laptop not getting power from power cord

Acer / Travelmate 5720 notebook
November 20, 2010 at 09:53:33
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 1.596 GHz / 1013 MB
question about:
Hardware/OS: Acer TravelMate 5720 with Windows Vista. 1 GB RAM, sparingly used.

Last night I was browsing with the WLAN, on battery power and the power went low. I tried to charge it with the AC adapter, but it would not charge. So much so that the system shut down. All attempts to reboot failed, even with power cord plugged in. I then left the power cord connected for about 8 hrs, but the battery did not charge. The AC adapter light does go on. The open circuit output voltage of the adapter was measured and found to be 19.3V.
When I try to boot, with or without the power cord, the power light comes on for about 3 secs, the optical drive whirrs a bit and then the power shuts down. My guess is, it would boot if I could find a fully charged battery and replace the drained one. However, I suppose it still wouldn't charge inside the computer with the power cord connected.
Initial examination showed that the dc/dc convertor is on the main board, but I could not locate any serious power devices on it. The computer is well past warranty and I don't mind trying out some simple DIY fixes. Could you suggest something?
Another workaround that I have in mind is that if I can find an external charger for the battery, I could could buy a spare battery and keep swapping them every few hours or so. Is this a viable option? Are such accessories available? The Acer website is not very helpful in this regard.
Hope I have made myself reasonably clear.

I made a wise decision, got a bargain deal, and the next day found that my model was phased out.

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December 16, 2010 at 21:22:40
Here is a followup. International warranty expired. I found out it has a charger built around an Intersil chip, integrated with the motherboard. It seems to have failed. Service centre repair ruled out. For the cost of MoBo replacement, I could find a new one of some brand!
The battery terminals also showed an open ckt. I took the plunge. I needed details badly and the best way for me was to begin by *carefully* taking apart the battery. I also bought a *replacement* battery-pack at half the cost of the original. I found out the battery "float" safety-control and the polarity of the battery terminals. I built a "level 3" charger < with me substituting for the processor :-) >. I sat through a 3 hr manual charge session (phew!!) with the constant current and constant voltage periods.
The system booted on the new battery and showed all normal vital signs, except that it still did not recognize the presence or absence of the ac-adapter. The old battery is also revived. So now I have a somewhat tedious workaround where I need to charge one battery externally while the other is in service in the laptop.

Well! Please don't try this at home!

Any suggestions /ideas are still welcome. Thanks

I made a wise decision, got a bargain deal, and the next day found that my model was phased out.

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