How to Fix a Chromebook That Won’t Charge
Chromebooks have become immensely popular over the past few years. Usually lightweight, easy to use, and less costly than other laptop devices on the market today, the Chromebook is great for students, teachers, writers, and more. A Chromebook is a laptop device that runs ChromeOS. Meaning, it isn’t like a Mac or PC, but packs a lot of functionality in a simple device.
Like most hardware these days, you can run into malfunctions such as charging issues. If your Chromebook isn’t charging, we’ve written this article to help you get it up and running again.
How to Troubleshoot Charging Failure on a Chromebook
First, we’d like to mention that, like PCs, there are several manufacturers of Chromebooks. From Lenovo to HP, your device may vary. But, all Chromebooks run the ChromeOS operating system. It is for this reason that the troubleshooting steps for all ChromeOS devices are pretty much the same.
Failure to charge can be a result of several factors. Here’s what to consider:
- The charger is freyed, not connected properly, or not getting power from the wall.
- Your wall outlet is not operational. This is often the most overlooked issue with charging. Try another outlet, make sure a light switch is on if it’s connected to one, and try both sockets on the same outlet.
- The Chromebook hasn’t charged in a very long time. This means it can take a while to power on.
These are just a few things to consider before we move forward. Often, a few moments of troubleshooting the things we’ve listed above will save you a lot of time finding a solution.
Fixes When the Chromebook Isn’t Powered On
If your Chromebook has expended all of its power and isn’t turning on, we’ve included the fixes in this section.
1. Check The Charger Cables and Connected Outlet
The physical layer is always the first stop on the road to troubleshooting. This means that you’ll want to take a look at the charger itself, especially if this problem is a first-time occurrence. You can begin by ensuring that the AC adapter is correctly plugged into the wall outlet. It’s not uncommon for the prongs to wiggle loose from the sockets, especially if you move the laptop around often.
If the connection checks out fine, it could be a case of the outlet not functioning properly. Thankfully, most outlets come with two sockets. Unless you have a tester to check if the outlet is actually providing electricity, go ahead and plug the AC adapter into the neighboring socket. If you have to, you can unplug whatever is currently taking up space to test if the original socket your laptop’s AC adaptor was plugged into, is in fact, non-functioning.
Something to remember is that the AC adapter is actually composed of two cables. There’s the one you’re fiddling with now that plugs into the wall outlet. This cable has a second end that plugs into the adapter itself. The second cable is the one you’ll find that begins with the adapter and ends with the connection to your laptop. Make sure that every one of these is properly plugged in snugly to their correct entry points.
2. LED Indicator Light Functionality
Most Chromebook manufacturers have included an LED light indicator to let you know that your device is detecting a charger. Although these vary depending on the make and model it should be fairly easy to spot.
Assuming you do see the light your Chromebook is getting some charge. If this is the case, you may want to wait twenty to thirty minutes before trying to power it on. Also, check for sounds. If your Chromebook is making sounds, but the screen is black, you may have a faulty screen or some other issue outside of the battery.
However, if the LED light still doesn’t come on, we’ll have to dive deeper into our troubleshooting. Also, pay close attention to the bottom of the laptop. if the LED light won’t turn on, but the bottom of the laptop begins to heat up anyway, disconnect it immediately to prevent further complications.
3. Embedded Controller (EC) Reset
It’s possible that your Chromebook isn’t responding to the charger connection because it may be frozen. In this case, you can perform an Embedded Controller reset in an attempt to unfreeze it; make sure that you do so while the laptop is still connected to its charger.
To perform an EC reset, do this:
- Make sure that your Chromebook is powered down (which it likely is if you’re reading this section).
- Plug your charger into the wall and your Chromebook.
- Using the keyboard, press and hold the Power button and the Refresh button.
- Release the Refresh button when your Chromebook powers on.
- Your Chromebook should power up now. When it does you will need to perform a reset to move forward.
If you’re using a Chromebook tablet, use the Volume Up and Power keys to perform this step.
Hopefully, your Chromebook is on and running perfectly fine now. But if it isn’t, you will need to contact the manufacturer. You may have a warranty or you need device-specific troubleshooting steps. Thankfully, Google has a list of manufacturers and their phone numbers here so you can get more help quickly.
Power Is Fading But Chromebook Won’t Charge
This section is for those with Chromebooks that have power but won’t for long because the battery still isn’t charging. As long as the laptop is working properly, we can dive into the troubleshooting steps.
