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Laptop Batteries Dying Like Flies

Posted on 2011-09-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
The following two paragraphs are excerpted from my previous closely related question with the title:  "Notebook Battery (new) Not Charging".   See 07/29/11 03:55 PM, ID: 27229477 if you want more details.
"In June, I bought a refurbished Dell Latitude D410 Notebook.for a special need involving light use.  It has Win XP Pro.
All seemed well, but after 5 or 6 weeks, it would run on the battery only a few minutes before shutting down.  I bought and installed  a new battery, and it charged up fine.   At full charge,  the battery indicator icon on the XP screen indicated 3 hours run time.    But, after about 2 weeks, the battery suddenly wouldn't take a charge."
After discussions on Expert Exchange, I concluded the new battery was defective, and returned it to the vendor and received another battery.
NOW HERE IS THE QUESTION FOR THE NEW/CURRENT PROBLEM
The same thing has happened with this second new battery.  After about 2 weeks, the battery suddenly wouldn't take a charge.
There are three possible causes.  One, that I've received two defective new batteries from a reputable vendor, seems quite unlikely.
The second is that the charger (Dell brand that came with the refurbished Dell PC) ordinarily works fine, but every week or so is putting out a "voltage spike" (or some such phenomenon) and frying the batteries.  (keep in mind, everything was OK for the first several weeks I was using the system.)  I could buy a new charger on the chance that it is the problem, but first I would like to get some comments on the third possibility which is that:
"You get what you pay for".
Is the Dell Latitude (mine is a refurbished D410) known for this kind of problem?  Should I give up on trying to use it with a battery?  There is a Dell Application Driver, Quickset, which I could download.  Does anybody have any experience with it?
I would appreciate any information or suggestions.
Please note that the voltage, etc. on the charger that I have checks out OK.  If it's the charger that's the problem, it's something intermittent/episodic.
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Question by:garcpr
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8 Comments
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:Perarduaadastra
ID: 36481404
Hi

Do any messages appear on the computer regarding battery or charging status? Is there any information on battery status in the power management applet in the Control Panel?

Is the laptop left on AC power for long periods after the battery is charged?

Have you checked the BIOS for any battery learning or recalibration options? If such an option is present it may need to be turned on to enable the system to adjust itself to the new battery.
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Assisted Solution

by:tommyeriksen
tommyeriksen earned 200 total points
ID: 36481422
Hi. I see your problem, and like you said; there can be different causes. This may sound as a stupid question/suggestion but is the battery a original Dell battery, or is it a 3rd party battery? The reason I ask is that in fact I experienced a somewhat similar problem on a Dell Latitude on one of my customers laptops.

The second this I would like to suggest also may sound stupid, but have you updated to the lates BIOS? I have experienced some laptops not charging the batteriy if the battery is totally empty; presumably because the computer thinks it is defective. A BIOS update solved this one for me.

Else I would say that I do not know that Dell Latitude is known for this problem, but I could be mistaken. As for the charger, you could be right. I suggest anyway to also doublecheck if this charger is indeed the correct charger for this spesific model. Sometimes chargers fit and work, but are damaging the battery. But I anyway find it unlikely...

But if I had to put my money on something, I'd go for the BIOS actually...

Good luck!
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Accepted Solution

by:
dng2000 earned 300 total points
ID: 36481459
if the battery runs completely out of juice, even if brand new, it is essentially ruined.  It may still recharge but but it wouldn't hold as much as it should.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Battery_Power/Lithium_Ion_Batteries#Guidelines_for_prolonging_Li-ion_battery_life
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Expert Comment

by:OxygenITSolutions
ID: 36481500
Bad batteries can come in batches. If your Laptop is not performing as you expect it to, it is not fit for purpose.
Running a laptop off power because the battery will not hold a charge kind of defeats the purpose of a laptop.

I would raise this with Dell.

It is unacceptable.

Good Luck.
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Author Comment

by:garcpr
ID: 36481711
Perarduaadastra:
Do any messages appear on the computer regarding battery or charging status? Just normal.

Is the laptop left on AC power for long periods after the battery is charged? No

Have you checked the BIOS for any battery learning or recalibration options?  Do you mean the Ctrl Panel?

 If such an option is present it may need to be turned on to enable the system to adjust itself to the new battery.
The instructions with the new batteries say to completely discharge the battery 3 or 4 times with the ctrl panel power module on.  I've been trying to do that.  Maybe I've overdone it.  I've kept turning the PC back on till it won't turn on any more.  Then I recharge it to 100 % and use it to discharge it again.

tommyeriksen:

Hi. I see your problem, and like you said; there can be different causes. This may sound as a stupid question/suggestion but is the battery a original Dell battery, or is it a 3rd party battery?  A Dell.

The reason I ask is that in fact I experienced a somewhat similar problem on a Dell Latitude on one of my customers laptops.  What do you suggest - buy a Dell battery?

The second this I would like to suggest also may sound stupid, but have you updated to the lates BIOS? I have experienced some laptops not charging the batteriy if the battery is totally empty; presumably because the computer thinks it is defective. A BIOS update solved this one for me.
I'll try updating the BIOS.

dng2000:

if the battery runs completely out of juice, even if brand new, it is essentially ruined.  It may still recharge but but it wouldn't hold as much as it should.
This what I've been doing to "calibrate."  I'll study your Wikibooks reference in a minute, but I want to send this reply to all first.

Thanks to all.  I'll post results tomorrow or as soon as I can.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Philonator
ID: 36481930
I would install Quickset (free download support.dell.com).  This is the program that dell uses to handle a number of functions of this laptop including power.

Do you keep charging  these batteries on your laptop?  It sounds like that is where your problem may be.  I would be willing to bet that if you put a multimeter to your charger it would read perfect voltage.  I bet the connector that the charge plug goes into is damaged or the motherboard itself is damaged.
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Author Comment

by:garcpr
ID: 36485314
I checked the bios on my Latitude.  It is the latest that is available.

I have tried to find solid info on the effect of discharging to low levels.  I've looked at online books by Golden Peak and by Cadex and at several sites and various opinions are expressed but no lab tests are described.

The majority opinion is that deep discharge can be harmful but that calibration cycles about once a month can be helpful (avoiding complete discharge of the battery).

My conclusion is that I will buy another battery and avoid complete discharge, and see how I make out.  I'd be interested in any further comments from you all.

My thanks to all.
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Author Closing Comment

by:garcpr
ID: 36485330
Thanks to all.
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