laptop security

Extremely Cheap Laptop Batteries

Opportunity knocks; you've found some extremely cheap laptop batteries for sale. Great discovery, they're usually so expensive. These are so cheap it's probably worth getting two or three.

cheap batteries

How can anyone argue against a low price for a commodity item such as battery? Furthermore, we all know that whether it's computers, cars or household appliances the brands have a habit of gouging us when it comes to spare parts. Usually we have no alternative but to buy their over priced "genuine" spares.

Unfortunately, we have to tell you that extremely cheap laptop batteries may not be such a great deal. There are a number of important factors that may suggest they're best left on the shelf.

These bargains come in three categories:

Old stock

Hopefully you've discovered a real bargain all is well, but if these are extremely cheap laptop batteries it may be that they've been sitting in a crate for too long. A little known feature of Lithium-ion batteries is that they deteriorate from the date of manufacture, whether or not they've been charged. The rate at which they lose capacity depends on the temperature at which they have been stored. The higher the temperature the faster they lose capacity. At 0°C the loss is 6%, at 40°C it's 35%.

If a Lithium-ion battery is left unused for a period of two or more years it becomes incapable of holding a charge. It should be cheap, it's worthless.

There is also a lesson here in how to protect laptop batteries. Lithium-ion batteries must be used regularly. They must be charged early and often, and never allowed to become depleted.

Refurbished Laptop Batteries

Don't touch them! They're essentially worthless. It's impossible to know how much life they have left in them. It's very unlikely that they have been properly refurbished. Furthermore, they are probably a safety hazard. There are very few facilities outside of Japan able to accurately calibrate refurbished batteries. Refurbishing a Lithium-ion battery is a precision task, it's not economically viable unless done in large volumes and with precision technology.

Non-Genuine Spares

It's taken nearly 50 years of R&D to get Lithium-ion batteries to their current state of reliability and safety. They have a natural disposition to over heating, catching fire and exploding. This downside was exposed in recent years when 7 incidents triggered the recall of some 10 million batteries. It's believed that these incidents were related to contamination in the manufacturing process at Sony.

Despite the seriousness of these events and the massive cost of the recall, laptop manufacturers continue to source their batteries from Sony. They are branded as Dell, Apple, Sony, Lenovo, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi and Fujitsu and sold as genuine components. On a purely statistical basis, Sony manufactured batteries have an exceptional track record of safety and reliability.

Extremely cheap laptop batteries are now available from other manufacturing sources, usually located in China. The question is, given the risks inherent in Lithium-ion battery technology are these cheaper non-genuine options safe? Do they contain the same SMART technology that monitors battery pressure, temperature and ventilation? The major laptop brands don't appear to be switching allegiance away from Sony, which may indicate something about their collective thoughts on the subject. Imagine the damage to brand name and reputation if a laptop exploded on a commercial flight because a manufacturer sourced a cheaper battery.

As individuals we confront a similar decision when shopping for a replacement battery. It's possible that the very cheap non-genuine batteries may not be safe and represent a risk to laptop security.

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