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Thomas01
19-09-2006, 12:36 PM
We have been victims of overcharged ink scams for a long time. But at last we can see signs of various firms offering us the chance to fight back with cheaper alternatives. But there is another problem - I refer to batteries for laptops. Surely they do NOT need to be so very expensive - but of course that's the idea isn't it!
Hopefully somebody will find a way of marketing batteries with a reasonable charge (pun intended).
I have just had a quote for a LCB 111 for $160 (plus GST of course). This is too high but at least its nearly $100 cheaper than another firm quoted.
Tom

somebody
19-09-2006, 12:52 PM
Batteries often have complex circuitries to prevent overcharging, overheating, or in extreme cases, explosions/combustion like the recent Dell incidents. I would think that it is a good idea to shell out for a proper battery, as cheap rip-offs might not be made properly.

godfather
19-09-2006, 01:48 PM
Also each battery is made up of a number of discrete cells. In manufacture, the cells are never identical in capacity, they can easily vary 20%.

The expensive OEM battery packs will be of "matched capacity cells", as to use a pack with unmatched cells means that the lowest capacity cell(s) can be subject to reverse voltage on a full discharge.

That will quickly lower the life, making the cheap option a much dearer one.

Thomas01
19-09-2006, 05:27 PM
Batteries often have complex circuitries to prevent overcharging, overheating, or in extreme cases, explosions/combustion like the recent Dell incidents. I would think that it is a good idea to shell out for a proper battery, as cheap rip-offs might not be made properly.

Agreed - but this applies to many complex items (printers etc) and they have been brought down in price. Also it doesn't account for the huge difference in price quoted for the same batteries.

godfather
19-09-2006, 06:45 PM
Agreed - but this applies to many complex items (printers etc) and they have been brought down in price. Also it doesn't account for the huge difference in price quoted for the same batteries.
But you seem to ignore my comment, the capacity matching is a time consuming and expensive process. The benefits are only seen later in the lifespan of the battery pack. They are therefore probably not "the same batteries" in the end.

Thomas01
19-09-2006, 11:36 PM
But you seem to ignore my comment, the capacity matching is a time consuming and expensive process. The benefits are only seen later in the lifespan of the battery pack. They are therefore probably not "the same batteries" in the end.

No I haven't ignored your comment. I agree with them completely. As a design engineer for over 50 years on 3 continents I did get an idea of costings - but it has always been my experience that whenever a firm has wanted to reduce the cost of something (and also improve its quality and reliability at the same time) then it has been possible. It is when there is a advantage for the manufacturers and distributors to keep prices high that I worry. And it still does not explain why exactly the same battery can cost such different prices from different suppliers.
But I do not have all the figures - test results etc available to me - my observations are not really reliable and I would like to see Consumers etc have a look into the situation. If they disagree with my suspicions then perhaps the designers should look into alternative battery situations. Do we need all this power or would many of us like to see much cheaper batteries usable in exchange for some of the unwanted power. Am I wrong - from talking with other users I get the impression that the batteries as supplied as OE are no longer lasting than replacements irrespective of costs?

godfather
20-09-2006, 09:44 AM
I cannot comment on laptop batteries, as all my laptops have died before any batteries have failed, apart from my 1989 Toshiba.

But on other equipment, I can say for certain that the correct (but expensive) battery packs have outlasted the cheap alternatives by a long way.

On some equipment I repack the cells myself, buying rechargeable tag type cells, but as I do not have the facilities to easily charge/discarge the cells for a few cycles (nor an endless supply of cells) to get the capacity mix right by selection, they do not last as well as the makers replacement packs.

With LiOn batteries as used by laptops, I think many battery repacking companies now also avoid them, due to the liabilities if they overheat, LiOn batteries and chargers have strict design needs.

But I am not trying to defend the prices that makers charge, there is undoubtably excessive profit. Just that the alternative may be a lot lower in quality longer term.

A good primer on rechargeable batteries is here:
http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone.htm

Thomas01
20-09-2006, 11:30 AM
Well I started a thread here that has interested me. I thank the contributors, and thought that an experience of mine this week may interest some of you. I have an old dust buster - in fact we had dumped it and bought a new one. But in a moment of madness I decided I could perhaps fix the beast - I was sure it was only the batteries at fault. Yes it was - 3 single cell batteries which I replaced (needed a fair amount of jiggling & soldering etc) and now it works like the clappers again.
But what interested me was the state of the old cells. One was recording a negative voltage - in other words it had stopped generating and was simply a resistance - the max voltage I managed to get from the 3 of them in series was just about 1 volt. OK it was only a 4.5v device - but amazingly it was still working - but not very well - bit like me in fact - past it. Now if only I could get new batteries fitted!!
Tom

godfather
20-09-2006, 01:02 PM
Have been there and done that with dust busters as well, the "replacement cells" I fitted lasted about half the time in years than the originals.

Due to capacities, one was getting a negative "charge" at the end of its use and it therefore died quite quickly. Your experience exactly, and the negative "charge" finally stuffs the cell, which may have been OK and lasted longer had it not been run so flat to the point of voltage reversal.

The replacement dustbuster was a massive 18 volt beast and would suck the cat off the sofa, but alas the price truly reflected the battery quality and they lasted only about 18 months before cell failure occurred.

New replacement machine is a better brand, but will be interested to see how long it lasts, at 12v it goes quite well.

Thomas01
20-09-2006, 04:05 PM
Have been there and done that with dust busters as well, the "replacement cells" I fitted lasted about half the time in years than the originals.

New replacement machine is a better brand, but will be interested to see how long it lasts, at 12v it goes quite well.

All fascinating stuff godfather.
My original dust buster was a Moulinex and is the only one I have ever seen. It's beautifully designed and very well balanced - a pleasure to use. I bought it at Smiths City Market in August 2002 for $50 which was a big reduction. Four years pretty hard use is not bad going - I was a bit reluctant to replace the batteries at first in case the motor was also duff. So I bought the cheapest I could from Jaycars. It has been downgraded to my study so I doubt the next few years will see it worked as hard. I will keep an eye on it and report back (in fact my computer will tell me in 4 years time to do just that).
The replacement, a SHARK of 14.4 volts is a different beast. We were in Noel Leemings when we saw it at a ridiculous price. The sales assistant was shocked - somebody had put the wrong stickers on the boxes. We helped him shift them all off and then he let us have one for the incorrect price. Some times we win!!
The thing is heavy - clumsy - tricky to place on its charger and it is a humdinger. It even has a power head which easily clips on and works a real treat. Its the only device we have ever had (including our Dyson) that shifts cat hairs off our chairs - in fact I think it would eat the cats themselves. Tempting.

Another battery checking job is called for!
Once again thanks particularly for the link to the battery info site.
Tom