Category Archives: Power

Why coin cell batteries don’t always work

You may find that sometimes your mercury or coin-cell batteries won’t work in some devices but will in others. Odd.

Well the reason is that these batteries can look like sweets to children, who try to pop them in their mouths. So manufacturers may put ‘bitterant’ on, which has a disgusting taste to deter the batteries being eaten.

But some negative terminals are behind the bitterant layer if it is large.

So the answer is to check where the terminals are and scrape the coating off the battery in the right place.

Battery care

Batteries are an important part of our lives, whether in phones or laptops. The technology is evolving, as is best practice to maintain your batteries in their best health.

An early contender was NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) followed soon my NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride). NiCad couldn’t store much power for their size, in both NiCad and NiMH, the power drained away quite fast and had another big problem. This was that they could lose capacity quite easily, due to overcharging. When most laptops used NiMH batteries I recommended taking the battery out if using it mostly on the mains. Otherwise the battery gets ‘cooked’ and won’t hold charge. Then the battery tells the computer it doesn’t feel well and the computer won’t start unless the battery is removed.

NiMH is still used for conventional rechargeable batteries like AA

Battery technology has moved on and for devices built around rechargeable power (Phones, tablets and laptops) Lithium-ion is the current market-leader. This is more efficient for its size, retains charge longer and can be moulded around other components. This means that it is quite hard to remove the battery, but fortunately modern devices have circuitry to prevent the overcharging of batteries. Nevertheless there is still a downside, which is the number of full recharge cycles affects the capacity of the battery. So, unlike NiCad and NiMH, it is a bad idea to run Lithium Ion batteries right down. Recharging at 20% or so will prevent a full recharge cycle and preserve your battery for longer

The latest technology is Lithium Polymer, which is safer than other batteries. These batteries can also be made in much thinner sizes and also hold more power for their size, although they have a shorter life. Apple uses this type of battery quite extensively. These batteries tend to be in pouches rather than rigid container and the main downside is as they get to the end of their life, they tend to expand. I’ve seen a phone with the back pushed off and had a laptop which ‘blew’ the back off when I took the screws out.

Battery care for laptops

Giving your laptop battery as long a life as possible is important. Older laptops didn’t have an intelligent charging system so batteries get cooked by continual charging. They do allow the batteries to be taken out, however, so I recommend running on battery 25% of the time or take the battery out completely.

Newer computers have the battery sealed in so you can’t take it out. But the charging system is intelligent. I’d still suggest using the laptop on battery from time to time, but don’t let the charge get below 40%.

Make your battery last longer

Nearly all of us have smartphones, tablets or laptops. And the battery never seems to last long enough. So here are a few tips:

The battery only has so much power, so we need to use it wisely. The first thing is to turn off things you aren’t using such as wifi, GPS and bluetooth. If you do need to use them that’s OK, but even just having wifi on all the time can make your battery empty in half the time.

Try turning the screen brightness down a touch or using the auto setting to reduce the power used in lighting the screen

If your phone is always running out far from a charger, perhaps buy a power bank that will recharge your phone once or twice. Of course, you then have to remember to charge the power bank. Another option for the road-warrior is a USB plug and a lead. But make sure you get a plug that will charge the phone at at least 2amps. Many are much lower power and won’t add to the charge in the phone but just delay getting empty.

Those of you with Android devices can see what is using the most power through settings-device-battery. This also allows you to optimise for battery life. IOS users can do the same under settings-battery. Stop apps that are just using up your electricity.

To make the battery have a longer actual life, then don’t run it on the mains all the time. Continually charging the battery can halve it’s life span – just 18 months or so before it won’t hold a charge. For phones and tablets that’s fine – if you have a laptop, then take the battery out. It will still work on the mains and if you will need the battery just pop it back in and give it an hour or so charging.

Battery not charging

1. uninstall Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery under battery  in device manager
restart PC

2. shut down, remove AC adapter and Take battery out
replace AC, boot on mains and shutdown
remove AC, replace battery, replace AC and boot
check charging