Author Topic: Odd laptop battery issue  (Read 6509 times)

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Offline dominicM

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Odd laptop battery issue
« on: May 27, 2017, 04:37:35 pm »
I am having a bit of an odd issue with a laptop battery. The old battery was not charging so I ordered a new one but that won't charge either. Unlike the old one the new one does show up as 96% but not charging. If I measure the voltage I see around 12V so the battery seems fine. I did have to "activate" it by shorting one of the pins to ground but that's normal. When connected to the motherboard the voltage is 2.7V which is odd and explains why the laptop doesn't work off battery power. Now if I short the pin to ground as before it starts charging and works with AC disconnected.  The laptop was damaged by a fall but only corner/screen was damaged with the motherboard being in the center so that shouldn't have damaged it. I haven's seen an issue like this before, what could be causing this? Would it be a bad idea to just solder the pin to ground permanently as a fix?
 

Offline Lorenzo_1

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2017, 12:16:34 am »
I wouldn't rule a dodgy battery. I recently replaced a Toshiba laptop battery with an OEM one sourced from China as Australian suppliers had no Toshiba labelled items available.  It appears to lack proper charge control systems as when it runs low the laptop can't detect low voltage and simply shuts down uncontrolled.  Not good!  Diagnostics report poor battery health despite being brand new. And the battery 'manual'  says not to allow it to discharge to 0% or it will be damaged - yet it should have a control circuit to prevent excessive discharge. Got my money ($90) back eventually and now waiting for genuine item to arrive ($230!!!). Will strip the dud one down and try to work out what missing/faulty when it turns up. Definitely no problems with laptop as works fine with old genuine battery and shuts down gracefully.
 

Offline wasyoungonce

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2017, 12:31:28 am »
You more than likely damaged the pwr in part of the motherboard. Most modern laptops use lead free solder and this is prone to mechanical cracking.  You need to look at the motherboard under some magnifier and inspect around the pwr in and battery pwr in areas.

Can you explain "short one of the pins to ground" means?  Maybe a link or image. I've never had to activate a battery by shorting a pin.
I'd forget my Head if it wasn't screwed on!
 

Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2017, 11:26:20 am »
I wouldn't rule a dodgy battery. I recently replaced a Toshiba laptop battery with an OEM one sourced from China as Australian suppliers had no Toshiba labelled items available.  It appears to lack proper charge control systems as when it runs low the laptop can't detect low voltage and simply shuts down uncontrolled.  Not good!  Diagnostics report poor battery health despite being brand new. And the battery 'manual'  says not to allow it to discharge to 0% or it will be damaged - yet it should have a control circuit to prevent excessive discharge. Got my money ($90) back eventually and now waiting for genuine item to arrive ($230!!!). Will strip the dud one down and try to work out what missing/faulty when it turns up. Definitely no problems with laptop as works fine with old genuine battery and shuts down gracefully.

That's an extremely expensive battery pack if you ask me, mine only cost 20€  :) I don't think it's the battery as it's detected fine and shows 96% charge. Will have to solder that pin I mentioned to see it it actually charges/discharges properly over longer time periods.
 

Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2017, 11:30:20 am »
You more than likely damaged the pwr in part of the motherboard. Most modern laptops use lead free solder and this is prone to mechanical cracking.  You need to look at the motherboard under some magnifier and inspect around the pwr in and battery pwr in areas.

Can you explain "short one of the pins to ground" means?  Maybe a link or image. I've never had to activate a battery by shorting a pin.

Smart batteries sometimes have a mechanism that disables the power pins by default, It's like an on/off switch. Sometimes it even requires a digital code over i2c to work but thankfully that's not common. Shorting the correct pin to ground activates it, so it is certainly possible that it's an issue with solder joints, will have a look.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2017, 12:21:16 pm »
Sounds like you got an old battery with reprogrammed controller (to make it "new") from China. Which actually is norm of what you will usually receive rather than exception.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2017, 12:24:36 pm »
You more than likely damaged the pwr in part of the motherboard. Most modern laptops use lead free solder and this is prone to mechanical cracking.
Modern BS. Solder joints only rarely cause issues. Even for BGA GPUs, where that BS myth originates from.
 

Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2017, 12:30:29 pm »
Sounds like you got an old battery with reprogrammed controller (to make it "new") from China. Which actually is norm of what you will usually receive rather than exception.

It's possible but it should still work, I mean if it didn't then people would just return all of them for refunds. Any way to tell? Capacity and other stats reported seems right.

