Frequently Asked Questions
How do laptop batteries work?
In the world of laptops, batteries always play an essential role in keeping the system running. In order to understand what makes up a laptop battery, we must understand what is going on under the hood.
When the battery is charging, the positive electrodes will move onto the negative electrodes to start saving the energy. As the laptop is draining the battery, the negative stored lithium will be discharged to the positive electrodes to give off electricity. This will allow the laptop use the battery and power it on.
What types of laptop batteries are there?
- NiCad - the earliest type of batter available for laptops. The batteries were able to be recharged and used by laptops and computers. The battery suffered from the “memory effect” which causes the batteries from the laptops to slowly lose its energy capacity.
- NiMH - has 100% more energy than NiCad. Does not suffer the “memory effect” as badly as NiCad. These batteries are also much more environmentally friendlier than NiCad batteries.
- Li-Ion - has about the same energy as NiMH battery but weighs about 30% less. These batteries are widely used in small portable devices such as cameras, music players, and video players. The best reason to have Li-Ion batteries is that these are not affected by any “memory effect” at all!
How large of a role do laptop batteries play?
Batteries are extremely important in powering up laptop computers. Batteries are essentially rechargeable storages for electricity when charged with an AC Adapter. Since there are different laptop batteries for each specific laptop, the batteries have varying statistics. Most laptops made today have lithium- ion batteries because of its thin profile and long lasting amounts of electricity.
What are the RAM or Resume batteries?
These batteries play a strong part in helping computers back up RAM functions when the computer is not on. Having a RAM or Resume battery will help the computers save information while replacing their primary batteries. These batteries are usually NiCad and will last for about 2 years before recommended replacement.
What are CMOS batteries?
CMOS batteries are extremely helpful in keeping the laptop or desktop’s time and date. The CMOS batteries are important for keeping the time and date updated when the computer is turned off. There is much different chemistry for the CMOS batteries, but the most common are made out of NiCad, Alkaline, and Lithium.
Replacing CMOS batteries is a simple task of finding, removing, and placing. CMOS batteries are usually placed on the computer’s motherboard so removing the battery will be an easy task. When replacing the battery, it is recommended to use the same type of battery that was installed on the motherboard. But be aware! There are some computers that have the CMOS batteries soldered onto the motherboard so they cannot be removed, such as the older IBM laptop models. If the computer you have does have soldered CMOS batteries, the best way to replace it is to find the three or four pin male plug on the motherboard and remove the jumper. By successfully taking out the jumper, the computer will automatically detect objects that are plugged into the pin male plugs to make them into its source of energy.
If the battery is a NiCad battery, and there are no pin male plugs, the only way to replace it is to unsolder the NiCad battery and replace it with a new NiCad battery. NiCad batteries are the only ones to be able to recharged, while the Lithium and Alkaline cannot. If replaced with a Lithium or Alkaline battery, the battery may explode since it is not compatible with the recharging method of a NiCad battery. If replacing Lithium or Alkaline batteries, simply remove the old one and then plug the new battery, Lithium or Alkaline, into the pin male plugs.
CMOS batteries last a long time but in order to make it last longer, use the computer more often because CMOS batteries only start working when the computer is shut off. If the computer has been untouched for a year or more, replacing the CMOS batteries is a recommended action.
How long do new batteries power laptops?
This question cannot be accurately answered, because there are many factors that affect the batteries besides the chemistry in a laptop battery. For example, the hard drive and the monitor both derive energy from the battery in order to power themselves. On top of that, added accessories like external USB mice or keyboards can drain laptop batteries as well.
What do “smart” batteries do?
These batteries last 15% longer than normal laptop batteries, because they are able to efficiently draw power out of the battery and give a very accurate detail of how much battery power is left before needing a recharge.
What can I do to increase the battery life of my laptop?
There are many ways to increase the battery life of a laptop:
- “Breaking-In”: Breaking into the new batteries can help the laptop batteries last to the maximum amount of time. In order to initiate a “break-in”, the battery must be charged fully to 100%. After, discharge the battery to 0% and repeat the method for 2-4 times. By successfully “breaking-in”, the laptop will see an increase in battery life than the first time.
- Prevent the Memory Effect: If you have a NiCad or a NiMH battery*, try to prevent the memory effect from happening by fully charging the laptop and then discharging it entirely. Repeat this method every 2-3 weeks to obtain the best results. *Note: Li-Ion batteries do not require this method because they do not suffer from the memory effect.
- Cleaning the Laptop Batteries: In order to keep a better connection between the battery and the laptop, simply clean the batteries every month. There is no need to buy special equipment to clean the battery. Simply gather a cotton swab with some alcohol and wipe it onto the laptop’s batteries to clean them. This will help ensure an efficient electricity connection between the battery and the laptop.
- Turning down the Laptop’s Power Consumption: On a laptop, there are usually settings indicating a “power saver” option for laptop battery options. This setting will usually help the laptop conserve power by dimming the monitor screen, slowing down the hard drive, and running a slower processor.
How do laptop AC adapters work?
The AC adapter of the laptop is an extremely important item in recharging the laptop’s batteries. The adapter also gives energy directly to the laptop when it is connected.
Laptops are usually supplied with an AC adapter that has varying voltage inputs and voltage outputs. Most AC adapters supplied with a laptop today has a 100-240 voltage input and an output of 16 or 19 voltage so they are compatible with all the different voltages in the world.
How to find the right replacement AC adapter that fits and works for your laptop?
If an AC adapter is lost, one must seek out a new AC adapter to replace the old one. Here are some simple steps to take in order to find the correct adapter:
- Identify the Connectors of the Adapters: A laptop AC adapter has two ends that lead to different sections. Check the “tip” of the AC adapter to make sure it matches the one for your laptop. On the laptop, identify “DC In” as the location where the “tip” is fit inside to charge the laptop’s batteries.
- Make sure the output voltage reads the same as the one for the laptop’s previous AC Adapter. The output voltage is very easy to find; they are mostly printed under the laptop. If difficult to identify, simply check the laptop’s manual. If the manual is missing or gone, go on the internet to do a simple search for your laptop’s model and identify the output voltage.
- If you wish to travel around the world, make sure the AC Adapter’s input voltage is 100-240 voltages. Most AC adapters are usually universally functional, but be sure the one you replace will be the same.
Adapters are an extremely valuable asset for a laptop and it must be kept usable at all times. Remember to choose the correct AC adapter for your laptop or it will not be usable.
What should I do if my AC Adapter is not working?
In order to confirm that the AC adapter is not functioning, take the following steps:
- Turn off the computer.
- Unplug the AC adapter off the computer and the wall socket.
- Wait for 10 seconds and plug the AC adapter to the wall socket again. (Do not plug into any surge protectors, UPS units, or extension cords.
- If the AC adapter LED emits a constant green light, the device is working again . If not, continue to step 5.
- Since there is no green light, check if the outlet has a problem by plugging in different units such as lamps or other adapters. If the devices also do not work, simply try the AC adapter in a different wall outlet to see if it works.
If there is light emitting from the LED, but the AC adapter is still not functioning, make sure to:
- Check if the AC adapter’s power socket has any disproportional pins that are either bent or missing.
- Make sure the AC adapter is plugged directly into the wall socket, not any additional surge protectors or extension cords.
- Make sure the AC adapter connector is completely fit into the computer.
If the computer has no warranty left and the AC adapter does not work with the above list, you might have to buy a new adapter for the computer.