version: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 3, 32 bit
    Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor 1.86GHz, x86 Family 6 Model 13 Stepping 8
    Processor Count: 1
    RAM: 1015 Mb
    Graphics Card: Mobile Intel(R) 915GM/GMS,910GML Express Chipset Family, 128 Mb
    Hard Drives: C: Total - 52234 MB, Free - 22819 MB;
    Motherboard: Dell Inc., 0HC416
    Antivirus: Microsoft Security Essentials, Updated: Yes, On-Demand Scanner: Enabled


    Just a note - I do know that Microsoft Security Essentials is no longer supported - just haven't bothered to get a new security system. I don't think that has anything to do with the problem (I hope.)

    I am going to go try a different outlet, like I said. Will come back, if I can, to let you know what happened.

    Any help you can give me would be appreciated greatly! Thank you so much in advance for your help and understanding!

    BACK: Changing the outlet did not work. I still get the error message (but not the little blinking line! Hooray!) I would rather get the error message because at least the computer will start up. However, I am still getting the error message, and I do not know if I will get the little blinking line instead again (although, I hope not - maybe taking the battery out helped somewhat?) I don't know. But just wanted to come back and let you guys know. Thanks so much again!
  2. Oddba11


    May 12, 2011
    First Name:
  3. ConfusedMC

    ConfusedMC Thread Starter

    Aug 14, 2009
    Thanks for the link!

    I looked through the posts on the Dell Forum, and it seems rather intimidating the possibilities of what could be wrong. However, I will stick with your diagnosis! I will try to get a new power adapter ASAP.

    Whenever I get it, which will hopefully be before this thread will automatically close, I will come back and report what happens.

    Thank you again!
  4. ConfusedMC

    ConfusedMC Thread Starter

    Aug 14, 2009
    I got a new power adapter!

    And it worked! I do not get the error message anymore! And when I turned on the computer, the battery even started to charge!

    However, I was on the computer quite awhile, and sometime while I was on, the battery light started to blink orange instead of non-blinking green - it used to do this until it decided not to charge anymore with the last AC adapter. So the battery decided it was no longer going to charge. I don't know what is wrong. I just took out the battery, and am just using the AC Adapter. Is that a problem? Is there something I should do to solve this problem?

    Thanks so much! Merry Christmas!
  5. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

    May 24, 2003
    First Name:
    It won't do any harm to leave the battery out, you can use it like that as long as you like, you would only need the battery if you aren't able to plug the charger into a wall.

    Dell chargers (and most of the cheaper compatible ones) have an extra connection in the plug that 'tells' the laptop it's the correct charger to use. Often that connection can fail to make good contact, that's when you get the error message.

    As long as it works ok with just the new charger connected the flashing orange light probably means the battery itself
    should be replaced but as stated above you may not need to do that.
  6. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

    Nov 11, 2002
    Leave the laptop plugged in to the mains with the mains on, but the laptop off overnight.
    That should ensure that the battery is as charged as it is going to get.
    Then try the machine on battery only and see how long it lasts or says it will last.
    There are special software tool for Dells that show the battery condition, and I think there is one in the supplied Dell tools that are available from the boot or BIOS screens.
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