How would you explain the the "activation" pin not getting shorted to ground by the laptop? It works if I manually short so to me that indicates issue is on the laptop side.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 12:32:45 pm by dominicM »
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2017, 12:42:28 pm »
It's possible but it should still work, I mean if it didn't then people would just return all of them for refunds.
They usually somewhat last for a few months, although with reduced capacity. Often there are weird charging issues, like it won't charge past, say, 80%. Buyer figures that it was crap when it's too late to claim for refund on ebay and not that many know about 6 months paypal protection. Or if bought on aliexpress there are just a few weeks once you mark as received.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 12:47:45 pm by wraper »
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2017, 12:46:03 pm »
How would you explain the the "activation" pin not getting shorted to ground by the laptop? It works if I manually short so to me that indicates issue is on the laptop side.
Probably laptop sees something wrong in the data received from the battery controller and disables it.
 

Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2017, 12:58:34 pm »
How would you explain the the "activation" pin not getting shorted to ground by the laptop? It works if I manually short so to me that indicates issue is on the laptop side.
Probably laptop sees something wrong in the data received from the battery controller and disables it.

So if that's the case how would you deal with it? How can one prove it's defective?

I believe I have another working battery with same connector/voltage, any danger in connecting it to test if it works?
 

Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2017, 01:03:17 pm »
It's possible but it should still work, I mean if it didn't then people would just return all of them for refunds.
They usually somewhat last for a few months, although with reduced capacity. Often there are weird charging issues, like it won't charge past, say, 80%. Buyer figures that it was crap when it's too late to claim for refund on ebay and not that many know about 6 months paypal protection. Or if bought on aliexpress there are just a few weeks once you mark as received.

I can certainly believe that but In this case it doesn't work at all so if they are all like this then it wouldn't work as a business model for long.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2017, 01:16:53 pm »
Some of them don't work from the beginning, not something exceptional either.
EDIT: you paid only EUR 20 for battery, what do you expect? Receiving good quality product? For this price the only thing you can receive is recycled crap.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 01:22:16 pm by wraper »
 

Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2017, 01:34:59 pm »
Some of them don't work from the beginning, not something exceptional either.
EDIT: you paid only EUR 20 for battery, what do you expect? Receiving good quality product? For this price the only thing you can receive is recycled crap.

I expect to get what was sold nothing more nothing less. At the very least it should work even if at reduced capacity etc... There are also no real alternatives, they are all relatively cheap and not sold by manufacturer. Manufacturers don't generally want you to repair stuff.

Thinking about it I really doubt most cheap batteries sold are fake/old like you suggested. They look brand new with zero wear and many batteries can't be taken apart without damage. Maybe cells are not new but that it doesn't really matter if it has similar capacity. I don't see why a battery should cost that much more than 20€, there is very little inside. The cells are the only major cost, I don't expect the cells to be samsung or other good brand but that would not cause issues like these.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 01:51:17 pm by dominicM »
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2017, 02:23:35 pm »
Thinking about it I really doubt most cheap batteries sold are fake/old like you suggested.
Out of like 4 times I gave it a shot, never received even a half decent one.
 

Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2017, 02:42:55 pm »
Thinking about it I really doubt most cheap batteries sold are fake/old like you suggested.
Out of like 4 times I gave it a shot, never received even a half decent one.

Do you recall what were the issues you had? Maybe you have links to some of those? Would be interesting to see if it's the same type/seller/description etc, perhaps we're talking about significantly different things.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2017, 02:50:00 pm »
Thinking about it I really doubt most cheap batteries sold are fake/old like you suggested.
Out of like 4 times I gave it a shot, never received even a half decent one.

Do you recall what were the issues you had? Maybe you have links to some of those? Would be interesting to see if it's the same type/seller/description etc, perhaps we're talking about significantly different things.
As I said, all had reprogrammed controllers. When I checked with utility, there was some weird stuff. One did not charge past like 30%. Another reported 100 times inflated capacity and stopped charging after 1 charge. 3rd Just did not hold charge although controller reported it as new, etc...
 

Offline amyk

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2017, 03:42:35 pm »
There are utilities which can read/write the configuration data, depending on the controller you have (probably need to disassemble the battery to find out.)

Search "smart battery specification" for more details.
 

Offline Lorenzo_1

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2017, 04:51:00 pm »
Re selling dodgy batteries, I think their business model might work OK.  When I complained to the Chinese supplier they didn't reply. PayPal gives a limited window to lodge a dispute so many might miss that. 1st vendor offer to PayPal was partial refund on my shipping the battery back. New air freight rules meant that no carrier I contacted will now ship detached Li batteries by air (despite them arriving regularly inbound - go figure!).  Sent doco in re that and was told I could use sea- freight so no refund. Cost for sea shipment about $300 quoted. Lodged a request to reconsider. Finally vendor failed to respond and PayPal refunded. But for the fact I was rather cranky about the whole thing I would have given up. Not worth the $90! The vendors can just play a percentage game.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2017, 05:34:58 pm »
There are utilities which can read/write the configuration data, depending on the controller you have (probably need to disassemble the battery to find out.)

