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Dell power supplies use 3 wires. One detects the power supply. If you are using a Dell supply then that wire is broken inside the cord or at the connection. If this a universal power supply it only has 2 wires.
hi i had the problem before , you have to buy dell charger in order to charge your battery, universal charger doesnot work with this, the only way not to lose your power is to keep the charger connected, in this way the battery will not be charged but u will not lose the power. again you need dell charger the universal only gives power but doesnot charge.
You will constantly draw power from the outlet. Though it may not be as much draw as if you were running a device on it. Try picking up the AC adapter one day when not plugged in to the laptop. It still gets hot.
On another note,
When using AC power you should ALWAYS plug it into the back of the device before plugging it into the wall outlet to avoid excessive power surge.