Could your Laptop Battery Fund a War?

Do not be surprised if you are covertly funding a war in the Congo. Tantalum, a dark heavy mineral mined in the Congo forms a key component of your laptop battery. Without Tantalum capacitors, power regulation within the laptop battery would be impossible. The upsurge in laptop sales has kicked a demand of the mineral and in turn escalated the war in Congo where this precious commodity of the digital age resides in abundance. Tantalum is one of the four major minerals exports from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; every laptop battery bought probably keeps a war general in power as he ensures the spades turn the soil to unearth the mystic mud and avail it to the electronic component manufacturers. (more…)

What you Didn’t Know about Your Laptop Battery

If you did not already know, either Lithium-ion or Nickel-Cadmium cells power-up your laptop battery. The latter is the material of choice for making most portable device batteries owing to its high-energy capacity to weight ratio. Physical characteristics denied Nickel-Cadmium cells the continued use as the preferred power source for portable devices such as laptops. Compared to the Lithium-ions cells, Nickel-Cadmium is much heavier and adds more weight to the portable device, a fact manufacturers are avoiding.

Despite mass adaptation, Lithium-ion cells have numerous disadvantages, the cell composition undergoes degradation after two or three years whether in use or not. The maximum-recorded operation time for a laptop battery has been 5 years. Manufacturers are churning out variants of the Lithium-ion batteries promising longer operational life but so far, most have not tipped the 5-year mark. (more…)

Get the Most out of Your Laptop Battery

We all love it when our laptops operate for long hours without plugging them to the AC power supply. How well you use the laptop battery determines how long it can work without requiring recharge. Ensure the laptop is unplugged on the AC power supply when the battery is fully charged, this ensures the Lithium-ion batteries do not get overheated. The voltage dispensed by the battery cells is dependent upon temperature; higher temperatures inhibit voltage generation. High temperatures convert Lithium-ions to Lithium metal, a material that inhibits current flow in the opposite direction that guarantees the cells are recharged. The dissipated heat also affects other laptop components such as the hard disk drive and Central Processing Unit (CPU) by increasing data latency because of delayed operation of heated components. Below are some tips on how to get the most out of your laptop battery.

Plug Battery from Power after Full Charge?

One discouraging aspect of portable electronic devices is the limited hours in which their batteries operate. A typical laptop battery operates for three hours as a stand-alone source of power, this operational time diminishes with use as the Lithium-ion cells age. To get round this problem charge the laptop batteries to full capacity then detach it from the AC power. This way, the laptop battery would last longer by restricting conversion of Lithium-ions to Lithium metal. It may be helpful to have a spare laptop battery to use it in alternatively with the charging battery. (more…)

More Work, Less Laptop Battery Life

There is a myth that goes, it is better to use the laptop battery until it discharges completely before recharging it. This plan actually strains the battery and may cause damages to the cells; the recommended level of holding power is 20 to 30 percent of the full charge. Working constantly from a laptop in charging mode hardens the lithium plates and prevent charge flow. The rate of working from a laptop is directly proportional to deterioration rate of the battery. Most laptop battery that work for more than 12 hours a day don’t last more than five years, this is due to the constant charging and recharging of the Lithium plates in the Lithium-ion batteries.

One sign of an overworked laptop is overheating of the system fan. Running numerous programs in the background keeps the CPU working and drains the battery. External devices connected to the laptop such as external hard drives, CD ROMs, printers and internet dongles also draw power from the laptop’s battery and deplete the reserve power. Continuously using the laptop also consume power through the LCD screen that has to be illuminated by tiny bulbs allover the screen. Activities such as watching movies, listening to music, typing documents and photo editing keep the monitor on and lead to move power usage, a detrimental factor to the life of the battery.

While on operation mode, laptops’ hard drives are busy storing and retrieving information. The action of reading and writing data on the hard drive consume more power not to add to the fact that rotating spindle in the hard drives consumes even more power. One way to cut the power consumption due to retrieval of fragmented files in a laptop is by regularly defragmenting the hard drive to create coherent file storage for faster access. A file is normally stored on different portions of the drive and it takes time and takes time to collate the parts, having a coherent files reduces the access time and by extension power use.

