How to tell battery vs charging circuit problem? (Dell XPS 13, water damage)


Apr 28, 2013
Recently I spilled some water on my XPS 13 ultrabook keyboard. AC adapter was unplugged at the time. Nothing happened immediately, I turned the computer off, tried as best I could to drain it upside down. A few hours later I was able to take it apart, wipe down some water off the battery casing (couldn't find any anywhere else), and let it dry in front of a fan for three days, then put it back together.

Now it only turns on with the AC adapter plugged in, and as soon as you remove the AC adapter, it turns off. Battery indicator says "19% available (plugged in, not charging)", and the battery status LED is a rapidly blinking amber.

Is there any way I can distinguish whether this is a problem with the battery, the charging circuit or something else? If it is the charging circuit, as I assume, is there a way to identify, diagnose, and replace it? Or would I have to replace the entire motherboard? I have a multimeter available, but have not been able to find any diagrams of the motherboard.



Jan 3, 2015
Put the laptop into a large bowl of rice. It will soak up any moisture. However damage may have been done already.

Was the water from the tap or bottled? From a chemistry point of view this information will help to figure out what is damaged.

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