Knowledge Base

Laptop Battery FAQ


Table of Contents

  1. How long does a Dell laptop battery last? When should I consider replacing mine?
  2. How should I choose between two batteries with different Watt hours (Whr) available on one system?
  3. How should I choose the right battery for my new system?
  4. How do I charge my Dell laptop battery? How long does it take for a Dell laptop battery to fully recharge?
  5. What is ExpressCharge™?
  6. Can a Dell laptop battery be "overcharged"?
  7. When docked or AC adapter is plugged into a wall outlet, am I using my battery charge?
  8. Does Dell sell external battery chargers?
  9. Is it easy to install a battery?
  10. Will Dell laptops accept non-Dell batteries?
  11. What is a modular bay battery?
  12. If I install a modular bay battery, are my primary and modular bay batteries working at the same time to power my laptop computer?
  13. For what use is the strip of LED lights on my battery?
  14. What does Dell recommend for battery storage for a long period of time?
  15. What is a battery slice?
  16. What can I do to make my battery last longer?
  17. Should I completely discharge my battery before I charge it?
  18. Do I need to charge my battery fully when I get a new system or a new battery?
  19. I generally do not unplug/undock my notebook. Does this hurt the battery?
  20. Why does the battery have a different warranty period than my system?
  21. Where can I find the Materials Safety Datasheet (MSDS) for my battery?

This article has information to common questions about laptop batteries including how to choose the best battery for you; battery life and how to make your battery last longer between charges; how to install and charge your battery, and much more


How long does a Dell laptop battery last? When should I consider replacing mine?

All 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. 
Information on Extending the Life of your Battery.

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How should I choose between two batteries with different Watt hours (Whr) available on one system?

A Higher 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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How should I choose the right battery for my new system?

When 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 (Whr). For longer runtime per charge, choose a battery with a greater Whr rating

If you want Choose Trade off
Longer runtime Higher Capacity Higher cost
Heavier weight
Lighter weight Lower Capacity Lower runtime
Lower cost Lower Capacity Lower runtime
 
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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How do I charge my Dell laptop battery? How long does it take for a Dell laptop battery to fully recharge?

The battery charges in the laptop when the laptop is connected to an AC power source via the AC adapter. The charge time varies depending on the system. If the system supports ExpressChargeT™ , 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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What is ExpressCharge™?

For a system advertised as having the ExpressCharge™ 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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Can a Dell laptop battery be "overcharged"?

No, the battery is designed to stop using the charger when it reaches full charge.

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When docked or AC adapter is plugged into a wall outlet, am I using my battery charge?

No

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Is it easy to install a battery?

Is it easy to install a battery? Yes, very easy. First, make sure all open files are saved. Be sure to remove the Ac Adapter and that the computer is off before trying to install or replace a battery.

Click here for your Service Manual for instructions on how to replace your battery.

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Will Dell laptops accept non-Dell batteries?

Dell 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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What is a modular bay battery?

In 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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If I install a modular bay battery, are my primary and modular bay batteries working at the same time to power my laptop computer?

If I install a modular bay battery, are my primary and modular bay batteries working at the same time to power my laptop computer?
No, 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.

For Latitude Exx20/30 models (eg. E6420 or E6430) the primary battery is drained before the modular battery is used.

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For what use is the strip of LED lights on my battery?

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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What does Dell recommend for battery storage for a long period of time?

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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What is a battery slice?

Some Dell laptops have a battery that attaches to the bottom of the system, providing additional runtime for the laptop.

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What can I do to make my battery last longer?

There 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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Should I completely discharge my battery before I charge it?

No, 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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Do I need to charge my battery fully when I get a new system or a new battery?

While not required, it is recommended to fully charge your battery.

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I generally do not unplug/undock my notebook. Does this hurt the battery?

No, the battery has built in controls which stop the charging process when the battery is full.

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Why does the battery have a different warranty period than my system?

Dell'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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Where can I find the Materials Safety Datasheet (MSDS) for my battery?

To find the MSDS for a specific battery, refer to the Product Safety, EMC and Environmental Datasheet published within the drop-down menus at this website.

If you are seeking a Materials Safety Datasheet for a product(s) which is no longer available for purchase, e-mail  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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Article ID: SLN128667

Last Date Modified: 10/01/2014 04:38 AM


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