Something dark is coming

Allors, there is a problem with hallie the notebook. It complains that it does not recognize the AC power adapter type and petulantly refuses to acknowledge that it is plugged in — thus leaving me running on battery power. Needless to say, I didn’t recognize this until I went to plug the machine in because, of course, the battery was getting low. So now I have a machine with no power and no easy way to get my files off it so I can at least work on them on elissa or some other machine.

Naturally, this happened on a long weekend.
Naturally, this happened after EST-based tech support reps have gone home anyway.
Naturally, I own an obscure type of laptop that cannot be powered by the usual Kensington or Belkin universal notebook power adapters.
Naturally, the power adapter I need isn’t easily acquired locally; I have to order it over the net. (See previous “naturally” clauses for emotions that flow logically from this last position.)

The worst part is that I don’t even know if it’s the power adapter. I’d love to be able to find something that could provide at least some power to the machine so I could figure out whether I need a new power adapter or whether I need a new power jack on the back of the machine. I want to believe it’s the power adapter, since (a) that’s easy enough to replace and doesn’t involve sending the machine away and (b) the cord is awfully twisted and the plastic reinforcing against the brick is torn and ripped.

Now. Studies of Google suggest that this is a Known Problem with the Inspiron 5150/5160 line, and that the fault may lie in either the adapter or the mainboard, so YAY, that’s great, and it really narrows things down a lot. On the (bright? other? flip?) side, someone apparently launched a class action lawsuit against Dell for this precise problem and Dell settled, though only in the United States. Not, mind you, that this should make a difference from a corporate perspective — Dell is Dell, the problem is the problem, and one would hope that they’d have the good sense to replace my power adapter for free if they’re doing it across the border, too. But what do I know? I’m just a guy with no access to his files.

Note to self: This might be a good time to look into finding some kind of temporary enclosure for notebook hard drives, so I can at least do a rescue and get the useful stuff off the damn disk before I have to send it back and/or spend multiple days with a dark laptop. Grr.