How to fix a broken charger? It can be frustrating and inconvenient to charge a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or another device with a broken charger. There are several things you can try to fix the problem without needing an electrician’s license.
Reasons Why a Charger Stops Working
There are a few basic reasons why your charger would stop working:
- The wall socket is off or damaged.
- A damaged charger.
- There is damage to the device’s power port.
How to Fix a Broken Charger
Getting your broken charger working again may require some rewiring, but there are many fixes you can try.
Make sure the outlet is turned on. Some European-style outlets have individual switches. Many American homes use switched surge protectors, a light switch that controls the wall outlets, or a breaker. You may need to reset a tripped breaker.
Make sure the cables are connected correctly. Unplug all cables in the system, wait a few minutes, then reconnect them carefully. Make sure all connections are tight and accurate when reseating.
Look for lights. Is the status light illuminated when you’re working with a broken Mac charger? It is the same with status lights on laptop computer chargers and portable charger batteries.
Reboot the charging device. Rebooting the device helps solve charging detection problems since it controls a large part of its charging behavior.
Try a different outlet. Although outlets are robust, they can fail. Check out our multimeter tips below to confirm an outlet works.
Check for damage to the charger. The problem could be caused by bare wires, stripped insulation, or wire shielding. Wiggle the cable at both ends after plugging it in. You may have damaged the copper wiring in the cable if the charger works intermittently when you move the cable. Replace the wire if possible.
Do not attempt to wiggle the cable on either end if there are bare or damaged wires. This could result in an electrical shock.
Check the components. Make sure only the charger is plugged into an outlet known to work by temporarily removing the adapter, outlet splitter, power strip, or surge protector. It is not the wall socket that is malfunctioning if the outlet works, but the charger won’t activate.
In the case of a charger that works when plugged into the wall, it indicates there is a problem with one of the components removed. Rebuild the system one piece at a time until it fails, but don’t stop there. Add the pieces in a different order or at a different location.
Check the fuses. Look for a flipped breaker in the fuse box and flip it back. Switches in one column or row usually point in the same direction. If you see a fuse with its handle pointed in the other direction, it has likely been tripped. Find the fuse associated with the outlet you’re using and reset it. It pops back into place with a springing sound.
According to the U.S. model, a fuse box contains fuses that each control a section of a home’s electrical outlets. The fuse is built into the wall plug in other countries. Be cautious about electrical problems in unfamiliar countries.
Make sure the charging port is clean. Look inside the charging device if you don’t feel a click when the charging cable connects. Both Lightning and USB-C charging ports can be blocked by anything from pocket lint to grains of rice. Use plastic tweezers, cotton swabs, or toothpicks to remove any garbage.
Never stick metal in the charging port. If you stick a piece of metal in the charging port the wrong way, you can short out the connection and destroy the device.
Try a different cable and power adapter. Charging cable failure is the leading cause of charger failure. Over time, the cable takes the most stress, so it tends to fail first. The charging brick that connects the wire to the wall can also fail, but it’s less common. Try using a different USB charging cable and adapter and see if the problem resolves. To pinpoint the culprit, replace one at a time.
Clear the USB port. If a USB port is physically prevented from making good contact by shielding, cable design, port furniture, or something else, removing that barrier can fix the problem. It’s easy to bend the sheet metal housing of a USB port back into shape if it has been deformed over time. With modern USB Micro and USB-C devices, bend the small tongue inside the charging port if it’s out of place.
Make sure the device is turned off before attempting any physical electrical repairs.
You should check the battery’s age and health. Sometimes the battery lasts longer than the device’s useful life, but sometimes the relationship is reversed. Examine the battery’s health and age to determine if it needs to be replaced. Replace the laptop battery if you can remove it and see if the problem persists. An older battery can also be calibrated.
Check the charger compatibility. Physically compatible cables can be used incorrectly and not work fully. Laptop chargers are more picky, as you rarely can swap one for another without problems. Furthermore, only the right combination of adapter and cable will allow you to utilize all the features of the device. Use a cable that is compatible with your device if you think you are using an incompatible cable.
Test with a multimeter. With a multimeter, you can check the cable and wall outlet to narrow down potential problems.
- To check the outlet, connect the probes to the multimeter and set it to AC voltage, then insert the black probe into the neutral port, and the red probe into the hot or positive side of the outlet. If the outlet works, check the cable.
- To check the cable, turn the multimeter’s central knob to the resistance setting (Ohms, or Ω). Then, touch the same pin on opposite ends of the cable with the multimeter’s two probes. If the multimeter shows 0, the wire is functional. An infinity means the wire is broken and needs to be fixed or replaced.
- Check the adapter. With the multimeter set to detect AC voltage, plug the adapter into the wall and check the contacts that should be conducting power. If you don’t get a measurable voltage from the adapter, it may not be providing power, and you’ll need to replace it.
It is only possible to test the two power pins of a data-carrying cable, such as a USB, which are known as the ground and voltage pins. Find the power-carrying pins on the connector diagram (often labeled ground, GND, V+, or 5V).