Notebook AC Adapter Survey

Notebook AC Adapter Survey


The Official Dell Corporate Blog

Notebook AC Adapter Survey

If I've learned anything from surfing customers' blogs over the last year and a half, I've learned one thing: customers do have a voice at Dell.

When you meet people for the first time, usually the conversation drifts towards what each of you "do for a living". When it does for me, I am never surprised to see a "knowing look" when I tell people I work at Dell. Being the kind of guy I am, I hit that look head-on more often than not. I explain that rather than working at a "big, faceless corporation" as a "drone", my job is proof that the customer has a voice. When people find out I surf and respond to blogs for a living, that "knowing look" usually melts right off of their faces. "Dell actually pays people to do that?"

In my day to day experience, I am constantly getting feedback from customers, and forwarding that feedback along to the appropriate groups. Customers are always telling me "wouldn't it be great if Dell would do <yoursuggestionhere>". I usually refer people to IdeaStorm, unless their suggestion is break/fix related. IdeaStorm is a great place to share your ideas, but sometimes our product engineers could use some specific feedback while putting together a new product design. Now is one of those times.

We have used the same AC adapters for all Dell notebook lines since 2003. In that time, notebooks have undergone some fairly significant changes, and also during this time, virtually no changes were made to the AC adapters being shipped with our notebooks. Four years is a lifetime in the computer industry, so it's safe to say these adapters are quickly becoming yesterday's technology. They have worked well, but there's always room for improvements.

There is at least one AC adapter in circulation for every notebook we sell, so not only is it the most common piece of Dell equipment, it is also probably one of the products we receive the most feedback about. Given these facts, our engineers have decided to focus on the AC adapter to try and determine the best ways to improve its design. This gives us a golden opportunity to give feedback at a critical time in a product's life:

AC Adapter Survey

Our engineers want to know how you use the AC adapters with your notebooks so they can take these scenarios into consideration during design. Being that this is one of the most ubiquitous pieces of Dell equipment, this is a chance for us as customers to tell the designers themselves how wecollectively use their product, so that they can improve the design and make an AC adapter designed to meet our needs. The survey is yet another way the customer has a voice at Dell.

I've already filled it out, and I hope you'll join me.


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  • I am BEGGING you . Please make the power adapter connecters for your notebooks in the shape of an L like on acer laptops.


    IT helps TONS  because it makes it less likely for the connecter to make the power conenctor on the motherboard pull off of the motherboard itself when banged into.

     Please I am begging you.

  • John, I would like to see this survey opened up to all laptops. I own a Dell pc and another breed laptop. The problem is the same for all manufacturers on the ac adapters. It could be made simpler, by making one style adater to fit all laptops and notebooks.
  • Finally!  Thanks Lionel, I'm looking foreward to some much needed changes.
  • Don't forget to look at the bright side of providing the same AC adapter for 4+ years.  If you happen to forget yours, you can use almost any other DELL AC adapter in the room.  My whole family uses DELL notebooks and at family gatherings we usually only have one adapter out and we just pass it around when someone gets low on power.  Change just to change isn't always a good thing.

    I did fill out the survey and made the same comments.

  • I purchased a 64 bit system in Jan of 07 and just recently activated the system due to reasons I won't take the time to explain. When I activated the system I discovered Dell hadn't installed a 64 bit OS. They had it listed on the initial system as an option, but when customizing the system was not listed in the drop down menu. I assumed it was 64 as standard. I recently called Dell to discuss this and was told initially they wouldn't do anything to correct it. I had found some information on a Microsoft article that said the licence would be upgraded on 64 bit systems purchased with 32 bit operating systems. A second call and this information yielded better results initially, as the first three departments agreed that the right thing to do was to upgrade the OS. The resolution department changed that decision and wouldn't correct the problem. I am in contact with Microsoft at and expense of $59 and they tell me that Dell should correct the problem since it is OEM software which is the same thing I told the helpful people at Dell. I am an area Geek and have purchased a large quantity of systems and helped many people purchase new systems. My current plans since they aren't honoring their commitments of warranty and OEM licencing are to cease my purchases and recommendations. If someone from Dell can check the number of systems I have purchased and the small amount of tech support they have had to provide for these systems you will realize you are making a mistake by not honoring your commitments.

