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Using and Testing the AC Power Adapter

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq notebook computers.
The AC power adapter is used to recharge the battery in a notebook computer and to provide dependable power for operating the notebook for long periods of time. If an AC power adapter fails, it will not recharge the battery and it will not provide power to operate the notebook without a battery. Use this document for information on how to use and test your notebook AC power adapter.

Using the AC power adapter

With proper use and care, your AC power adapter will recharge the notebook battery and provide power for operating the notebook for extended periods. Read a section below for information on the proper use and care of your AC power adapter.
Use the following steps to connect your AC power adapter to the computer.
  1. Plug the DC connector into the power connector on the computer.
  2. Plug the power cord into the AC adapter.
  3. Plug the power cord into a working AC wall outlet.
    NOTE:Power cords vary in appearance by region and country.
Figure 1: AC adapter components
Image of AC adapter components
1 - AC adapter
2 - DC connector
3 - Power cord
  • Plug the power cord into an AC outlet that is easily accessible at all times.
  • Always plug the AC adapter into a grounded outlet.
    CAUTION:If you do not use a grounded outlet, you may notice an electrical tingling sensation when the palms of your hands touch the notebook during use.
  • If provided with a 3-pin attachment plug on the power cord, plug the cord into a grounded 3-pin outlet. Do not disable the power cord grounding pin, for example, by attaching a 2-pin adapter. The grounding pin is an important safety feature.
  • Always disconnect power from the computer by unplugging the power cord from the AC wall outlet first, and then unplug the power cord from the computer.
  • Make sure the power adapter is NOT placed in an area (such as under cabinets, near exhaust fans or heaters) or covered by objects (such as a phone book, blankets, or clothes) where the ambient temperature can reach greater than 35 degrees Celsius and prevent natural convection cooling. The AC adapter can become hot and go into thermal protection mode. Allow the AC adapter to cool for approximately 5 minutes before using again.
  • Use only the AC adapter provided with the computer, a replacement AC adapter provided by HP, or a compatible AC adapter purchased from www.hp.com .
  • Connect to external AC power when charging or calibrating the battery, installing or modifying system software (such as drivers and updates), and when writing information to an optical disc, such as a CD or DVD.
  • When connected to external AC power, the battery charge icon and the battery meter icon in the system tray changes appearance. When disconnected from external AC power, the computer uses power from the battery and the display brightness automatically dims to save battery life. To increase the display brightness, press Fn + or reconnect the AC adapter.
  • If you use an external AC power adapter at all times, you should calibrate your battery often, or, once the battery has charged fully, remove it entirely before continuing to work on external AC power. Continuously charging the battery without allowing it to expend its charge can degrade battery performance and shorten battery life.
  • Unplug the power adapter cord, mouse, and other peripheral devices when moving a notebook.
    Do not leave accessories or power adapters connected to a notebook while moving it. Pulling, twisting, or jamming these cords can break the connectors.
  • Gather the power cord loosely in a bundle when packing it away for storage or transport.
    Use a "figure 8" pattern when bundling the cord. This allows for easy storage of the cord, prevents unintentional breaks in the wires, and keeps it from getting tangled.
    Figure 2: Properly bundled adapter and power cords
  • Do not wrap the power cord around the power adapter or any other object as this could inadvertently break the cord's internal copper wires.
    Broken wires can short circuit both the power adapter and your notebook's internal power supply. Broken wires can shock anyone who touches the cord and might present a fire hazard.
    Figure 3: Improperly wrapped AC adapter cord
    Figure 4: Damaged AC adapter cord
  • Use the power adapter on a hard, flat surface.
    When a high number of applications are running or when the battery is recharging, the power adapter may be warm to the touch when it reaches its power limit.
  • Connect the power adapter to a good quality surge protector if your local power supply is unstable.
    All power adapter certification tests for HP notebook computers are performed using a grounded power adapter. Damage can occur if an ungrounded power adapter is subjected to power surges or electrostatic discharge.
Using a power adapter, other than an adapter that was designed to be used with your computer, can cause the notebook computer to display a notification message in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
HP Smart Adapter messageActions
This message indicates that the AC adapter does not have enough power to use your notebook computer. The battery light may blink rapidly 8 times and the battery icon in the system tray indicates that the notebook computer is operating on battery power.

For example, using a 65W AC adapter or 65W Travel Adapter on most Mobile Workstation series notebooks is not supported.

This message does not indicate that the AC adapter needs to be replaced or is defective. Use the appropriate AC adapter for your model notebook computer.

Please use the power adapter that came with your notebook computer for better performance. If you need a replacement adapter, please see Ordering HP Certified Replacement Parts .
This message indicates that the AC adapter has enough power to use your notebook computer, but not enough power to deliver expected performance.

For example, attempting to use a 65W AC power adapter designed for a high performance notebook works, but performance is not optimal. High performance HP Notebook computers require a 90W AC power adapter.

