Testing battery charging dock on a laptop
Things of need:
digital voltage tester (I recommend a non-contact dc tester (google search: non-contact dc tester with lcd) read CAUTION)
The power in a laptop is DC and low voltage (specific voltage readings are based on the output of the ac adapter (ac to dc converter))
Read your ac adapter and verify what the output voltage is (mine is 18.5v). This will be the voltage number your looking to see on your tester.
Testing the ports on an ac adapter output or the battery charging dock port must be done with caution. The negative and positive points of contact are close together. If the test is performed with a traditional voltage tester that has a red lead and black lead, there is potential for crossing the two lead ends and ultimately shorting out the circuit.
But with a non-contact dc tester the risk eliminated.
Verify the tester is set to dc. We want to test the dc output port coming from your adapter to verify the voltage matches the label. With a traditional tester touch one lead to the inside of the port and one to the outside of the port. If the voltage matches or is in close proximity to the label then we are good. If not that will be your problem (even if it is off by 2-3volts). If the battery charger is not getting the proper voltage it will not work correctly.
Same test but done with a non-contact tester. Simply put the tip of the tester near the port of the ac adapter. Again if the voltage is incorrect that is the problem.
Tester set to dc. Testing the battery charger port. We need two points of contact red lead / black lead. But it is tricky to explain without seeing the port itself. My hp pavilion zv6000 has a slotted port (looks like this |||||||| ) that the battery inserts into. Some pc's can have just a two point contact, one positive one negative. That is easy to test, your red lead goes to one contact and your black lead will go to the other. Again proceed with CAUTION not to cross/touch your lead ends. If the voltage matches the label on your ac adapter output voltage your good. Otherwise there is a problem with your power board. Power boards are fairly cheap.
If your battery charger port looks like mine, this is how I would go about trying to find the voltage. That is not knowing witch ones were positive or negative.
Lets say this is the port |||||||||
I would start with one tester lead at the first terminal slot in that port like this
Then I would put the next lead just to the right of that
If I detected no voltage I would proceed with moving the second lead to the right one terminal at a time till I received a reading.
Test the battery charger port with a non-contact dc tester. Simply put the tester end near the battery charger port. Same as test 2a if the voltage is correct your good, otherwise look into getting a new power board. You may want to open the laptop in order to verify the model number for that board.
This is not the best tutorial by any means but I hope it helps. If your voltage is good on both the ac adapter and the battery charger port then we are talking about a software problem. From my research there was a bug in the battery monitoring software in gnome and upower for linux mint whether debian or ubuntu. There is multiple fixes/workarounds/patches lol. I run linux mint 12.
Post back with your findings. We will try to help out on the next step or questions.