     Stewart Riding

    Eagle River Consulting

  • I started using a Dell Inspiron 8500 in February of 2004 and got a 3 year extended warranty, which was the best thing I ever did because, as I soon found out, a lot can go wrong in 3 years!  Until my warranty expired at the end of October, I was probably calling Dell service every few months for one thing or another.  A Dell service technician had to come to my house at least 3 times to replace parts (one of those times was the motherboard, I can't remember what the other replacements were for).  But the most frequent reoccurring complaint has been my AC adapter. 

     I have had to have Dell replace my AC adapter three times during my warranty.  Each of those times, the green light on the product would not turn on, and it would emit a beeping noise.  This problem is not unique:  I have seen other people gripe about the same issue on other blogs.  The three replacements also all came within the span of about a year.  Unlike a Dell service technician told me on the phone today, this does not seem like 'normal wear and tear'.

    I do transport my laptop from home to school- I believe that is one of the greatest benefits of having a laptop.  I am very careful with handling the cord:  I coil it around the brick-  a service technician advised against doing this too tightly, but I am pretty careful and it is not tightly coiled.  It certainly does not seem like an abnormal way of handling the adapter, and if that really is the reason why they have been breaking, it should come with transportation instructions!

     My reason for writing now is that my warranty is up, and in a timely fashion, my AC adapter has stopped working once again- same symptoms.   To list some positives about my experience with Dell, I have had excellent (but far too frequent) experiences with the service department.  The computer also runs very smoothly which is important.  But I have had other laptops in the past where I have not had to replace the AC adapter ONCE, as opposed to my experience with Dell.  This, combined with other negative experiences will certainly stop me from buying Dell products in the future.

  • AC isn't the only kind of "Adapting" going on at Dell! I appreciated your comment: "If I've learned anything from surfing customers' blogs over the last year and a half, I've learned one thing: customers do have a voice at Dell." Thanks for sharing this piece with Dell customers! I have piles of emails from customers that are thankful that Dell has folks like you! I hope you have a peaceful holiday season!
  • I've had about 4-5 dell laptop over the years but have seem to have gone through about 12-15 adapters (I'm on my 3rd adapter for this new computer I bought a few months ago.)


    The biggest thing I've noticed, is that most laptop users, put the computer on their laps---either sitting against a wall or lying down---having the adapter in the back sticking straight out will bend and fray over time because it's placed right where someone's knee/leg is.


    Create a special place inside the laptop for the actually metal connector such that the only thing sticking out is flexible cable.  should be fairly straightforward no?



  • I would LOVE to see you make the cord that runs from the supply itself detachable and replaceable.  I am on my third supply in a year, each replacement having been necessitated by something happening to break the connector that plugs into the laptop.  Unfortunately, a broken connector on that wire necessitates replacing the entire PS because the wire running from it to the computer is fixed which means rather than purchasing a $10 wire I have to buy another complete unit.

     I think having an "L"-shaped connector would be beneficial as well and go a long way towards reducing the incidence of broken plugs.

     I'm sure this has been asked, answered, and commented on a thousand times but what was the logic behind adding the third wire and requiring only a genuine Dell PS to charge the battery on your laptops?  How are you guys getting away with that?  I'm sure there is some smokescreen logic about ensuring quality but it seems to me to be a thinly-veiled, Applesque attempt to force customers to buy only genuine Dell products.

  • The cord stinks, This is my 3rd Ac Adaptor in the pass 3 years. Having trouble now with the cord that is not connecting in to the computer and hard time charging my computer.
  • My battery is no longer charging.  When I reset the BIOS I received an error message that stated the 90-W AC Adapter was NOT a DELL adapter but it is!

     Something needs to be done about this, I've seen a lot of posts on this failure and possible internal mother board failure.  I NEVER had this problem with my old 8100 model but am now having it with my E1705 that is only 18 months old!

  • I have been experience intermitten power interuptions with brick for the last six months. Now the brick is completely powered off, and the green light won't come on to charge the battery. The baterry charges fine with brick working.

     Is there a fix available?

