Question Why my laptop adapter is giving me electric shocks?

Aug 24, 2020
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I have a Dell Inspiron N5110. (6GB RAM/2nd gen i5). Bought it in late 2011. A very good laptop for majority of my needs. Have used it extensively. After battery died completely it was sitting idle for a while. Since last year I started using it again as a desktop PC connected to the power supply coming from our power backup UPS. So unforseen power outage and immediate shutdown wasn't an issue. It did happen couple of times as i tripped on adapter cable. Clumsy me. But other than that nothing else. It was all working fine. My adapter is still working. It powers up the laptop. But yesterday i tried to pickup the adapter brick as system was powered on and it gave me a very strong shock. I used a voltage tester and it shows that there is electrical current all around the brick along the line where both casings of the adapter brick meet each other. Not only that, current is also present at the joint of the brick from where cable leaves for laptop port, current is literally flowing through protective insulation of wire at that joint. Why? And what do I do? Shoud I replace adapter or just use electrical tape and cover it up? Also can I continue using laptop without battery with new adapter? I want to get new laptop in a couple of months but not immediately. So don't want to spend on a new battery unless it's needed badly.
 

AlHuneke

Proper
Jul 7, 2020
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I've never personally been a fan of universal power supplies as I don't trust unknown designers to create a supply that meets the requirements of each laptop. Power supply design is not simple (I'm a HW engineer) and why risk a problem with your laptop. Probably OK to run without a battery--I've certainly done that myself but this also depends on how the laptop internal power supply is designed.

I can't understand how current could be leaking out of the (presumably) plastic case of the supply. Sounds risky to me. I would replace that supply ASAP. I would also verify the UPS is outputting the proper voltage and is properly grounded. Can't hurt to check.

If the machine meets your needs for now, consider getting a new battery. I've had mixed results ordering from Amazon, but they have good prices. I have ended up with batteries that were clearly used so be careful. One quick check is if there is a date code on the battery. If this is an externally removable battery, also check the connection terminals for wear.
 
why risk a problem with your laptop
universal power supplies are better than you think, depending on the brand and model you are buying.
Before getting a noname PSU "designed" for the laptop you have, you should consider that these actually aren´t better at all.
Only the original Dell PSU would be safe then if you go this way. But for a 2011 laptop I wouldn´t spend that much money to get it running again.

For batteries, I would never get one from amazon for a laptop. Could be just old or fake or even dangerous while charging.
 

AlHuneke

Proper
Jul 7, 2020
171
20
145
2
universal power supplies are better than you think, depending on the brand and model you are buying.
Before getting a noname PSU "designed" for the laptop you have, you should consider that these actually aren´t better at all.
Only the original Dell PSU would be safe then if you go this way. But for a 2011 laptop I wouldn´t spend that much money to get it running again.

For batteries, I would never get one from amazon for a laptop. Could be just old or fake or even dangerous while charging.
You just repeated what I said.."depending on the brand you buy". How do one know which brand? I do know a fair bit about power supply design ;);) and it's easy to go cheap, but some corners, and damage connected equipment.

I've had good luck buying laptop batteries from Amazon if some care is used (I've done this successfully several times). As I pointed out, you need to be cautious. Buying the batteries from the vendor is fine but much more expensive. It's likely they don't even supply batteries for a laptop that old. On the other hand, I would never buy regular consumer batteries or cell phone batteries from Amazon. I've had nothing but bad luck with those. You are correct to be cautious about the dangers of lithium batteries. I was directly involved in the post mortem of some military equipment (I designed) that suffered a lithium battery explosion--but with a different chemistry than used in consumer products. Not pretty. We were fortunate there were no injuries.

Not trying to start an argument but wanted to elaborate a bit. I respect your opinions and I'm the newbie on the forum (but recently retired after many years as an engineer).
 
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xiaomei106

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Mar 15, 2019
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If you need to replace a new computer, you can choose to use tape, but I still recommend that you buy a replacement power adapter, which is safer and cheaper, anyway, you have to replace the new computer, the power adapter It does not matter whether it is original or not.
 
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