I have an old Acer Aspire One. In fact, I have two. Long story. We'll get to that.
I haven't used them in a while, but I recently went to do something with my oldest one - an original, white AOA110 with the extended battery. I got it as part of a promotion back in 2009. As a teacher, I was able to test it out, and at the end of the month long test I could buy it out for half price (then $200).
When I swept the dust off it, though, I found I had a bit of a problem. The battery was dead. Like completely dead.
Defining the Symptoms
When you're trying to fix a computer problem, the most important thing is trying to identify and diagnose the symptoms. So, to help you figure out if you're having the exact same problem, let me start by describing my problem. Then we'll talk about how I fixed it.
My battery was completely dead. Without an AC adapter plugged in, the netbook simply wouldn't turn on.
When I plugged in an AC adapter, it turned on fine. But, as soon as you pull the plug... the lights go out as they say. And the netbook shuts off.
When the adapter was plugged in, the battery light would blink orange. It would go on for a while, then it would go off. Then it would blink orange again.
Suggested Explanations (And What Didn't Work)
I eventually tracked down a manual for the netbook, and I determined that the blinking orange light meant the battery was completely and utterly drained. Ok. So that's one mystery solved.
The solution? Well that's tougher. Some people said the battery was dead and to get a new one. I guess that could have worked. It is only $20 or $30 to get a new battery on Amazon, but still... I didn't want to spend money on an old, outdated laptop that only cost me $200 to begin with.
Next solution. Update the bios. Some people reported that the original bios had trouble charging batteries, especially the extended life batteries. Ok, that kind of makes sense. I updated the BIOS, but nothing. Still no charge on the battery.
My Solution That Did Work
After a few days of being stumped, a thought occurred to me. Maybe, due to the battery having absolutely no charge, the netbook didn't recognize that a battery was even installed and it didn't think to start charging it.
I have a great AA battery recharger, and I had this problem with AA's before. If they completely discharge, the recharging unit doesn't recognize the batteries and it won't do anything. If you can give the batteries a little jump start, they'll charge up just fine.
Well, I wouldn't advise that you hook up a make shift charger and jump start your netbook battery. That might be dangerous. But as it happens, I have a second Acer Aspire One laptop, a slightly newer blue model.
On a whim, I swapped the batteries. I wanted to know if the white laptop would work with and charge the blue battery, which it did. But more importantly, when I plugged the white battery into the blue netbook, it started charging!
I left it there for about five minutes and swapped them back. Now, the white battery is installed on the original white netbook, and it's charging just fine.
I'm going to assume that there's some kind of flaw in the original Acer's BIOS and/or motherboard, and it simply won't charge a battery that has completely discharged. Usually this doesn't happen. The battery will hold a little charge, even if you drain it completely and the computer shuts off. It's only going to be a problem if you drain the battery and then let it sit unused for a few months. Oops.
So the solution? Don't leave your laptop uncharged for a few months. And if you do, you may not need a new battery. You may just need to find another netbook that will charge it up a little bit so your original Acer will recognize it!