Solving Gateway® Notebook Power Problems



Gathering Documentation

Before you begin troubleshooting, it is a good idea to gather some documentation for your specific Gateway® notebook model. You can download this information from the Gateway Support website. You’ll find your model number here: http://support.gateway.com/ . Once you have identified your model number, you can download the User Guides. These documents include important details about your computer, including information on the power and battery charge indicators like those shown in the example photo below.

Example (your model may vary)



Example (your model may vary)





Getting Started

Most notebook power problems can be diagnosed with a few simple steps. There are three key hardware subsystems to be concerned about







1. Power Adapter 2. Battery 3. Notebook Connection

 

If you are fortunate enough to have access to another computer just like yours, try swapping components one at a time to isolate the faulty hardware. Otherwise, the following steps should help identify your notebook power problem(s). It is important to remember that multiple components may be damaged and/or failing. For example, a short circuit condition on the notebook motherboard may cause the power adapter to fail.



Power Adapter Testing

First, you should always examine the power adapter for signs of physical damage, overheating, melted plastic, loose or frayed wires. Pay particular attention to the small connector at the end of the cable that plugs into the computer. This connector and the small wires inside can be damaged due to normal wear and tear. Adapters with physical damage should be replaced immediately.

Many, but not all, Gateway® power adapters include a green LED on the top side of the “brick”. This is the easiest and best way to verify that the power adapter is working correctly from an electrical point of view. When plugged into a wall socket, you should see a steady green light.

Example (your adapter may vary)

If your adapter has a status LED (they can be hard to find when not illuminated) and it is either not lit or flashing/flickering when plugged into a known good outlet, your adapter will need to be replaced.

For power adapters that lack the status LED, the following steps can be taken:

  1. Shut down the notebook.

  2. Unplug the power adapter from your computer.

  3. Remove your battery.

  4. Plug the power adapter back into your computer.

  5. Power up (boot) your computer.

If your computer successfully boots, your power adapter is operating correctly. Even if your computer won’t boot for other reasons, the power indicator (see user guide) should illuminate indicating a good power adapter.

You should shut down the computer and unplug your adapter before reconnecting your battery. We do NOT recommend operating with the battery removed for extended periods of time.





Battery Testing

If your notebook runs normally with the power adapter, but the battery won’t charge, please try the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Remove the battery

  2. Examine the connectors in the battery bay and on the battery for signs of physical damage.

  3. Many Gateway batteries have built-in LEDs that indicate the battery’s charge status. If all LEDs light up when the button is pressed, the battery is fully charged. If few lights are lit, then the battery is partially charged. If any lights blink, there could be a problem with the battery.

  4. Replace the battery back into the computer. Make sure it securely locks back into place.

  5. Perform a battery calibration as described below:

Method #1 (if available on your notebook)

Follow these steps to recalibrate the battery using the BIOS Setup Utility.

    1. Connect the AC adapter and then turn on the notebook.

    2. As soon as it starts and you see a startup screen, press the F2 key.

    3. In the BIOS Setup Utility, use the TAB key to select the Advanced menu.

  1. On the Advanced menu, select Battery Auto Learning, and then press the SPACEBAR to select Enabled.

  2. Use the RIGHT ARROW key to select the Exit menu. On the Exit menu select Exit Saving Changes, and then press ENTER.

  3. At the Setup Confirmation prompt, select Yes, and then press ENTER.

  4. The battery recalibration process begins and a screen opens showing you the progress. The entire process takes several hours.

  5. When the recalibration has finished, and the message "Press [Esc] key to exit" appears, press Esc. The battery charge indicator now displays an accurate battery charge.

 

  

Method #2 (Windows XP Systems)

Alternate Battery Recalibration Method

  1. Close all open files and programs.

  2. Connect your notebook to AC power and allow the battery to completely charge.

  3. Disconnect the AC power and restart your notebook.

 

Note: If the power cord or battery icon does not appear on the taskbar, click the show hidden icons button. If the icon still does not appear, verify that Always show icon on the taskbar is checked on the Power Options Properties Advanced tab.

 

  1. Completely discharge the battery by doing the following:

    1. From the desktop, right-click on the power icon, then select Adjust Power Properties.

    2. Click the Power Schemes tab.

    3. Click the arrow button to open the Power Schemes list, then click Always On.

    4. Click the Alarms tab.

    5. Click to remove the check mark from the Low battery alarm and Critical battery alarm checkboxes. Let the battery drain until your notebook automatically turns off.

 

  1. After the battery is completely drained, reconnect your notebook to AC power.

  2. Charge the battery completely.

  3. When you are ready to use your notebook again, do the following:

    1. From the desktop, right-click on the power icon, then select Adjust Power Properties.

    2. Click the Power Schemes tab.

    3. Click the arrow button to open the Power Schemes list, then click Always On.

    4. Click the Alarms tab.

    5. Click to select the Low battery alarm and Critical battery alarm check boxes.

 

 

 Method #3 (Manual Process)

 If Method #1 and #2 do not apply

  1. Connect your notebook to AC power and let the battery charge completely.

  2. Disconnect the AC power and restart your notebook.

  3. Completely discharge the battery.

  4. After the battery is completely drained, reconnect your notebook to AC power.

  5. Charge the battery completely until the battery status indicator turns blue.



Notebook batteries lose their ability to hold a charge over time and repeated use. This is completely normal and happens with all rechargeable batteries. For most users, a typical battery life expectancy is between 18 and 36 months or 300 to 500 recharges. This can vary widely depending on your specific usage patterns.





Notebook Connection Inspection



A common notebook power problem is a damaged motherboard power connector. Normal wear and tear can cause the connector to break or become loose. Even if the connector does not appear or feel to be physically loose, it may have developed a bad electrical connection with the rest of the system.





Carefully inspect the power adapter connector and the system board connector for physical damage. If the connection needs to be held “just right” in order to work, or if the connection is noticeably loose, there is a good chance that the mother board connector has been damaged and will eventually fail completely.



These problems should generally be referred to a professional technician for a repair cost estimate. Depending on the age of your notebook, a new system purchase may be a better alternative than paying for an expensive repair.





Summary and Recommendations

After working through the process outlined above, you should have a pretty good idea of what components to suspect. The staff members at SHOPbySYSTEM.com are all former Gateway employees who can assist you with finding the right replacement parts for your notebook. You can contact us by email at customerservice@shopbysystem.com or, if you prefer, you can call us at 1-800-678-1039.

All of our products are brand new (not used or refurbished) and fully covered by a manufacturer’s 1-year warranty. Please rest assured that our products are specifically selected to be compatible with your Gateway notebook and that our staff will get you the right part the first time. We understand that not having your computer can be extremely frustrating and we share your urgency in getting the problem resolved as soon as possible.





























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