How to Repair: The AC power adapter type cannot be determined

  • Dell users may encounter an error message that the power supply type cannot be determined.
  • If you ignore this error, you can ignore it and press F1 to continue booting your computer.
  • But ignoring this error is not the final solution.
  • You will get the same error message if you plug in the adapter without the battery.

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Alert The Ac Power Adapter Wattage

The essential part of a laptop that makes it portable is the rechargeable battery. Batteries have given devices the much-needed freedom of movement that humanity craves. However, you will need an AC adapter in order to charge your laptop battery. For Dell users, charging their batteries has somewhat been a problem. There is a particular issue that has been bothering several users; as far back as 2005. When the charger is plugged in and the PC is booted up, the user gets an error in a black screen stating “The AC power adapter type cannot be determined”. A variation of this message says “The AC power adapter type and wattage cannot be determined”.

There is a problem determining the type of AC adapter. Dell is not able to determine the type of AC adapter in this case. So you need another genuine charger with the right voltage and current.

Ac wall plug selection is typically straight forward and comes down to two criteria 1) in what regions and/or countries is the power supply intended to be used 2) does the application require two conductors or three conductors. Most countries have well defined plug and socket combinations, voltages, and frequencies. Since wall plug voltages are standardized, the ac power connectors are similarly rated to provide sufficient insulation for the standard voltages. The maximum current rating for the connectors is also standardized, with different ratings often employing physically different connector contacts such that mis-matched plug and socket combinations cannot be engaged.

Unlike a desktop computer, a laptop is powered by a battery pack. This battery allows you to move around freely and is portable. When your laptop is charged, however, an AC adapter is required.

For Dell users, there is a problem when charging a laptop as you may encounter an error message that the power adapter type cannot be determined. If you encounter this error, you can ignore it and press F1 to continue booting your computer.

As the error says, this means your PC cannot identify the charger you plugged in. The power connector consists of 3 pins, 2 are power and earth, the 3rd is a signal line to identify the PSU as a compatible (Dell) unit. If the Laptop does not get the signal, it does not allow the PSU to charge the battery, it will, however, allow it to power the laptop. This will protect the battery from high currents if the wattage of the charger is higher than the OEM specification. If you choose to ignore this message, the system performance will go down, and you will notice that your processor clock speed has been halved.

It is possible for Dell users to encounter an error when charging their laptops, as it does not recognize the AC power adapter type, which you can ignore by pressing F1 to continue to boot the computer.

Ignoring the error isn’t the solution, so what should you do if you’re unable to identify the power supply type and power?

What is the cause of the “Power supply type cannot be determined” message?

There are a number of things that can cause this message to appear on a computer that does not work.

Power connectors for computer devices consist of three pins. Two of them are power and ground, while the third is a signal line for the computer to identify that the power supply is a Dell product.

Dell Ac Power Adapter Wattage And Type Cannot Be Determined

A Dell laptop user may experience this error along with the signs of a slow computer. You should note, however, that this error is not caused by the battery. The laptop works just fine without the battery. It is best to troubleshoot this error since your system may shutdown at any given time. Although the user can ignore this error, it is not recommended since you may experience a system shutdown at any given time.

Despite being able to power the laptop, the power supply cannot charge the battery if it does not receive the signal. When you ignore this message, you’ll find that your CPU speed has halved and you’ll notice a decrease in system performance. This protects the battery from high currents if the charger power exceeds the manufacturer’s specifications.

Ac Adaptor Unknown Dell

If you get a warning message when you use CalDigit USB-C dock to charge Dell laptop and the AC power adapter type cannot be determined, follow the steps below to disable the warning message:

In some cases, this problem may be caused by using the wrong charger, an interruption of the data link that identifies the charger, or problems with the charger (cable, plug, or center pin) or the laptop’s (power input jack or motherboard). You may want to replace the battery, but you shouldn’t. This error is not caused by the battery itself. If you plug in the adapter without the battery, you will get the same error message.

How to eliminate the “Cannot detect power adapter type” error message?

Updated: February 2024

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You can check if your adapter is malfunctioning if you cannot determine the AC power adapter type. It is possible to determine if your adapter is abnormal by checking whether it works with another computer or a different adapter on your computer. If so, this indicates that your adapter is incorrect.

Disable power failure warnings

  1. Press DEL or F2 to enter BIOS after restarting your computer.
  2. If there is an option on another tab of the BIOS to disable Adapter Warnings, go to that one as well and disable it.
  3. It will disappear after rebooting your computer after saving your changes.

Changing the BIOS settings on your laptop can permanently disable the power down warnings, if they continue to appear after rebooting normally.

Turn off your computer

  1. Make sure the charger is unplugged, the laptop is turned off, and the battery is removed.
  2. 30 seconds should be allowed to pass after pressing and holding the power switch.
  3. The battery should be replaced, and the charger should be plugged in.
  4. The problem should now be solved.

Buy a new power supply/charger

You should replace the power adapter if you don’t find that it works on another computer or on your PC, even though it has been working for a long time.

The Power Adapter Attached To Your System

I have a ridiculously simple solution. First unplug the power cable from both ends and unplug the adapter. After plugging everything in and powering up, unplug the adapter and wait a few seconds before plugging it back in. That’s all. Honestly, I don’t know why it works, but it does.

Bypass Dell Power Adapter Detection

With the external power source, the Dell laptop is able to charge the battery as well as run at native performance.

Ac Adaptor Not Recognized Dell

Sometimes when a laptop charger does not recognize it, the pin inside the charger cable is to blame. If the pin is broken, or if it’s not matched properly to your laptop, the error may occur. If there is damage, replace the pin, AC adapter and charger cord.

This error has been fixed in some cases by updating the BIOS along with the AC power adapter. In case the battery charge is too low, you must force update the BIOS since this error provides you with the option of passing over, accessing the system and updating the BIOS from the manufacturers website.

Chargers can have loose soldering, broken contacts, blown capacitors, or faulty connections. If you believe the charger can be repaired (by replacing cables, capacitors, soldering), try to do so. Generally, you will be forced to purchase a new charger if the charger cannot be salvaged.

Ensure that all the numbers on your regular charger (e.g. 65W, 90W, 130W, etc.) match those on your new charger (e.g. 12V, 19V, 1A, 2A, 4A).

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Unplug the AC adapter from the power outlet.
  2. Unplug the AC adapter from the computer.
  3. Check the power adapter and cables (including the power cord) for signs of physical damage or overheating.
  4. Check the adapter for bent, broken, or damaged pins on the plug or connector.

After entering the BIOS settings, go to the Advanced tab and select the Adapter Warnings option. Press Enter to change the value and select "Disabled" from the list.

Hold the plug of the power adapter where it connects to the laptop and slowly move it up and down and side to side to see if the laptop recognizes that the power adapter is plugged in.

In the Control Panel, Power Options, check the status of the power circuits. In the Control Panel, Power Options, check the status of the power meter.

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Mark Ginter is a tech blogger with a passion for all things gadgets and gizmos. A self-proclaimed "geek", Mark has been blogging about technology for over 15 years. His blog,, covers a wide range of topics including new product releases, industry news, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your devices. If you're looking for someone who can keep you up-to-date with all the latest tech news and developments, then be sure to follow him over at Microsoft.