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Consumer Information

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This page contains helpful information for consumers and answers many tricky question associated with laptop battery.

How to buy a laptop battery

When purchasing a battery for your notebook computer, the first thing a consumer should look for is the reputability of the product at mind. If the product is made by the manufacturer of your laptop (i.e. Sony, Compaq, Dell, Toshiba), you can usually be sure it is a quality product. However, many manufactures do not actually manufacturer, instead they are the brander of the product. For example, if you open up a genuine Sony laptop battery, you may find that the power cells inside are actually made by Toshiba, Panasonic, or a similar big name company. Sony in this case has just made the plastic case of the battery. this goes to show that the brand of the battery you are buying does not necessarily mean that the quality is superior. Many third party brands use the exact same power cells as original manufacturers. Using a third party manufacturer is often a good way to go when buying a battery, as there are usually many extra benefits. For instance, most third party batteries are much lower in price than original manufacturers? Batteries. Secondly, they usually offer a superior warranty, as they realize that in order to win the consumer's confidence; they must stand behind their product. A 1-Year Waranty is a must. Don? buy any battery with a warranty less than one year. Batteries have been known to die early, and a 3-Month Waranty could leave you high and dry.

the next main thing a consumer should look for is the type of battery. Batteries can be made using several chemicals. For laptops, there are four main types. They are Ni-Cad, Ni-MH, Li-Ion, and Li-Poly. There is no major manufacturer that still makes Ni-Cad laptop batteries, as they are a very old and primitive type of power. Ni-MH is newer and more advanced, but is not as good as its Li-Ion and Li-Poly counterparts. If we compare the last three types (Ni-MH, Li-Ion, Li-Poly), we find that Ni-MH batteries weigh more than the other two, but produce less current than the other two. Li-Ion and Li-Poly are the most advanced types of batteries on the market, and you should try to get one of these two types if possible. Most laptops that come with one type of battery can not use any other type of battery, meaning that if your laptop came with a Ni-Cad, it must be replaced by another Ni-Cad. The same goes for the other types. Please note that in some cases, this does not apply. Some laptops that come with a Ni-MH battery can be replaced with a stronger Li-Ion one.

Lastly you must look at the power rating of the item you?e buying. As technology advances, so do power ratings. The battery you bought last year may be twice as strong this year, and might even be the same physical size. Batteries have two main ratings on them: Volts and Amperes. Because laptop batteries do not carry a very large amount of power when compared to larger batteries such as car batteries, most companies show their ratings with Volts and Milliamperes. One thousand Milliamperes equals 1 Ampere. When buying a battery, always go for the battery with the most Milliamperes (or mAh). Batteries are also rated by Watt-Hours, perhaps the simplest rating of all. This is found by multiplying the Volts and the Amperes together. We will now show you an example of finding the Watt-Hours for our example battery.

Our example battery is 14.4 Volts, 3600mAh
(remember that 3600mAh is equal to 3.6 Amperes).

14.4 x 3.6 = 51.84

this battery has 51.84 Watt-Hours. The term Watt Hour signifies the energy needed to power one watt for one hour. Thus this battery can power 51.84 watts for one hour. Suppose your laptop runs at 25.92 watts (this may be unlikely, but let? use this just for simplicity). This battery could power your laptop for 2 hours. People usually associate the word ? atts? With light bulbs, and yes, this battery could power a 40 watt light bulb for about an hour and 18 minutes, a 60 watt light bulb for about 52 minutes, or a 100 watt light bulb for 31 minutes; it? the same idea.

the reason we have shown you watt-hours is because oftentimes the volts and Amperes vary. For example our laptop that uses a Li-Ion 14.4 Volt, 3600mAh battery may use a NI-MH battery that is 9.6 Volts, 4000mAh. Now let? do the math and find out which battery is stronger.

Li-Ion: 14.4 Volts x 3.6 Amperes = 51.84 Watt Hours
Ni-MH: 9.6 Volts x 4 Amperes = 38.4 Watt Hours
the Li-Ion is stronger.

Should I get a used battery?

this is a very valid question that every bargain shopper will encounter. Your first option is to purchase a new battery that naturally has new power cells inside. Performance will be at 100%, and it usually comes with a 1-Year Warranty. However, many companies will either skip that first option by offering only a used or refurbished battery, or they will give you both options: the choice of a new or a used/refurbished. Be skeptical when you see used/refurbished. Usually the warranty on this type of battery is very minimal. Now if you do not use your laptop very much, then this may be a great alternative vs. purchasing a new battery in upwards of $100. Refurbished batteries do not hold as much power when compared to new batteries. Also, they can kick the bucket on you randomly since you really do not know how old the battery is. Our recommendation is to stick with a new battery, or be very careful who you buy your refurbished battery from.

Once I get my new battery, what do I do with my old one?

A question that might arise for many people is what they are supposed to do with their old laptop battery. We recommend contacting RBRC (Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation). You can visit their website at http://www.rbrc.org. We are not affiliated with them; however we have heard that they will take care of your recycling needs. They are also a non-profit company.

Info about your battery

Question: How long will my laptop battery power my computer for?
Answer: this is the most famous consumer question, and is the hardest one to answer. this answer depends on the exact laptop model that you have. Some laptops can run for 5 hours or more off of their battery, while others may last less than 2 hours before they need to recharge the battery. Generally, you should contact the manufacturer of the laptop in question, and they should be able to give you an estimate. Remember that the size of the screen, the power of your processor (PIII, P4, etc), your hard drive, and many other things such as the programs you are running (DVD, CD-Burning, Word Processing) will all effect your time away from the wall, making this a very hard question to answer.

Question: What do I do when the power runs out?
Answer: Recharge the battery. All laptop batteries are rechargeable. To recharge them, simply plug in your AC power adapter. This will charge the battery even while the laptop is still on (you can also turn the laptop off to charge the battery faster). You can literally keep your laptop on all the time, and use it on battery too if you just recharge it when the battery runs low.

Question: What do I need to do to get the most out of my battery?
Answer: there are several ways of increasing the battery life and getting the most out of your investment. It is recommended to charge your battery up to 100%, each time you charge it. Then, when you use it, do not plug it back in until the power is very low (usually between 5%-15%). though Li-Ion, Li-Poly, and newer Ni-MH batteries do not require this step, we have found that it does usually help extend the life of the battery.

Question: How do I increase my run time (the length I can use my laptop on battery power)?
Answer: Run time can be increased or decreased depending on the applications and tasks that you have your laptop doing. For example, if you are playing a DVD movie, much power is being used. If you are burning a CD-R/CD-RW or playing a full screen 3D video game, much power is being used. All these things take more power and in effect lessen the amount of time that you have in ?ortable?mode. It is best to try to plug the laptop into the wall if possible in these situations. Remember that you can also get car power adapters for your laptop; this will charge your battery and power your laptop while you are on the road. Programs that take little power (giving you longer battery life) include word processing programs like Microsoft Word or Corel Word Perfect, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, AOL, CompuServe, or any similar programs. Even the colors displayed on your screen can affect your battery life. Lighter colors take more power to produce. External connections such as USB Mice, USB Scanners, Memory Cards, Zip Drives, etc. all take more power from your precious battery life. Keep these things in mind when power is of the essence.


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