Power Supply - "The AC power adapter type cannot be determined....."


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Power Supply - "The AC power adapter type cannot be determined....."

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For the last two weeks, every time I start my Dell INSPIRON E1705 while using the power supply I am greeted with the following message. "The AC power adapter type cannot be determined. Your system will operate slower and the battery will not charge. Please connect a Dell 90W AC adapter or higher for best system operation". I press the F1 Key and everything works fine. I've read about this on other websites and most say it's a design flaw in the power supply after the cord has been properly wound around the supply as designed. Apparently a few of the cords internal wire strands become broken and cause this message. My computer is from June 2006 and shouldn't be having this issue so early...or ever. This seems like a flaw that should have created some type of manufacturers recall since so many people are having this issue. I'm of course out of warranty, will Dell replace this free of charge?



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  • There is no recall (which is generally for safety issues) or free replacement that I am aware of.

    Perhaps the failure rate is not as high as some would have you believe. 

    Keep in mind the sheer volume of the parts out there. Yeah, those that have failed adapters will actively post about it, but how many never have these issues?

    We have SIX Dell laptops in our household (various models, from an Inspiron 1100 all the way up to a Precision M6300) and have not had one power adapter issue.  Admittedly, we use Dell's where I work (laptops for the past 6 years) and I have had one adapter fail, resulting in the message you describe. That is not at all an unacceptable failure rate.


    Community Member Since 2003

  • You are correct, the failure is due toloss of the power supply ID signal. Sometimes this happens because of strain on the plug, which breaks the signal wire. Some even are so severe that the insulation breaks away from the plug; this is due to rough handling. The other cause is one or more of the power socket solder connections to the system board become broken. This also is related to severe handling. I have seen one case where all three power connections and three of four mechanical connections were disconnected. If the power supply is bad, a replacement will cure the problem. If not, then the socket is bad, and this will require a system board replacement. If you are experienced, you can try to resolder the connections. I am experienced and was not able to get my daughter's E6000 to work by resoldered. More recent Dells are using a replacable power connection board which is a much cheaper repair.

    XPS M1530, Windows 8.1.1 Pro 32-bit
    Inspiron E1705, Windows 8.1.1 Pro 32-bit
    Dimension 9100, Windows 8.1.1 Pro 32 bit
    Inspiron 660, Windows 8.1.1 Home - 64 bit
    Compaq DX 4370G, Windows 8.1.1 Home - 64 bit
    Asus T100 Tablet, Windows 8.1.1 Home - 32 bit

  • I had a similar problem with a Vostro a few months ago - fortunately it was still under warranty so Dell repaired it. The cause turned out to be a blown capacitor on the motherboard - the engineer showed it to me.

    Do you have access to another Dell adapter? This is the easiest way to determine whether the adapter or the laptop itself is at fault.

  • I have that same model and recently got the same message. If I turn on the computer with the power adapter connected that screen shows up, if I turn it on w/o it, windows come up, but it won't charge when I do plug it. I was wondering if you ever did solve your problem, as I have tried to contact several places to see what they say, and they've told me that it's usually a problem with the motherboard, and nothing at all to do with the power cord.

  • I had the same problem, My other Dell charger would work fine but the original one that came with this laptop would always throw an error message indicating that the adapter wasn't recognized. None of the suggestions on any of the forums worked.

    So I held the chord by the circular flex thing at the end, and pushed in the power pin with force into the laptop, held it on for a few seconds - And now the laptop recognizes the adapter, charges and works fine! If you push the power pin slow and gently into the laptop, it doesnt recognize the adapter. I think the problem is either with the wires near the pin of the power chord, or with the adapter inside the laptop.

    Try it, worked for me! 


  • Good sluthing!!!

    The problem is most always contact of the small signal pin with the small hole in the center of the socket pin.