Please use the power adapter that came with your notebook computer for better performance. If you need a replacement adapter, please see Ordering HP Certified Replacement Parts .
For best performance, use only the AC power adapter that came with your HP notebook computer and configure your power management settings for optimal performance based on your usage habits.
Your AC power adapter's wattage information is printed on a label located on the bottom of the AC adapter.
Figure 5: Example of a 65W AC power adapter label
Figure 6: Example of a 120W AC power adapter label
If you use a power adapter that has a lower wattage than your notebook requires, there may be some trade-offs. The CPU clock rate may be reduced to save power, which may cause programs to run slower, the battery may charge more slowly or not at all, or the power adapter itself may become warm to the touch.
Depending on the model, the battery indicator LED (also called the power indicator light) may be white, green, or amber when the AC adapter is connected and is providing power to the notebook.
NOTE:On some HP notebooks, the LED lights do not indicate a power state. For other HP notebooks, there may be multicolor LEDs that do indicate different power states. To determine the functionality of the LEDs on your notebook, please refer to the user guide which came with the notebook.
The HP Envy notebook computer has a different set of colors to verify that the AC adapter is working properly.
  • If the light is orange, the battery is charging.
  • If the light is white, the AC adapter is present.
  • If the light is off, the AC adapter is not present and/or the battery is fully charged or not installed.
Some notebook computers have a power indicator light in the area near the power connector. If this light is on then the AC adapter is functioning properly.
Figure 7: Power indicator light.
Image of the power indicator light.
Docking stations may have limitations when using different power adapters. Use the appropriate compatible docking station for your notebook computer. Use the AC power adapter that is included with the docking station.

Testing the AC power adapter

If your notebook exhibits any of the following symptoms then you should test your AC adapter using the steps below to verify the AC adapter is working properly.
  • When the notebook is connected to the AC adapter, the notebook does not turn on and lights or LEDs do not turn on.
  • When the notebook is connected to the AC adapter, the display does not turn on.
  • When the notebook is connected to the AC adapter, the power LED is off.
  • When the notebook is connected to the AC adapter, the battery does not charge.
CAUTION:The AC adapter may shutdown and remain without output due to conditions that can trigger overcurrent, overtemperature, and short circuit. To recover the adapter output, unplug the adapter from the AC inlet for approximately 5 minutes and plug in again.

Step 1: Examine the adapter, power cord and computer for physical damage

  1. Unplug the power cord from the AC wall outlet.
  2. Disconnect the DC connecter from the computer.
  3. Check the AC adapter and cords for physical damage or signs of overheating.
    Figure 8: Example of damaged AC adapter
    Image of chipped and cracked AC adapter and damaged cord.
  4. Check the DC connector pin on the computer to ensure that the pin is not bent or broken.
    Make sure there are no obstructions or any foreign material inside the DC connector and that the center ID pin is straight and not slanting inside the DC connector.
    Figure 9: DC connector pin on computer
    Image of the DC connecter pin on the computer.
If the AC adapter, DC connector, or any cords are damaged, do not use the adapter. You can purchase a replacement AC adapter from HP. See Ordering HP Certified Replacement Parts for more information, or contact HP service and support for further assistance.
If there is no physical damage to the AC adapter, DC connector, or cords, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Verify the wall outlet is functioning

  1. Unplug your AC power cord from the wall outlet.
  2. Test the wall outlet by plugging in a small lamp or other device that you know is working.
    If the small lamp or other device works, the wall outlet is functioning. Continue to Step 3: Disconnect and reassemble the power cord and AC adapter .
    If the wall outlet is not providing power, test the lamp or other device on different wall outlets until you find a working wall outlet and continue to the next step..

Step 3: Disconnect and reassemble the power cord and AC adapter

  1. Remove the power cord from the AC adapter.
  2. Reconnect the power cord to the AC adapter. Be certain that the power cord is fitted tightly in to the AC adapter inlet.

Step 4: Connect the AC adapter to the PC

  1. Remove the primary (and secondary) battery from the notebook computer.
  2. Connect the DC connector end of the AC adapter into the computer's power connector.
  3. Plug the AC adapter power cord directly into a functioning wall outlet. Do not plug into a power strip, surge protector or secondary power source.
  4. Verify that the LED on the AC adapter is lit when plugged into an AC wall outlet.
    NOTE:Some AC power adapters do not have an LED.
  5. Verify that all power cord connections are secure.
    If the DC connection to the notebook is loose, the connector or system board may be damaged and require repair. Contact HP service and support for further assistance.

Step 5: Verify that the notebook receives power from the adapter

  1. With the AC adapter connected, look for any LED lights on the front, top or side of the notebook computer. If an LED light is on then the AC adapter is functioning properly.
    NOTE:On some HP notebooks, the LED lights do not indicate a power state. For other HP notebooks, there may be multicolor LEDs that do indicate different power states. See the Understanding the AC adapter lights section of this document for more information. To determine the functionality of the LEDs your notebook, please refer to the user guide that came with the notebook.
  2. Press the Power button on the computer.
  3. Verify that the power button or power LED is lit when the computer is on.
    If the Power LED is on , then the AC adapter is functioning properly.
    If the power LED is off , the AC adapter needs to be replaced.
If the AC adapter is defective and the computer is in warranty, contact HP service and support for further assistance. If the computer is no longer in warranty, see Ordering HP Certified Replacement Parts .

Step 6: Look for the battery icon in the system tray

Windows displays a battery charging activity icon in the system tray. Refer to this icon from the Windows desktop next to the time and date.
  • Figure 10: Battery charging icon
    With the AC adapter connected to the computer, the battery charging icon indicates that the AC adapter is working properly and has enough power.
  • Figure 11: Battery power icon
    With the AC adapter connected to the computer, a battery power icon indicates one of the following conditions:
    • The AC adapter is not working properly.
      If the AC adapter is defective and the computer is in warranty, replace the AC adapter with the appropriate spare part. For more information, refer to Ordering HP Certified Replacement Parts .
    • The AC adapter does not have enough power to charge the battery and to run the notebook computer at the same time. Do not use adapters from other computers, use the power adapter that came with the notebook computer for best performance. To order a replacement adapter, refer to Ordering HP Certified Replacement Parts .

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