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Dead Laptop Battery? Save It!

Laptop Battery - these devices have a shelf life, and it begins at the first charge but there is a way to extend that time...

I used two batteries from two different notebooks to tested this theory.

The first one is very old, made in 1997 from an IBM T-23, it would charge up in about fifteen minutes and discharge in ten.

The second one is fairly new from an older IBM T-30 it would charge up in about an hour and a half and discharge at a little over two hours.

First step is to put them in the freezer for twelve to fourteen hours (basically over night) then charge and discharge them four or five times.

My tests:

IBM T-23:

  • 1st charge took 1 hour 25 minutes, discharge 1 hour 5 minutes
  • 2nd charge took 1 hour 50 minutes, discharge 1 hour 45 minutes
  • 3rd charge took 1 hour 05 minutes, discharge 45 minutes
  • 4th charge took 1 hour 20 minutes, discharge 1 hour 17 minutes

With the last charge I left it in the laptop for 3 days and repeated the discharge/charge test:

Discharge took 1 hour 20 minutes, charge 1 hour 17 minutes, final discharge 1 hour 17 minutes.

IBM T-30:

  • 1st charge took 1 hour 02 minutes, discharge 1 hour 0 minutes
  • 2nd charge took 1 hour 15 minutes, discharge 37  minutes
  • 3rd charge took 1 hour 05 minutes, discharge 45 minutes
  • 4th charge took 1 hour 03 minutes, discharge  44 minutes

Note: The T-30 is my firewall/proxy server now and was in a mini-docking station and draws more power than indicated, the discharge time would be closer to 1 hour 45 minutes.

A while back PCMech had an article on "how to revive a dead laptop battery". (Read the article if you want to try to revive it).

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What does this 'freezing' the battery do?

By freezing  it removes the built up memory by charging a laptop battery for a short time then using the battery. Over time this build up of memory of where the last charge started shortens the discharge time. An older battery also has the chemicals in it depleted with out doing any physical testing of the chemicals (not knowing the original amounts of each individual chemical - manufacture proprietary information) it is unknown if the freezing causes the chemical compounds to revert back to their original state.

The T-23 battery would vary in the charge and discharge time so this would suggest that the chemicals are not reverting back to their original state.

The T-30 battery was consistent with a brand new one in that if fully charged it would last from 1.5 to 2 hours (also note this laptop has been upgraded with a faster processor, more memory, and that is somewhat offset by having a 32 GB SSD [which draws less power] ).

Because the T-30 is my firewall/proxy server I can't be bouncing it willy-nilly to do these test so the next series of batteries will be T-23 batteries (six or so of them) some of them are so dead they will not charge, this will be a very good test.

Here is a page where I used a program to find out how much life was left in some batteries I tested: Laptop battery tests

I have one more test and that is on my cell phone battery. I have two batteries both of the same age but one was not used as much as the original one. The original will last approximately two days, the second battery will last approximately four days.

This will work on a Cell Phone battery as well, the old one would die in a day before freezing, after the third recharge it has lasted over four days and that is with use. It is now on it's forth recharge.


Use care when buy replacement for your notebook, read any reviews you can find about the manufacture and the part number you are considering. Not all replacements are created equal, I had two expensive replacements (both bought at the same time) fail after a year - a month or two out of warrantee...

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You keyboard isn't thirsty, and it doesn't need calcium. Milk and other liquids will ruin a keyaboard!

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If you have an older laptop battery save it, it may still have some life left!

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