i recently bought a 1501 off ebay it is like new an has been fine for 3 week except each time i turned it on it read the ac adapter can not be determined. the battery says it has full charge,now nothing happens when i press the power button. i have taken out battery an hard drive an still no joy but sometimes it comes on an then works fine any tips welcome thanks

Hi,
It sounds like a loose (or dry) connection somewhere. I assume that you do not have any warranty? It could be something very simple, but finding it could be very difficult. Check all the connections as much as you can but if you can not find the problem I would recommend you take it to get checked by a technician.

I have seen this problem... Basically there are a lot of Dell laptops that can get this problem, both older and newer laptops. From what I have read, a plastic piece breaks on the Dell motherboard on the assembly that holds the power adapter connection and then this error message starts occurring. Try this - Press the F7 and F8 keys at the same time and then release and then try to power it on. That might get you out of the dead laptop mode. If that works then your laptop will work but only at 50% CPU power and will not charge up the battery at all. A new motherboard will definitely fix the problem (very expensive) although I have heard that some folks are purchasing generic non-dell power adapters off eBay that are also fixing the problem too (under $15)... It's worth a try. Let me know if that works for you :)

My friend's Dell 600m laptop (who I helped with the F7 F8 keyboard combo as previously mentioned in the previous post) was able to use his computer for couple weeks at a maximum of 50% CPU power. Then his power adapter totally died. I was able to get him a generic replacement power adapter from ebay ($10) and he is once again operating at 50% CPU (max) like before. I was hoping that his laptop would operate at 100% CPU and charge the battery also but no luck on both of those. I know a new motherboard would fix the problem but I was looking for a cheaper solution. My Internet research shows this is most likely a motherboard power connector assembly issue (short out), and it can be repaired without replacing the entire motherboard. I have found a guy who can install of more durable power connector on the motherboard but I have not specifically had any repairs done by this individual. He mentions that he can fix the motherboard power connector issue for $98 plus shipping which is a pretty good deal. He works out of Tacoma WA

Here is his URL for Dell computers
http://www.doctorlaptop-repair-jack.com/Dell%20Power%20Jack%20Repair.htm

I mentioned him to my friend who might have him do the work... If so, I will post the results here in the future

Best of Luck to you...

Just a heads up... If your computer is giving the Adapter Cannot Be Determined error, try to minimize connecting and reconnecting the AC power adapter to the laptop. Because the motherboard power connector assembly is shorted out and not working properly, it can short out other components such as your AC power adapter when disconnecting and reconnecting. That's what happened to my friends laptop adapter. With electrical problems, it's best to fix the root problem as soon as possible.

The thread is from 2009 but I will post it for the records.
If your inspiron 1501 won't even start up (black screen from the time you power it up) do this.

1. Unplug the AC cable
2. Power the pc on with just the battery and leave it there in the black screen for 20-30 min.
3. Shut it down, then power it up again and that should solve the problem (it worked for me).

It could be a mobo/ac/battery problem, who knows.