Replacing a laptop battery may be a costly affair, it is therefore important to make good use of the laptop batteries, a new laptop battery retails between $50 and $60. Over time, batteries lose their ability to hold charge, but this phenomenon can be accelerated by overuse of the laptop. Resource intensive jobs such as rendering videos and 3D animations should be done on desktop computer that do not have batteries. Rendering normally takes hours and will require a laptop to be connected to an AC supply longer than recommended or run on battery that leads to overuse.

Always set a notification when the battery level drops to 20 percent of the full capacity. Monitoring the battery performance is crucial in getting the best our of your laptop battery. Count yourself lucky if you are running on a windows platform, there is a functionality that alerts you when there is a problem with the battery or when you need to replace it. In the event of this notification, seize working from the laptop or reduce the workload to prevent complete further stress on the battery.


Buying a New Laptop Battery

Buying a new laptop battery can be very expensive more so if you do not know what you are doing. In fact, most people may opt to buy a new machine rather than the battery since it’s usually about half the price of a new laptop computer. That said, a few tips are outlined below that will not only get you a laptop battery that is cheap and quality, you’ll avoid the heart ache of being swindled by fraudsters. Compatibility is a very important aspect taken into account when buying a laptop battery. You do not want to buy a battery that will not work on your machine. Usually, the best way of ensuring that the battery you buy is compatible with your laptop is to take note of the make of your computer and then check out batteries that are compatible with it on the manufacturer’s website.

Another aspect important to consider is the raw materials that the battery is made of. Generally, laptop batteries are made from lithium ion, lithium poly, nickel metal hydride or nickel cadmium. Going for those made of lithium ion or lithium poly is usually wise. Though batteries made from nickel tend to be cheaper, they are usually heavy, do not degrade naturally, have a short life span and are usually not that energy efficient.

Service life is another aspect you need to consider greatly. You do not want to keep buying a new battery every so often. Asking how long the battery is expected to last before you buy is generally a wise move. In line to this, you also want to buy something that has a power capacity of more than a few hours.  It can sometime be annoying charging the laptop computer every so often.  Be careful where you buy a laptop battery. Generally, buying from the manufacturer is usually a safer bet. Though you will pay more if you decide to buy from the manufactures, you are likely to get a better quality product place the chances of being duped are greatly reduced.   A little research can also lead you to a cheaper retailer who is offering quality. If you decide to go down this road, it’s generally better to research the seller before you transact any business with them. The BBB website is a good place to commence your research. If you are running on a shoestring budget, you might want to consider buying a refurbished battery. Though most of them work okay, you do not know how much of a life span they really have left. So, if you can help it, going for a new product is buy far the best option.

In a quick recap, first you need to know the exact type of battery you are looking for and if it is compatible with your machine.  The service life and capacity of the battery are also important points to take into account. Others such as where you buy, raw material used in the manufacture of the laptop battery and whether to buy a new or refurbished computer are vital factors that must be considered. So there you have it, next time you need a laptop battery these point should guide you.


Make Laptop Batteries Out Of Ordinary AA cells

Though using ordinary AA batteries may not be the most cost effective way of coming up with an external battery, they do work and they can be a good alternative. The issue with AA batteries is once they are depleted, you have to replace them since they cannot be recharged. Your AA external laptop battery can be used as a supplementary power source for your laptop. Here is how to make an external laptop battery form AA batteries. The first thing to do is to collect AA batteries that will meet input power requirement of your laptop. Most laptops have an input power requirement of 15 to 19 volts. So you may need somewhere between ten to thirteen AA batteries for this project.  Assuming your computer’s input voltage requirements is 15 volts and one AA battery is 1.5 volts, you will need ten such batteries to meet this voltage requirement.

You also need to collect tools and material you will need for this project. Some of the stuff you will require includes insulator tape, cardboard, a small knife and some connecting wires. Safety glasses, gloves and an overall or a dustcoat are also important safety clothing you need to wear before you start working.

