Having recently just picked up Pokémon Sword (I’m late to the party, I know), I’m basically living on my Nintendo Switch, but the other day, I ran into something of an obstacle.
No, it wasn’t a rogue Snorlax blocking the path à la Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow. It was that all of a sudden, my Switch decided it didn’t feel like playing and refused to charge.
Granted, the path of a Pokémon Master is never easy, but I didn’t expect to encounter this sort of resistance.
However, during my research to resolve the matter and continue my journey across the Galar region, I came across 9 awesome (not to mention, easy) fixes, and I’m going to be talking you through each of them right here, right now.
Whether you were exploring the wonders and perils of future Hyrule in Zelda, smashing some mini-games in Mario Party, or developing your island on Animal Crossing when your Switch went dead, one of these fixes will get you right back in the saddle!
9 Reasons Your Switch Might Not Be Charging And How To Fix Them
Although the Switch comes pretty dang close, technology is never perfect. No matter the device, there are always a few teething issues after release, as well as slight hiccups further down the line.
Failure to charge every now and again is one of the Switch’s down-the-line foibles. It doesn’t happen very often (thankfully), but when it does, follow these fixes in sequence, and you’ll be back button bashing with the best of ‘em in no time!
The Battery Is Completely And Utterly Depleted
You know when you put your phone on charge after it’s been dead for a while, and it flashes the red low battery icon for about 5–10 minutes before turning back on again? Well, if your Nintendo Switch is really, really out of juice and has been for a while, the same thing can happen.
The Nintendo Switch requires a certain amount of power to function, and until the battery hits that minimum capacity, the screen will remain blank.
The good news is all you have to do is wait, and, hopefully, after 10–20 minutes or so, it will spark back into action, and you can finish your epic Smash Bros tournament.
Alternatively, wait the recommended three hours for a full charge, and your Nintendo Switch will be primed and ready for another long-scale on-the-go gaming session — hooray!
Power Adaptor Problems
If you were patient and waited for your battery to get up to speed, but you were still faced with the dreaded blank screen of doom, it’s time to dig a little deeper. As this is an issue with power, the usual suspect is the power adapter.
Turn your Switch charger off at the mains, then remove it from the outlet. If you’ve got the full-fat Switch, pull the power adapter cables from the charging dock too.
Give everything a good once over. If anything looks out of sorts, i.e. loose cabling or bare wires, you should throw out your adapter and buy a new one.
I keep a couple of these Switch AC adapters in the cupboard as spares, so I never have to wait around for a replacement if my current cable goes haywire.
Should everything seem to be in order, wait for 30 seconds, then plug your adapter back in. You’d be surprised how often this solves the problem.
Okay, so we’ve given the battery time to heal to no avail, we’ve eyeballed our adapter and made no progress, next on our list of usual suspects is the wall outlet. This kind of issue isn’t quite as common, but it can happen.
In fact, I’ve got a couple of dead outlets in my house right now — sometimes a fuse can blow, other times they just get a little old and some wiring comes loose.
To check if you’re dealing with a damaged outlet, first, unplug your Switch, and plug some other chargeable device in. If the new device seems to be drawing power, then the outlet isn’t the issue.
If the new device isn’t charging, try plugging your Nintendo into a different outlet. You should notice it perk up pretty quickly.
Wall outlets can be fixed the DIY way, but only if you have some prior knowledge about electronics and wiring. Otherwise, It’s best left to a professional.
A Suffering Switch
If the power cable and outlet aren’t the issue, then there could well be something wrong with the console itself. Is there any way it could have taken on damage recently? Possible causes include…
- Excess heat and being left in direct sunlight — Heat and batteries don’t mix!
Repeated exposure to lofty temps will prematurely age your Switch’s battery, so get it into a cooler environment as quickly as you can. Once it’s chilled out a bit, it should start working again.
- Cold temperatures — Much like us, batteries appreciate mild temperatures. If they get too cold, they won’t be able to provide a sufficient amount of power to turn the console on.
To heal a frigid battery, simply warm it up a bit, but if it has weathered extreme cold, you could be dealing with permanent damage.
- Exposure to water — As I’m sure you’re aware, you should never get electronics wet. It will short-circuit all the complicated inner workings, and kill your lovely Nintendo — Boo!
If your Switch has taken a splash or two recently, it’s critical that you allow it time to dry out before trying to use it. I’d recommend letting it rest for two full days, possibly even with some silica gel packs or another suitable desiccant.
- Physical damage — Have you dropped your Switch recently or stored it in a haphazard place? Check for cracks or abrasions on the screen and enclosure.
Unfortunately, there are no DIY fixes for a Switch that’s been in the wars, so you may need to contact Nintendo directly about your next move.
