My old laptop done this Trillian. It was the connection inside that somehow stopped registering that it was plugged in. I bought two different new chargers at the time and it still done it. My quote to have it repaired was £100 and it had to be sent away.
The more I wiggled the wire around, the more I broke it and it eventually stopped charging altogether.
I bought a new one instead of having the old one fixed as I didn't want to pay £100 as it was about 3 years old.
not a dell by any chance is it? never again! i wasted over £100 on a new charger and new battery to find it did exactly the same thing with the old battery and old charger as with the new one! i spent 2 3/4 hours on the phone to india before i gave up and chucked the damn thing!
If your DH is good with pcs, he might be able to fix it because the actual part is very cheap (check ebay, around £7). I think the high cost of repair is mainly labour because they have to solder a new one in.
We have managed to get round it by fortunately having two laptops that are the same and swapping the batteries between the one that does charge and the one that doesn't iyswim.
It seems the sockets are very vulunerable on laptops. DSs have broken two of ours by putting the laptop down on the socket edge first and it can get easily knocked by moving it around anyway.
I was also quoted £100 for repair - we too have scrapped that one. The chap in the shop said we could do it ourselves, it wasn't difficult, just fiddly but we would have had to buy a soldering iron and no guarantees we could do it right.
Mine was still under warranty and got fixed and I am now very careful about how I put it down and where the cable is. It is a pain as my battery is crap and I always have mine plugged in.
Is it Vista? There's a known intermittent bug where that happens -- doesn't register that it's plugged in and won't charge the battery. I had it once and I think the fix was to shut down, unplug, start up again, then plug it in. Or something like that, anyway. It's not done it since.
That sounds like a lovely solution Lemon, but it's completely out of battery so it won't turn on so I can't see if that is the problem.
I'll take it to the local (independent) computer-fixing shop and ask if they have any spare leads that I can try to see if that's the problem. Even if it's expensive they will at least not be as annoying and stupid as the people who work in PC World.