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Notebook battery repair

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November 21, 2004 7:07:21 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Has anyone here had any experience with http://www.batteryrefill.com/
or any other simular coompany. The battery for my Sony fxa49 is
getting shorter and shorter run times (pretty much just a ups now to
allow for a save and log off...)

.... maybe when the new battery replacement cost is more than the
dollar value of the notebook it is time to upgrade...

Thanks
John
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 22, 2004 9:47:30 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

John wrote:
> Has anyone here had any experience with http://www.batteryrefill.com/
> or any other simular coompany. The battery for my Sony fxa49 is
> getting shorter and shorter run times (pretty much just a ups now to
> allow for a save and log off...)
>
> ... maybe when the new battery replacement cost is more than the
> dollar value of the notebook it is time to upgrade...

I don't know about those guys in particular, but I had a LiIon battery
for my Sony PCG-F190 professionally refurbished once. No problems there.
(It was years ago, and I no longer remember the company.) Considering
that raw LiIon cells are only $7-9 each (http://www.sabahoceanic.com)
the price you pay for full packs is utterly outrageous. After I
discovered Sabah Oceanic I've been refurbing my packs myself. You do
have to be careful about desoldering and resoldering the leads, but as
soldering jobs go it's not difficult. I certainly balked at the $250
price tag of a spare BP71 of whatnot, when I can get the bare cells for
a total of $60 and install them myself. The other nice thing about
buying the raw cells yourself is you can get the latest and greatest
(e.g., Panasonic CGR18650C 2150mAh vs the 1700mAh Sony used in their
stock BP2E batteries) and gain 20-30% runtime.

When your pack is already near dead, I figure you've got nothing to lose
by trying. By the way, install the new batteries in their as-delivered,
partially charged state. Don't charge them up first in a standalone
charger, the pack electronics needs to measure how much current goes
into the pack in order to keep its gauge calibrated.
--
-- Howard Chu
Chief Architect, Symas Corp. Director, Highland Sun
http://www.symas.com http://highlandsun.com/hyc
Symas: Premier OpenSource Development and Support
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 23, 2004 8:13:03 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

There are some real dangers in what you suggest.

Lithium Ion batteries can explode and catch fire, and it happens fairly
often. A few people have been killed, and lots of people have been
burned (literally, as in fire). During the recent presidential
campaign, one of the campaign planes had to make an unscheduled
emergency landing because one of the reporter's batteries for some
device caught fire.

In order to prevent this, almost all LiIon battery packs have internal
smart controllers. The programming of those controllers is matched to
the individual types of cells installed. If you go changing the cells,
that programming is wrong and you are inviting disaster. On top of
that, the controllers keep a history of the cells that needs to be
"reset" if the cells are changed. This requires setting up an actual
communication link between the controller and an intelligent device
running software that "knows about" the controller and it's programming.
It's possible to do this on some batteries with a laptop, a custom
cable and some software, but in general it's complex and the software
isn't available. In any case, from your post, I suspect that you have
no idea of the full complexities of the issues that you are dealing with
or the possible consequences of your actions.


Howard Chu wrote:

> John wrote:
>
>> Has anyone here had any experience with http://www.batteryrefill.com/
>> or any other simular coompany. The battery for my Sony fxa49 is
>> getting shorter and shorter run times (pretty much just a ups now to
>> allow for a save and log off...)
>> ... maybe when the new battery replacement cost is more than the
>> dollar value of the notebook it is time to upgrade...
>
>
> I don't know about those guys in particular, but I had a LiIon battery
> for my Sony PCG-F190 professionally refurbished once. No problems there.
> (It was years ago, and I no longer remember the company.) Considering
> that raw LiIon cells are only $7-9 each (http://www.sabahoceanic.com)
> the price you pay for full packs is utterly outrageous. After I
> discovered Sabah Oceanic I've been refurbing my packs myself. You do
> have to be careful about desoldering and resoldering the leads, but as
> soldering jobs go it's not difficult. I certainly balked at the $250
> price tag of a spare BP71 of whatnot, when I can get the bare cells for
> a total of $60 and install them myself. The other nice thing about
> buying the raw cells yourself is you can get the latest and greatest
> (e.g., Panasonic CGR18650C 2150mAh vs the 1700mAh Sony used in their
> stock BP2E batteries) and gain 20-30% runtime.
>
> When your pack is already near dead, I figure you've got nothing to lose
> by trying. By the way, install the new batteries in their as-delivered,
> partially charged state. Don't charge them up first in a standalone
> charger, the pack electronics needs to measure how much current goes
> into the pack in order to keep its gauge calibrated.
Related resources
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 23, 2004 8:59:36 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Barry Watzman wrote:
> There are some real dangers in what you suggest.
>
> Lithium Ion batteries can explode and catch fire, and it happens fairly
> often. A few people have been killed, and lots of people have been
> burned (literally, as in fire). During the recent presidential
> campaign, one of the campaign planes had to make an unscheduled
> emergency landing because one of the reporter's batteries for some
> device caught fire.
>
> In order to prevent this, almost all LiIon battery packs have internal
> smart controllers. The programming of those controllers is matched to
> the individual types of cells installed. If you go changing the cells,
> that programming is wrong and you are inviting disaster. On top of
> that, the controllers keep a history of the cells that needs to be
> "reset" if the cells are changed. This requires setting up an actual
> communication link between the controller and an intelligent device
> running software that "knows about" the controller and it's programming.
> It's possible to do this on some batteries with a laptop, a custom
> cable and some software, but in general it's complex and the software
> isn't available. In any case, from your post, I suspect that you have
> no idea of the full complexities of the issues that you are dealing with
> or the possible consequences of your actions.