Search "smart battery specification" for more details.
You cannot write any remotely recent controller without paying through the nose for an app. All what is free/cracked works only with very old stuff. In any case, this is useless as battery is used crap or used elements repacked into a new enclosure and reprogramming would not make it a good battery.
 

Offline Rasz

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2017, 05:57:10 pm »
Thinking about it I really doubt most cheap batteries sold are fake/old like you suggested. They look brand new with zero wear and many batteries can't be taken apart without damage. Maybe cells are not new but that it doesn't really matter if it has similar capacity. I don't see why a battery should cost that much more than 20€, there is very little inside. The cells are the only major cost, I don't expect the cells to be samsung or other good brand but that would not cause issues like these.

they are build to last > 2 weeks, anything beyond that is a bonus.
You will get better luck with cheap replacement batteries sold by local brands in actual brick and mortar shop. In my country they are usually supplied and branded by same companies that recycle toner/ink cartridges.

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Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2017, 06:39:48 pm »
Re selling dodgy batteries, I think their business model might work OK.  When I complained to the Chinese supplier they didn't reply. PayPal gives a limited window to lodge a dispute so many might miss that. 1st vendor offer to PayPal was partial refund on my shipping the battery back. New air freight rules meant that no carrier I contacted will now ship detached Li batteries by air (despite them arriving regularly inbound - go figure!).  Sent doco in re that and was told I could use sea- freight so no refund. Cost for sea shipment about $300 quoted. Lodged a request to reconsider. Finally vendor failed to respond and PayPal refunded. But for the fact I was rather cranky about the whole thing I would have given up. Not worth the $90! The vendors can just play a percentage game.

I think it depends on where it is being sold. AliExpress yeah it will work, ebay not so much as negative feedback alone will shut the seller down and then there's paypal disputes etc... I bought 10 or so batteries so far with no issues so not sure what the story is.
 

Offline janoc

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2017, 06:41:43 pm »
You more than likely damaged the pwr in part of the motherboard. Most modern laptops use lead free solder and this is prone to mechanical cracking.
Modern BS. Solder joints only rarely cause issues. Even for BGA GPUs, where that BS myth originates from.

Did you miss the part about the laptop having been dropped? Depending on what it landed and how, parts could literally have been sheared off the board. Or solder joints cracked. Sometimes all it takes is one SMD resistor to get knocked off on one side and and nothing works - like an I2C pull-up for the battery management.

So while I agree with you in general, in this case, when the machine has suffered a mechanical shock, a cracked solder joint is a very real possibility. Of course, that doesn't mean taking out a heat gun but carefully inspecting the board and checking the charging circuitry.
 

Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2017, 06:45:41 pm »
Thinking about it I really doubt most cheap batteries sold are fake/old like you suggested. They look brand new with zero wear and many batteries can't be taken apart without damage. Maybe cells are not new but that it doesn't really matter if it has similar capacity. I don't see why a battery should cost that much more than 20€, there is very little inside. The cells are the only major cost, I don't expect the cells to be samsung or other good brand but that would not cause issues like these.

they are build to last > 2 weeks, anything beyond that is a bonus.
You will get better luck with cheap replacement batteries sold by local brands in actual brick and mortar shop. In my country they are usually supplied and branded by same companies that recycle toner/ink cartridges.

Not sure where you are located but there is zero chance to get batteries for a specific laptop in a local store and if you're lucky it will cost a lot more. Haven't had a replacement battery from ebay, no matter how cheap not work on arrival or fail soon after, not sure how they fare long term yet though. I mean the cells are relatively cheap too from china so why would batteries have to be so much more expensive to be decent? I know cheap cells have downsides but they do work.
 

Offline dominicM

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Re: Odd laptop battery issue
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2017, 06:52:03 pm »
There are utilities which can read/write the configuration data, depending on the controller you have (probably need to disassemble the battery to find out.)

Search "smart battery specification" for more details.
You cannot write any remotely recent controller without paying through the nose for an app. All what is free/cracked works only with very old stuff. In any case, this is useless as battery is used crap or used elements repacked into a new enclosure and reprogramming would not make it a good battery.

I think the point of using these apps would be to troubleshoot not to fix. Like I mentioned before I doubt that it is the battery at fault, in fact the old battery that I scrapped for the cells might have been fine too. So far there is nothing wrong with the battery itself, it's 96% charged, correct voltage, correct data reported etc... Only issue is that is is not being charged without manually shorting pins, logically is much more likely to be an issue with the laptop.
 


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