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Battery Related Questions:

  • Battery FAQs:
  • What is the difference between NiCad, NiMH and Lithium Ion batteries?
  • My new battery isn't charging. Is it defective?
  • How long will the new main battery power the laptop?
  • How can I maximize the performance of my battery?
  • How long does battery last?
  • The Rating for Battery
  • What is "Memory Effect"?
  • What is a battery cycle?
  • Can I use my old Ni-Cd battery charger to charge my Ni-MH batteries?
  • What is the difference between NiCad, NiMH and Lithium Ion batteries?
  • Batteries in portable consumer devices such as a laptop, camcorder, cellular phone, etc., are typically made using either Nickel Cadmium (NiCad), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery cell chemistry. Each type of rechargeable battery chemistry has its own unique characteristics:
  • Li-ion (Lithium Ion). This is one of the newest cell types available. It is also the lightest battery type currently available on a commercial basis and can provide more power than the other main cell types. There are no known problems of memory effect with this battery type and it is the easiest battery type to care for. The downside of this battery is that it has the highest engineering costs and therefore the price is usually considerably higher than other cell types.
  • Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hydride). This cell type is the most common cell type currently available for laptop computers, (although Li-ion is rapidly becoming the most popular) This battery type is relatively cheap to manufacture and therefore tends to be cheaper than Li-ion. This cell type is prone to 'memory effect' so it is important to take good care of your Ni-MH battery to ensure that you obtain the best runtimes.
  • Ni-Cd (Nickel Cadmium). This is one of the oldest cell types and is generally only found in older laptops. The main pro for this cell type is its ability to handle higher loads, and therefore is more commonly found in portable power tools or devices that need a lot of power to work efficiently. The main downside of this cell type is that it is notorious for suffering with memory effect so good care must be taken with this battery to ensure most effective use of battery.
  • My new battery isn't charging. Is it defective?
  • Usually NO. New batteries come in a discharged condition and must be fully charged before use. It is recommended that you fully charge and discharge the new battery two to four times to allow it to reach its maximum rated capacity.
  • It is generally recommend an overnight charge (approximately twelve hours). It is normal for a battery to become warm to the touch during charging and discharging.
  • When charging the battery for the first time, the device may indicate that charging is complete after just 10 or 15 minutes. This is a normal with rechargeable batteries. New batteries are hard for the device to charge; they have never been fully charged and not “broken in? Sometimes the device's charger will stop charging a new battery before it is fully charged. If this happens, remove the battery from the device and then reinsert it. The charge cycle should begin again. This may happen several times during the first battery charge. Don't worry; it's perfectly normal.
  • How long will the new main battery power the laptop?
  • Battery run-time of a laptop is difficult to determine. Actual battery running time depends upon the power demands made by the equipment. The use of the screen, the hard drive and other accessories results in an additional drain upon the battery, effectively reducing its running time. The total run-time of the battery is also dependent upon the design of the equipment. Generally, a new Hi-Capacity battery will run 30% to 50% longer than the old battery did when it was new.
  • How to Maximize and Battery Performance?
  • It is recommended to condition (fully charge and discharge) the new battery few times to allow it to reach its maximum rated capacity.
  • Condition the Ni-MH and Ni-cd battery at least once a month. It will reduce the memory effect.
  • Use the battery at least once a month even it was kept in a dry and cool storage.
  • Clean the metal connector (the contact to the notebook, usually in color of gold or silver) by alcohol or Electronics Cleaner Degreaser. It will maintain the good conductivity. which improves the power conduction from battery to Notebook.
  • Fully optimize the Power Management features provided in system BIOS and Operating System will also improve the battery performance. Consult the user's manual to fully understand the usage of these features.
  • How long does battery last?
  • The life span of a Notebook battery is about 1.5 to 3 years operating under normal conditions. As rechargeable battery begins to die, the user will notice a decline in the running time of the battery.
  • The Rating for Battery
  • V(olts): The voltage of the new battery should always match the voltage of the original. mAh: It standards for milli-Amp hours (1 mAh=0.001Ah), High amp-hour ratings means a longer run-time and will not cause incompatibilities.
  • What is "Memory Effect"?
  • Ni-Cd batteries, and to a lesser extent Ni-MH batteries, suffer from what's called the "memory effect". What this means is that if a battery is repeatedly only partially discharged before recharging, the battery "forgets" that it has the capacity to further discharge all the way down. To illustrate: If you, on a regular basis, fully charge your battery and then use only 50% of its capacity before the next recharge, eventually the battery will become unaware of its extra 50% capacity which has remained unused. The battery will remain functional, but only at 50% of its original capacity. The way to avoid the dreaded "memory effect" is to fully cycle (fully charge and then fully discharge) the battery at least once every two to three weeks. Batteries can be discharged by unplugging the device's AC adapter and letting the device run on the battery until it ceases to function. This will ensure your battery remains healthy.
  • What is a battery cycle?
  • Cycle life is measured by the amount of times a battery may be charged and discharged. Every time a battery is charged and discharged, it uses one cycle. Cycle life is very important in battery applications such as laptop batteries and emergency light batteries. A Ni-Cd battery has a cycle life of 500-1000 or more cycles.
  • Can I use my older Ni-Cd battery charger to charge my Ni-MH batteries?
  • No, you can use a newer Ni-MH charger to charge your old Ni-Cd batteries but you should not try to charge Ni-MH batteries with a Ni-Cd charger. Here's why: Ni-MH and Ni-Cd batteries are chemically very similar and when both are fully charged the battery voltage will start to drop. The Ni-MH voltage drop is much more subtle and more difficult to detect. Ni-MH chargers usually have an over temperature sensor and shutoff to prevent overcharge as well as a more sensitive voltage drop detector where Ni-Cd chargers usually only use the voltage drop to determine when to stop charging. If you charge Ni-MH batteries in a Ni-Cd charger it will probably miss the voltage drop and keep right on charging causing the batteries to overheat. Overcharging and overheating Ni-MH batteries can damage them internally and reduce battery life.
  • Battery Glossary
  • Battery: Two or more cells connected together
  • Cell: An electrochemical system that converts chemical energy into electrical energy.
  • Capacity: This is amount of energy a battery cell or battery pack actually provides. The higher the capacity the longer the equipment will run on battery power. Usually measured in Amp hours (Ah) or Milliamp hours (mAh).
  • Battery Charge: This is the process of passing electricity into the battery pack so the pack can be used to provide power when the user is away from mains power.
  • Li-ion: Lithium Ion. This is one the newest battery types available. It can offer the same power as a Ni-MH battery in a smaller and lighter package. This type does not suffer from 'Memory Effect' but it is expensive to manufacture.
  • Ni-Cd: Nickel Cadmium. This is one of the oldest battery technologies that are still in use. Usually found only in older equipment or applications that require a high power drain. Very prone to 'Memory Effect'.
  • Ni-MH: Nickel Metal Hydride. This battery type has virtually replaced the Ni-Cd batteries. This type offers higher capacities, around 30% more than a Ni-Cd cell of the same physical size. This type is also reported to suffer less from 'Memory Effect'.
  • Battery Float Voltage: A unit for measuring electrical pressure. All batteries provide DC (Direct Current) electricity. It is important to ensure that the equipment you are powering is being provided with the correct volt or else damage may occur.
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