    My daughter just busted the DC socket on her 1735. The plastic pin totally broke off, leaving only the internal connectors. The power supply still works, but will not charge the battery. Looking closlely, there are multiple power connection wires, but the connection for the signal wire seems to be a pair of (thin) closlely spaced connectors. If the signal wire does not hit exactly between the two connectors, there is NO connection. I don't like the physical layout of these connectors, as it wouldn't take too much to affect the positioning of the pin and the socket connectors.

    I think Dell should addopt the Apple magnetic power coupling method and forget about battery identification.


    XPS M1530, Windows 8.1.1 Pro 32-bit
    Inspiron E1705, Windows 8.1.1 Pro 32-bit
    Dimension 9100, Windows 8.1.1 Pro 32 bit
    Inspiron 660, Windows 8.1.1 Home - 64 bit
    Compaq DX 4370G, Windows 8.1.1 Home - 64 bit
    Asus T100 Tablet, Windows 8.1.1 Home - 32 bit

  • My laptop has this problem and will charge when it is on when i use force to plug the charger but when i turn it off it will not charge do u know how i can fix this?

  • It may be possible to have the jack replaced - total cost should run in the $150-200 range.

    Otherwise, replace the mainboard ($400+).


  • I have the exact same problem.  And judging from the posts I have seen on this site and others Dell needs to learn the lesson of the American auto makers.


  • I have the same problem, but when i plug in the charger of my friend's studio 1410, my battery charges well. But with my vostro 1400 charger my battery doesnot charge but laptop works good. I plan to buy another charger and battery, what do you people suggest ?

  • The AC power adapter type cannot be determined

    I just go mine fixed myself.

    you have to take laptop apart and resolder  power jack all 9 joints.

    i tried every thing but nothing worked until I decided to resolder those joints. it has been working ever since, battery is charging up 100% every time.


  • I have two (9400 and 1545) laptops now at home with this same issue. I just received my new (Dell) battery, only to get the same message that you all are seeing. My son's system started exhibiting the same behavior a few months back. One system is two years old and the other about 3.5 years old. This is not acceptable, this company has really let their quality drop to make a higher profit.  l am in the market to buy a third system, but you can be dam sure I will not be giving any more business to Dell. I am in IT, and I will do my part to make sure Dell's poor quality is know whenever someone asks me what brands to consider.  I hope someone from Dell reads this.


    Former Dell fan



  • No matter which brand of laptop you pick (except the fruit brand), you're going to deal with the same connector issues.   There's a cottage industry that has grown just to replace connectors on laptop motherboards. Go look what brands they replace.  It's pretty much everybody.  There's a reason for that.  It's the nature of the connector design common to all the laptops.  Having dealt with a number of brands, Dell is second only to the original IBM Thinkpads.  The big plus to Dell is you can get on-site support.  Having someone come out and do the motherboard replacement while you watch can't be beat.  I can't tell you how many HP laptops I've seen sent away not to return for weeks.

    Having kids, they typically aren't as careful as you and I might be with the cords.  I even had to train my wife on the perils of pulling on the laptop and straining the cord.   It's a given that these will not last forever.  On my original 10 year old Latitude LS (which still works), I've gone through 3 power supplies from the cords fraying. What I've also learned is winding the cord around the power supply is a bad idea.  If you can, coil the cord in a loop about a foot in diameter when you put it away.

    The good news is you can get Dell branded or compatible 90w power supplies for relatively cheap price.  I have a couple of them just in case and the same power supply works on a lot of Dell laptops from the Inspiron to Latitude.

  • Thanks for the post, ramki1.

    Inserting the power cord with force worked for me as well. I don't know know how much longer I have with this cord, but I'm crossing my fingers!


    --- Update: May 8, 2011 ---

    P.S. I bought a new cord and everything's fine again.

  • I will give that a try.  Isn't it interesting that these posts were mostly made in summer of 2009 and here it is spring of 2011 and it's still happening?  My computer is still in warranty, but I just started getting unrecognizable adapter messages. Hate to go through the round and round with Dell - going to try your suggestion first.