Here's the problem (I'll answer it myself afterwards, since Dell hasn't acknowledged it and is paying out the rear for it):
You plug in the charger and Windows sees the battery but it won't charge it.
So 3 motherboard replacements later, I discovered this. No one from dell chat support EVER checked this or asked me to:
Press Fn+F2 or Fn+F3 to enable/disable charging the battery.
Wow, don't you feel stupid...
Dell, please train your chat support please.
I have a Dell Latitude E5500 in the same state. The battery ran down even though the adapter was plugged in. Now it won't boot up with or without the battery installed. How can I get it going again? I can't get it to come up and stay up to press FN+F2 or F3.
Assuming you are running windows, the problem is probably with your power cord. If the power cord was functioning, it would power your laptop regardless of the state of the battery. In fact, you can run a Latitude e series that is plugged in without even having a battery. Try this:
1. Find somebody with a docking station (Dell?), these use the ports on the bottom of your computer to power it, so whatever is broken with the AC adapter line probably wont affect this.
2. Put your computer in the docking station and see if it turns on/charges. If it charges, than something is wrong with your AC adapter. If it doesn't turn on, then you can always buy a new laptop and hot swap the hard drive.
Zach, that's the funniest thing I saw all day!
Did they ask you to look in BIOS setup to verify battery charging is enabled?
Thanks. Some one had told me (wrongly) that a battery must be present. I had measured the O/C voltage at the adapter's connector and it seemed OK. It turns out though, the adapter is faulty under load. I ordered a new one.
Had similar issue with an e6410, I swapped out the brick (A/C adapter) and it started to get a charge, it did not with the previous A/C adapter. I was able to boot up the laptop. It turned out that the e6410s adapter was damaged, the LED lit plug was bent. I work in a school district and kids had used the laptop and probably bent it. Just FYI. Hope this helps.
Worked for me as well! Thanks!!!