  • I am currently having problems with my 2nd power cord where it plugs into the notebook within 6 months. My husband just received his 3rd one this year. We are very careful when storing for transporting and when using at home, however, it seems as though there is a pre-set number of plug-ins programmed into the plug. My husband tranports his computer more than I do which explains him needing more replacements. We both have had the internal plug replaced, luckily mine was still under warranty. My question is this: Why can't we replace just the section from the brick to the notebook?  Also, I read somewhere that the parts we purchased were refurbished. Does this have anything to do with the durability of the power supply cord? I am really disappointed in Dell and the length of warranty of replacement parts and will take this into consideration when making future purchases and recommendations to family, friends and colleagues.
  • My laptop just died and I just finish to write a post on the power section of the forum (hopping for some help). This time my laptop died because of the power tip pour design. As "majortom1981" on this poll is suggesting make a power tip L shaped so the cable take the direction that wants to take and avoid to take that much stress on the bit of cable in between the ferride (you don't have to invent here you can simply copy from other brands).  All metals snap after many bend ups and downs. So if L shaped the connector could freely twist taking the best direction for the cable it self. My laptop died because one of the cable broke and shortcut with the other one and most probably I will have to buy a new motherboard and of course new charger for my dell D400. I would suggest you to also make some sort of magnetics links in the middle of the cable too, so if someone step on the cable the 2 magnetic tips will separate before the full Leigh of cable pulls the laptop on the floor. If you need help whit the design I can help you as I was about to design a laptop life saver "magnetic tip twister and slpitter" and make it available on the market. (As I already destroyed a laptop by accidentally stepped on power cable and pulled the laptop on the floor). I think most of dell users experienced already a second AC converter. I work for IT company and I do suggest Dell to all my customers and I do get lot's of calls because of the Faulty AC (all the rest of the computers are fine).

    Do I have to believe that Dell didn't know about their pour design AC converter? or maybe it was an excuse to make a bit of more money after sale? it cost me already 2 AC convers already... and now my laptop it self (of course out of guarantied) I'm not happy at all.

  • I purchased a Dell Inspiron E1505 approximately two years ago.  Since then, I have gone through four adapters.  Whereas my Toshiba laptop I purchased in 2002 still uses its original adapter.  What's the deal?  Am I using the wrong wattage?  What is wattage?  The 90 watt adapters are a few bucks cheaper than the 65 watts.  I assumed the more watts the I wrong?  For some odd reason, my adapters end up burning up...when I plug them in they will beep and I have to mess with the prong to get the green light to come on.  This enables me to limp along until it ultimately fizzles out, and then my stepson is having a kanipshion because he can't continue his online war game that expires by the day.   Anyone...please I not doing something right?



    frustrated New Mexican

  • My inspiron 5150 can not keep a connection to from the AC adaptor.  The problem is in the connection to the  computer which works loose until there is no longer any contact to charge the battery.  This computer is only used on our laps in the house with virtually no transportation.  Thus there is very gentle use.  Two mother boards have already been replaced since that is where the AC adaptor connects internally within the machine.  We are still under a 4 year warranty and expect yet another visit from an in house technician to replace the mother board again.  An square jack that fit snugly into a receptical and thus eliminated any wiggling or pull on the adapter cord would eliminate the problem.  My son's older Inspiron 1100 model has such a configuation which places no stress on the connection and has never had any problems of this sort.  Why was a good design abandoned and replaced with a lesser design?
  • I have a Dell D505, and am now on my 3rd adaptor. Just like "jstobb" above, i expereinced exactly the same thing.  I can't use my laptop anymore, as it's out of warranty. What is Dell going to do about this PROBLEM?.  They should do a recall.  I paid nearly £1200 3 years ago for my laptop, and I'm deply upset that I can't power it up anymore.  Come on Dell, pull your finger out.  I have a great laptop, that I can't use!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I have inspiron 6400, I am also on my second adapter in less than a year, I have had this new one just about 2 months. After just a few uses, it will not stay connected. They should get a new design and recall all of the old adapters and give us new ones for free. Dell used to be know for their service and tech support now they rate as the poorest.
  • I, too, am having continuing problems with the need to keep replacing the adapters.  I think it is pre-programmed to last only a short time. What drives me totally crazy is the QuickSet warning that displays right across the center of the screen. "The AC power adapter type cannot be determined." It comes up every few seconds even though this is a new adapter. How can I turn off this $$###ZZZ warning! 
  • Inspiron V6000... generally it has been a good laptop.  We've been using it for 2 1/2 years and although nearly every key has fallen off (another issue with poor design) the most problematic element has been the AC power supply.  We have replaced it twice with parts ordered directly from Dell; then, this last time we ordered what is supposed to be an authentic Dell product through Ebay.  I believe it is, too because everything about it is exactly like the two previous ones.