I don't dispute the complexities you describe. Just relating my
experience. I've ordered hundreds of bare LiIon cells direct from
manufacturers, and use them regularly in various devices - flashlights,
phones, whatever. For these bare cells I use the Maha C777-PlusII
charger, and it works beautifully. I've rebuilt 5 battery packs for my
VAIO laptops without incident. In general, LiIon cell chemistries don't
vary enough to change their electrical properties, and the smart
controllers are fairly tolerant of variation.

The history tracking in these packs is also, for the most part,
irrelevant. My original Sony packs showed something less than 30 charge
cycles, and indicated a pack health of 99% even though the cells didn't
last more than a few minutes. With new cells installed, at least the
"99%" health rating was closer to reality.

Also, the main danger when working with any battery is charging (or
discharging) it too fast, and the "safe" charge rates are usually some
fraction of the battery capacity. E.g., for Nickel types you usually see
"C/10" as a standard charge rate. When you're replacing a battery in an
old circuit with a new battery that has higher capacity, there's pretty
much zero chance that the battery can charge too fast because the design
current is much lower than the new battery's safety margin.

With all that said, I of course disclaim full responsibility for any
consequences of anything anybody may choose to do. It's your mind, it's
your decision, and it's your responsibility.
--
-- Howard Chu
Chief Architect, Symas Corp. Director, Highland Sun
http://www.symas.com http://highlandsun.com/hyc
Symas: Premier OpenSource Development and Support
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 23, 2004 12:17:59 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Howard Chu wrote:

> Barry Watzman wrote:
>> There are some real dangers in what you suggest.
>>
>> Lithium Ion batteries can explode and catch fire, and it happens fairly
>> often. A few people have been killed, and lots of people have been
>> burned (literally, as in fire). During the recent presidential
>> campaign, one of the campaign planes had to make an unscheduled
>> emergency landing because one of the reporter's batteries for some
>> device caught fire.
>>
>> In order to prevent this, almost all LiIon battery packs have internal
>> smart controllers. The programming of those controllers is matched to
>> the individual types of cells installed. If you go changing the cells,
>> that programming is wrong and you are inviting disaster. On top of
>> that, the controllers keep a history of the cells that needs to be
>> "reset" if the cells are changed. This requires setting up an actual
>> communication link between the controller and an intelligent device
>> running software that "knows about" the controller and it's programming.
>> It's possible to do this on some batteries with a laptop, a custom
>> cable and some software, but in general it's complex and the software
>> isn't available. In any case, from your post, I suspect that you have
>> no idea of the full complexities of the issues that you are dealing with
>> or the possible consequences of your actions.
>
> I don't dispute the complexities you describe. Just relating my
> experience. I've ordered hundreds of bare LiIon cells direct from
> manufacturers, and use them regularly in various devices - flashlights,
> phones, whatever. For these bare cells I use the Maha C777-PlusII
> charger, and it works beautifully. I've rebuilt 5 battery packs for my
> VAIO laptops without incident. In general, LiIon cell chemistries don't
> vary enough to change their electrical properties, and the smart
> controllers are fairly tolerant of variation.

