Last night I upgraded the BIOS on my Dell Studio XPS 13 from A11 to A14. The BIOS upgrade appeared to work without issue however when the computer rebooted with the new BIOS version I received a boot error and then once I skipped the error I received a popup message within Windows 7 as well. The problem ended up being something really silly which is explained below but I wanted to note in case someone else ran into the same issue.

Dell Power Adapter Type Warning:

AC Power Adapter Type Cannot Be Determined

Dell AC Power Adapter Type Warning Text:

“The AC power adapter type cannot be determined. Your system will operate slower and the battery will not charge. Please connect a Dell 90W AC adapter or higher for best system operation.”

A very similar message to the one below showed on the boot screen as well but I failed to get an image to post in the article and I had trouble duplicating the error after it occurred the first time.

Resolve Dell AC Power Adapter Type Warning Message:

After rebooting and getting the same exact messages from the BIOS and from within Windows 7 I looked towards the power adapter port. Sure enough the power adapter was plugged in just enough to not have a solid connection to the computer but not far enough out of the power power to not register. I simply plugged the AC power adapter into the computer all the way and afterwards I no longer received the error.

Possible Other Power Adapter Issues:

Dell laptops are notorious for the power port to become worn out over time so I would assume it is possible to get the above error if the connection still works but isn’t 100%. This port can take a beating if you use the laptop in your lap while it is plugged in. It is also possible for the actual power adapter to go bad so if the problem is not as easy as it was for me I would consider trying a different power adapter first. Make sure that the power adapter you try is made for the Dell laptop (or whatever type of laptop) in question.


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7 Responses to “The AC Power Adapter Type Cannot Be Determined, Please Connect A Dell 90W AC Adapter”
  1. qwerty asd says:

    Just to share my experience:
    In short, replacing the adapter fixed my problem.

    I bought a 2nd hand Inspiron 6000 that came with a 65 Watt adapter. The plug was loose on the back and part of the plastic molding on the jack appeared to be missing, exposing a middle pin and two other pins either side of it. At first, everything was still OK. I didn’t get any adapter warnings & the batterey charged fine. Then, I believe I accidently shorted these pins together – thanks to the missing plastic mold and loose fitting of the plug/jack.
    I had access to a freind’s Inspiron with a functional apapter and swapped mine with his. The “undetermined adapter” message then appeared on HIS machine with MY adapter plugged into it, and visa versa (My comp was OK with HIS adapter plugged into it). This obviously indicated MY adapter was faulty. Thankfuly, the ‘pin shorting’ experience only effected the adapter and nothing else. I’ve read other posts suggesting the motherboard and/or battery could be at fault.
    Solution: I bought a Dell branded 90 Watt adapter from an independent source on eBay for about $25 USD. Problem solved. My Inspiron now recognises a ’90 Watt’ adapter and the battery charges happily.

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello qwerty asd,

    Great. Thanks so much for taking the time to posting your experience.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  2. No more dell says:

    I have had this problem with dell laptops for years. They stiff you for over 100 for the adapter and lord help you if the power source on the motherbord wears out. I have lost otherwise fine laptops due to dells problem in this area. Solution, dont buy a dell.

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello No more dell,

    Yeah I have seen dell power port issues for a long time as well. You typically can find the power supplies for much cheaper though on ebay or amazon. I personally still prefer Dell over any other laptops as if there is a support contract they will overnight parts and have someone fix on site if necessary.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  3. kphillips5 says:

    This is my second Dell Power supply issue. On the first Inspiron 1525, I began getting the “power adapter cannot be determined”. After talking with tech support, I purchased a new power supply. Unfortunately, that did not solve the problem and then was told it was a motherboard issue. So I bought a new Dell 1525. After 1 month the hard drive crashed. When I was doing a data recovery I discovered that the NEW Dell machine I had bought was used/referbished! I discovered internet searches and other files indicating this hard drive had been used in England (I saved the files). They sent me a new Hard Drive. Back to the power supply, this machine is now about 3 years old, and I am again getting “power adapter cannot be determined.” I have swapped it with my other daughters compatible 1525 power supply and still get the same message. Motherboard again! Last year when I needed a new laptop, I stopped buying Dell and bought a Toshiba. Now for my daughter, a new Toshiba or a Mac Pro?

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello kphillips5,

    Sorry to hear about all your troubles. I would suggest a Macbook Pro for your daughter. I really like how the power supply connects to the computer as it minimizes risk for damage when using the laptop in your lap. :)

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

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