For people who work or spend most of their time online, having our laptops on and working is of utmost importance. One big advantage of having a laptop instead of a PC is it doesn’t shut down when there’s a blackout or when power outlets are not readily available. That is why we always ensure that our laptop batteries are fully charged.
We can use a laptop like Dell XPS 15 to watch movies in 4K or work heavily for hours without worrying about a sudden shutdown, but we will need to replace the battery at some point.
Two common ways to tell it’s time to change the battery is if you notice your battery’s power not lasting as long as it used to, or the battery meter can only charge up to a fraction of its full capacity.
Did you know there are other signs as well? It’s easy to dismiss these as normal everyday occurrences, or small issues, but they’re actually red flags, indicating your battery should be replaced.
How to Tell Your Laptop Battery is Not Working
Over time, you’ll notice your laptop battery degrading. You find that it charges slightly less every time you charge it. Here are some telltale signs that you need to shop for a new one.
It is usual for a laptop to have an increase in temperature when the battery is running. However, your laptop contains fans and heat sinks to reduce the excess heat.
Once your batteries start dying, your computer struggles to function and produces a lot of heat, which the fans can’t handle. This results in your laptop becoming hotter than usual, even with your regular level of usage.
As your laptop’s fans struggle to cool down, you may notice a loud fan noise. You may also feel some heat by touching the bottom of your laptop gently.
Normally, it should feel warm. If you notice it is running hotter than usual, it is a sign that your battery is faulty.
Failing to Charge
If your battery consistently fails to charge, it could be a sign that you need to get a new one. However, there could be other reasons for this happening. Before putting the final blame on your battery, you should do the following first to confirm whether the problem really is the battery:
- Check if your UPS or surge protector is faulty. You can plug in directly to eliminate the possibility of UPS failure.
- Remove the battery, and wipe it with a dry cloth. Then place it back inside. If it continues to have charging issues, then it’s highly likely that the battery needs to be replaced.
Though the average lifespan of batteries differs depending on the manufacturer, most laptop batteries’ lifespan lasts for two to three years. A fully charged battery lasts for one to ten hours, depending on how it is used.
Check with your manufacturer on how long your laptop is estimated to function on a single charge. You should also read and watch reviews online to know whether this matches real-world usage.
Having several software applications open or running in the background will affect your battery’s capacity considerably. You can easily correct this by manually choosing what programs should run in the background, or closing any programs you don’t need.
Sometimes, the battery fails for no apparent reason. You wake up and find the laptop won’t start. A defective battery may be one of the reasons for boot-up issues. This doesn’t mean your laptop is no longer usable. You can still work without the battery, and leave the laptop charging.
Try removing the battery, and using the laptop while keeping it plugged in. If it works just fine, then your battery could be the issue. However, not all laptop batteries can be removed so do a little research, or ask your manufacturer.
Keep in mind that opening up your laptop, especially by yourself, can be a cause for invalidating the warranty. Consider the aid of a professional before deciding to do it on your own.
Battery Diagnostic Errors
Batteries are expensive to replace, so it’s not a decision to take lightly. Diagnostic tests can easily help, which you can run yourself, without having to worry about the warranty.
Oftentimes, laptops come ready with software that runs these diagnostic tests, pre-installed by the manufacturer. You can also use the Windows Battery Report via the command prompt to check your laptop’s battery health status.
What to Do if Your Laptop Battery is Not Functioning
If you don’t want to replace a battery, you can opt for this method. It’s not a quick fix but it does help you avoid the hefty and unexpected cost of a new laptop battery. Simply prepare the materials needed, and follow the directions.
The Freezing Method
This is a simple step-by-step DIY solution you can follow at home. Ensure you have a clean Ziploc, and sufficient room in your freezer to fit your laptop battery. Check if there are any visible cracks, or acid leaking before deciding to use this method. Then you’re all set to begin.
- Prepare the plastic bag. Ideally, it should be a Ziploc to ensure moisture doesn’t enter.
- Place the battery in the plastic and seal it properly.
- Leave the bag in your freezer for 12 to 24 hours.
- Take out the battery and remove the plastic bag.
- Wrap it in a towel, in case there’s any moisture.
- Place it an area at room temperature, and leave it until it’s no longer cold.
- Put the battery back in the laptop, and charge it until it’s full.
- Then, unplug the power and allow the battery to drain again.
Repeat this process several times. It’s recommended to try at least four times. If your battery still fails to work, then it should be replaced.
Cool Your Laptop
If your laptop runs on lithium ion-based batteries, you can extend its life by ensuring that your laptop stays cool while in use. You can do this by working in a cool environment or purchasing an external laptop cooler. Some laptop mounts come with this built-in. Allowing your laptop to run can shorten the lifespan of your battery.
Recalibrate Your Battery
Battery recalibration is done when the operating system cannot calculate how much capacity is left in the battery. If your battery dies than indicated, or if it never charges to 100%, then your battery needs recalibration.
- Charge your battery to the maximum and leave it for 2 hours to cool down.
- Let the power drain while unplugged.
- Shut down your laptop, and avoid using it for 3 to 5 hours.
- Turn it back on and let it charge to 100%.
While all these methods would help give you an idea as to the state of your laptop battery, it can still be hard to tell if there are other underlying issues that are causing the problems.
If your laptop is still under warranty, take it to a licensed professional to have it checked. The warranty doesn’t just cover the services, from inspection to repairs, but may also entitle you to a free battery replacement.