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Dell Laptop Battery FAQ

Dell Laptop Battery FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

QHow long does a Dell laptop battery last? When should I consider replacing mine?
QHow should I choose between two batteries with different Watt hours (Whr) available on one system?
QHow long am I able to use my Dell laptop on a fully charged battery?
QHow do I charge my Dell laptop battery?
QHow long does it take for a Dell laptop battery to fully recharge?
QWhat is ExpressChargeTM ?
QShould I totally discharge, then recharge my Dell laptop battery occasionally to make it last longer?
QCan a Dell laptop battery be "overcharged"?
QWhen docked or AC adapter is plugged into a wall outlet, am I using my battery charge?
QDoes Dell sell external battery chargers?
QIs it easy to install a battery?
QWill Dell laptops accept non-Dell batteries?
QWhat is a modular bay battery?
QIf I install a modular bay battery, are my primary and modular bay batteries working at the same time to power my laptop computer?
Q For what use is the strip of LED lights on my battery?
QWhat does Dell recommend for battery storage for a long period of time?
QAre there restriction with taking lithium-ion batteries on planes?
QHow should I choose the right battery for my new system?
QWhat is a battery slice?
QDoes Dell recommend the use of a non-Dell replacement battery?
QWill non-Dell batteries work in Dell laptops?
QWhat can I do to make my battery last longer?
QHow do I get the most runtime for a charge?
QHow long does a Dell laptop battery last?
QHow long am I able to use my Dell laptop on a fully charged battery?
QShould I completely discharge my battery before I charge it?
QShould I totally discharge, then recharge my DellT laptop battery occasionally to make it last longer?
QCan a Dell laptop battery be "overcharged"?
QHow do I charge my Dell laptop battery?
QWhat is ExpressChargeT?
QHow long does it take for a Dell laptop battery to fully recharge?
QDo I need to charge my battery fully when I get a new system or a new battery?
QI generally do not unplug/undock my notebook. Does this hurt the battery?
QWhen docked or AC adapter is plugged into a wall outlet, am I using my battery charge?
QWhat are the LED lights on my battery?
QWhat does it mean when I push the button on the battery to determine the amount of charge, and alternating LED lights flash?
QHow does Dell recommend batteries be stored for a long period of time?
QWhy does the battery have a different warranty period than my system?
QWhere can I find the Materials Safety Datasheet (MSDS) for my battery?

QHow long does a Dell laptop battery last? When should I consider replacing mine?
AAll rechargeable batteries wear out with time and usage. As time and cumulative use increase, the performance will degrade. For the typical user, noticeable reduction in run time generally will be observed after 18 to 24 months. For a power user, reduction in run time generally may be experienced prior to 18 months. We recommend buying a new Dell laptop battery when the run time does not meet your needs.
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QHow should I choose between two batteries with different Watt hours (Whr) available on one system?
AHigher Watt hours (Whr) on the same system under the same operating conditions will generally deliver longer battery run time. For example, if you compare the same system, running the same applications, the 53Whr battery would provide approximately 65% more run time than the 32Whr battery.
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QHow long am I able to use my Dell laptop on a fully charged battery?
A

Many factors affect the amount of time that a portable computer battery can deliver power before it must be recharged. These factors include the configuration (processor, memory, etc.), types of applications being run and display brightness.

Dell uses industry standard benchmarks for battery run time claims. For more information on battery run times and benchmarks, the white paper, "Understanding Battery Life in Portable Computers" is available at: http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/vectors/2005_batterylife.pdf
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QHow do I charge my Dell laptop battery?
AThe battery charges in the laptop when the laptop is connected to an AC power source via the AC adapter.
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QHow long does it take for a Dell laptop battery to fully recharge?
AThe charge time varies depending on the system. If the system supports ExpressChargeTM , the battery typically will have greater than 80% charge after about an hour of charging, and fully charge in about 2 hours with the system off.
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QWhat is ExpressChargeTM ?
AFor a system advertised as having the ExpressChargeTM  feature, the battery typically will have greater than 80% charge after about an hour of charging and fully charge in about 2 hours with the system off.
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QShould I totally discharge, then recharge my Dell laptop battery occasionally to make it last longer?
ANo, discharging and charging does not increase the life of a Lithium Ion technology battery.
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QCan a Dell laptop battery be "overcharged"?
ANo, the battery is designed to stop using the charger when it reaches full charge.
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QWhen docked or AC adapter is plugged into a wall outlet, am I using my battery charge?
ANo.
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QDoes Dell sell external battery chargers?
ADell offers a Datamation battery charger for large institution customers. The charger has 16 charge bays to charge batteries for Latitude D500/D505/D510/D520/D600/D610
laptop systems. The product can be found at Dell.com here:


