“The AC Power Adapter Wattage and Type Cannot Be Determined” Alert: Complete Troubleshooting Guide

Why does “The AC power adapter type cannot be determined” message appear? 4 efficient ways how to fix the “AC adapter type cannot be determined” issue

Table Of Contents

  1. Power cycle your laptop
  2. Disable power warnings
  3. Find a new charger or repair the existing one
  4. Change the power jack: at home or service center.
    4.1 Signs of problems with the power jack.
    4.2 How to clean the dust inside a charging port.
  5. Conclusion

Rechargeability is an essential feature of any laptop. When it starts to have charging problems, the device immediately loses its mobility. One of the most popular issues is that the PC can’t identify the plugged charger. That’s why you get the “AC power adapter wattage and type cannot be determined” alert on your screen.

Keep calm — in most cases, you can solve this issue at home. Here is a 5-step guide on fixing your device and getting rid of this alert in less than an hour.

Why does the “The AC power adapter type cannot be determined” message appear?

“The AC power adapter type cannot be determined” alert

This message notifies you that the laptop can’t identify the charger. All of the power connectors in cords have at least 3 pins. The 2 of them are the “Power” and “Earth” (they are mandatory to any electrical system). And the last one is the signal line which helps your PC identify PCU as compatible. 

When the laptop doesn’t get the signal from the third line, it blocks the process of charging. That protects your computer from voltage ups and downs and guarantees that your laptop will stay safe even when you are charging it from the power network with constant voltage jumps.

If you choose to ignore the “AC power adapter type cannot be determined” memo, your device will continue charging for some time. But very soon, system performance will go down. The only way to restore it in the short term is to find the cause of that issue and solve it. 

Here are the main reasons for the “AC power adapter wattage and type cannot be determined” reminder:

  • Software issues;
  • Complications with the adapter;
  • Issues with the power jack.

Some people consider that the “AC power adapter wattage and type cannot be determined” grounds the battery underlying. While in reality, accumulators have nothing to do with it. You’ll reach the identical error even when you plug in a laptop without it.

4 efficient ways how to fix the “AC adapter type cannot be determined” alert

The Howly team has found the 5 most effective ways to solve this issue. First of all, try to improve the software — maybe some major bug is hidden there. If your laptop still sends you the “AC adapter wattage and type cannot be determined” message — troubleshoot the hardware. 

1. Power cycle your laptop

Externally connected devices consume energy directly from the PC to which they are connected. Sometimes laptops can’t give the needed amount of power to them. The laptop tries to receive energy from a power grid as much as possible. If you have a pluggable battery, power cycling will be the easiest solution to the “AC adapter wattage and type power” issue. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Remove all the external devices from the laptop – the mouse and the keyboard also count.
  2. Unplug the charger from the laptop.
  3. Turn off the device.
  4. Pull out the battery for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Mount the battery back to the laptop.
  6. Try to charge your laptop for 1.5-2 hours.
  7. Then, boot your laptop again.

Check if your laptop still has the “AC adapter wattage and type” power alert. In most cases, the power cycle procedure is more than enough to fix this problem. If everything is fine — don’t plug back all external devices at once. Instead, connect them one after another to see which gadget led your laptop to this alert.

In case your laptop has a removable battery, you should open the bottom part of your laptop and unravel it. If you don’t have the skills for this task, go to the nearest service center.

2. Disable power warnings

Disable power warnings on your laptop

If you are still able to charge your laptop as you used to but continue receiving the “AC adapter type cannot be determined” memo — we have a temporary trick for you. Just disable this warning. Note that this action doesn’t solve your issue. But it allows you to finish your work without this annoying notification before you continue following our guide or take your laptop to the service center.  

Here is the tutorial:

  1. Turn down your laptop.
  2. Boot it again and press the F2 (or Fn+F2) hotkey for the BIOS menu. Some laptops respond only to the F10 or F12 key.
  3. Once you enter the BIOS, move to the “Advanced” tab and open the “Adapter warning” settings.
  4. Tap “Disable”.
  5. Save settings.
  6. Exit the BIOS.

Reboot the laptop as usual. If you do everything properly — you won’t see “The AC Power Wattage…” alert for a long time.

3. Find a new charger or repair the existing one

Find a new charger for your laptop

If you frequently catch the “AC power type cannot be determined,” it may mean that your charger has issues. So check your charger out — maybe it caused the whole problem. Just plug the existing adapter into the other suitable device.

If it declines to charge — the adapter is the source of the problem. For those who don’t have a laptop for rotation — go to the shop and plug your device into the new charger. If it starts to charge without alerts — buy a new one. There will be an effortless and fastest resolution to the issue.

But if for some reason you don’t want to buy a substitute charger — try to fix yours. Take into account that the problem may be anywhere. It could be a broken pin, connection, lax soldering, etc. If you don’t have restoration skills, please bring a charger to the service center.

If you decide to buy a new charger, take into account the wattage (like 40W,110W, 160W), the voltage (11V, 14V, etc) and current (1A,2A, 2,5A, etc) of your present charger. Make sure that your new charger matches exactly the same numbers. Otherwise, you will see the annoying alert again.

4. Change power jack: at home or service center

A wobbly jack may be the reason why your plugged-in laptop is not charging with the “AC power adapter type cannot be determined” sign. It’s a common issue with old (4+ years) devices. If you use your computer daily or in challenging circumstances (e.g., airports, bars, coffee shops), its charging port may wear out quickly. 

4.1 Signs of problems with the power jack. 

The easiest way to point it out is to observe how the laptop jack acts in different circumstances. Look for the next signs:

  • Check out the power light while your laptop is working. Put the charger block to the socket and the notebook simultaneously. If it blinks — there is something wrong with the charger or the port.  If you are sure that the power adapter is OK, it’s a wobbly jack. But if it slowly flickers orange — the laptop is just in the “Sleep Mode”. 
  • Move the charger from side to side. If in some odd position the laptop stops charging, there is a torn line in the charger. If you have repair skills, try to fix a broken wire. If you haven’t — go to the service center.
  • There is dust all around you. If you are working at some dusty place, it can clog a power jack. That’s why it may not get the signals from the cord.

4.2 How to clean the dust inside a charging port.

Follow our instructions to clean a clogged charging port: 

  • Take your hairdryer and turn it to minimum power and the coolest temperature.
  • Direct the airflow from it to the jack for 15-20 seconds. 

If a dusty power jack issued your charging problems — this method would solve them immediately.

By the way, many repair masters say that problems with the jack are the most popular reason why “The AC power adapter wattage and type cannot be determined” alert appears on DELL laptops (especially on Inspiron and Latitude models). But other laptops also can face a similar problem. 

Warning! Don’t try to fix a jack if you don’t have strong repair skills. If the device is under warranty — reach the manufacturer. If it is a warranty case, the repair will be absolutely free for you. 


There are 5 ways to troubleshoot the “AC power adapter cannot be determined” issue at home. In the beginning, try to change PC settings.

If this didn’t help — check out a charger. There may be problems with the cable. Fix it or buy a new one. In some cases, purchasing a new cord is a more profitable solution compared to repairing an old one.