How to Save Money by Reconditioning Laptop Batteries

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How to Save Money by Reconditioning Laptop Batteries

There are many reasons that a consumer might choose a laptop computer over a desktop, but the most common reason is because they want the freedom of portability that a laptop offers. This freedom can be greatly diminished when a laptop battery is not performing as well as it once did. While it is normal for a laptop battery to lose its ability to hold a charge over time, it can still be a frustrating situation. It is certainly possible to replace an unsatisfactory laptop battery with a new one, but that can be a costly purchase, especially if the laptop is already a few years old.

Luckily, there are ways to make an aging battery hold a charge for longer, namely by reconditioning the battery. This method does not work for every laptop battery and cannot restore its original life, but it can save a good deal of money by improving a laptop battery to the point that it is useable once again. In the case where reconditioning does not fix the problem, new and used laptop batteries are widely available from laptop manufacturers, electronics retailers, and online on eBay.

Monitoring Battery Use

If a laptop battery seems like it is not lasting as long as it once did, it is a good idea to investigate the situation before attempting to recondition the battery. There are a number of tools that can help the average user to determine the life of his or her batter. Some computers have a battery monitoring system built directly into their operating systems, but others may require additional software. Either way, these monitors tell the user how long their battery is lasting and how long it should last. When there is a discrepancy in these time frames, the battery may need reconditioning.

Types of Laptop Batteries

Different laptops have different types of batteries. Even two laptops from the same manufacturer may not have the same battery. The following chart lists the most common types of laptop batteries and whether or not they can benefit from reconditioning.

Type of Battery

Can Benefit from Reconditioning?

How Often to Recondition

Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH)

Yes

Every 2-3 months

Nickel-cadmium (NiCad)

Yes

Every 2-3 months

Lithium Ion (Li-Ion)

No

Not Applicable

Be sure to determine which type of battery is in a laptop before going about reconditioning it. The computer's system preferences may be able to tell you, as well as looking at the physical battery itself.

Reconditioning Laptop Batteries

If it turns out that the battery in a laptop is not charging properly and is not lasting as long as it ought to, reconditioning it is an option. This is assuming that the battery is not a lithium ion. Reconditioning a laptop battery is a fairly simple process and should only take a few hours, depending on how long the battery lasts when fully charged.

Change Power Settings

Prior to reconditioning the battery, be sure to change the power management settings on the laptop. This means making sure that the screen saver is deactivated as well as any sleep or hibernation modes. These settings can be changed in the control panel or system preferences, depending on the operating system. The important thing to remember is that the battery needs to be allowed to drain, so change any settings that might hinder that.

Fully Charge Laptop Battery

The next step in reconditioning a laptop battery is to fully charge the battery. It does not matter how much charge the battery has at this point, simply plug the power adapter into a wall outlet and allow the battery to charge until it is full. There is likely an indicator on the battery itself or on the computer's desktop that shows how much charge the battery has.

Unplug Laptop

Once the battery is fully charged, unplug the laptop. The battery needs to be allowed to completely drain of all charge. This is why the power settings were changed at the start of the process because hibernation modes prevent the battery from draining. This is normally a positive feature, but when reconditioning a battery, this is a bad thing. Make sure the laptop is running on battery power and let it drain down completely. The laptop can be used during this time, just be aware of the battery's level of charge so that no data is lost when the battery dies. Allow the computer to power off.

Charge Laptop Battery Again

When the battery is completely drained of charge and the computer has powered off, plug the power adapter back into the laptop. Allow the battery to charge until there is enough power to turn the computer back on, then do so. The battery should now be reconditioned.

Reset Power Management Settings

Once the computer powers back on, the user can change the settings back to what they were before. Go into the control panel or system controls and reactivate the sleep or hibernate feature. This helps the laptop battery continue to last longer. Be sure to continue monitoring the laptop battery to make sure that the reconditioning did what it was supposed to do.

Change Laptop Behaviour

Of course, there are those laptop batteries that may not benefit from the reconditioning process. Either there is something broken in the battery, or it is just too old to be reconditioned. There are a few options for someone who wants to continue to use a laptop with a worn out battery. The most obvious, of course, is to just adjust behaviours so that the laptop does not need a long lasting battery any longer. Many people use laptop computers as desktop computers, rarely moving them from a desk or table. This means the laptop can be plugged into a power outlet nearly all the time and therefore does not require a good battery.

Consider a New Laptop Battery

In other cases, it may be time to purchase a replacement laptop battery. If a battery is physically broken or does not hold a charge at all, the battery should be replaced. Brand new batteries are likely available from the manufacturer of the laptop. Purchasing a brand new laptop battery can be a bit pricy, but it is still most likely less expensive than replacing the laptop outright.

In order to save a bit of money, it is also possible to find used or refurbished laptop batteries at various places online, including eBay. Used laptop batteries have been employed by a previous user. Refurbished laptop batteries are also used but usually have had the cells replaced so that it holds a charge like new. Either are viable options for someone who does not want to spend a lot but does want to replace a laptop battery.

How to Buy Laptop Batteries on eBay

In the cases where reconditioning a laptop battery does not work or is not advised, you can always buy a new laptop battery on eBay. Search for a battery that is compatible with your laptop using keywords like " Samsung laptop battery ". From there you can further narrow search results using the eBay filters. Decide whether you want to browse used laptop batteries or even refurbished laptop batteries. Be sure to look at the listings closely to determine if the battery is compatible with your laptop. Remember, a battery may be from the same manufacturer as your laptop but still not fit with your particular model.

When you have chosen the battery that you want to purchase, be sure that you have any questions answered before completing the transaction. This is easy to do on eBay since you can message the seller directly through the site's interface. You may want to ask about shipping, compatibility, or the condition of the laptop battery. Once your questions have been answered, you can complete your purchase with confidence.

Conclusion

It is not uncommon for a laptop battery to die or become less useful long before the laptop itself begins experiencing problems associated with age. Still, replacing a laptop battery altogether can cost a significant amount, particularly when buying a new laptop battery from the computer manufacturer. While a laptop battery may need to be replaced, it may also simply need to be reconditioned. Learning how to recondition a laptop battery rather than purchase a new one can save a laptop user money time and time again.

Thankfully, reconditioning a laptop battery is not a process that requires a great deal of technical skill. Rather, following a few simple steps and having a bit of patience while the laptop battery drains and the computer powers down is all that is necessary. Overall, it is a good idea to pay attention to the life of any laptop battery. If the battery begins to drain very quickly, check the status of the battery and see if it needs to be reconditioned. In many cases, reconditioning a laptop battery can mean not having to buy a new battery for months or even years, which can mean great savings.

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