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Dell Inspiron 8100 battery not charging

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by CG22, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. CG22

    CG22 Guest

    Hi,
    my laptop is about 3 years old. For a time now, I can't work with it on
    battery (just with AC power), cause the computer doesn't see it's
    charged (battery manufactur is SANYO) or the battery is dead.
    The battery light is blinking 3 times red and one time green and on the
    power meter (small icon on the bottom of the desktop) the status is
    charging all the time, but still it's allways on 0%.

    My question is how do i know if i need to buy a new battery or it's
    some other problem (like the computer doesn't see it's charged)? Any
    test I can do to test the battery load or battery charge?
     
    CG22, Dec 11, 2006
    #1
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  2. CG22

    mike Guest

    This appears to be a common problem.
    Google "smart battery workshop"
    That will lead you to a zillion hits on the problem, but not much on the
    solution.
    This whole issue is shrouded in mystery, cause the vendors don't want
    you messing with their cash cow, the battery replacement business.
    The SBW guys have reverse engineered a bunch of stuff and offer SBW
    as a free download. You have to build a small interface to read your
    battery. They keep changing their policies, but last I looked, they'd
    take the readout and "fix" the battery data file and send you the file
    for $15.
    It's not clear, but it looks like you have to go soldering on the chips
    inside the battery to input the new data. For $80 or so, they'll unlock
    the program so it can reprogram anything they support, but the program
    is hopelessly locked to one computer. While there's been much
    discussion, I haven't seen any responses from anyone who has actually
    used the service or bought the program. I also did some serious looking
    for a crack without success. The published information is very
    sparse...they want your $80 first. It's clearly not worth $80
    to "maybe" fix the one battery most of us have.

    There's also the issue that the program only resets the battery data.
    It doesn't fix the bad cells. It doesn't prevent the battery sw from
    turning itself off again. You may reset the chip and still have a
    3-year-old battery that sux.

    I built the interface and read out some batteries from a Dell Latitude.
    You get lots of data, but the interesting part is the data that tells
    the lapotp how much charging voltage and current to supply.
    here's that part from a battery that flashes like yours:

    ChargingCurrent: 0 mA
    ChargingVoltage: 0 mV

    This is the same data for a good battery:

    ChargingCurrent: 2000 mA
    ChargingVoltage: 16800 mV

    Looks like the battery is telling the laptop that it can't be charged.
    I've got enough data from 5 batteries that I think I can reverse
    engineer it and reprogram the chip. This data is documented in the
    battery specification. Problem is that there's also another bunch of
    "vendor specific" "undocumented data" inside the battery.
    I'm not finding any interesting correlation in the data from multiple
    batteries in this part of the data.

    It's be suggested that this is a deliberate attempt to cause the battery
    to fail after some number of cycles. My info on the cycle count data
    doesn't support this.

    More likely, the battery was overcharged, overheated, undercharged...or
    something else bad and the battery permanently shut itself down to
    protect the vendor from liability.
    Of course, they care a LOT more
    about their liability than your battery costs.
    If you're buying a $2000 laptop, a $150 replacement battery is no big
    deal. For those of us who use $1 laptops, replacement cost is an issue.

    Another interesting thing I've seen with several dell batteries is that
    ALL the cells are open circuit. Only way I can think that happened is
    if there was serious overcharge that got it hot enough to pop ALL the
    internal pressure switches on the same cycle.

    There are also differences in the way the laptop reacts to the battery.
    My flashing battery would not even run a C600, but it just complains and
    works fine in a much older CPi.

    I kinda lost interest when I sold off my extra dell laptops.
    I've swtiched to a similar issue on a compaq laptop. I'm chasing my
    tail on the bad laptop vs bad battery question as we speak.

    I would be interested in hearing from someone who used the SBW service
    or bought the program.

    Bottom line is that it's possible that your laptop is busted, but I'd
    vote for the bad battery. Borrowing a battery is the quickest way to
    tell. Unless you're a serious hardware jock with experience
    soldering surface mount parts with the power on, I'd not try to fix
    the battery.

    Ask me to tell you how I managed to get a test wire jammed in the only
    damn place in the world where it could short. Couldn't have done that
    on purpose with four hands. Fortunately, the wire was the only thing
    that caught fire.

    mike
     
    mike, Dec 11, 2006
    #2
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  3. CG22

    CG22 Guest

    Thanks for the detailed explanation.
    I'm not an expert on laptops, my laptop is about 3-4 years old and
    several days ago I had to replace it a hard disk and one of its
    memories (128x2 MB), that suddenly stopped working. So, the battery has
    suddenly become less important issue. Though, it still very anoying,
    "charging 0%".

    I was offered to buy a new battery or to recharge the old one, for half
    price of the new one, but I'm not sure I want to invest more in this
    laptop.
    Any suggestions: new or recharge?
     
    CG22, Dec 13, 2006
    #3
  4. CG22

    CG22 Guest

    Thanks for the detailed explanation.
    I'm not an expert on laptops, my laptop is about 3-4 years old and
    several days ago I had to replace it a hard disk and one of its
    memories (128x2 MB), that suddenly stopped working. So, the battery has
    suddenly become less important issue. Though, it still very anoying,
    "charging 0%".

    I was offered to buy a new battery or to recharge the old one, for half
    price of the new one, but I'm not sure I want to invest more in this
    laptop.
    Any suggestions: new or recharge?
     
    CG22, Dec 13, 2006
    #4
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