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Dell laptop battery FAQ

Q: How long is the life of Dell laptop battery? What time should I be looking for changing it?
A: Every rechargeable battery phases out over a period of time. With time and its subsequent use, the effectiveness decreases. A general user will feel the fall in run time after 18 to 24 months. In case of a power user, the run time reduction can be felt in 18 months. Buy a new Dell laptop battery when you don't meet your needs.

Q: There are two kinds of accumulators which differ in Watt hours. How can both be differentiated?
A: Higher Watt hours (Whr) give longer battery run time. When you compare both batteries, while running the same applications, the 53Whr battery gives around 65% more run time compared to the 32Whr battery.

Q: How long can I use my Dell laptop on a fully charged battery?
A: The time of using laptop is affected by many other factors before they are charged. They include the configuration (processor, memory, etc.), types of run applications and display brightness.
Industry standard benchmark is used by Dell for run time claims of batteries. For more info on the issue you can go through the white paper - 'Understanding Battery Life in Portable Computers'.

Q: How is Dell laptop battery charged?
A: The battery can be charged by connecting the laptop to an AC power source through the adapter.

Q: How long does it take for a Dell laptop battery to fully recharge?
A: The charge time varies depending on the system. If the system supports Express Charge TM, the battery typically will have greater than 80% charge after about an hour of charging, and fully charge in about 2 hours with the system off.

Q: Elaborate Express Charge TM
A: In an Express Charge TM, in about half an hour, more than 80% charge while full charge can be realized in about 2 hours with the system off.

Q: Can the Dell laptop battery work longer if I recharge it after its totally discharging?
A: No, discharging and charging does not longer the life of a Lithium Ion technology battery.

Q: Does a Dell laptop battery get 'overcharged'?
A: No, it doesn't. The battery automatically stops the use of charger when it is fully charged.

Q Do I use my battery charge if docked or AC adapter is plugged into a wall outlet?
A: No.

Q: Is there any external battery chargers produced by Dell?
A: Large institution of customers is provided with a Datamation battery charger. It contains 16 charge bays to charge batteries for Latitude D500/D505/D510/D520/D600/D610 laptop systems. You can get the product at Dell.com here:
Battery Chargers

Q: How difficult it is to install a battery?
A: It's a very simple process. First of all, save all the open files. AC adapter is directly attached to the laptop or set the system to 'hibernate' mode or shut off. After releasing the latch on the current battery, the replacement battery is installed easily.

Q: Is Dell laptops compatible with non-Dell batteries?
A: Dell has a meticulous qualification system, which authenticate all the Dell batteries for proper function, performance and safety. There are a few non-Dell batteries in the market which claim of compatibility with Dell systems. However, we can certify neither these claims nor the safety of using them in a Dell system. We strongly recommend our customers to use only Dell laptop batteries for their laptop model. There is one year warranty with Dell laptop batteries. They are manufactured keeping in mind maximum safety and performance for our systems. Our technical staff is always there for the warranty period.

Q: What stands for modular bay battery?
A: Dell provides a battery which is compatible with the optical drive media bay (DVD/CD drive bay) in some laptop systems. It increases the run time since it uses two batteries.

Q: Will the working modular bay battery (specially installed) and the working primary battery power the laptop simultaneously?
A: No, the modular bay battery is used first, and then the system automatically switches to the primary battery. This is a deliberate design to allow the most amount of run time to remain in the primary battery in case the modular bay battery is removed and replaced with an optical drive.

Q: What are the functions of LED lights on my battery?
A: LED indicator is available in most of the batteries. It informs user as to how much run time and overall battery life remains with the touch of a button. When you press the button, it will inform you about the charging status with the number of lights coming up. The more are the number of lights, the more charged your battery will be. Each light stands for 20% of the charging capacity of the battery.
You can also know the state of the battery by pressing and holding the status button on the battery charge gauge for at least 3 seconds. When you don't see any light, then the battery is in sound condition and more than 80% of the original charge capacity is still there. Each light that appears shows degrading of the capacity of the battery. If you see five lights, it indicates that less than 60 percent of the charge capacity is left, and you should mull over getting a new battery.

Q: How can I store the battery for a longer period?
A: You should follow these methods when you are going to store the battery for more than four days

  • Avoid keeping batteries plugged into or attached to any power source for a long time. These power sources include AC adapters and laptop security carts in an outlet.
  • The batteries which also include those stored in laptop systems should have Operational Storage Temperature of 0° to 35°C (32° to 95°F).
  • You should store batteries in the laptop or outside.
  • You should always charge batteries before you store them. It is recommended that the charging time should not be more than an hour. Generally, this allows batteries to be charged between 80% and 100%. (Some discharge will take place over a period of time. Stored batteries discharge around 10-15% over a period of four month.)

Q: Is carrying lithium-ion batteries on planes prohibited?
A: The Department of Transportation (DOT) has banned carrying loose lithium batteries in checked luggage through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). It came into effect from January 1, 2008. However, they can still be packed in carry-on baggage. Read more..