Charger just blew my $900 (£700) laptop, HELP!

Jul 4, 2018
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I just put purchased a used laptop on eBay, the seller sent me a 90 watt HP charger but the laptop uses 150 watts as written on the bottom. After about an hour of gaming, the charger became extremely hot and then a few minutes later I heard a loud pop and the electricity gone from my room. The charger had been blown and so I requested the seller for the proper charger or a partial refund to pay for a new charger.

The problem is I don't know if this 90 watt, 4.62 A, 19.5 V charger has destroyed any of my 150 watt laptop circuitry inside since after regaining electricity in my room, I plugged the blown charger and tried to connect to my laptop but it didn't work.

The bottom of the laptop states higher requirements (higher amps, higher watts but same voltage) than the charger, does this mean that no damage could have been done to the laptop since less power was input than if I were to overload the circuit with a higher power rated charger?


My main question is: is it possible to have damaged my laptop's internals because of what happened (even if the charger that blew was lower rated in amps and wattage but the same in voltage as my laptop)?


Ps. My laptop still has 30% charge left and still works but the charger does not as described above. I disconnected the charger as soon as I heard the loud pop from the charger but how do I know if any components or circuitry within my laptop have been damaged?

What can I do about this?
 

canadianvice

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Jul 25, 2012
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As I said, if the laptop stayed on for any appreciable sum of time following the incident, it should be OK. The good thing about this adapter is that it is the same voltage as required by the laptop - where you start really doing damage is typically if you overvolt something, because that blows electrical components.

It seems everything worked as it should have, and the power adapter blew its fuse (cutting function) before any serious harm came of it. The heat? Electrical law. Resistance increases heat with voltage * current. Your laptop was trying to demand far too much current, so the adapter produced far too much heat. A fuse is basically just a thin wire designed to melt at certain temperatures - as it did, cutting the circuit and ending the problem. Pity about your desk though - but that flickering you got was the last desperate throes of connection before that fuse had been worked through and the connection severed. Perhaps understanding what happened there helps:

Basically, your adapter is kind of like a fat kid chasing an ice cream van. The fuse is like his heart. The laptop requires the van go faster, but as a fat kid running is wont to do, he's not going to last long before his heart gives out. The kid dies, but the van itself should be fine.

Does the laptop turn on? Unless you want to open it up and take a close look at the motherboard, this is about the best you'd get. My experience has typically been that things are not very fault tolerant for fundamental electrical problems, and so if you blew something it is probable the unit would not start or evidence severe glitches. Absent these, your laptop is probably fine.

TLDR: I think you got lucky. It's probably just the adapter that is dead. Get one for the proper current (amperage) and you should be able to enjoy your laptop until which point it would otherwise naturally die.

Some guidance for your new adapter:
You can have **some** give in regards to current (voltage MUST be the same, or VERY, VERY close in the lower direction) - but keep in mind the wider that discrepancy in current is, the harder the adapter has to try and work. Doing some math (V * A == W; A * 1000 = mA):
19v3500mA = ~90W
19v15000mA = ~150W

So you can probably see why your poor charger felt a little out of its league. To meet what your laptop was demanding, it had to try and push 5 times the amount of current it was designed for. Your next charger should be much closer to the second value (15A). 14A, 16A, isn't going to matter too much, but you don't want to make your choice on a factor of 5 difference, put it that way.

The hard rule: VOLTAGE (V) must be the same or lower (with very minimal tolerances - so same is what you should be aiming for). HIGHER-THAN-RATED VOLTAGE WILL KILL YOUR LAPTOP. Amperage (A) must be approximate - there's a bit more give here, and if you go over or under by a bit, it's not going to hurt things too badly, since the adapter is made to basically give as requested.
 

captaincharisma

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Oct 13, 2004
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thats what happens when you buy cheap chargers off of sites like ebay and amazon. they can either damage your battery, laptop, or both. the best case scenario here would be the charger would be the only thing that failed so try to get a proper charger for your laptop
 
Jul 4, 2018
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Thanks for the responses everyone, my laptop is still working at 30% charge and I switched it off right after the charger blew from panicking. What's the best thing to do once I get a new charger to check if any internal components/circuitry got fried? Is it even possible for circuitry to get fried from a lousy charger?
 

canadianvice

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Jul 25, 2012
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Obviously, yes, it's possible. Electricity is kind of important in electrical goods. Is it probable, given that your laptop remained powered and ostensibly usable? Probably not.

The good news is it was not overvolted, but that's still not good for the components. I imagine what caused this whole mess is your laptop desperately trying to demand more power than the charger can provide, via the current. Hopefully, that was your charger giving out, not your laptop.

If the charger and laptop were sent together, I would demand some sort of recompense, as the seller should have known better. At minimum, the cost of a new OEM charger from a reputable local retailer.

 

canadianvice

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Jul 25, 2012
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In OP's defence, the seller sent the wrong charger for the laptop. Not exactly OP's fault, although, in future OP, I would strongly suggest always cross-checking what you get, most of all on eBay. Not only is human error a thing, but a lot of sellers are surprisingly negligent.
 

