With Dell laptops in general, the battery and charging mechanisms make them a bit tricky to deal with. The big difference that Dell laptops have from other laptops is that they use a charger sense to determine their charger type. And, if something happens to go wrong with that sense system, the battery will not charge at all.
This is what can go wrong with the Dell charging system.
Firstly, with the charger cable. We had a few adapters where the central wire broke inside the cable, and where the cable broke off from the plug completely. It seems that the central wire tends to break because the Dell's charger lead is thick and not flexible, compared to other laptop chargers.
The second area that Dell chargers can malfunction is through the DC jack. Sometimes, the DC jack breaks from constant over-use, and can be noticed through visual observation. Though, this usually does not happen very often. A broken DC jack can also be heard because there are bits that rumble inside the laptop when the laptop is shaken. It is very important to switch the laptop off and not connect the charger in this case, as metal bits can damage the motherboard.
The third problem that can occur on Dell laptops is when the DC jack disconnects from the motherboard. This can be a combination of pins disconnecting or just one pin that has disconnected (the central pin, for example). The bad thing about these faults is that they can't be seen visually, but can be seen when moving the charger plug to the sides, but this action does not always exhibit any fault.
Usually, this problem is caused by defective soldering as well as other factors such as overheating, etc. The PCB design does not always consider higher temperatures or big forces that are applied to the DC jack.
There can be other causes for the charging system not working, but they are a very small percentage compared to the mentioned above cases.
Under no circumstance will the wrong charger work on a Dell laptop. For example, if the adapter being used is of a lower power than is required, the laptop will not charge and might display a message that the charger is not compatible and that the system will not be able to work on to full performance capacity.
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