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QIs it easy to install a battery?
AYes, very easy. First, make sure all open files are saved. Next, either attach the AC adapter directly to the laptop or set the system to "hibernate" mode or shut off. Release the latch on the current battery, and simply install the replacement battery.
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QWill Dell laptops accept non-Dell batteries?
ADell has a rigorous qualification process by which all Dell batteries are validated to ensure proper function, performance and safety. Some non-Dell batteries are available in the market with claims of compatibility with Dell systems. Dell cannot verify these claims, nor the safety of using them in a Dell system. Dell strongly encourages our customers to use only Dell laptop batteries advertised as appropriate for their laptop model. Only Dell laptop batteries come with a 1-year warranty, are engineered for optimal safety and performance for Dell systems, and are supported by Dell technical support for the length of the warranty period.
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QWhat is a modular bay battery?
AIn some laptop systems Dell offers a battery that can be used in the optical drive media bay (DVD/CD drive bay). This enables the use of two batteries, potentially extending the available run time.
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QIf I install a modular bay battery, are my primary and modular bay batteries working at the same time to power my laptop computer?
ANo, the modular bay battery is used first, then the system automatically switches to the primary battery. This is a deliberate design to allow the most amount of run time to remain in the primary battery in case the modular bay battery is removed and replaced with an optical drive.
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Q For what use is the strip of LED lights on my battery?
A

Most Dell batteries have an LED indicator that allows users to see how much run time and how much overall battery life are available at the touch of a button.

To check battery charge, press the button and the number of lights that appear will tell you charge status. If all lights appear, you have a fully charged battery. Each light that appears accounts for approximately 20% charge.

To check the battery health, press and hold the status button on the battery charge gauge for at least 3 seconds. If no lights appear, the battery is in good condition and approximately more than 80 percent of its original charge capacity remains. Each light represents incremental degradation. If five lights appear, approximately less than 60 percent of the charge capacity remains, and you should consider replacing the battery.
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QWhat does Dell recommend for battery storage for a long period of time?
A

When storing for more than 4 days these guidelines can better preserve the life of your battery:

  • Do not store batteries for long periods plugged into or attached to any power source. This includes AC adapters and laptop security carts plugged into an outlet.
  • Laptop batteries, including those stored in laptop systems, should maintain an Operational Storage Temperature of 0° to 35°C (32° to 95°F).
  • Batteries may be stored in the laptop or outside of the laptop.
  • Charge batteries before storing. The recommended charging time should not exceed 1 hour. Typically, this should charge the battery to between 80% and 100%. (Some discharge will take place over time. Stored batteries are expected to discharge 10-15% over a four month period, for your information.)
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QAre there restriction with taking lithium-ion batteries on planes?
AEffective January 1, 2008, the Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will no longer allow loose lithium batteries in checked baggage. These batteries may continue to be packed in carry-on baggage.
For more information: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/safe-travel-batteries-and-devices
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QHow should I choose the right battery for my new system?
AWhen choosing a battery, the main quality that you need to consider is the amount of energy that can be stored in a battery. This is measured in Watt- Hours (Wh). For longer runtime per charge, choose a battery with a greater Wh rating
If you want. Choose. Trade off.
Longer runtimeHigher capacity. Higher cost
. Heavier weight
Lighter weightLower capacityLower runtime
Lower costLower capacityLower runtime

Note: When used under the same conditions, a lower capacity battery will wear out faster than a higher capacity battery because it has to be charged more often.

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QWhat is a battery slice?
ASome Dell laptops have a battery that attaches to the bottom of the system, providing additional runtime for the laptop.
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QDoes Dell recommend the use of a non-Dell replacement battery?
ADell recommends that you replace your battery with a genuine Dell battery obtained from Dell. When using a genuine Dell battery, you can be assured that you have a battery that has been designed, qualified and manufactured to strict Dell quality standards. For safety and performance always use a genuine Dell battery purchased from Dell.

Dell does not evaluate the design or check the quality of non-Dell replacement battery packs. The quality and safety is unknown when using such batteries.


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QWill non-Dell batteries work in Dell laptops?
ASome non-Dell batteries are available in the market with claims of compatibility with Dell laptops. Dell does not verify these claims or the safety of using them in a Dell laptop. Dell strongly encourages our customers to use only Dell laptop batteries advertised as appropriate for their laptop model. Only Dell batteries are engineered for optimal safety and performance for Dell systems and are supported by Dell technical support for the length of the limited hardware warranty period.

For copy of Ltd Hardware Warranty, write Dell USA LP, Attn: Warranties, One Dell Way, Round Rock, TX 78682 or see www.dell.com/warranty.