    This machine has been heavily used but well taken care of ... although, again by the looks of it you'd never know it.

    We are a family of 5 and each of us has a laptop.... this is the only Dell... this is the only one with power supply issues... COME ON DELL... step up to the plate and admit poor design.  I find it impossible to believe that so many consumers could be using the parts in less than desirable ways.... it has to be the product itself.

    Our latest issue... is not the supply cord itself but like I've read from other posts... the hub on the back of the laptop that the supply actually plugs into is no longer stable so it does not maintain a constant supply...with the slightest movement the circuit is broken and it is back to trying to run on battery.

     I HAVE BEEN SO DISGUSTED AND WOULD NOT COME CLOSE TO CONSIDERING THE PURCHASE OF ANOTHER DELL unless I saw Dell stepping up and making good on all of these pieces of junk they sold to us.

  • I just finished recharging my laptop by HOLDING the adapter to the back of my inspiron 2650. I'm using the 2650 since my newer 6000 crashed and I lost a TON of information. What is the purpose of a warranty if everything is designed to tear up less than one week after the warranty expires.

    My small company has purchased 20 Dell computers since 2003. Based upon the problems we have encountered, I don't know if we'll replace the Dell with another one.

    These are problems that could be easily remedied, yet no one wants to take the time to do so. Your sales have been down; do you wonder why? 

  • Karen and Cindy: Sorry that you having problems with both of your Dell notebooks. I'll ask someone from Tech Support to contact you.
  • I have a Dell Inspiron 5160, it cost well over $1100 new about 3 years ago, and one day it crashed. Thought it was the AC adapter, replaced at cost of

    $250, but it did not fix the problem. Was told it was probably the motherboard, but there have been so many defects with this model, that

    the recommendaton was to replace, not worth fixing it.  Indeed, I was not happy about this, and even less happy when I read about all of the other customers who are experiencing the same problem. There should be a recall, especially  if you want to keep customers at all.


  • I purchased an Inspiron 600m over 2 years ago. First, the battery stopped charging. I had it replaced.  The new battery lasted for 2 charges and also stopped.  After some searching, a blog recommended a BIOS update to correct the issue. Now the fun starts.  The BIOS sees the battery, but won't allow the update unless the battery is charged. Since this is the only Dell I own, finding another laptop is not an option. The other option was a complete mobo replacement to the tune of several hundreds of dollars. I have since converted this laptop to desktop status and purchased a new Toshiba Satellite (which works beautifully). After reading all the posts berating Dell's lack of resolution of this issue (mobo charging failure), I have become saddened.  I really like my Dell, when it works.  But you guys are going to have to do some major overhauling to the product to regain my patronage.
  • I purchased a Dell Inspiron 1420 for myself in August of 2007.  I've had trouble intermittantly with the AC adapter, which is rarely transported.  Two days ago, it stopped working completely.  I called Dell and they will replace at no charge due to the warranty, but meanwhile, I'm stuck-unable to use my machine until the new one arrives.  It certainly would be nice to find a universal adapter that is compatible with my laptop that I could purchase at an electronics store or Wal-mart, which now sells Dells.  My son has a Dell laptop at college, and although this is a big inconvenience for me to be unable to use mine, for him to have the adapter fail at school and have to wait for the shipping of a replacement would be a much more serious issue.  C'mon Dell-if you're going to hold us hostage, at least make the part available in retail outlets.  I will be purchasing a laptop for my younger son within the next year, and will more than likely go with a different manufacturer.