How To Reset a Dell Laptop Battery That's Not Being Detected and Not Charging

Contrary to what tech support may tell you, you may not need to buy a new battery if you can just reset The Sensor.

How To Reset a Dell Laptop Battery That's Not Being Detected and Not Charging
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February 20, 2017

Have you ever pulled out your laptop at your local coffee shop and pressed the power button only to discover that nothing happened? Well, it's happened to us before and we're pretty sure it's happened to you, too!

Should have seen it coming

Most of the time you've seen this coming. You knew the battery was getting old and it hasn't been holding its charge for nearly as long as it used to. But that's ok, you thought. You'll just make it work until it won't work. Thankfully, you have a power cord with you.

but the battery isn't that old or is brand new

But what if you have a battery that isn't that old, worked perfectly fine yesterday, or is brand new? This might confuse you a bit. It did for us! We broke down and bought a new battery only to find out that the new battery didn't work either. But the batteries worked in other laptops. To further complicate matters, the laptop's battery light was blinking, which we learned is an error code (number of flashes equaled a code number) but there was no information anywhere as to what the error code meant. Dell's technical support team also had no idea what the code meant.

It's Just a 'Temporary Battery Failure'

Dell's technical support personnel may tell you that the problem is a 'temporary battery failure' with no further explanation and that you will need to purchase a new battery for your system. You trust that Dell support representatives know what they are talking about, so you break down and purchase a new battery. But you may purchase a new battery and find that it exhibits the same exact symptoms as the "failed" battery. How can a brand new battery not work? The temporary failure simply means that the laptop temporarily can't communicate with the battery.

Laptop: I Can't Find You!

The problem with many Dell batteries relates to the laptop's failure to detect a microchip located inside the battery assembly. This microchip is responsible for saying, "Hey! I'm a genuine Dell battery. It's safe to charge me now." If the laptop does not detect this microchip, the battery may charge slowly, may not charge at all, or may not turn the computer on even if it's fully charged.

Why Won't The Laptop Recognize the Battery?

If the sensor isn't working properly, you may find that a fully charged and functioning battery won't power on the laptop or will flash error lights. If this is the case, you don't necessarily have to run out to buy a new battery if the sensor is just not correctly detecting the battery.

Why does the sensor stop reading the battery?

The problem can happen for many reasons, which can include the battery at one time not being properly seated in the computer, a power surge, or even being removed from the computer while charging. While the exact cause is sometimes a mystery, it can be fixed.

not the original battery

If the laptop won't recognize the battery, it's also possible that you do not have an original battery. It may be a counterfeit or an aftermarket replacement battery. Many aftermarket batteries, which are typically of much poorer quality, aren't built too the exacting standards as required by the computer manufacturers.

Why Do Batteries Have This Sensor?

According to Dell representatives, original Dell batteries have these microchips to help consumers detect counterfeit batteries. This could be a good thing for consumers. If you buy what you think is a genuine Dell battery from a third party, you should be able to know pretty quickly if you have a counterfeit. That is, unless the counterfeiters have taken a microchip from a dead genuine battery and have inserted it into the counterfeit.

It's Possible To Reset The Sensor

To correct this issue, you might just need to reset the system's ability to detect the battery. Unfortunately, however, many of Dell's technical support staff are either unaware of this procedure or are being pressured to sell new batteries. Of course, it is somewhat difficult for a technician thousands of miles away to know the difference between a battery that has truly failed and a battery that simply isn't being detected properly.

How To Reset The Dell Battery Sensor

You can follow the following steps, which take only minutes and require no tools, to attempt a reset of your Dell battery:

  1. Completely power down the laptop and remove the cord from the computer.
  2. Flip the laptop over.
  3. Push on the battery release button or buttons to release the battery form the computer and remove the battery.
  4. Power on the computer without the battery, allowing it to boot completely.
  5. Completely power the computer down and remove the cord once again.
  6. Reinstall the battery, plug in the power adapter and re-boot the computer.

My Battery Still Doesn't Work

If the battery sensor simply needed to be reset, the computer should now be correctly detecting the laptop battery. Unfortunately, if you are still having trouble with your battery, you may need further laptop and battery diagnostics or even a new battery.

Genuine vs. Aftermarket Batteries

If you do need a new battery, we always recommend getting an original battery from the manufacturer of your device as there is no way to guarantee a battery is genuine from a third party seller. Counterfeit batteries can catch fire or explode. Aftermarket batteries might be a very inexpensive option, but you get what you pay for. You may find that an inexpensive aftermarket battery won't hold a charge after just a few weeks. There's also the question of quality control and fires.

Getting a Good Deal on a Genuine Dell Battery

If you're looking specifically for a Dell battery, you may be turned off by the high price on the Dell website. Don't worry! If you use the website's chat feature, you can almost certainly get a steep discount on a battery without even asking! This works for most of their replacement parts, as well.

Why does Dell discount so heavily?

They know you're shopping around and want to make the sale! You can even make the purchase from within the chat session. We requested a price quote on a battery marked at nearly $290 on the website. Our quoted price, including shipping, came to just under $85. That's still more than an aftermarket battery from $29-$59, but you can expect the battery to perform flawlessly in your machine or get a free replacement under the new battery warranty!

shopping by dell part number

It makes things a lot quicker and easier if you have the Dell Part Number, often abbreviated DPN or DP/N, from the back of the battery. Otherwise, you might end up getting the wrong battery. The replacement battery may have a new Dell Part Number, but you can be sure of getting the exact replacement you need.