Alienware 15 (2015) with i74710HQ+GTX970m +180W PSU keeps on going switching to battery mode

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by SJLPHI, Aug 31, 2020.

  1. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Consultant

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    Hello,
    I have now a five year old Alienware 15 (2015) with i74710HQ GTX970m with 180W PSU. Since some of the recent Windows 10 updates, while running heavy games the laptop keeps on changing to battery mode, drastically dropping FPS and dims the screen then back to AC adapter mode, brightening the screen and FPS increasing. The computer does that for a few seconds per minute or so, depending on how demanding the game is.

    The issue is similar to (https://www.dell.com/community/Alie...in-but-switching-to-battery-mode/td-p/5630303)

    I have another 180W PSU, and same results on both.

    This problem is less frequent when I do not plug in the USB cooling pad, and also when I turn AlienFX off. It seems like a power issue and I am thinking about buying a 240W PSU if it will help, but the dell community post above doesn't make it sound like a 240W PSU will resolve the problem.

    I've enabled and disabled "Desktop" mode for battery charging and once I even unplugged the battery (resulting in the computer shutting down instead of going on battery mode) and reproduced.

    Weirdest part. I never had this issue in the past 5 years. It was perfectly fine a few months ago! I don't see how a laptop working perfectly fine on 180W PSU suddenly not working fine with a 180W PSU. It is also not a temperature issue according to HWInfo.

    Any suggestions? Should 240W PSU help?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
  2. Papusan

    Papusan JOKEBOOKs Sucks! Dont waste your $$$ on FILTHY

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    Alienware use Hybrid power (steal power from the battery when in need for more power). How is battery wear? As well try a clean install of graphics drivers.
     
  3. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Consultant

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    AW Diagnostic tool says "good health" for the battery. That's what confuses me alot. On another laptop with hybrid power, when the power consumption is too high the battery drains while plugged in but doesn't go into "battery mode".

    I just re-installed the Nvidia gpu driver but no change.
     
  4. MogRules

    MogRules Notebook Deity

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    Try unplugging the battery and running off just the AC adapter and see if the issue goes away. I had the same issue with my 17R4 and it was a failing battery that was causing the charger to kick in and out and hop on and off battery. It was causing the exact same symptoms your experiencing here. Once I unplugged the battery the issue went away completely. I replaced the battery and all has been well ever since.
     
  5. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Consultant

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    I have tried unplugging the battery and the result was the computer turns off immediately instead of going to battery mode when power demand was high. I found the culprit upon disassembly, I'll post it in the next post.

    Upon disassembly, I found some burn marks on the internal power cable from the external PSU to MB. Pictures in the following post.

    one.jpg

    two.jpg

    Part number: (aap10) dc30100tn 00
    I've just ordered a replacement
    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Dell-Alienw...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

    I really hope that's the only damaged part... From taking a closer look, the three of the cable insulation has more or less completed crusted off by the plastic connector. I'll get back in about 2~4 weeks when I get the part.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2020
  6. MogRules

    MogRules Notebook Deity

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    If I remember correctly this was a problem with that unit. Dell sent out replacement parts I believe, so you may have wanted to try and contact them, maybe they would have covered it under some sort of recall. I don't think there was an official recall but I remember them sending out AC jacks for this exact thing. Wouldn't surprise me at all if this fixes the issue though, but let us know either way.
     
  7. Papusan

    Papusan JOKEBOOKs Sucks! Dont waste your $$$ on FILTHY

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    Official recall is bad publicity. Of course they will try avoid it. They did same decisions for Area-51m. Instead for recall, just throw out a firmware update who castrated the graphics cards temp target to stop the smoke.
     
  8. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Consultant

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    New cable installed an hour ago. So far so good, no problem. Even some weird issues with some apps have vanished.
     
  9. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Consultant

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    Well, 12 hours later. I think the DC cable was the only issue.

    Now for future reference, I turned off the express charging and turned on desktop mode because this thing rarely leaves my home. This "should" minimize overloading the cable.

    I wonder what else I can do to extend the life of the cable... I mean I will eventually have to turn this thing into a desktop (I only de-commission computers if and when the cost of parts to repair exceed $100) but it would be good to have parts that do last. My 5 year old AW seems to have more issues than my 10+ year old Lenovos and Toughbook.
     
  10. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Consultant

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    2+ weeks later, I think I can confirm that the power cable was the only damaged component and everything is working perfectly fine now.
     
    Papusan likes this.
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