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A question about laptop battery life.

Posted on 2012-03-18
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Last Modified: 2012-03-19
I have a Compaq Presario 1600 with Windows 98.
I have not used it, or booted up for a good 3 years or more.
I got it out and plugged it in and left it plugged in for about 48 hours.
The indicator shows a fully charged battery.
I booted up and it was rather slow, but that may be in comparison to my computer tower that has Vista and cable modem.
I do not have internet for the laptop, but it searched for a PCI connection, found none, and then booted up to the desktop.
I clicked on start and "shutdown" and it sort of froze for a minute before finally turning off.
By froze, I mean the desktop icons were half way fully colored and half way not.

So, is this battery any good, or is the indicator not giving real battery power?

When I considered getting a back up battery for this $1100.00 laptop many years ago, they cost about $175.00. That seemed to be alot back then, and even now, compared to new laptop prices.

What is to be made of my existing battery and is it capable of performing normal time boot-up and shutdown?
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Question by:nickg5
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by:
John Hurst earned 100 total points
ID: 37735721
Turn the machine off, remove the battery, plug the AC adapter cord in and start it up. If any of the above happen, then the issue is not battery.

If you were trying to run a machine that had not run in 3 years only on battery (not clear from the above) then the battery may be at fault as it is probably shot after normal usage and so much time shut off.

Finally, the hard drive may be acting up. They like to run as well.

So try just with AC and let us know. .... Thinkpads_User
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by:John Hurst
ID: 37735726
By the way, I got (before the end of 2011), a Lenovo Thinkpad X120e with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit brand new for $400 mail order from Lenovo. Be careful what you spend on that laptop.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Assisted Solution

by:serialband
serialband earned 100 total points
ID: 37735959
The old battery is likely not going to provide much power.  My 6 & 10 year old laptops have batteries that last a few minutes, after charging for a while.  They're good for short blackouts or for quickly moving from one room to another, but not for much else.

Don't waste your money on a new battery.  Look online and you can buy used/refurbished 3-4 year old dual core laptops for  less than $200 with newer batteries that last a good 2-3 hours. You can boot these much faster than that decade old system.  New, low end systems are around $400.
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by:JohnnyCanuck
JohnnyCanuck earned 100 total points
ID: 37735989
I agree with thinkpads and serialband don't waste any money on that laptop - pentium III 500 with 54mb ram - not really good for much but I suppose you could turn it into a router.  A much bigger bang for your buck can be had by buying a used laptop for $100.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 37736626
>>  Compaq Presario 1600 with Windows 98    <<  how old is it?   expect batteries to degrade over the years, even not used
also, for storing batteries here some suggestions (i expect too late now) :
http://4sysops.com/archives/how-to-store-a-laptop-battery-properly-to-save-it-from-an-early-death/

you can try a couple of charge / uncharge cycles to see if the life returns, but probably it isdead
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by:Merete
Merete earned 100 total points
ID: 37736906
Also the cmos battery must be nearly dead, check the date and time is correct in the bios required
HDD degrades parts degrade when left standing.
You may have to consider buying a external HDD enclosure laptop ide to USB
http://www.bixnet.com/usbporenfor2.html

http://www.laptoprepair101.com/laptop/2007/04/17/access-hard-drive-using-usb-enclosure/
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37737021
You don't need a battery to run a laptop (I never have), so the tests for the laptop itself can be run without battery to see. .... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:nickg5
ID: 37737364
I only used this laptop when travelling overseas for Net2phone calls, listen to CD's and watch DVD's in my hotel. This is why I have not used it since early 2009, no travel.

Merete:
Also the cmos battery must be nearly dead, check the date and time is correct in the bios required
............what date are you referring too?


Power cord can run the system but in my hotel room in places that do not use 110 volts, I was leary to use these transformers that step down the 220 volts, in Asia for example, down to 110 volts. Any mis-step or malfunction, and the 220 volts would ruin the laptop.
I always let it charge up using the voltage converter and then unplug it, to use it as much as I could, without the power cord.

nobus:
how old is it?
..............Not sure, maybe I bought it in 2000. $1195.00 from CompUSA website.

Ok to confess sins?
Or give some of you a bit of laughter?
Before I knew better, I wanted XP on the laptop. I proceeded to install XP. It got to a point where it would not proceed further. So, this system has Windows 98 and XP.
During bootup, there is a screen where I use the down arrow to choose Windows XP or Windows. The screen is not there for too many seconds. If I am not fast and use the down arrow to choose Windows it will proceed to try to boot with XP and will fail and I have to shutdown and start over and be ready to use the down arrow to boot with Windows (98).
I thought at the time, that XP could be put in a separate partition on the drive.
So, if anyone gets a laugh out of it, go ahead and laugh.
I tried to install XP on a system that still had Windows 98.
After that was done, it worked fine, no issues.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37737381
Power cord:  Check the fine print on the adapter. Most adapters are good from 90 through 240 volts to avoid damage. If it says that, you can keep it plugged in.  No transformer needed.

XP:  On that old machine?  It would run like a slug.

Hard Drive: Have you tested it?

A cheap, newer machine is in order here, I think. .... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:nickg5
ID: 37737629
The voltage converter, converted 220 volts to 110 volts. If that converter malfunctioned and did not step down the voltage, my laptop could have been zapped with 220 volts.
110 volt devices don't run on 220 volts, they might get fried.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37737740
A laptop AC adapter is not a step down converter. It is a switching power supply. I have not seen one fail so as to zap a laptop (not that it couldn't happen). Normally, if they fail, they stop producing DC for the laptop. This is a very different device from a step down transformer (the little ones you use for hair dryers, and the like).

To repeat the above, if your laptop AC adapter provides a total range of 90 - 240V, you do not need a step down transformer on top.

I have never had an issue when travelling overseas from North America.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 37738177
so windows98 runs ok - and XP does not?  
could you post some specs, like Ram and disk size + free disk space?
and the correct model - there are lots of 1600's

as for the date Merete asked to check - that is the date showing on the laptop -  if the battery was empty, it may think it is 2000 still  - and many programs will stop functioning then
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by:nickg5
ID: 37738379
The adapter for the computer did not come with the laptop. It was bought separately to change the 220 volts to 110 volts. That is it's only function.
It is a voltage converter and   >>>    is not an AC adapter. <<<

I'll check the date and the specs.

Windows 98 works fine.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37738401
It is a really bad practice to use after-market voltage changing adapters in my own view. I would not do that. I would see if you can get the correct adapter on eBay for small bucks, as the correct adapter should work better. ... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 37738802
nick, can you post details on how it is powered?
eg from laptop to AC dapter-then to step up transformer, etc....and the models plse?
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Author Comment

by:nickg5
ID: 37738822
The adapter I have has worked for 10-12 years.
I'm not looking for any adapter at all....period...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My laptop has ONE.................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   power cord and nothing else.........!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Author Comment

by:nickg5
ID: 37738825
this question should not have been asked, when will I learn my lesson.
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Author Closing Comment

by:nickg5
ID: 37738835
giving everyone 100 points.
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