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   Laptop battery and notebook battery FAQ

General frequently asked questions about our products
» Can I upgrade my device's battery to a newer chemistry?
Ni-Cd, Ni-MH and Li-ion are all fundamentally different from one another and cannot be substituted unless the...
» How are batteries rated?
There are two ratings on every battery: volts and milliamp-hour (mAh). The voltage of the new battery should...
» How long do batteries last?
The life of a rechargeable battery operating under normal conditions is generally between 500 to 800...
» I accidentally removed the card before shutdown was completed, and now I can't access the card. Is there any way to save the card and/or my data?
The card itself can most likely be saved by reformatting it in the device. This will cause the loss of all data on...
» My new battery isn't charging. Is it defective?
New batteries are shipped in a discharged condition and must charged before use. We generally recommend an...
» The Lithium Polymer (Li-Polymer) Battery
Lithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)A battery technology that similar to Lithium-ion. Perform the same task with Lithium-ion...
» What is a "Smart" / "Intelligent" battery?
"Smart" / "Intelligent" batteries have internal circuit boards with smart chips which allow...
» What is the "Memory Effect"?
Ni-Cd batteries, and to a lesser extent Ni-MH batteries, suffer from what's called the "Memory Effect"....
» What is the different of Ni-Cd, Ni-MH and Li-ion?
Batteries in portable consumer devices (laptops and notebooks, camcorders, digital camera, etc.) are principally...

Can I upgrade my device's battery to a newer chemistry?
Ni-Cd, Ni-MH and Li-ion are all fundamentally different from one another and cannot be substituted unless the device has been pre-configured from the factory to accept more than one type of rechargeable battery. The difference between them stems from the fact that each type requires a different charging pattern to be properly recharged. Therefore, the portable device's charger must be properly configured to handle a given type of rechargeable battery.

Please refer to your owner's manual to find out which rechargeable battery types your particular device supports, or simply use our search engine to find your device. It will automatically list all of the battery types particular device supports.

How are batteries rated?
There are two ratings on every battery: volts and milliamp-hour (mAh). The voltage of the new battery should always match the voltage of your original. Some of our batteries will have higher amp-hour ratings than the original battery found in your device. This is indicative of a longer run-time (higher capacity) and will not cause any incompatibilities. Remember: in some cases, the voltage will differ from the original battery. This often happens when both a Li-Ion battery and a Ni-Mh battery are available for the laptop.
How long do batteries last?
The life of a rechargeable battery operating under normal conditions is generally between 500 to 800 charge-discharge cycles. This translates into one and a half to three years of battery life for the average user. As your rechargeable battery begins to die, you will notice a decline in the running time of the battery. When your two hour battery is only supplying you with an hour's worth of use, it's time for a new one.
I accidentally removed the card before shutdown was completed, and now I can't access the card. Is there any way to save the card and/or my data?
The card itself can most likely be saved by reformatting it in the device. This will cause the loss of all data on the card, but you should be able to re-use the card with no problem. If you need to recover the data, do not reformat it. If the data is irreplaceable, you may want to use a professional data recovery service to attempt to retrieve the information. If you want to try recovering it yourself, put the card into a card reader attached to a computer running Windows and try running "Scandisk". If "scandisk" asks to fix the file system on the card, let it. This may allow you to read the disk. If so, immediately copy the files you want to save to different media, or your hard drive. Once done, the card should be reformatted before being used again.
My new battery isn't charging. Is it defective?
New batteries are shipped in a discharged condition and must charged before use. We generally recommend an overnight charge (approximately twelve hours). Refer to your user's manual for charging instructions. Rechargeable batteries should be cycled - fully charged and then fully discharged - 2 to 4 times initially to allow them to reach their full capacity. (Note: it is perfectly normal for a battery to become warm to the touch during charging and discharging).

New batteries are hard for your device to charge; they have never been fully charged and are therefore "unformed". Sometimes your device's charger will stop charging a new battery before it is fully charged. If this happens, simply remove the battery from your device and then re-insert it. The charge cycle should begin again. This may happen several times during your first battery charge. Don't worry; it's perfectly normal.

The Lithium Polymer (Li-Polymer) Battery ?

Lithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)

A battery technology that similar to Lithium-ion. Perform the same task with Lithium-ion battery, but can be shaped much thinner.

The Li-polymer differentiates itself from other battery systems in the type of electrolyte used. The original design, dating back to the 1970s, uses a dry solid polymer electrolyte only. This electrolyte resembles a plastic-like film that does not conduct electricity but allows an exchange of ions (electrically charged atoms or groups of atoms). The polymer electrolyte replaces the traditional porous separator, which is soaked with electrolyte.

The dry polymer design offers simplifications with respect to fabrication, ruggedness, safety and thin-profile geometry. There is no danger of flammability because no liquid or gelled electrolyte is used.

With a cell thickness measuring as little as one millimeter (0.039 inches), equipment designers are left to their own imagination in terms of form, shape and size. It is possible to create designs which form part of a protective housing, are in the shape of a mat that can be rolled up, or are even embedded into a carrying case or piece of clothing. Such innovative batteries are still a few years away, especially for the commercial market.

