How to buy a laptop
When purchasing a battery for your laptop computer, the first thing
a consumer should look for is the reputation of the product at mind.
If the product is made by the manufacturer of your laptop (i.e.
Sony, Compaq, Dell, etc), 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? 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 one year warranty
is a must. Don? buy any battery with a warranty less than one year.
Batteries have been known to die early, and a three month warranty
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
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
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.
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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.
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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
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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