Before we move forward, check your charger, adapter, and wall outlet, just as we did above.
Once that has been taken care of, and you still need to move forward, you can start by doing the following:
- First, completely power down your Chromebook and then close the lid shut.
- Next, unplug the charger from the wall outlet and disconnect your laptop from the charger.
- You can then reconnect your charger to the Chromebook and then plug in the AC adapter into a functioning wall outlet.
- Ensure that the lid remains closed throughout this process.
- Look for the LED indicator light. If the LED indicator appears, your Chromebook is charging. You’ll want to allow it to charge, undisturbed, for approximately one hour before lifting the lid.
- Attempt to turn on the laptop.
If these steps worked, then you’re in the clear. However, if the issue is still unresolved and the laptop will still not charge, we can jump into some troubleshooting.
1. Embedded Controller (EC) Reset
We’ll be doing the last-resort step from the first troubleshooting section first. What you’ll want to do is simultaneously press and hold the refresh and power buttons for three seconds to reboot your laptop (so long as you still have enough juice to do so). If it doesn’t boot up and the battery is now drained, attempt to charge it again. Of course, do this even if it does boot up, or this would be a pointless step.
If, after the reset, the laptop still won’t charge, it’s time to move on to the next step.
2. AC Adapter Charge Verification
Chromebook comes with a nifty way to tell if the AC adapter is actually pushing current to your laptop’s battery. The charging process is pretty straightforward, so if the battery isn’t charging there are only so many parts involved that could be the problem.
If you’d like to know your AC adapter isn’t one of those malfunctioning parts, all you have to do is:
- Plug the AC adapter into a functioning wall outlet and ensure that the other end is connected to your laptop. It should fit snugly, no wiggling.
- If the laptop is currently off, you can now go ahead and turn it on.
- Open the Chrome browser on your Chromebook.
- What you’ll need to do now is press the Ctrl+Alt+T keys simultaneously in order to open Crosh.
- Type the following: battery_test 1 into the provided area in crosh, and then hit the Enter key.
- The results displayed will inform you on if the AC adapter is or is not allowing current to run through and charge up your Chromebook’s battery.
What should be displayed if the AC adapter is fine is “Battery is charging.” If this isn’t what is shown, then the AC adapter is not charging the battery and is likely the source of the problem. Immediately unplug the AC adapter from the wall outlet and thoroughly inspect the cables and adapter for any breaks or nicks.
Having another charger on hand would be helpful in this situation as it would provide a better perspective on if the current AC adapter is, in fact, failing. For those who don’t have an extra adapter laying around, it’s likely time to put your Chromebook into the hands of professionals. Take it to the nearest tech repair shop, provide them with all of the troubleshooting steps that you’ve already taken, and see what they can do for you. Or…
3. Battery Rate Discharge Check
We’re only trying to be thorough here. This may do nothing, or it may actually fix the problem. After all, isn’t that why you’re here? It may be time to check the health of the battery itself. If the battery is dying, it should be pretty obvious why it’s not charging.
The results you’ll be looking for are:
- A battery with a health percentage of greater than 80% means that it is within the expected wear limits.
- A battery that is less than a year old with a health percentage of 50% or less is considered outside expected wear limits and your Chromebook would benefit from a replacement.
- A result displaying “Unknown” when testing the battery means that it will more often than not, require a replacement.
To perform a battery health check using a Chromebook, perform the following steps:
- Begin by disconnecting the charging cable currently connected to your Chromebook.
- Boot up your Chromebook by turning on the power, and sign in to your account.
- If any apps are currently open you’ll need to close them. This includes any and all tabs that are automatically opened upon launch, as well.
- Next, reduce the screen brightness down to the lowest level.
- Launch the Chrome browser and in the address bar, type in chrome://extensions/, and then press Enter.
- You could also click on the More… icon at the top-right corner of the screen. The one that looks like three vertically stacked dots. From there, select More tools and then Extensions.
- Disable every single one of the extensions by toggling every blue switch, located at the lower-right of each extension, to gray. The toggle will show as gray when it is disabled.
- Open Crosh on your machine by simultaneously pressing the Ctrl+Alt+T keys.
- Just like in the step you took to verify if the AC adapter was allowing a current to run through to your battery, enabling it to charge, type battery_test 1 into crosh, and then press Enter.
You’ll get the same screen display as before, only this time focus on what the current battery health shows you. Depending on the results shown, the battery may be the cause for your woes, and you may need to have it replaced.