Is your Surface Pro 3 not charging like it should? And you don’t have any idea how to go about fixing it? This post should help.
I created the troubleshooting guide below to step you through the process of identifying and correcting charging issues on your Surface Pro 3 tablet.
Oh, and if you don’t have a Surface Pro 3, don’t worry we have you covered too – with just a bit of modification, many of these steps will help you regardless of the Surface model you have.
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Where to Start
Depending on how your Surface is behaving, you’ll need to change what things you try to resolve the problem. So, I put together the guide below to help get you started.
First things first
- You will need to make sure your Power adapter is plugged in and connected to your Surface Pro 3 and that the white LED is illuminated.
- Also, I’m assuming you have Windows 8.1 installed. If you have Windows 8 or the Windows 10 Technical Preview installed, you may need to make some adjustments to the steps below.
If the LED on your power adapter doesn’t illuminate when it’s properly plugged into AC power and connected to the Surface, this may very well be the culprit. So, you can skip the power icon section below and jump to Solution 6 and begin your troubleshooting from there.
After your Surface is connected to power, bring up the charms menu by swiping in from the left of the screen and look at the power indicator icon (circled in red below).
Once you’ve found the power icon, compare it to the list below. That will tell you how to begin your troubleshooting process.
Plugged in and charging: If you see a power plug next to the battery icon, it means your Surface recognizes that the power supply is connected and it thinks the battery is charging.
If your Surface turns off immediately when you disconnect the power supply, you either have a failed battery or your Surface isn’t properly switching to battery power. You should start your troubleshooting with Solution 1.
Plugged in but not charging: If the icon is missing the power plug even though the adapter is connected and the LED is on, it means your Surface does not think the power supply is connected (even tough it is).
- If you still have some battery power, start troubleshooting with Solution 1
- If you are out of battery power (or will run out very soon), you can hope the power adapter or connection is at fault and start your troubleshooting with Solution 6
X on the battery, it means that your battery likely has gone bad (or you’ve dropped your Surface one too many times) and you will probably not be able to fix it on your own.Battery not detected: If you see a power plug next to the battery but there’s a red
Unfortunately, you’ll need to jump straight to contacting Microsoft Support as your Surface is not really capable of being repaired. It will need to be replaced.
OK, now that you’ve identified where to start your troubleshooting, below are my list of Solutions that will (hopefully) help you get your Surface charging again.
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 1 – Restart your Surface
Let’s start with the basics. Try doing a shutdown and restart as it could just be a temporary glitch (it does happen). Hopefully, it was just a glitch and this simple fix solved your problem but, If the problem persists, proceed onto Solution 2.
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 2 – Check for Updates
Next, make sure you have all of the latest updates installed. Even though they don’t always do a good job of saying what they’re doing, Microsoft is often fixing issues in their monthly patch cycle. To make sure you have the latest updates, just do the following:
- Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap or click Settings
- Tap or click Change PC settings, tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Windows Update
- Tap or click Check now
- If there are updates available, tap or click View details
- Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, and then tap or click Install
- Repeat these steps until you see Your PC is up to date after you tap or click Check now (3rd step).
If you have all of the latest updates and firmware but your SP3 is still not charging correctly, proceed to Solution 3.
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 3 – “Uninstall” the Battery
Ok, technically you’re not uninstalling the battery. You’re uninstalling the driver your SP3 uses to talk to be battery. As part of the uninstallation procedure, there will be a reboot. When that happens, your SP3 will detect the driver is missing re-install it.
- Swipe from right and select the Search charm
- Search for Device Manager
- Choose Device Manager from the results
- Choose Batteries then tap and hold (right-click) Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery
- Choose Uninstall (DO NOT JUST DISABLE OR DELETE IT!!!)
- After you’ve completed the uninstall, restart your Surface
If all goes well, your Surface should re-install the needed drivers and resolve your Surface Pro 3 not charging problem.
If not, proceed to Solution 4.
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 4 – Two Button Shutdown
It’s possible that your SP3 just needs a two button (or hard) shutdown. This type of shutdown is akin to yanking the plug out of the wall and isn’t really a good thing to do because it is possible to cause corruption or data loss.
If you happen to be troubleshooting a Surface RT or Surface 2, skip this step. According to Microsoft, attempting a two button shutdown may cause more harm than good for Windows RT devices.
