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  1. #1
    Network Hub Hunchback's Avatar
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    Laptop shutting down at high battery charge level - solution

    I am posting this, hoping to save people who run into a similar problem a bit of cash.

    Since recently my laptop (HP 4520s) has been acting weirdly, concerning itís battery Ė The charge indicators would state itís charged to about 80%, which is normal, but when I unplug the AC cable and try to use it on battery charge it would shut down in just a couple of minutes.
    Now, Iíve rarely used this laptop off AC, for most of its life it has served me a second desktop on my desk, mostly for communication purposes while I am running full-screen applications on the desktop machine (games, etc). I havenít bothered removing the battery during this time, knowing that it might be bad for it but hoping that manufacturers have started building better hardware and protecting the batteries from dying.
    When recently I needed to use the machine on battery power and it started shutting down, my first thoughts were that the battery was dead. I figured the charge indicator was probably detecting false charge levels, thus preventing it from charge to full and then obviously provoking the PC to auto-shut down. I started looking at replacement options, but decided to have one more go at google, looking for someone with similar problems. All I found was more indications of batteries being dead, progressively auto shutting down at higher and higher shown charge levelsÖ Then while poking around the power options on my Win7, I noticed something weird Ė the Critical Charge Level setting was set to 98% ! The associated action, when the Critical Level was reached, was set to hibernate, which is fineÖ What was not fine tho, was that I couldnít change the value on the Critical Charge Level setting. Obviously that was a problem, since usually the PC wouldnít even charge over 80% to help battery life, the almost instant auto shut-down suddenly made sense. I did a quick a search on google on stuck critical power level setting in win7 and found this article - http://www.howtogeek.com/58109/how-t...-in-windows-7/ - which explains how to fix that particular problem. I will not re-post the solution here, since I have no credit for it, just go and check it, it takes about 10 seconds to fix.

    Now that Iíve set the critical power level to a more reasonable, 25%, level my problem is solved, and I didnít spend 30-40 quid on a new battery. I tested the PC, left it to ďrun dryĒ the battery and see when it will start warning me etc, everything seems fine (the discharge rate, etc). I have no idea what caused this, I am 100% certain that when I first bought the laptop it wasnít like that. My best bet is a windows update that screwed things up. Anyhow, I am glad that thereís a free and simple solution to the problem, and hope others who run into it will find this post before they spend cash on replacement batteries that wonít solve anything.
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  2. #2
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    I have a feeling that you've enabled the battery to 'refresh' itself - by forcing your PC to remain running as it's "apparent" current level drops below a certain point, you've enabled the battery to properly discharge/recharge.

    Sometimes, batteries seem to need to be fully discharged to be properly recharged - it's not supposed to affect modern batteries as much as it did earlier ones but it still clearly happens (my other half's smartphone did this last week, for example - refusing to charge until we ran it dry).

    Reality is that your battery is far from good and will need replacing at some point soon. I've seen batteries like yours only last a few weeks before they return to '3 mins and dead' - but fingers crossed and all that. I mean I have a fridge I have to manually defrost every 4-5 days but it works the rest of the time, so!!

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    I mean I have a fridge I have to manually defrost every 4-5 days but it works the rest of the time, so!!
    Sorry to highjack the thread, but I have the exact same problem. All the ice is driving me crazy, and the fridge doesn't get really cold either. Does anyone have a bright idea?

  4. #4
    Network Hub Hunchback's Avatar
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    No really, it was that the "critical charge level" setting was fixed to 98%, forcing the system to hibernate almost instantly when running on battery power...

    (I have let the battery dry completely, before recharging to full etc... before i was ready to abandon it all and get a replacement. And before i found out that glitch with the power settings)
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  5. #5
    Network Hub Hunchback's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    Sorry to highjack the thread, but I have the exact same problem. All the ice is driving me crazy, and the fridge doesn't get really cold either. Does anyone have a bright idea?
    I am no expert, but it might have some isolation thingy broken, thus getting all iced over and gaining heat.
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  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    Sorry to highjack the thread, but I have the exact same problem. All the ice is driving me crazy, and the fridge doesn't get really cold either. Does anyone have a bright idea?
    It's leaking. Moist warm air is sneaking in and condensing/freezing on the inside. Check the rubber seals on the door.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchback View Post
    No really, it was that the "critical charge level" setting was fixed to 98%, forcing the system to hibernate almost instantly when running on battery power...

    (I have let the battery dry completely, before recharging to full etc... before i was ready to abandon it all and get a replacement. And before i found out that glitch with the power settings)
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  7. #7
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris View Post
    It's leaking. Moist warm air is sneaking in and condensing/freezing on the inside. Check the rubber seals on the door.
    I've already looked at the rubber seals, but they don't seem to be damaged. Is there a good way to check whether the fridge leaks?

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Not really. What you can do is try keeping the door extra closed by leaning something heavy against it. If that stops it, the seal is bad, and should be replaced. Seals don't have to be cracked, it could be too compressed after long use, or just not springy enough.

    You can look inside to see if any cracks are present, but you'd probably have noticed if there were. If it's a really old model and isn't built in, you could even consider replacing it. New fridges are not very expensive and more efficient usually, so you can recoup some of the cost on your electricity bill.

    EDIT: You could of course just feel around and see if you can find a spot that's colder than the rest of the fridge. But that's not a guaranteed way to find leaks. It helped me find one once though.
    Last edited by Boris; 08-08-2013 at 03:04 PM.

  9. #9
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    On the fridge thing - most fridges have a heater element built into/wrapped around the condenser - it's activated either by a mechanical timer or the fridge's electronics at a set frequency to stop ice building-up on the condenser.

    In our case it's not working - either the heater is knackered (my guess) or the fridge's electronics have just decided to stop telling it to turn-on. I can test this with a multimeter using some settings I got from the interwebz but it's academic because the heater element is an obsolete part and Hotpoint want £110 just to tell us that.

    In our case, the ice build-up stops air circulating so we get a too-cold freezer and a too-warm fridge. The solution is simply turning-off the fridge, removing the freezer drawers, removing the back panel (I've just left out all but 1 screw for now), pointing a hairdryer at it for 10 mins and then drying it up and putting it back together.

    Google your fridge model - odds are there will be someone telling you how to access the condenser and they may even have a cheap solution!

    p.s. door seals probably aren't the answer - modern fridge freezers have shared circulation so you get loads of warm/moist air in every time you open the fridge or freezer - hence the need for active defrosting. The evap tray on our fridge has 750ml capacity - it wouldn't be that big if they weren't expecting a LOT of water coming out the drain...
    Last edited by trjp; 08-08-2013 at 10:15 PM.

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