Intermittently unrecognized AC adapter ?

  deserere 13:04 06 Jul 2018

Hi! This time I'm writing on behalf of my friend. We have the same laptops: Dell Precision M4800, with Windows 10 and I guess pretty good specs. He doesn't use the laptop for heavy gaming or something, but he does play video games on it from time to time. Up to this point there were no problems with performance, as expected since the laptop has 32 gb ram, the gpu is Quadro K1100m and the processor is i7-4810MQ.

Lately though, he encountered problems with the power supply. A few times, there was an error message that said:

Alert! The AC power adapter wattage and type cannot be determined. The battery may not charge. The system will adjust the performance to match the power available.

But it doesn't appear every single time, and the battery does charge, even with this error. I read about it, we contacted the seller since the warranty is still valid, but we're still testing things before deciding to send it back for a replacement. He ran the Dell diagnostics tool, once when the AC adapter wasn't recognized and once when it was. It turns out that sometimes the adapter is detected as 1 watt, and sometimes as 180, which is the correct numer. So, there's probably something wrong with either the cable or the jack?

He doesn't have any way to check another AC adapter except for buying one right now, but I guess he might have to end up having to do it and maybe it will fix the whole problem. But with this adapter error, he also encountered a drop in performance. It might be because of the power as well, but it happens even when the charger is recognized. And it's also intermittent - sometimes Windows itself works well, and sometimes it lags.

Also, he's been playing a game lately - Slime Rancher if that matters - and has been able to play it on high settings with good performance. It's weird, because he first encountered the AC error on June 22, and even yesterday (July 5) the game was running smoothly. Now it lags on high settings but works pretty ok on low. Could this be also the fault of the cable? Or could it be another problem with the laptop?

Would there be anything else that we should check? He even scanned the laptop for viruses, just to make sure if the lag is related to the AC or not. We both aren't really PC experts or something, the laptop is mainly used for doing the usual stuff like browsing the web, communicators and music, as well as some software like Photoshop and occasionally games that shouldn't be too demanding for the laptop to run. So if the lag is a separate issue, I don't really know what could cause it. While returning the laptop in exchange for a new one is an option offered by the seller, we want to try everything we can because the return process is a bit slow in this country and my friend would prefer to solve it without the hassle.

If I forgot to add something important, please ask!

  rdave13 16:56 06 Jul 2018

First thing I'd try is to remove all peripherals. External mouse/keyboard and drives etc. Power down and remove the AC power adaptor and battery. Press and hold the power button for 30 seconds or more. Refit battery and connect AC adaptor. See if that works. Otherwise I would send it back although it will be a hassle and takes time. Personally, with an issue like this, possibly the CPU is throttling down to save power as it's not getting a correct power supply reading, so the laptop 'lags', I wouldn't trust it and would certainly send it back under warranty.

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