It’s exceedingly unlikely, but the problem may also be a corrupt file, so if you have even a tiny fraction of battery power left, head to “System Settings” in the Home menu, click “Manage Software”, select a game, then “Check for Corrupt Data”.
This can take a few minutes, so feel free to make yourself a quick sandwich or a cup of Joe.
I prefer to charge my Switch in the Nintendo dock, as it keeps the console safe when it’s out of action, which means it’s another suspect on our list of possible offenders.
Pop the backplate of the dock open and check all the cables look healthy and securely in place (especially the power cable), then blow into the recess of the dock to remove any debris or dust particles.
Charging Port Predicament
One of the great things about the Nintendo Switch is how child-friendly a lot of the games are, but, sadly, the console itself isn’t quite as suitable for small kids. So, if you recently lent your switch to your baby brother, sister, cousin… whoever, check for possible damage.
The most common issue after family use is a blocked charging port, so check if there are any visible obstructions or sticky residues in that area. Blow into it to clear out any debris, or, better still, use a can of compressed air to blast the port clean.
If the debris is particularly stubborn, grab something pointy and relatively soft (a toothpick will do), and gently scrape the detritus from the port.
The Nintendo Switch is an insanely complex bit of tech, one that doesn’t take kindly to jailbreaking, so if you recently tried to hack your system in order to play old Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros ROMs, that could well be the reason your console is refusing to charge.
But before you go erasing software willy-nilly, consult the developers on how to do it safely, as each software is unique in this respect. That said, Nintendo themselves won’t be able to help you, as jailbreaking and hacking voids your warranty.
It’s quite possible that you’re not facing a charging issue at all, but a frozen Switch, as both problems can appear to have the same symptoms.
The good news is that you can fix this in a flash with a quick reset. To do so, hold the power button down for at least 12 seconds, then let go. Give your console about 1 minute to initialize the reset, then press the power button once more to turn it back on. Now try charging it again.
Who You Gonna Call?… Nintendo, That’s Who!
Still no luck? Dang, I’m sorry to hear that. If none of these fixes have solved your charging issue, I think it’s probably best that you contact Nintendo directly and request some assistance from their dedicated team of troubleshooting experts.
The chances are, they’ll ask you to send the console to them for servicing. If you’re still covered by the warranty, this should be a free service. If not, there will be a fee, so be sure to ask for a quote before sending your pride and joy off for repairs.
Nintendo Switch Charging Issues: Frequently Asked Questions
Before we go our separate ways, let’s run through a brief Nintendo Switch charging issues FAQ.
My Percentage Display Is Incorrect. How Do I Fix It?
I’ve never had this issue with my Switch, but I have had it with my phone, so I know how annoying it can be. Sometimes your percentage might be low, but you’ll get another 2 hours use out of it.
Other times the battery will be quite high, yet your device dies on you all of a sudden. This is because the percentage reading is incorrect.
To fix it…
- Charge your console for the recommended 3 hours.
- Make sure it has the latest firmware update from Nintendo.
- Switch off any active auto-sleep functions.
- Plug the console back in until it reaches 100%, then leave it charging for another hour.
- Next, fire up the console and let it rest on the Home screen for 3–4 hours.
- Let your Switch battery run completely dry.
- Leave it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Repeat this process a few more times.
I know, I know… it’s a lengthy fix, but each time you follow these steps, the percentage reading will become a little more accurate.
Do I Have To Buy Power Adapters From Nintendo, Or Will A 3rd-Party Adapter Work?
If you’re having trouble with your factory power adapter, and you want to save a few bucks on a replacement, feel free to purchase one from a 3rd-party manufacturer. Just be sure to choose one with loads of positive reviews.
I’d look for an adapter designed specifically for use with the Nintendo Switch, but if you’re interested in one that doesn’t explicitly say what it’s for, make sure that it’s rated for 7.5 watts and can support a delivery of 39 watts.
How Do You Fix Black Screen When The Nintendo Switch Is Charging?
A black screen is never a good thing, but it can be particularly puzzling when you’ve just set your Switch to charge. Instead of lighting up as it usually would, all you get is the little low-battery icon flashing in the top corner.
With any luck, this is just momentary downtime while the battery harvests enough juice to bring your Switch back to life; however, if the problem persists for hours, you may have to give your Nintendo some extra attention.
- First, remove the Joy-Cons from the console.
- Next, switch the power source. For example, if you’re using a power adapter, try charging it in the dock, and vice versa.
- Leave your Nintendo to charge for a further 20 minutes.
- If the black screen persists, hold the power button down for 12 seconds to power the machine off, and leave it to rest for 10 minutes or so.
- Turn your Switch back on again, and you should be met by the home screen and a charging prompt.
- Put your Switch to charge, and voilà; job done!