Just over a year ago, I bought a new notebook computer: ASUS G71GX w/ 4GB of memory, 500 GB HDD, 17” WS monitor, 1 GB GeForce video card. At the time, it was pretty high-end for a notebook computer. Since then, I’ve been very happy with it. Up until a few days ago…

Even though it is a notebook, I always run it through the battery charger so I can run in high-performance mode without worrying about running out of battery in the middle of something.

The other night, we had a little wind storm that caused power fluctuations in our area for a couple of hours. Nothing major, but the lights flickered a few times.

I went to make a cup of tea and when I returned I noticed that my screen was very dim. I clicked on the power settings icon and saw that I was in power saver mode. Having cats, it is not uncommon to find odd things like that happen as the result of one of them walking across the keyboard. I set it back to high performance mode and forgot about it.

After a while, I took a dinner break and then worked a bit longer before I got a popup informing me that I was down to 11% power.

The surge suppressor was still plugged in and turned on. The battery charger was still plugged in to that and to the computer on the other end. I disconnected and reconnected everything. Still no change but now I noticed that the light on the battery charger wasn’t on.

I turned off the computer and took the battery charger in the other room to try it on another outlet. No go so I unplugged it, checked and cleaned all the connectors and let it sit for an hour before trying it again. Still nothing. Apparently, the wind storm caused some damage after all. :(

No Love From Asus

It looks like I need a new battery charger. Being just over a year old, the warranty had just expired. I started off by checking the ASUS website anyway. A quick check verified that indeed their warrantees were one year as I suspected. Unfortunately, they don’t list battery chargers anywhere on their website. I’m not surprised but it would have been nice to find one that easily. Had they listed them though, I suspect like most manufacturers, the price for accessories like that would be quite high. I thought I’d give them a call anyway and see for sure. I was very surprised to find that they do not list a phone number anywhere on their website! They do have a contact form but I was feeling impatient and didn’t want to wait days for an email. Plus it was now midmorning on a Friday so it was unlikely I’d get any reply before Monday.

Bellevue Computers in Corvallis

We have a local computer store (Bellevue Computers) that isn’t too bad. They seem to know what they are doing, use quality parts and everyone I’ve sent there has been very happy with them. Their computer prices and service fees aren’t too bad but, as most computer stores, their accessory prices are ridiculously high. Still, if I could get what I needed that day, paying a little extra wouldn’t kill me. Sadly, they didn’t have anything close to as powerful as I needed. My notebook uses an Asus ADP-150NB D 150 Watt charger (19.5V, 7.7A). Most computers need a third of that ranging up to 90W. The guy at Bellevue also had this silly notion that I would need to bring my notebook in to “make sure the connector fit”, even though I had the old charger in my hand. But then, it would be pretty wasteful to put a technical guy on the sales floor.

Best Buy in Eugene

I called Best Buy in Eugene to see if they happened to stock what I needed. After 10-15 minutes, I finally reached one of their “computer experts”. After explaining to him what a battery charger was, I got a very tentative “I don’t think we carry those”. Sadly, this was about what I expected from a Best Buy computer expert.

Contacting Fry’s

Fry’s Electronics in Wilsonville isn’t really all that far away. I could drive up there if they have one. I tried their website first but it was incredibly slow (like three minutes to load each page). I was using someone else’s computer and forced to use IE8 so it may not have been entirely the web site’s fault. I didn’t have the patience to search the website more fully so I grabbed their phone number and gave them a call. After over 20 minutes I was still waiting to talk to someone so I hung up and decided to make a road trip.

Road Trip

I am having some trouble driving, and long trips wear on me so I talked my mom into going along. She has been wanting to go to IKEA in Portland with me for some time now so we decided to make a day of it.

Batteries Plus in Salem

We went to Salem first. On our way to Lancaster Mall (for Best Buy), we ran across a Batteries Plus store. I was very surprised to find that they stock battery chargers for notebook computers. In fact, they were quite knowledgeable and had a large selection in stock. After an extensive search though, it turned out that the most powerful charger they had was 120 Watts.

Best Buy in Salem

When I reached Best Buy, I got in line at the service desk. The guy in front of me had a smaller style of battery charger in is hand. We talked for a while and when he got called up I listened in. Since his was under warranty, he needed to go talk to another department and it sounded like he was in for quite an ordeal. When my turn came, I wasn’t expecting much. I told him what I needed and was amazed when he knew exactly what I was talking about and said he stocked them and pointed me to the appropriate aisle. Ecstatic, I hurried over to the aisle in question only to find that their chargers only went up to 90W.

Fry’s Electronics in Wilsonville

Back on the road, we drove to Fry’s in Wilsonville. Walking has become a difficulty and I had already done more that day then was comfortable. Naturally, the electronics section was at the far back of a very large store. After a lengthy hike, I found the electronics desk and told the guy what I needed. Again, I was assured that they had exactly what I needed and showed me to the appropriate aisle. Again, I found that the chargers here only went up to 90W.

By the time I had hiked back to the car, I was feeling pretty grumpy and disgusted.

Buying Online

That pretty much exhausted all my options for walking in somewhere and picking one up. I would have to resort to buying one online. I’m one of those people who hate to buy as much as a sweater online. I want to pick one up, feel the material, check the stitching, examine the color in person, etc. I hate paying shipping and if the item is not what you expected, most places are happy to allow you to return it, but it’s a hassle, takes time, you don’t get the cost of shipping back, and in some cases have to pay return shipping and a restocking fee as well. On top of that, a battery charger isn’t like a sweater where if the color or size or quality is slightly off it may be ok anyway. A battery charger has to have the exact specs with the exact connector.

Online Search

I found a great many sources online for an ADP-150NB battery charger but apparently there are a number of modified versions of that charger that have different specs and use different connectors and most the people advertising those don’t list the full model number so you have to read very closely. The prices are all over the place as well. From the 90W chargers I had seen in various places, I fully expected to be looking at around $100 with shipping.

Found It! (I Hope)

After a very lengthy search I located a seller on eBay (member emarcket) that looks to be an established battery charger seller and listed exactly what I needed for $35.99 and free 3-4 day shipping. I ordered one Saturday afternoon and have my fingers crossed!

Follow-Up

Working on another computer, I couldn’t get to my blog admin account so I’ve held off posting the article above. Today (exactly a week after placing my order), I received the replacement battery charger. Woohoo!

It isn’t the same model but it has the same specs (19 volt, 7.9 amp instead of 19.5 volt, 7.7 amp). The advertised 3-4 day shipping was a bit stretched but it’s here and it works.

It’s so nice to have my computer back!