Unfortunately, the dry Li-polymer suffers from poor conductivity. Internal resistance is too high and cannot deliver the current bursts needed for modern communication devices and spinning up the hard drives of mobile computing equipment. Although heating the cell to 60¢XC (140¢XF) and higher increases the conductivity to acceptable levels, this requirement is unsuitable in commercial applications.

Research is continuing to develop a dry solid Li-polymer battery that performs at room temperature. A dry solid Li-polymer version is expected to be commercially available by 2005. It is expected to be very stable; would run 1000 full cycles and would have higher energy densities than today"s Li-ion battery.

In the meantime, some Li-polymers are used as standby batteries in hot climates. One manufacturer has added heating elements that keeps the battery in the conductive temperature range at all times. Such a battery performs well for the application intended because high ambient temperatures do not affect the service life of this battery in the same way it does the VRLA, for example.

To make a small Li-polymer battery conductive, some gelled electrolyte has been added. Most of the commercial Li-polymer batteries used today for mobile phones are a hybrid and contain gelled electrolyte. The correct term for this system is "Lithium Ion Polymer". For promotional reasons, most battery manufacturers mark the battery simply as Li-polymer. Since the hybrid lithium polymer is the only functioning polymer battery for portable use today, we will focus on this chemistry.

With gelled electrolyte added, what then is the difference between Li-ion and Li-ion polymer? Although the characteristics and performance of the two systems are very similar, the Li-ion polymer is unique in that it uses a solid electrolyte, replacing the porous separator. The gelled electrolyte is simply added to enhance ion conductivity.

Technical difficulties and delays in volume manufacturing have deferred the introduction of the Li-ion polymer battery. This postponement, as some critics argue, is due to "cashing in" on the Li-ion battery. Manufacturers have invested heavily in research, development and equipment to mass-produce the Li-ion. Now businesses and shareholders want to see a return on their investment.

In addition, the promised superiority of the Li-ion polymer has not yet been realized. No improvements in capacity gains have been achieved - in fact, the capacity is slightly less than that of the standard Li-ion battery. For the present, there is no cost advantage in using the Li-ion polymer battery. The thin profile has, however, compelled mobile phone manufacturers to use this promising technology for their new generation handsets.

One of the advantages of the Li-ion polymer, however, is simpler packaging because the electrodes can easily be stacked. Foil packaging, similar to that used in the food industry, is being used. No defined norm in cell size has been established by the industry.

Advantages and Limitations of Li-ion Polymer Batteries

Advantages

Very low profile - batteries that resemble the profile of a credit card are feasible.

Flexible form factor - manufacturers are not bound by standard cell formats. With high volume, any reasonable size can be produced economically.

Light weight ¡V gelled rather than liquid electrolytes enable simplified packaging, in some cases eliminating the metal shell.

Improved safety - more resistant to overcharge; less chance for electrolyte leakage.

Limitations

Lower energy density and decreased cycle count compared to Li-ion - potential for improvements exist.

Expensive to manufacture - once mass-produced, the Li-ion polymer has the potential for lower cost. Reduced control circuit offsets higher manufacturing costs.

What is a "Smart" / "Intelligent" battery?
"Smart" / "Intelligent" batteries have internal circuit boards with smart chips which allow them to communicate with the notebook and thus better monitor battery performance, output voltage and temperature. Smart batteries will generally run 15% longer due to their increased efficiency and also give the computer much more accurate "fuel gauge" capabilities to determine how much battery running time is left before the next recharge is required.
What is the "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 continually only partially discharged before re-charging, 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. Your 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) your battery at least once every two to three weeks. Batteries can be discharged by unplugging the device's AC adaptor and letting the device run on the battery until it ceases to function. This will insure your battery remains healthy.

What is the different of Ni-Cd, Ni-MH and Li-ion?
Batteries in portable consumer devices (laptops and notebooks, camcorders, digital camera, etc.) are principally made using either Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) or Lithium Ion (Li-ion) technologies. Each type of rechargeable battery technology has its own unique characteristics:

Ni-Cd and Ni-MH: the main difference between the two is the fact that Ni-MH batteries (the newer of the two technologies) offer higher energy densities than NiCads. In other words, pound for pound, Ni-MH delivers approximately 100% more capacity than its Ni-Cd counterpart. What this translates into is increased run-time from the battery with no additional bulk to weigh down your portable device. Ni-MH also offers another major advantage: NiCad batteries tend to suffer from what is called the "Memory Effect". Ni-MH batteries are less prone to develop this dreaded affliction and thus require less maintenance and care. Ni-MH batteries are also more environmentally friendly than their Ni-Cd counterparts, since they do not contain heavy metals (which present serious landfill problems).

Li-ion has quickly become the emerging standard for portable power in consumer devices. Li-ion batteries produce the same energy as Ni-MH batteries but weigh approximately 35% less. This is crucial in applications such as camcorders or notebook computers, where the battery makes up a significant portion of the device's weight. Another reason Li-ion batteries have become so popular is that they do not suffer from the memory effect AT ALL. They are also better for the environment because they don't contain toxic materials such as Cadmium or Mercury.

 

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