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Old 17th May 2013, 01:15 PM   #1
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Default Laptop batteries?

Hi chaps,

I'm looking for some advice on buying laptop batteries.

My laptop's a Dell N5010. I've had it for about 9 months, and the battery life has been uniformly terrible. I suspect this is because its a fairly powerful machine: dedicated graphics, i3 processor, 8gb of RAM, etc etc. Anyway, I can (if I really try) get the battery life down to half an hour, or up to about two hours if I'm watching a film with the screen brightness right down, and all the power saving measures available in use. Internet browsing and things like that get me around 1% = 1 minute, even with the power saving options via Win7 engaged.

For a new-ish laptop, this is below par.

Currently I use it only as a desktop machine, as the limited battery life means its not much use taking it anywhere, as it'll be dead in a couple of hours anyway.

This brings me on to my search for more battery capacity.

I haven't got a problem with carrying a second (or third) battery around with me, but of course that involves choosing which replacement batteries to buy in the first place.

I've had a look on eBay and there's an awful lot of batteries to choose from.

There's some Dell batteries, coming in around 40 for another one of what I have. This would double my battery life, which is quite nice.
However, there are other batteries available for much lower prices, or a similar price but considerably more capacity (usually 6.6Ah, up from 4.4).

So, has anyone else tried these unofficial replacement batteries?

Would appreciate some guidance through the pitfalls here.

TIA

Chris
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Old 17th May 2013, 02:22 PM   #2
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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When I needed a new battery for my Dell I found three price ranges: Dell (most expensive), compatibles (middle price) and cheapies (bottom price). I seem to recall they were around 70, 40-50 and 20-25 (but it was a while ago). I decided that I didn't want to pay 30 extra for a Dell badge, as their batteries will be made in the same way in the same factory as the mid-price alternatives. I didn't want to pay 20 to someone in China for what could be rubbish - they have a reputation for making bad cells.

So I bought a mid-price (Chinese) battery from a UK stockist. So far it seems to work fine. Look for someone with a UK address and a land-line phone number - note that some ebay sellers claim to be in the UK but their business address is in Hong Kong (usually those who proclaim most loudly that they are a UK supplier). I also look for bad English in the advert, and then avoid them!
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Old 18th May 2013, 05:38 PM   #3
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my ex notebook's (now demised) battery died after ~9 months of reckless usage. it was bought new, mind you. I went to some local shops and inquired about price. an identical (2800 mAh) battery used to cost the rough equivalent of EUR 50. since it was an entry-level laptop (that's all I buy when it comes to computers) I said no thanks.
then I went to ebay and ran a search, ordered by price and bought the cheapest 4400 mAh battery from China (or was it HK?), at half the price, including P&P. each charge lasted at least 50% more and after more than a year of usage when I killed the poor thing it was working as new.
the battery of my current notebook is dying and I'll do the same thing.

I'm sure many people will tell you "always buy original" but my guess is that they lack first-hand experience. don't throw you money down the toiled, sponsor communist countries LOL (which you're doing anyways even w/o realizing it)
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Last edited by mr_push_pull; 18th May 2013 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 18th May 2013, 06:32 PM   #4
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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I use a Dell Vostro 3750 (core i5) and can get around 5 hours web browsing, office processing etc. Never use it for films and stuff.

Its worth looking at what processes you have running in the background. Some security packages can be a huge drain (which equates to heat and power). Have a look in task manager and see what's running and see what the processor is doing. I've got three tabs open as I type this and processor is hovering around 2% mark. The fan never runs on anything like this.
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Old 18th May 2013, 06:42 PM   #5
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Thanks chaps, this is exactly what I was after.


Now my only dilema is whether I get a battery or two for this laptop, or consider replacing the laptop entirely.
The reason is heat problems. Even on a 3-fan cooling stand, I've had this laptop overheat and force an immediate shutdown.
So, no prizes for guessing where all the juice in the battery is going.

As you can imagine, if I can overheat it (wasn't gaming or anything, but it had been running a 9000 track sync via iTunes, including compressing all the files) on a cooling stand, using it on my knee/bed/sofa is out of the question: the former is simply uncomfortable, and either of the others causes the keyboard to heat up at an alarming rate, so I can only imagine what the CPU itself is going through.

Decisions...
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Old 18th May 2013, 07:00 PM   #6
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that's interesting. I tested my mine with Prime95, it never shuts down even w/o a stand/cooler. I've always thought it's running too hot, which is pretty much known to happen with HPs. but a 3-fan Cooler Master laptop stand helped A LOT.
unfortunately, it's still a problem when watching movies while laying in the bed, it's a nightmare during summer.
in the future, one of the points on my shopping decision points will be heating. and if you tend to hold it in your lap (why do they call it a laptop? hmm), it's bad for your you-know-what.
if you decide to keep it, go for China/HK, you won't regret it, better quality for less money, what do you want more?
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Old 18th May 2013, 07:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooly View Post
I use a Dell Vostro 3750 (core i5) and can get around 5 hours web browsing, office processing etc. Never use it for films and stuff.

Its worth looking at what processes you have running in the background. Some security packages can be a huge drain (which equates to heat and power). Have a look in task manager and see what's running and see what the processor is doing. I've got three tabs open as I type this and processor is hovering around 2% mark. The fan never runs on anything like this.
I'm on Microsoft Security Essentials. Some of my friends have the same and haven't reported any problems there.

I've 3 tabs open, hovering around 5%.

I think my processor is an early version of the iX range, as I'm told some of the later ones run much cooler.

Chris
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Old 18th May 2013, 07:21 PM   #8
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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I use security essentials too. Maybe its just the tasks you use it for although even two hours running doesn't sound good for a modern laptop.
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Old 19th May 2013, 11:22 AM   #9
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Online browsing: Facebook, diyaudio, stuff like that: I did a quick check last night and it reported about 1% per minute, playing music via iTunes while replying to a couple of threads on this very forum.

I've friends that can comfortably get over 4 hours out of theirs, even installing programs etc.

I've found a bigger capacity battery, but its rated at 10.8v, whereas my current one is 11.1v. I know 0.3v isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but I don't know how sensitive laptops are to these things.
Thoughts?

I think I'll look at new laptops over Summer, or maybe next year once this year's models are replaced.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 19th May 2013, 11:56 AM   #10
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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The PSU (s) within a laptop are SMPS so the lower a battery (or supply) voltage is, then the more current is drawn.

Example, 50 watts consumed @ 10 volts supply needs 5 amps (if we go for 100% efficiency) so 50 watts @ 9 volts needs 5.55 amps. If that were a battery and you fitted (say) an 11 volt, then the consumption comes down to 4.54 amps.

Your 0.3 volts difference isn't much tbh
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