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HP Notebook PCs - Using and troubleshooting the AC power adapter

Correct use and storage of your AC power adapter ensures best performance when recharging or powering the notebook.

If the AC power adapter does not recharge the battery or power the notebook, troubleshoot the adapter, and if necessary purchase a replacement.

Determining the AC power adapter wattage

For best performance, use only the AC power adapter that came with your HP notebook computer and configure your power management settings for optimal performance based on your usage habits.

If you use a power adapter that has a lower wattage than your notebook requires, there might be some trade-offs. The CPU clock rate might be reduced to save power, which can cause programs to run slower, the battery might charge more slowly or not at all, or the power adapter itself might become warm to the touch.

The wattage information is printed on a label located on the bottom of the power adapter.

AC power adapter with 120W label highlighted

Connecting the AC power adapter

Connect the HP AC power adapter to an HP notebook to charge the battery and power the notebook.

  1. Confirm that the power adapter and the notebook are both genuine HP parts.


    Do not use an HP power adapter on non-HP equipment and do not use a non-HP power adapter on HP equipment.

    AC power adapter with HP logo highlighted
  2. Connect the DC connector to the power port on the notebook and make sure that the connector is completely inserted into the power port.

    AC adapter fully inserted into power port
    AC adapter not completely inserted into power port
  3. Connect the power cord to the power adapter, and then connect the power cord to a working AC wall outlet.


    Power cords vary in appearance by region and country.

    AC adapter components




    AC power adapter


    DC connector


    Power cord

Understanding HP Smart Adapter messages

Using an AC power adapter not designed for your computer can cause the notebook to display a notification message in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Use the power adapter that came with your notebook for best performance.


If the HP Smart Adapter message displays when you are using the power adapter provided with the notebook, then update to the latest BIOS version for your notebook.

  • Power output too low message. This message indicates the power adapter does not provide enough power for the notebook computer to be used. The battery light might blink rapidly eight (8) times and the battery icon in the system tray indicates the computer is operating on battery power.

    For example, using a 65W AC adapter or 65W Travel Adapter on most Mobile Workstation series notebooks is not supported.

    This message does not indicate the power adapter needs to be replaced or is defective. Use the appropriate power adapter for your model notebook computer.

    Smart Adapter message - power output is too low
  • Reduced performance message. This message indicates the power adapter is providing enough power to use your computer, but not enough power to deliver expected performance.

    For example, attempting to use a 65W AC power adapter designed for a high performance notebook works, but performance is not optimal. High performance HP notebooks require a 90W AC power adapter.

    Smart Adapter message - reduced performance

Tips for using the AC power adapter

Correct use of the AC power adapter provides the best performance.

Connecting to a power source: Plug the power cord into an AC outlet that is easily accessible at all times.


All power adapter certification tests for HP notebooks are performed using a grounded power adapter. Damage can occur if an ungrounded power adapter is subjected to power surges or electrostatic discharge.

  • Always plug in the power adapter to a grounded outlet.


    If you do not use a grounded outlet, you might notice an electrical tingling sensation when the palms of your hands touch the notebook during use.

  • If provided with a 3-pin attachment plug on the power cord, plug the cord into a grounded 3-pin outlet. Do not disable the power cord grounding pin, for example, by attaching a 2-pin adapter. The grounding pin is an important safety feature.

  • Connect the power adapter to a good quality surge protector if your local power supply is unstable.

Using the power adapter: When connected to external AC power, the battery charge icon and the battery meter icon in the system tray change appearance.

  • Use only the power adapter provided with the computer, a replacement HP power adapter, or a compatible power adapter purchased from HP.

  • Use the power adapter on a hard, flat surface.


    Make sure the power adapter is NOT placed in an area such as under cabinets, near exhaust fans or heaters or covered by objects such as a book, blanket, or clothing where the ambient temperature can reach greater than 35 degrees C (95 degrees F) and prevent natural convection cooling. The power adapter can become hot and go into thermal protection mode. Allow the power adapter to cool for five (5) minutes before using again.

  • Connect to external AC power when charging or calibrating the battery, installing or modifying system software (such as drivers and updates), and when writing information to a CD or DVD.

  • If you use an external power adapter at all times, calibrate your battery often, or when the battery has charged fully, remove it entirely before continuing to work on external AC power. Continuously charging the battery without allowing it to expend its charge can degrade battery performance and shorten battery life.

  • When a high number of applications are running or when the battery is recharging, the power adapter might be warm to the touch when it reaches its power limit.

  • Docking stations might have limitations when using different power adapters. Use the appropriate compatible docking station for your notebook computer. Use the power adapter that is included with the docking station.

  • When disconnected from external AC power, the computer uses power from the battery and the display brightness automatically dims to save battery life. To increase the display brightness, in Windows, search for and open Change brightness level, and then use the slider bar to adjust the brightness level.

Disconnecting and moving the adapter: Unplug the power adapter cord, mouse, and other peripheral devices when moving a notebook.

  • Always disconnect power from the computer by unplugging the power cord from the AC wall outlet first, then unplug the power cord from the computer.

  • Do not leave accessories or power adapters connected to a notebook while moving it. Pulling, twisting, or jamming these cords can break the connectors.

Understanding the AC power adapter lights

Depending on the model, the battery indicator or AC power adapter light LED might be white, green, or amber when the power adapter is connected and is providing power to the notebook.

Most notebook computers have a power adapter light in the area near the power connector. If the light is on, then the power adapter is functioning properly.


On some HP notebooks, the LED lights do not indicate a power state. For other HP notebooks, there might be multicolor LEDs that indicate different power states. To determine the functionality of the LEDs on your notebook, refer to the user guide that came with the notebook.

AC adapter light on

Store the AC power adapter

Store your AC power adapter with the cord loosely bundled to prolong the life of your AC power adapter, and reduce risks.

Loosely bundle the power adapter cord for storage or transport. Using a "figure 8" pattern when bundling the cord allows for easy storage, prevents the internal copper wires from breaking, and keeps the cord from getting tangled.

Power adapter and cord properly bundled for storage

Never wrap the power cord around the power adapter or any other object as this could cause the internal wires to break. Broken wires can short circuit both the power adapter and your notebook's internal power supply. Broken wires can shock anyone who touches the cord, and might also present a fire hazard.

Power cord wrapped around adapter, and damaged adapter cord






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