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Best way to bring life back to a laptop battery?

By Vigilante
Mar 12, 2006
  1. I recently found out my laptop's battery is going defunct. The laptop is about 3.5 years old or thereabouts. I never really used it on the battery much except just to move it from here to there or in case of a power out. So the battery never got much use. But it was always plugged in.
    But now I find that it only powers the laptop for about 10 minutes before is warns that it is low, then shuts me down. This is supposed to be a 2.5 or 3 hour battery.
    Plus it's a Lithiom ion and those are not supposed to have the "memory effect" like nickel metal hydrid or whatever. Right?

    So it goes from 100% full to 5% in a manner of minutes.

    So like, what can I do to bring some life back into this thing? Or is it toast?
    It's an IBM A31.
     
  2. ovvn.you

    ovvn.you TS Rookie Posts: 122

    i would look into purchasing a new one, draining puke: out the battery and fully recharging it might help(as it would with a car battery from one of my experiences)
     
  3. Jono91

    Jono91 TS Rookie Posts: 58

    Put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in the freezer for at least 24 hours. I tried this with mine and it did help a bit with the battery life.
     
  4. ovvn.you

    ovvn.you TS Rookie Posts: 122

    haha thats strikingly odd
     
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,640   +322

    You should probably get as much air out of the bag as possible before doing this. Condensation and Lithium don't get along well. The battery should be sealed so it wouldn't matter, but I'm not sure I'd risk it. Plus condensation isn't typically good for electronics anyway.
     
  6. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,120

    Guess I'll try it then.

    I thought there was some kind of DOS tool that did something with the battery to bring some life back? I remember it from the old days. Like maybe it uses the most power hungry parts of your system to help drain it quick, then you charge it and run the program again etc... not sure.
     
  7. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    freezing a battery gels the electrolyte - which may be enough to overcome crystalization when charging it. When batteries go bad, the #1 cause is crystalization in the cells caused by low electrolyte which in turn changes the chemistry of the cells. This is especially true in lead-acid batteries. (provided the cells aren't FROZEN) Car batteries aren't gel, they're liquid with a slightly different chemistry. Don't freeze car batteries! Lithium-ion and other types don't crystalize as easily or at all..... most laptops are Li or cadmium. Cadmium batteries develop a memory if not deeply discharged frequently. Freezing them may cause the cells to short thereby "releasing the hold" on the memory and allowing a charge. How reliable this is up to speculation.

    There are a lot of unconventional tricks to overcome faulty hardware - most have some scientific explanation. In the old days people used to laugh at microwaving bad floppy 5.25 disks to correct bad sectors. It would work sometimes as these floppies had a ferrious oxide coating which under a microwave would short and unpolarize. The trick was not to microwave the disks longer than a few seconds - otherwise you'ld melt the disk and putting anything metallic in a microwave oven is dangerous.

    Also I would not have batteries anywhere near food. Most battery materials are HIGHLY toxic and batteries do give off gas when charging and discharging.
    (even in storage)
     
  8. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,120

    I hope you didn't just pull all that off the top of your head :) lol. If so, go find a girl and have dinner. ha

    Anyhoo, thanks for the classroom expo, I think I will try the freezer "trick". After all I rarely ever used the battery and now all of a sudden it doesn't last 15 minutes, so I don't get it.

    I think, along with hard drive speed technology, battery technology needs an upgrade too.

    I'll let you all know how it goes. thx
     
  9. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    I think my wife would object!
     
  10. tdeg

    tdeg TS Rookie Posts: 348

    "Don't freeze car batteries!"

    Yea... I don't think this matters. My car batteries are frozen for about 5 months of the year. (cold winter)

    They don't work as good when cold (hence battery blankets and such) but I don't think it does them any harm or good.
     
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