Your experience is basically that you haven't blown yourself up yet, so
despite much evidence that you are eventually going to you don't want to
admit to yourself that it is a likely outcome of your actions. If you are
not afraid of lithium batteries, you will be. You _will_ be. (apologies
to George Lucas)

> The history tracking in these packs is also, for the most part,
> irrelevant. My original Sony packs showed something less than 30 charge
> cycles, and indicated a pack health of 99% even though the cells didn't
> last more than a few minutes. With new cells installed, at least the
> "99%" health rating was closer to reality.
>
> Also, the main danger when working with any battery is charging (or
> discharging) it too fast, and the "safe" charge rates are usually some
> fraction of the battery capacity. E.g., for Nickel types you usually see
> "C/10" as a standard charge rate. When you're replacing a battery in an
> old circuit with a new battery that has higher capacity, there's pretty
> much zero chance that the battery can charge too fast because the design
> current is much lower than the new battery's safety margin.
>
> With all that said, I of course disclaim full responsibility for any
> consequences of anything anybody may choose to do. It's your mind, it's
> your decision, and it's your responsibility.

You might want to read up on the history of lithium battery explosions. YOu
are making some assumptions based on your experiences with other types of
battery that are invalid for lithium.

If you want to blow yourself up that's your business, but treat your hacked
up batteries as if they are nitro--if you blow somebody _else_ up pray that
you die in the explosion because if you don't their lawyers will make you
wish you were dead.

And do not ever, ever carry one of those things onto an airliner--if it
decides to blow up on the plane you could kill hundreds of people. And it
won't be you who get blamed, it will be the battery technology so we'll get
a whole mess of stupid laws passed controlling lithium battery technology
and you'll have screwed things up for everybody.

And the fact that you have experience with "hundreds" of batteries doesn't
mean anything. Thousands of emergency locator transmitters with lithium
batteries had been installed in thousands of airplanes and sat there for
many years before the first one blew up.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 24, 2004 1:55:08 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

J. Clarke wrote:

> Your experience is basically that you haven't blown yourself up yet, so
> despite much evidence that you are eventually going to you don't want to
> admit to yourself that it is a likely outcome of your actions. If you are
> not afraid of lithium batteries, you will be. You _will_ be. (apologies
> to George Lucas)

> You might want to read up on the history of lithium battery explosions. YOu
> are making some assumptions based on your experiences with other types of
> battery that are invalid for lithium.

You are simply fear-mongering here. Lithium Ion batteries are nowhere
near the same power density or volatility as Lithium metal batteries.
Yes, you can make an LiIon battery blow up, but you have to overcharge
it to the point that Lithium metal plates out from the ion solution
before that can happen. Or you have to discharge it at such a high
current that it overheats.

> And do not ever, ever carry one of those things onto an airliner--if it
> decides to blow up on the plane you could kill hundreds of people. And it
> won't be you who get blamed, it will be the battery technology so we'll get
> a whole mess of stupid laws passed controlling lithium battery technology
> and you'll have screwed things up for everybody.

We already have a whole mess of stupid laws controlling this technology.
That's why you (the average consumer) cannot buy bare LiIon cells or
batteries at any common store. And there are all manner of shipping
regulations associated with them. Buying in the numbers I have, I've
already read up on all of that.

> And the fact that you have experience with "hundreds" of batteries doesn't
> mean anything. Thousands of emergency locator transmitters with lithium
> batteries had been installed in thousands of airplanes and sat there for
> many years before the first one blew up.

Lithium Metal batteries are not the same as LiIon batteries.
--
-- Howard Chu
Chief Architect, Symas Corp. Director, Highland Sun
http://www.symas.com http://highlandsun.com/hyc
Symas: Premier OpenSource Development and Support
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 25, 2004 5:55:04 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Howard Chu <XYZ.hyc@highlandsun.com> wrote:
>You are simply fear-mongering here.

So is CNN and the CPSC fear-mongering too? [Serious question, I don't
know enough to judge either way.]

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/11/23/exploding.cell...
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 25, 2004 7:47:09 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Howard Chu wrote:

> J. Clarke wrote:
>
>> Your experience is basically that you haven't blown yourself up yet, so
>> despite much evidence that you are eventually going to you don't want to
>> admit to yourself that it is a likely outcome of your actions. If you
>> are
>> not afraid of lithium batteries, you will be. You _will_ be. (apologies
>> to George Lucas)
>
>> You might want to read up on the history of lithium battery explosions.
>> YOu are making some assumptions based on your experiences with other
>> types of battery that are invalid for lithium.
>
> You are simply fear-mongering here. Lithium Ion batteries are nowhere
> near the same power density or volatility as Lithium metal batteries.

Numbers please?