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QWhat can I do to make my battery last longer?
AThere are several things you can do to make your battery last longer:

  • Choose the right battery. Under the same use conditions, a lower capacity battery will wear out faster than a higher capacity battery because it has to be charged more often.
  • Use the notebook's power saving controls to reduce battery use in your normal day. For example, turn the Bluetooth off if it is not needed; reduce the screen brightness when conditions permit.
  • Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures. If the system is exposed to extreme cold or hot temperatures, allow it to warm up/cool down before use and before charging.
  • Contrary to last decades' batteries, modern lithium ion batteries do not need to be fully discharged to maintain health.
  • All batteries wear with use and time. When you find the runtime is no longer satisfactory, it may be time to purchase a new Dell battery.

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QHow do I get the most runtime for a charge?
AIt is important to choose settings which allow you to obtain the most runtime from your notebook. Examples to consider: timeout settings for the hard drive, Bluetooth, wireless, LCD brightness, etc.
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QHow long does a Dell laptop battery last?
AThe life span of a laptop battery depends on a number of factors and is hard to predict. All rechargeable batteries wear out with time and use. As the battery begins to reach the end of its life, you will notice a decline in the runtime of the battery.
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QHow long am I able to use my Dell laptop on a fully charged battery?
AMany factors affect the amount of time that a laptop battery can deliver power before it must be recharged. Personal usage (your LCD brightness setting) has a large effect on battery run time and will vary greatly between different users and systems. Other factors include the system configuration (battery size, processor type, memory, etc.), and the types of applications being run (playing DVDs or games).

Dell uses industry standard benchmarks for battery run time claims
Actual battery life will vary based on configuration, operating conditions and other factors. Maximum battery capacity decreases with time and use.

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QShould I completely discharge my battery before I charge it?
ANo, with current lithium ion batteries this practice does not improve the runtime of the battery. This practice is a holdover from the days in which NiMH batteries were used.
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QShould I totally discharge, then recharge my DellT laptop battery occasionally to make it last longer?
ANo, discharging and charging does not increase the life of a lithium ion battery.
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QCan a Dell laptop battery be "overcharged"?
ANo, the battery is designed to stop using the charger when it reaches full charge.
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QHow do I charge my Dell laptop battery?
AThe battery charges in the laptop when the laptop is connected to an AC power source.
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QWhat is ExpressChargeT?
AFor a battery advertised as having the ExpressChargeT feature, the battery typically will have greater than 80% charge after about an hour of charging with the system off, and fully charge in about 2 hours with the system off.
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QHow long does it take for a Dell laptop battery to fully recharge?
AThe charge time varies depending on the system. If the battery supports ExpressChargeT, the battery typically will have greater than 80% charge after about an hour of charging with the system off, and fully charge in about 2 hours with the system off. Batteries that do not support ExpressChargeT typically charge in about 3 hours with the system off. See your system's user's manual for more information.
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QDo I need to charge my battery fully when I get a new system or a new battery?
AWhile not required, it is recommended to fully charge your battery.
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QI generally do not unplug/undock my notebook. Does this hurt the battery?
ANo, the battery has built in controls which stop the charging process when the battery is full.
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QWhen docked or AC adapter is plugged into a wall outlet, am I using my battery charge?
ANo, the notebook is powered by AC power.
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QWhat are the LED lights on my battery?
ATo check battery charge, press the button and the number of LED lights that appear will tell you charge status. If all lights appear, you have a fully charged battery. Each light that appears accounts for approximately 20% charge.
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QWhat does it mean when I push the button on the battery to determine the amount of charge, and alternating LED lights flash?
AThis is an indication that the battery is not working properly. The battery should be replaced.
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QHow does Dell recommend batteries be stored for a long period of time?
AFor extended storage (over 21 - 30 days), these guidelines can better preserve the life of your battery:

  • If it's a new battery, store it in its box until you need it. Otherwise, charge or discharge the battery to 40 - 60% capacity using your Windows operating system power meter, then remove it from your system.
  • Store in a standard office environment, away from extreme temperatures.
  • If possible, don't buy batteries until you need them.

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QWhy does the battery have a different warranty period than my system?
ADell's standard battery warranty is one year. Batteries are a consumable item. All batteries degrade with time and use. The warranty is very similar to common auto warranties which exclude consumable items such as tires.
For copy of Ltd Hardware Warranty, write Dell USA LP, Attn: Warranties, One Dell Way, Round Rock, TX 78682 or see www.dell.com/warranty.
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QWhere can I find the Materials Safety Datasheet (MSDS) for my battery?
ATo find the MSDS for a specific battery, please see the Product Safety, EMC and Environmental Datasheet published within the drop-down menus at this website: http://www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance_datasheets
If you are seeking a Materials Safety Datasheet for a product(s) which is no longer available for purchase, please send an e-mail to the Regulatory_Compliance@dell.com mailbox with the laptop computer name and the battery part number for the relevant product(s) included in the body of the e-mail.
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