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Oct
20

Cr48: Official response to Chromebook battery charging problem

Some Cr48 owners have reported an issue with not being able to charge their Cr48 properly.  Sadly, I too now have this issue.  Basically, when you plug in the charger it is supposed to charge.  (Yeah, a shocker, I know.)  However, with this problem, the Cr48 doesn’t seem to do anything when you plug in the charger: the normal charging indicator lamp does not light, and there is certainly no charging happening.

A user in Google’s official ChromeOS forums, “Midnitewolfy”, seemed to have discovered a workaround for this issue.  A number of users there reported that it seemed to work, although for me the workaround seems to need to be done every time the battery dies.  (In other words: it’s not a permanent fix.)

Growing frustrated with the seeming oddity of needing to plug and unplug my charger dozens of times just to get this workaround to even work at all, I decided to pose the issue to Google’s Chromebook Ninja team to see what they had to say.  Of course, I was fantasizing about a response where they offer to swap out my Cr48 for a shiny, new, state-of-the-art Chromebook at no cost to me.  I can dream, can’t I?  The response, however, was not quite what I had hoped for:

Hi Luke,

Thanks for your message.

The focus of the Chromebook pilot program was the Chrome operating system. The Chromebook was given to you as a gift. The system is a beta device, and hardware defects can be expected. There is no warranty on the device, and Google does not provide parts or service.

In the mean time you can try the following steps to see if your battery will charge:

1. Plug the power adapter into a live outlet.

2. In one second intervals, connect and disconnect the power adapter to the Chromebook (1 second plugged in, 1 second unplugged, 1 second plugged in, etc).

3. Do this as many as 30 times.

4. An orange light should appear near where the power adapter connects to the notebook.

5. Once the orange light appears, allow the system to fully charge for 24 hours.

If this does not resolve the battery charging issue, then try putting the battery in the refrigerator/freezer for 30 minutes or so until the battery is cold, then reinstall back in the Chromebook and see if it begins charging..

And last but not least, if none of the above works, try locating another CR-48 and installing the dead battery in it and see if it begins to charge, and swap the good battery into your device. This should reset things back to working order.

Hope this helps!

Warm Regards,

[name redacted]
The Chromebook Ninja Team

So…I don’t get a free replacement.  :/  But, honestly, I can definitely see his point: the purpose of the pilot program was never to test out and perfect the hardware.  It was all about making ChromeOS a viable success as an operating system.  There was no warranty given nor implied, and–regardless of this little irritation–I really am thankful that I was picked to be one of the 60,000 testers.

So, I will continue to follow the plug/unplug ritual that seems to be necessary.  In my opinion, that’s the only method mentioned in the email that makes any real sense to me.  The freezer sounds a little kooky to me mainly because I’m not convinced that this is a battery issue.  And, what are the chances of me actually happening to meet someone else with a Cr48?  Even if I did, how exactly do I go about what is essentially begging them to trade batteries with me?  Yeah…I think I’ll stick with the simpler of those options.

I at least can feel more comfortable knowing that Google officially knows about this issue and what I’m doing to deal with it is what I should be doing to deal with it.

Actually, none of this is even necessary if I just make sure to not let the battery ever run all the way down.  I plugged the charger into my Cr48 a few hours ago when it still had about 30% battery life remaining and it started charging immediately.

About the author

Luke G.

Luke is a professional software developer, web designer, voice artist, traveler, Bible student, public speaker, amateur photographer, budding cyclist, retro gamer, and casual student of Japanese. He's also never met a device which he could not fix, mod, or break (in no particular order).

Permanent link to this article: http://www.lukegerhardt.com/2011/cr48-official-word-on-chromebook-battery-charging-problem/

7 comments

  1. Sean says:

    I know this entry is a little dated but this issue with my CR-48 recently surfaced. After searching around and trying the various steps I found a suggestion on another site. All I had to do was press the reset button for about 15 seconds with the laptop on. (Small pinhole on the bottom of the laptop next to one of the rubber feet.) After that I powered down the laptop, removed the battery, put it back in, and powered it back up for good measure. This seemed to work in my case as my laptop appears to be charging now, before it would shut off the second I unplugged the power cord and it would not charge at all. Hopefully this can help someone else who thinks their battery is dead.

  2. Chromebook battery says:

    Just wanted to double-check and make sure – there IS a replaceable battery for CR48 Chromebook, right? Are there also higher capacity OEM versions available?

    1. Luke G. says:

      As far as I can tell, there is no compatible replacement. Besides, from the behavior I’ve experience, I wouldn’t necessarily suspect the battery as much as I would suspect the charging system and its own method of evaluating whether or not the battery needs charged.

  3. jacob says:

    i need help my chrome book charger does work why

    1. Luke G. says:

      @jacob

      Please test out the method mentioned here and see if it helps. I know it’s a pain to get the timing quite right when plugging/unplugging the cord, and sometimes I’ve spend upwards of 10 minutes doing just that…but it *always* works for me eventually.

      Lately it seems that the charging issue has improved for me. Perhaps Google fixed the issue? I’ll need to do some more testing to see if that’s the case or not!

  4. Magda says:

    What Sean suggested is brilliant: “press the reset button for about 15 seconds with the laptop on. (Small pinhole on the bottom of the laptop next to one of the rubber feet.) After that I powered down the laptop…” I did not remove the battery and it worked in my case also. Once you got the above instuction, the is no brainer just the usual method plug in and charge. Thanks you Sean.

    1. Luke G. says:

      @Magda, @Sean

      It looks like the button you both refer to is the one listed here as being used to enter Recovery Mode.

      However, using it for recovery mode involves pressing it while the system is off and holding it while turning it on. What Sean suggested was to press it for 15 seconds while the system is already turned on…so…I’d assume it doesn’t trigger the Recovery Mode boot when done in that way.

      Did you notice any ill effects on your next boot?

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