Once you are appropriately dressed and have all you need for this project, you can now get down to work. On your cardboard, you can lay down the ten AA batteries in an alternate manner. The idea is to arrange them in such a way so that positive and negative can be attached from one battery to the next using small pieces of wire.

Once you have your arrangement right, you can wrap up the cardboard and the batteries to form a rectangular shape. The next step is fusing the positive and the negative part of each batteries to form a neat series connection. Make sure that all the wires are fused correctly; you do not want to have wires that are poorly connected because if you make one wrong placement, the entire circuit will not work. Once you’re through with this, wrap up the entire piece completely and have two long connecting wires protruding from the terminals. They will act as your output terminals that you will connect to the laptop.

The protruding wires will then be soldered or screwed to a power jack. Make sure that you have the right Power Jack size for your laptop. If you are not comfortable using a soldering gun, going for a Power Jack that has screws may be a better alternative. And in those few step, you have yourself an external battery that is powered by AA batteries.

Before we wind up, safety cannot be over emphasized. Some of the tools you will be handling can cause serious accidents. If you have never handled tools such as the soldering gun, you might want to seat this one out because we don’t want you to get injured. Hope you had fun making your homemade external AA laptop battery.

Build your Own Laptop Battery

Having a few laptop batteries in your bag pack can really be convenient just in case you need to power your laptop for several hours on end. You could make say three or four such batteries that can last you the whole day if you envision that you won’t be getting near a power source any time during the day. Below is a systematic way of making your own laptop battery that will work just as well as the one you are using on your laptop. The first thing to do is to know the exact amount of input voltage that your laptop requires. This will help you know the number of lithium ion batteries you will require to come up with your external battery. For example, if your computer requires input voltage of 19 volts and each lithium ion battery is about 3 volt, you will need about six such batteries.

The next thing is collecting all the material and tools you will need to accomplish this project.  I like being organized when working on a such project since it helps you work more efficiently. Some of the things you will need include lithium ion batteries, insulating tape, connecting wires, scriber and a small knife. You may also want to put on safety glasses and gloves before you start working.

Once you have everything ready, you can now start working. First, you want to arrange the batteries in series so they deliver enough power to the computer.  Assuming you need six lithium ion batteries, you will lay them on your working table and make sure they are alternate with each other.  What this means is that if battery number one positive side is facing upwards then battery number two negative side must also face upwards.

Once you’ve arranged them neatly on your working table alternately, take your insulator tape and rap them all up in a neat fashion. Make sure that the six batteries or whichever number you decide to work with are attached to each other tightly by the insulator tape. The next step is cutting small pieces of wire and connecting each battery to the next so that they form a series circuit. Once you are through with this, test with your multimeter to make sure that the overall power of the lithium ion batteries will be suitable for your computer. If everything is per the specification, you can now wrap up the entire piece with insulator tape.

You’ll need to connect the terminals of your battery with a long enough connecting wire which will then be connected to a power jack. A power jack can be bought at your local stores for only a few dollars. You might want to use one that does not need soldering if you are not that comfortable using a soldering gun.

With those few steps you should have your external laptop battery up and ready. You could even make three or four such batteries and connect them in parallel. This will make sure that you use your laptop for hours without running out of power.  To connect in parallel, just connect the positive side of each battery to positive and negative-to-negative which will then lead to the power jack and then to your laptop.


Restoring a Dead Laptop Battery

You have been using your laptop for a few years and it’s probably getting old. Soon you can’t use it when it is off cord because the batteries cannot hold power long enough. What do you do? You have two options, you can buy a new laptop battery or you can bring your dead battery back to life. Today’s article takes a systematic approach on how to resurrect a dead laptop battery. The first thing to do is to collect everything you’ll need to pull this off. Am talking about connecting wires, lithium ion batteries about six of them, soldier gun, soldier wire, safety clothing and a small knife . Other equipments that you may need include a voltmeter, a pen and a piece of paper.  Generally, it is advisable to wear protective clothing like gloves when working on such a project.

