Does your laptop charger get really hot when charging? There are a number of reasons why this might be happening. In the majority of cases, this is an issue which can easily be fixed, as long as the cause is properly identified.
In this article, we cover some of the most common reasons that can cause a laptop charger to overheat, and solutions to fix them.
Laptop charger gets really hot when charging
First of all, it’s important to note that all laptop chargers can get fairly warm when charging. This is in fact a normal occurrence, and the reason why it happens is that, as your adapter transfers current from the electric socket into your laptop or macbook, a small amount of energy gets dissipated as heat. This is because the charging process is not 100% efficient, and in order to transport the electricity through your power cord, those inefficiencies are released in the form of heat.
However, depending on several factors, a charger can overheat, and even become painful to the touch – a big warning sign to look out for. This could cause many serious issues if left unchecked, such as internal and external damage to the adapter, laptop, or even the user, in a worst case scenario.
How to fix a laptop charger overheating
Change your Performance Management settings
If your laptop is running a very power-hungry application (for example, design/modelling/gaming applications), it’s common that the device may overheat a little over its cooling capacity.
However, this may impact the charger as well in the long run, particularly causing more stress on the adapter as it struggles to supply the laptop with enough voltage to keep the device’s performance and battery at a steady level.
A method to solve this involves heading to the machine’s settings and reducing the amount of power usage the device may be consuming, especially when using applications that require a large amount of graphics card usage.
For Windows, it’s possible to change the performance plan and maximum processor state in the general settings, under System > Power & Sleep settings, to reduce laptop strain. However, if you have a Mac with a charger overheating, this setting will depend on the model of the device, as some models do not have the processor setting functionality in the settings section.
Check if you’re using a correct charger
Even though many chargers might fit into your laptop’s plug (generally USB-C these days), did you know that not all of them are in fact valid, even if they seem to charge your laptop? The reason is that each power adapter has a specific voltage and current rating, and using one that is below your Windows laptop or Macbook’s specifications means that the adapter has to make extra effort to match your laptop’s supply, which causes your charger to overheat.
Typically, using a power adapter with voltage and current rating lower than the laptop’s specifications may cause it to quickly overheat and possibly fry the adapter or the power supply’s circuits. As such, it’s always best to seek advice, or a new charger from the official store or company where the laptop was manufactured.
Check your charger’s surroundings
First of all, it might just be that the issue is not of an electronic nature, but rather of a climatic one! Is your charger usually stuck in a corner of your room? Perhaps next to a radiator? Is it under your warm duvet, or perhaps some clothes?
These surroundings can have a really big impact on your laptop or Mac charger’s temperature, increasing heat retention. In these cases, the are some solutions to fix your laptop or Mac charger overheating: put it in an open and ventilated area where it can dissipate heat more easily, install a fan (e.g desktop fan, or table fan) to increase airflow, or simply leave the adapter in a cooler, ventilated area with a gradual heat distribution in the air. These actions will reduce the stress on the charger’s inner components and will improve your device’s average lifetime.
Check for physical damages in your charger
It’s possible that your power adapter may have physical defects to it. Examples of this include charger pin damage, suspicious charred, burnt and/or bent marks at the pin connection to the power plug.
These issues generally indicate either connectivity issues, or simply charger age. It is important to be extra careful, as these faults could cause heavy damages to your laptop or Macbook, and could also translate into potential user danger, due to close proximity to power plugs.
In these cases, the solution to fix your laptop or Mac charger from overheating is simple: the best course of action is always to seek technical help. Ultimately, it is also highly recommended to get a new replacement charger, ideally from the manufacturer or official store where you purchased your laptop or Mac.
Taking care of your laptop charger
Caring for a laptop or Mac charger and it’s components doesn’t just encompass a singular adapter and charging device – it also involves other healthy habits which greatly help to keep the charging adapter, and the laptop by extension, in tip-top shape.
Tip 1: Don’t overcharge, or charge overnight
Usually modern laptops have a specialised system which kicks in when the battery is full, to stop the extra voltage from spoiling the battery. Given that most laptop batteries nowadays are Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) batteries, overcharging (for example, when charging overnight) may cause a lot of unwanted chemical material buildup with may degrade the battery and spoil the charger as a result, usually from overwork.
Despite lower risks in charger and battery degradation from this sort of damage, long term usage may very well still wear down the battery and the power adapter, usually through long term overheating and overuse of the charger adapter.
Tip 2: Charger timings
Of course, when playing games or using memory/graphics card intensive applications, it’s easy for the laptop to drain battery quickly as the energy for processing continues to hike. However tempting it is to just plug in the charger and continue on with work or play, charging while usage will not only damage the laptop, but also the charging port, since it will struggle to keep supplying enough electricity to keep the device running.
As such, to prolong the life of your charger, apart from avoiding your Mac charger overheating, it’s highly recommended to wait a bit and let the laptop cool down, and then give it a certain amount of time to charge while the laptop is off, or on standby mode without any energy grabbing processes running. This will give the charger time to steadily fill the battery without any influences that may cause it to overwork to supply power.
There are multiple reasons why your laptop or Mac charger may be overheating. The recommended course of action is to first identify which issue (or combination of issues!) is affecting your particular case, and then see which of the solutions above can bring your laptop charger temperature back to normal.
This is an important topic, and will help to protect yourself, your laptop and your charger from any unintended consequences arising from faulty adapters, power plugs or similar.