> Yes, you can make an LiIon battery blow up, but you have to overcharge
> it to the point that Lithium metal plates out from the ion solution
> before that can happen. Or you have to discharge it at such a high
> current that it overheats.

In your opinion.

>> And do not ever, ever carry one of those things onto an airliner--if it
>> decides to blow up on the plane you could kill hundreds of people. And
>> it won't be you who get blamed, it will be the battery technology so
>> we'll get a whole mess of stupid laws passed controlling lithium battery
>> technology and you'll have screwed things up for everybody.
>
> We already have a whole mess of stupid laws controlling this technology.

Title and chapter please.

> That's why you (the average consumer) cannot buy bare LiIon cells or
> batteries at any common store. And there are all manner of shipping
> regulations associated with them. Buying in the numbers I have, I've
> already read up on all of that.

What numbers do you buy and why so many? Do you sell hacked battery packs?
Is that why you're trying to sugar-coat the safety issue?

>> And the fact that you have experience with "hundreds" of batteries
>> doesn't
>> mean anything. Thousands of emergency locator transmitters with lithium
>> batteries had been installed in thousands of airplanes and sat there for
>> many years before the first one blew up.
>
> Lithium Metal batteries are not the same as LiIon batteries.

So? Both kinds blow up.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 27, 2004 1:22:51 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Depends how slow the news was that day: I can't see a whole lot of integrity
there, they only want to report what can be made to look newsworthy if you
dont look too closely rather than what is serious.

The first two paragreaphs cetainly look more like fear-mongering than
serious news and the minuscule number of actual batteris which are reported
as blowing up backs up that view. The repetition of the second pargraph in
the fourth makes the slow-news-day aspect of this non-story even more
apparent? As does the suggestion of overcharging and inappropriate use
being the culprit rather than lithium cells. It becomes more of a non-story
the more you read it. Para 6 adds nothing whatsoever to the story and
suddenly in para 7 you see people who have somehting of a vested interest in
selling THEIR expensive batteries (U.S. phone makers and carriers)
postulating about these devastating explosions caused by mysteriously less
expensive batteries.

Then the trade association (which may have members who sell non-OEM
batteries) wades in with some common sense and an overview of the figures
and BANG the whole story dies before your very eyes. desperately salvaged
only by some consumer advocate telling us that we are all in fact carrying
around small bombs. THERE'S news for you!

Then "Carriers and manufacturers" start "urging cellular users" only to buy
from them (surprise surprise but CNN positively drinks in all of this cods
wallop) and starts rabbiting on about inferior products barely noticing that
the only ones whic were shown to have blown up came from the OEMs themsleves
or the carriers at maximum retail price!!

Is that a serious article or scare mongering?

> So is CNN and the CPSC fear-mongering too? [Serious question, I don't
know enough to judge either way.]
>
>
http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/11/23/exploding.cell...
>
>
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 28, 2004 7:59:38 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

It's not that ALL 3rd party batteries are dangerous, but that they CAN
be IF "corners are cut". And, in the real world, if corners can be cut,
there are some low-integrity vendors that will. The problem with 3rd
party batteries, therefore, is as much one of being able to know the
level of quality and consistency as it is of the quality and consistency
itself.


Licensed to Quill wrote:

> Depends how slow the news was that day: I can't see a whole lot of integrity
> there, they only want to report what can be made to look newsworthy if you
> dont look too closely rather than what is serious.
>
> The first two paragreaphs cetainly look more like fear-mongering than
> serious news and the minuscule number of actual batteris which are reported
> as blowing up backs up that view. The repetition of the second pargraph in
> the fourth makes the slow-news-day aspect of this non-story even more
> apparent? As does the suggestion of overcharging and inappropriate use
> being the culprit rather than lithium cells. It becomes more of a non-story
> the more you read it. Para 6 adds nothing whatsoever to the story and
> suddenly in para 7 you see people who have somehting of a vested interest in
> selling THEIR expensive batteries (U.S. phone makers and carriers)
> postulating about these devastating explosions caused by mysteriously less
> expensive batteries.
>
> Then the trade association (which may have members who sell non-OEM
> batteries) wades in with some common sense and an overview of the figures
> and BANG the whole story dies before your very eyes. desperately salvaged
> only by some consumer advocate telling us that we are all in fact carrying
> around small bombs. THERE'S news for you!
>
> Then "Carriers and manufacturers" start "urging cellular users" only to buy
> from them (surprise surprise but CNN positively drinks in all of this cods
> wallop) and starts rabbiting on about inferior products barely noticing that
> the only ones whic were shown to have blown up came from the OEMs themsleves
> or the carriers at maximum retail price!!
>
> Is that a serious article or scare mongering?
>
>
>>So is CNN and the CPSC fear-mongering too? [Serious question, I don't
>
> know enough to judge either way.]
>
>>
> http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/11/23/exploding.cell...
>
>>
>
>
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 28, 2004 2:14:27 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Yes, I agree: It is probably better not to buy directly from China itself
but rather to go thorugh some type of importer who may have done some
inspections on the batteries they decided to import.