SoggyTissue

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Jun 27, 2017
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the pop is the fuse in the plug of the charger (most likely) which would also 'trip' your household fuse box. (else the charger has died)

if the 90w charger is genuine and meets all the safety standards, no harm will result of a blown fuse (if it was the fuse) caused by the laptop drawing the maximum it could from the charger until the fuse failed.

if its one of those cheap chinese knock-offs, then its a lotto whether the 'fake' charger has done any damage. safety standards are there to protect not only the user, but the equipment too.
 

canadianvice

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Jul 25, 2012
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Important. China operates on a very caveat emptor mentality - and that extends to a very glib attitude toward a risk of killing people when they cut corners to try and undermine a competitor. Always be careful what you get from there, most of all when it connects to wall power - Daniel Sarvegardeau (my apologies if I mispelled that) has done many teardown articles for Toms on phone chargers - with depressing results; nothing changes with scale, and they're just as happy to do that with laptops and such as well.
 
Jul 4, 2018
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Here's a picture of the charger that blew up
https://prnt.sc/k2kz91

it looks to be HP but now that you mention it, it also says "product of China"

Charger look legit?

Ps. Also not sure what to make of this but I just turned on my laptop and went into HWMonitor, and it is reporting a lower designed battery capacity than before (can't remember the exact numbers but it feels like a few hundred mWh has been lost since I last had it on before the charger blew) this might just be a nocebo effect.
 

canadianvice

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Jul 25, 2012
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It looks like it's legitimate. The seller is just a dumbass and sent you the wrong wattage. As for "product of China", you'll find that on virtually anything you care to read.

I'd file with Paypal and demand they either send you the proper charger, or better, refund you for the cost of buying a proper one locally, as you shouldn't have to pay the time penalty for their idiocy.
 
Jul 4, 2018
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@SoggyTissue @canadianvice
Thanks for your response, I changed the three pin plug for the adaptor to one that is working but the adaptor also seems like it is dead. In your post you mentioned that only if the plug fuse was blown, the laptop circuitry should be fine but since I've changed this fuse and the adaptor is what seems like has died as well does that mean that my laptop could've suffered damage as well?

It is a genuine charger by the looks (look at the image from my last post) of it but do note that before the fuse blew that adaptor became extremely hot (to the point where there is now a black mark on the surface it was on) and my laptop screen was dimming and brightening every second as if I were connecting and disconnecting the charger before the charger gave in.

From this alone do you think that the laptop circuitry/components should be fine?
 

canadianvice

Honorable
Jul 25, 2012
234
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As I said, if the laptop stayed on for any appreciable sum of time following the incident, it should be OK. The good thing about this adapter is that it is the same voltage as required by the laptop - where you start really doing damage is typically if you overvolt something, because that blows electrical components.

It seems everything worked as it should have, and the power adapter blew its fuse (cutting function) before any serious harm came of it. The heat? Electrical law. Resistance increases heat with voltage * current. Your laptop was trying to demand far too much current, so the adapter produced far too much heat. A fuse is basically just a thin wire designed to melt at certain temperatures - as it did, cutting the circuit and ending the problem. Pity about your desk though - but that flickering you got was the last desperate throes of connection before that fuse had been worked through and the connection severed. Perhaps understanding what happened there helps:

Basically, your adapter is kind of like a fat kid chasing an ice cream van. The fuse is like his heart. The laptop requires the van go faster, but as a fat kid running is wont to do, he's not going to last long before his heart gives out. The kid dies, but the van itself should be fine.

Does the laptop turn on? Unless you want to open it up and take a close look at the motherboard, this is about the best you'd get. My experience has typically been that things are not very fault tolerant for fundamental electrical problems, and so if you blew something it is probable the unit would not start or evidence severe glitches. Absent these, your laptop is probably fine.

TLDR: I think you got lucky. It's probably just the adapter that is dead. Get one for the proper current (amperage) and you should be able to enjoy your laptop until which point it would otherwise naturally die.

Some guidance for your new adapter:
You can have **some** give in regards to current (voltage MUST be the same, or VERY, VERY close in the lower direction) - but keep in mind the wider that discrepancy in current is, the harder the adapter has to try and work. Doing some math (V * A == W; A * 1000 = mA):
19v3500mA = ~90W
19v15000mA = ~150W

So you can probably see why your poor charger felt a little out of its league. To meet what your laptop was demanding, it had to try and push 5 times the amount of current it was designed for. Your next charger should be much closer to the second value (15A). 14A, 16A, isn't going to matter too much, but you don't want to make your choice on a factor of 5 difference, put it that way.

The hard rule: VOLTAGE (V) must be the same or lower (with very minimal tolerances - so same is what you should be aiming for). HIGHER-THAN-RATED VOLTAGE WILL KILL YOUR LAPTOP. Amperage (A) must be approximate - there's a bit more give here, and if you go over or under by a bit, it's not going to hurt things too badly, since the adapter is made to basically give as requested.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator


Once you get the charger, test the system for a while with it, if it crashes at all during a stress test, contact the seller for a refund since it's their fault for sending you the wrong charger. If they refuse, eBay should back you if you provide the info and the communication with the seller.
 

canadianvice

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Jul 25, 2012
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Which, potentially obvious here, but keep the broken charger until you're certain the threat has passed. PayPal is pretty lenient for buyers, but they'll still want something.
 
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