I work for a software company in the US. I decided to take some vacation time and fly back home (to one of the former Soviet countries). My manager asked me to grab a work laptop with me to perform some tasks remotely.

I remember I was going home several years ago and got my personal laptop that time, and a simple adapter from US type outlets to European type (I guess they call it Type C or Type F). It was more than enough to use it.

However, this time I'm having a really hard time to even launch my work laptop. Plugging in the power cord does nothing (the charge icon is not flashing, pressing the power button does nothing). I used a voltage checker and it showed normal voltage at the end of the cord, so the next suspicion I guess is either the battery has died, or I need some really special adapter to make this HP laptop work.

Has anyone had this problem before specifically with HP brand? Any suggestions or pointers in the right direction are higly appreciated. Thanks a lot people!

Adapter the one I used with my personal laptop several years ago

Adapter the one I used with my personal laptop several years ago

Adapter the one I used with my personal laptop several years ago

  • 2
    Did you ensure that your US laptop’s adapter can handle 240 V instead of the typical US 120V ? – Jacob Horbulyk Aug 17 at 12:34
  • 7
    Maybe your laptop is sending you a message that you are on vacations ? – Max Aug 17 at 14:46
  • 3
    Those multi-country adapters are non-standard and really don't meet safety standards. You should try getting the correct cable from the wall to the brick and try that. At minimum, try plugging some other appliance into the white adapter. – user71659 Aug 17 at 16:07
  • 5
    Plug something else right into the adapter (like a lamp, for example) and make sure that item works. It should accept the local plugs as well as your US style. This is a better check than using a test lamp or multimeter because it can't be fooled by capacitive coupling etc. If it doesn't then either the adapter or the wall socket power is bad. – Spehro Pefhany Aug 17 at 19:17
  • 2
    The adapter works perfectly fine, I can charge my “bought in America” iPhone with no problem – TiredOfProgramming Aug 17 at 20:53

There's nothing in your pictures that indicates that they shouldn't work on a European grid. I think you need to treat this exactly like any other instance of: My laptop and/or its power brick died unexpectedly while I'm traveling.

Assuming your employer is not so large that they have an office (with local IT support) near you, typically the plan would be something like:

  1. Call HP in the country you're in and get the address of resellers or repair centres close to you who might be able to sell you a new (local) power brick.
  2. Call your boss and get his/her blessing to buy that and expense it later. (Also get them to find out if your company has any worldwide service agreements that cover the laptop).
  3. When you're there, ask politely if you can plug your laptop into one of their supplies for a minute or two, to make sure it is the power brick rather than the laptop that's dead.
  4. If it's the laptop, then you're in greater trouble.
  • 20
    If it were me, I would just report to IT support "my laptop is dead" and be done with it. The OP is on vacation, the fact that he agreed to perform his own work while on vacation is one thing, but he really shouldn't need to do the IT department's work on top of that. It's their job to provide him with a laptop and charger that works in the destination country. It's their problem how they manage to do that: FedEx him a new laptop, send an employee halfway across the world to fix the laptop, have the laptop picked up at the hotel by a local HP support technician, … – Jörg W Mittag Aug 17 at 16:17

Try a power outlet outside your room/hotel.

It is known that in several countries, namely Italy, the electric outlets in many famly/small chains hotels are only good enough to drive electric shavers or similar devices on purpose.

Whilst it does not appear your case, it could also happen all your room outlets are broken. It already happened to me twice.

  • 2
    Those outlets are usually clearly marked as being razor-only, but the idea of trying another outlet is a sound one. It's possible the outlet tried is defective, or is operated by an on/off switch that was powered off. – Jim MacKenzie Aug 17 at 17:34
  • 5
    Those outlets in Italy and Eastern countries are not marked as razor only and often foreigns are left wondering why they do not work – Rui F Ribeiro Aug 17 at 18:23
  • 2
    I would also try another plug adapter. Sometimes they're poorly made and the electrical connection is loose. – Zach Lipton Aug 17 at 19:52
  • 3
    They're not always marked razor-only, and some (many?) standard outlets are controlled by a switch - and that switch is not always directly next to the outlet! (And frequently the switches are upside-down w.r.t. the US standard!) – davidbak Aug 17 at 22:20
  • 2
    A possibility is to check in the room for the electric outlet that powers the TV and plug the adapter in it; without doubt it will provide more power than the necessary to power an electric shaver. – SJuan76 Aug 18 at 9:17
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Thanks a lot people for your time and patience and advice. All of you really tried to help me resolve my problem.

This is incredibly ridiculous, but the problem was not in the cord or adapter or any kind of hardware. I called HP support center to figure what might have gone wrong. It seems like I shut down the laptop before my flight, but what (probably) happened is the laptop didn't shut down correctly, rather went to hibernate mode.

In this case (according to the HP support guy), the laptop won't charge at all (WHAT???) from any sort of cord / wires / chargers. In order to resolve this

the user has to hold the power button on the laptop for 10 seconds.

Before he/she sees some light flashing on the keyboard then release this power button.

What is this: security feature? Power saving feature? Bug in the software? God knows! And I've been struggling with it several days.

Good thing that I didn't decide to replace the battery, for which in this specific HP model I would have to take the bottom cover out in order to get to the battery. And in our company this is against the policy to dig inside assigned hardware (sealed), which might get us punished even with employee discharge :-)

  • I have never heard of this hibernate thing! Amazing! But HP has been making hardware broken in odd ways for years and years. Their original IBM PC AT clone beeped the PC speaker - in the BIOS where you couldn't change it - whenever it switched from extended mode to real mode. They thought it was a good idea I guess but that meant if you ran a RAM disk or anything else in extended memory your speaker was beeping one solid tone all the time - until you gave up and cut the wires to it. – davidbak Aug 22 at 16:26

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