China seems to be the origin for all the non-QC'ed electrosics products as
well as lots of mainstream OEM products of lesser quality

But did you notice that all of the batteries which went wrong were OEM or
carrier (i.e. OEM's) sales?

(We are however no closer to figuring out precisely why there dont seem to
be chinese producers of Lithium cells for laptops at non-extortionate prices
given the actual cost of the cells)

"Barry Watzman" <WatzmanNOSPAM@neo.rr.com> wrote in message
news:41A95BFA.9080208@neo.rr.com...
> It's not that ALL 3rd party batteries are dangerous, but that they CAN
> be IF "corners are cut". And, in the real world, if corners can be cut,
> there are some low-integrity vendors that will. The problem with 3rd
> party batteries, therefore, is as much one of being able to know the
> level of quality and consistency as it is of the quality and consistency
> itself.
>
>
> Licensed to Quill wrote:
>
> > Depends how slow the news was that day: I can't see a whole lot of
integrity
> > there, they only want to report what can be made to look newsworthy if
you
> > dont look too closely rather than what is serious.
> >
> > The first two paragreaphs cetainly look more like fear-mongering than
> > serious news and the minuscule number of actual batteris which are
reported
> > as blowing up backs up that view. The repetition of the second pargraph
in
> > the fourth makes the slow-news-day aspect of this non-story even more
> > apparent? As does the suggestion of overcharging and inappropriate use
> > being the culprit rather than lithium cells. It becomes more of a
non-story
> > the more you read it. Para 6 adds nothing whatsoever to the story and
> > suddenly in para 7 you see people who have somehting of a vested
interest in
> > selling THEIR expensive batteries (U.S. phone makers and carriers)
> > postulating about these devastating explosions caused by mysteriously
less
> > expensive batteries.
> >
> > Then the trade association (which may have members who sell non-OEM
> > batteries) wades in with some common sense and an overview of the
figures
> > and BANG the whole story dies before your very eyes. desperately
salvaged
> > only by some consumer advocate telling us that we are all in fact
carrying
> > around small bombs. THERE'S news for you!
> >
> > Then "Carriers and manufacturers" start "urging cellular users" only to
buy
> > from them (surprise surprise but CNN positively drinks in all of this
cods
> > wallop) and starts rabbiting on about inferior products barely noticing
that
> > the only ones whic were shown to have blown up came from the OEMs
themsleves
> > or the carriers at maximum retail price!!
> >
> > Is that a serious article or scare mongering?
> >
> >
> >>So is CNN and the CPSC fear-mongering too? [Serious question, I don't
> >
> > know enough to judge either way.]
> >
> >>
> >
http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/11/23/exploding.cell...
> >
> >>
> >
> >
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 28, 2004 2:20:44 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

J. Clarke wrote:
> Howard Chu wrote:
>
>
>>J. Clarke wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Your experience is basically that you haven't blown yourself up yet, so
>>>despite much evidence that you are eventually going to you don't want to
>>>admit to yourself that it is a likely outcome of your actions. If you
>>>are
>>>not afraid of lithium batteries, you will be. You _will_ be. (apologies
>>>to George Lucas)
>>
>>>You might want to read up on the history of lithium battery explosions.
>>>YOu are making some assumptions based on your experiences with other
>>>types of battery that are invalid for lithium.
>>
>>You are simply fear-mongering here. Lithium Ion batteries are nowhere
>>near the same power density or volatility as Lithium metal batteries.
>
>
> Numbers please?
>
>
>>Yes, you can make an LiIon battery blow up, but you have to overcharge
>>it to the point that Lithium metal plates out from the ion solution
>>before that can happen. Or you have to discharge it at such a high
>>current that it overheats.
>
>
> In your opinion.

Go here and educate yourself:
http://www.buchmann.ca/chap2-page6.asp

--
-- Howard Chu
Chief Architect, Symas Corp. Director, Highland Sun
http://www.symas.com http://highlandsun.com/hyc
Symas: Premier OpenSource Development and Support
!