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Ok so I'm writing another article, because as I have said before, I have no life. So anyway, because I've been procrastinating studying for finals I have been doing a lot more with my computers lately
The last thing I did was to rebuild my laptop battery, and while you might not call it "hacking" I saved myself about $100 on a new laptop battery, and considering we all use computers here, I thought this might be helpfull to a lot of people out there.
What this article will teach you is if your laptop battery is not holding a charge, how to repair it and make it like new again, for either free or a lot cheaper than buying a new one
Note: If you're not experienced with soldering, and electricity you might not want to attempt this because if you do it wrong bad things can happen. I feel that I should list some of the things that can go wrong to try and deter the unexperienced
1. The battery can explode
2. The battery can catch on fire
3. Battery acid can leak on you
4. You can short out your laptop
And thats just to name a few
If you are experienced with things like this (it doesnt even have to be to this level, but I mean expereinced with soldering, and working with batteries and understand a little on how electricity works) as well as you take the proper precautions, this process is very simple. As I am nowhere near an electrical engineer and I was able to do it relativly without a problem. However if you are not experienced, or do not feel confident on this at all I can not stress enough that this project can go bad very quickly and why I felt it necissary to write the above disclamer.
Note: This process involves cutting open your laptop battery, now while some batteries can be re-closed, others can not, and would either have to be glued or taped, so if you dont like this possibility, dont try this
Note2: ok this is the last note in the intro, i have been told that on some newer laptop betteries there are anti-tamper devices, if a battery is disconnected from the unit it will no longer work. This method is still valid in this case, but its much harder, because you must always have all the sets of cells together
What you will need:
1. Old laptop battery you wish to fix
2. Knife/Razor blade
3. Soldering Iron (I prefer a soldering gun)& Solder (if not using an
expensive soldering iron go for low heat solder)
4. New battery cells/another working laptop battery with the same cells that you dont need any more
5. Glue/Tape (I recommend gorilla glue, because it is really strong)
6. Tin strips (or any other metal both conductive and solder can stick to)
7. Multi-Meter (The cells are not always clearly labeled which side is
positive and negative, this will help tell, while there are tricks to do this without a multimeter for the $10 I found it for in the store I thought it well worth it)
1. Go ahead and open up your laptop battery, to do this cut around the battery on the seam. After you have cut around the full battery try and pry it open. If you're confident you broke the seal, the two pieces are fused together, rather than overlaped, and to close it you will need to either glue it or tape it shut, if this is the case, keep cutting carefully, makeing sure you do not puncture one of the cells inside, until you get it open
2. Look for any markings on the batteries you see inside, if you get lucky you will see a marking indicating how many volts each cell is. Usually its
3.6V, also you may see it say something like 1200mAh
What that number means is 1200 milliamps, this number and the number on your replacement cells dont need to match, to put it generally, the larger this number is, the longer the battery will retain a charge
If your cell does not state the voltage, remember that google is your friend go ahead and throw the information that is on the cell into google and you should hopefully find the information that you are looking for.
3. Finding replacement cells- Well one of the easiest things you can do is go ahead and search google for the type of cells that you have and then find them on a website and buy them (I will tell you that I searched stores like CircuitCity, 2 Radio Shacks, Sears, Staples, and a store called Batteries Plus in several different cities, and no one had the ones I needed, so unless you KNOW a store by you has them dont waste your time with anything but online)
Depending on your laptop battery you might have anyware from 6 to over 12 cells, just for a comparason I found the cells that my laptop used for $5.00 a pop online (so for mine it would have cost me $30 plus shipping, a hell of a lot cheaper than say a new battery that most likely sells for over $100)
Another thing you can do is use an old laptop battery if you KNOW that the battery still holds a charge, take it appart and compare the cells
(personally this is what I did) and if you dont, try hitting up a local computer repair shop, and ask them if they had any broken laptops where the battery was still good. Most likely they will be glad to give them to you, or sell them to you cheap because they would have to recycle them anyway
Note: remember that size is also a consideration in finding the right cells what good will a battery do you that has the EXACT same specs, but wont fit in your battery case?
4. Once you have your replacement cells, before gutting your origional
battery it is smart to make a diagram, showing the exact layout so you
dont forget which wires go where, and the way the batteries are facing for future reference.
5. Now this part is easier said than done. Remove the cells from the battery and replace them with the ones you found.
Note: in an effort to avoid confusion, and make this article as easy to understand as possible, the old cells will now be refered to as cells A, and the new cells will be refered to as cells B.
To do this go ahead and cut any wires connected to cells A, but be sure to cut them as close to the batteries as you can to leave yourself as much room as possible. Next gently pry out all of cells A.
If you are removing cells B from another laptop battery, repeat this process for cells B.
Now using your strips of metal, attatch the cells B together the same way that cells A were attatched. Meaning if they were attatched together in sets of 3, or sets of 2, attatch them in the same way (duh)
This is a good place to use your multimeter, to make sure you have the
polarities correct before you do anything semi-perminant
To attatch the cells together, place a small piece of solder under the metal strip between the strip and the cell. Now hold your soldering iron ontop of the strip and hold it here until the metal heats up enough to melt the solder.
If using a soldering gun, you can release the trigger, and the tip of the gun will cool, allowing the metal and solder to cool, while still keeping pressure on it with the tip of the gun until the solder hardens (and thats why I like the soldering gun for this) if you do not have a soldering gun, and just a normal soldering iron you will have to find a way to lift the soldering iron and keep pressure on the metal for the few seconds while it cools
Note: Do not let the cell get too hot, if you mess up and the solder
fails to stick for the first couple of times, move onto a different cell and let that one cool. The reason being the same reason you do not throw batteries in a fire, they will explode under heat
Also, use your judgement, it is very difficult to solder to cells together end to end, but if there is a bracket in the battery cover, holding them in place, you might want to think before doing something that is difficult, when as long as they are making a solid connection they will work
6. Now re-attatch any wires back to the new cells in their origional places
7. Set the cells into position inside the battery case, and arrange the wires so they will fit inside
8. Close the battery cover (if you have to glue it, dont yet) and plug it into your laptop. Grab a fire extinguisher just incase, and plug it in.
If the charging light comes on, congratulations... sort of (its not full success yet, but you're on your way)
If the charging light does not come on, unplug your battery, and make sure your computer still works by turning it on with the power cord plugged in
Next open up your battery again and check all the connections, check and make sure all your soldering jobs are making contact and try again
Now while it is charing DO NOT set it and forget it. You do not have to stare at it the entire time, but if you did something wrong, it might take time to go wrong. My advice, stay in the room, and just keep glancing at it about every minute to make sure that it hasnt caught on fire.
9. Once your laptop is fully charged, unplug it and turn it on
With any luck your laptop will now have a longer battery life! If you need glue the battery case together and let it dry and you're done!
The internet- For pretty much teaching me everything I know about computers
My Eighth Grade Tech Teacher- For teaching me how to solder
My boss and co-workers- For teaching me everything I know about batteries,voltage, more soldering, and a better understanding of how things work
Now while I'm sure I'm not the first one to have done this, I did not look up any of this infromation, so other than the credits listed above I do not need to cite a single person.
Also this process was thought of, tested, and perfected on my "Craptop" (an apt name for my 10 year old toshiba portege 3020ct, dubed by my room mate) on which I've been repairing, and restoring for a while now, using DSL os the base OS.
Any questions, comments or concerns, write them below and I will try and accomidate to the best of my ability
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