Once you are set for work, force open the dead battery casing and take note where each lithium battery is located. You could draw out a diagram representing where each lithium ion battery is located just so you don’t get confused. You may even take a snap of the open batteries casing if you are not that good with drafting diagrams. After prying out the old batteries from their casing, replace them with the new lithium ion batteries. This should be easy since you’ll be referring to the snap shot or diagram so you do not make any mistake. Usually this should take you less than a minute to accomplish.

Solder a few wires with the lithium ion batteries for conduction. Remember; try to make everything as duplicate with the original battery as possible. If you have never soldered anything, you could do a little practice before you get to the real thing.  Generally, this can be hard for a novice and may take you up to an hour. Once done with the soldering, snap back the battery into its casing or tighten a few screws if this is needed. With this few steps, you have yourself a laptop battery risen from then dead. Before you put it back into you computer, you might want to test it just to be sure that everything is all right.

Generally, a voltmeter can come in handy at this point. You can use the voltmeter to test how many volts the lithium ion batteries will be releasing. A multimeter can also be used for this purpose.  You do not want to have a battery that is releasing too much or too little power to the laptop. Make sure the input voltage as per the requirement, if not, you will need to make a few corrections. The last bit is charging your new battery. Generally, it is advisable to charge the battery for at least 18 hours before using it on your laptop. Overall, it is advisable to buy a new battery if you are not comfortable handling tools like a solder gun. You do not want to risk bodily harm.

Disposing Used Laptop Batteries

Ever wondered what to do with your used-up laptop battery? Or whether laptop batteries could be disposed off as other regular batteries?  These and other questions relating to disposing off used laptop batteries are some of the Frequently Asked Questions on laptop manufacturers’ websites. Government sanctioned research has revealed most laptop batteries are safe while others may contain toxic material. Laptop batteries containing toxic material are disposed with procedures stipulated by environmental regulation agencies in respective countries. Most laptop users just throw away the batteries once they are no longer functional instead of following laid down procedures for disposing electronic waste.  E-waste accounts for 30 percent of world’s toxic waste materials that poison the soil. Heavy metals from batteries have the potential to leach slowly into the soil and cause long-term environmental damage.

It is important to dispose off used batteries properly especially the ones that may contain toxic materials. Some State laws prohibit throwing away used up batteries with other trash. This may expose other people to dangers that may lead to cancer and other infections due to exposure to toxic substances. Before disposing off used battery, it is advisable to identify the specific type of battery and its constituent materials. Most often, this information is printed on the back of the laptop battery.

Some of the commonly used substances in the manufacture of laptop batteries include lithium-ion, nickel metal hydride and nickel cadmium. These substances intoxicate the environment when inappropriately disposed; nickel-cadmium has been linked to dermatitis, an infection that causes skin inflammation. Decomposing nickel-cadmium batteries discharge cadmium an extremely toxic metal that causes acute cadmium poisoning. Federal and State agencies have set up toll free help lines that laptop owners can call to locate areas where they would safely dispose off their laptop batteries. All what they need to do is enter their zip code into the webpage and a corresponding disposal site is availed via a map response. Once a laptop owner has located the specific disposal location, he or she is required to avail the battery to an employee of the disposal site who carries on with the proper disposal procedure.

This is the safest way to recycle any type of used laptop batteries whether hazardous or not. Laptop users are safe as long as they follow these guidelines. Additionally, it is prudent for the users to follow the instructions that are usually printed on the batteries.

These instructions are usually inform of warnings given to ensure safety of those who use the batteries. Some of these warnings include prohibition to simply throw away the batteries in the garbage and disassembling battery packs. The energy found in a single laptop battery is the same as the energy found in a hand grenade. It is therefore strictly advisable to refrain from inappropriate handling of laptop batteries. You can dispose off your used batteries safely in order to ensure they get recycled. This is not just a way of getting rid of junk, but you also get to keep the environment safe and clean for children.