At this point, though, it’s probably worth the risk. In case you don’t know how to perform a two button shutdown, just follow these steps:
- Shutdown your Surface normally (from the icon)
- After your Surface turns off, press and hold volume-up button and the power button at the same time for at least 15 seconds, and then release both simultaneously
- The screen may flash the Surface logo then go out, continue holding the buttons
- After you release the buttons, wait 10 seconds then turn your Surface back on normally
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 5 – Unplug Everything and Restart
It’s possible that an installed accessory is preventing your SP3 from charging properly so make you you’ve disconnected every accessory and perform a normal restart (like in Solution 1) to see if the issue is resolved.
- Disconnect the keyboard cover
- Unplug anything from the USB port
- Remove the Surface from it’s case if you have it in one
- Remove the Micro SDCard if you have one installed
If this works, reattach or re-install the accessories one at a time to see if the problem returns.
If you’re still having problems with your Surface Pro 3 not charging at this point, it’s probably nothing you can fix on your own. As such, it’s time to look at the power adapter on the off chance that is is the culprit (and a much cheaper/easier fix).
So, proceed to Solution 6, below.
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 6 – Check the Wall Plug
This sounds overly simple (and perhaps it is) but I have seen too many instances in my career where something that couldn’t possibly be the problem turns out to be the problem.
So, take a second to make sure the power outlet you’ve plugged your Surface Pro 3 charger into is working properly. Keep in mind that it is possible for a low-voltage condition to be present where power is flowing but not as much as there should be. That can result in problems with electronics (like your SP3).
If you have a good quality multimeter that would be the best way to test it. If you don’t, by plugging something electronic but not expensive (like a digital clock or radio) into the outlet and making sure it works as expected. “dumb” devices like electric lights or fans *might* still work fine even if the power isn’t at the level it should be.
However, something like a radio probably won’t work right if the power is low or fluctuating.
If that’s not the cause of the problem, assuming you’re not too offended I brought this up as a possible fix, Go onto Solution 7. 😉
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 7 – Check the Power Adapter
Next, look at the SP3 power supply. It’s possible that the power supply was dropped or otherwise damaged and that is the cause of your problems. Look at these things to make sure the power supply is good to go:
- Check that the AC power cord is firmly seated and not loose
- Check the connector. It should have 6 small brass connectors (3 and 3) on both sides of the little plastic tab ensure none are missing, dirty, or corroded
- Check for cut (or partially cut) wires, especially near the connectors
Assuming your power adapter looks good, proceed to Solution 8. If the connector looks dirty or corroded jump to Solution 9.
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 8 – Flip the Connector
OK, this sounds weird and it’s not a permanent solution but try flipping the power connector upside down and seeing if it suddenly works. It’s possible that there’s some invisible damage to the connector and only one side is working.
After you flip it over, give it 10 minutes to see if it starts charging. If it suddenly starts working, you may need a new power adapter. However, before you order one, try Solution 9 below.
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 9 – Clean the Connectors
It’s possible that the power connector is corroded or dirty and that’s preventing a good connection when you connect your SP3 to power. There are a couple of things that might address this issue.
Make sure the power adapter is UNPLUGGED before trying either of these:
- If you have some isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, use a Q-tip to gently clean the brass connectors
- If you don’t (or if they’re really dirty), use a pencil eraser to gently scrub the connectors
While you’re at it, look into the slot where the power connector attaches to your SP3 and make sure there’s no foreign material lodged in it (like lint or paper from the bottom of your computer bag). Oh, and don’t use a wet Q-Tip or metal tweezers to do this.
Assuming your connectors are clean and free from debris but your SP3 is still not charging properly, it’s time to contact Microsoft.
Surface Pro 3 not charging: Time to Contact Microsoft
Well, crap…… It looks like I can’t help you and you’ll need to either visit a Microsoft store (if one is near you) or contact Microsoft support. You can check out our post (link below) to help you get through to them as quickly as possible.
I hope you found this troubleshooting guide helpful and easy to follow. As always, if you have questions, please let us know. It might take us a few days to get back to you but we do try to make sure your questions get answered.
If we can’t get back to you, your fellow readers may also be able to help.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.