Computer batteries

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Posted by w0ep on March 9, 2020 at 6:18 am

[Tuesday: 4.0 miles in the evening (outdoors!); Saturday: 5 miles]

My wife is a vigorous computer user. We’ve supported her work with a series of laptop computers starting with a Lenovo, then a Dell and now an HP.

I looked at her old Dell with the idea of putting Linux on it and maybe replacing my even older Dell which I use for radio station programming. I installed Ubuntu Linux. But the thing just was acting flaky in various ways. The most annoying thing was that it would act fine for maybe 10 minutes, then the display would fritz out into a pattern of colored blocks. It was a nice machine in its day: a compact form laptop i7 with an internal SSD drive. I bought a new battery for it off of Amazon. But when the new battery came it didn’t seem to make any difference.

Eventually I did some googling to see what could be the problem and I found a post that give me some hope. They pointed the finger at an internal lithium coin-cell battery that eventually goes bad.

I also found the dell technical manual that told how to take the thing apart. So in I went. I dug down into it and found the battery. My volt meter showed it still above 3 volts. I put things back together.. still bad. I decided to replace the battery anyway. So I dug into it again and got that accomplished. I actually had a package of new 2032 lithium batteries in the battery drawer.

After a bit of BIOS resetting, it actually helped. Now the thing charges and runs and actually is a pretty nice computer. I’m not a good laptop doctor, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

At this same time, I’ve been getting warning messages from my Dell desktop that it’s internal battery was bad. So yesterday I got that one swapped out as well. And I did a dust-bunny-ectomy on that machine.

So I’ve done the lithium-coin-cell exchange on two Dell machines in the last week and both survived and are doing well.

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2 Comments

  • On March 10, 2020 at 6:50 am Sue said

    I’m so proud of my three brothers who know “things” and how they work.

    My repair speed is slow, as in yesterday I replaced the igniter on the oven. Very uncomplicated, but I enjoyed getting it done and having a working machine afterward. 🙂

  • On March 16, 2020 at 9:08 pm Jonathan Howard said

    Kudos! I think this fix-it-ness comes from living in an era when things _could_ be fixed (vs. just throw away) and money was tighter than time to DIY. Also the family culture – Clyde repairing everything vs. having it done. Having grandparents who lived through the Great Depression imparted a sensibility of keep it running as long as you can.

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