Friday, September 14, 2012

Replacing a Laptop Battery

Rustavi, Georgia.

Buying a replacement battery for my laptop

You wouldn't think it'd be a pain in the ass to replace a laptop battery, would you? But it was, kind of.

My battery started losing its life essence last year, but I hobbled along in Georgia (Republic of) until it finally faded away entirely and I had to stay plugged in all the time. One of my colleagues gleefully shared that she was waiting to replace her battery when she returned to the States because she could get a replacement for only 20 bucks. Wow, 20 bucks, that sounded good.

While I was still in Georgia, I went online to order a replacement battery so that it'd be waiting prettily for me when I returned to Missouri.

I wanted a four-hour battery like my original. I went on to the HP site.

And that's when I hit the walls.

First of all, the HP site is not intuitive. For example, you'd think when you enter "replacement battery" in the site's search field, you'd get some prompts asking for details about your original. No, you don't. You get a list of lots of different products with no guidance about how to locate your particular part. Eventually, I think I did finally find a listing for a replacement battery, with a cost of more than $100! Were they serious?!

So that's when I went to Amazon for my after-market need. And this is where my ignorance came into play. I wanted a four-hour battery that would fit my laptop. To my consternation, I discovered that the only time anyone talks about the charge life of a battery is when you're looking at new laptops. So, yes, I knew I needed a 6 Li-ion battery, but are all 6s good for 4 hours? Just because an after-market battery fit my laptop, how can I know anything about its charge life or endurance in general?

I decided to wait til I returned to Missouri and physically visit a Best Buy (where I'd purchased my laptop) to get my replacement battery.  Where I discovered they don't stock replacement batteries. Instead, the clerk looked at my battery and then went to a magic page on HP where he could enter the original battery details, found a list of two replacement batteries, one at more than $100 and the other more than $80, neither of which was accessible. Website glitch? No longer being manufactured? No real answer to this on the HP website.

So the clerk went to Best Buy's go-to replacement battery provider, Lenmar, where it was easy to find the battery that would fit my HP.

But then came the discussion between me and the clerk:

Mzuri: How do I know if a battery is a four-hour battery?
Clerk: Well, you don't really because ..... [lots of words]
Mzuri: Then can you tell me if a 6 Li-ion battery might only be for one hour?  
Clerk:  Oh, more than one hour
Mzuri: More than four  hours?
Clerk: Probably not more than five hours.
Mzuri: Can you give me a range?
Clerk: Could be anywhere between 3 and 5 hours.
Mzuri (weakly): OK. So I'll take this one (~ $53 all told)

Ordered online at Best Buy and shipped to me. 

Here's an example of a website that is not particularly helpful: What Should I Consider When Buying a Laptop Battery.  Although the author writes well with a clear and pleasant style, it's not helpful because:  
  1. No date on the information, not even on the comments. If tech info is before 2010, it's probably obsolete IMNSHO. 
  2. The first paragraph is just filler; ditto for the first half of the 2nd paragraph. 
  3. Then there's the cruel sentence:   "Choose the battery with the longest life available for your computer." As if such data were out there somewhere, sending readers on a merry wild goose chase. 

I will grant the author kudos for a very reader-friendly discussion about the "memory effect" on two types of batteries (if they're even being used still).

Anyway, I've now got my new battery and am in the process of testing its charge life.

[Later same day: 3 hours and 15 minutes.]
[September 17: 3 hours and 6 minutes.]

Getting rid of my old laptop battery

Lithium ion batteries contain:

There's a controversy out there about whether or not these batteries really are or can be recycled and why (guess --> $$$), but for now, I found out where to recycle my laptop battery by going here. In full disclosure, I found this website via the HP website, but I'm thinking a manufacturer has an obligation to be even more proactive in helping customers get the needed recycling information. The least they could do is to put a sticker on the battery that has an url or phone number to call for recycling guidance.  


Anonymous said...

Hey. Nice blog I'm in tlg as well. I think group 35. I'm getting the village any advice? Maybe you the same with a whole blogpost on laptop batteries...nevertheless good post. School on monday should help


Mzuri said...

**Laughing** Left-handed compliments. I'll take 'em!

I was in Group 21. There were only 13 people in ours. We weren't as (in)famous as some others, but we had our moments.

With school starting, you soon won't be bored. This is because you'll soon be sick, and that will keep you occupied with coughing, sniffling, and all manner of interesting activities. As will all of your students, co-teachers, and host family members. .. but if you're group 35, you've probably already taught at the schools, yes?

Jen2010 said...

I was group 23 but no longer in Georgia. What bored already!!!! There is a lot of downtime in the village. I was told this but didn't understand the full meaning of this. Get as much films and tv series as you can from other people when you see then plus top up on your kindle. It will be a long winter ...............

PS you are a brave man denigrating brain dumps he he he