I would like to upgrade the worn-out 61Wh battery of my first-generation Precision M3800 (mSATA SSD + SATA HDD) to a larger 91Wh battery, after removing the SATA HDD. Is this technically possible?
I see a number of OEM and aftermarket 91Whr batteries for the M3800 on Amazon. I see a number of OEM batteries on eBAY. They seem very inexpensive. If you download an M3800 service / owner's manual, it should show how to remove it, and therefore, replace it.
Looks like you need a T5 Torx screwdriver and a Phillips Screwdriver. The T5 Torx is available on Amazon and eBAY.
Let me see if I can push you over the edge with some additional information. Note this is a peer-to-peer forum and I'm just a user like you.. YMMV.
Here in the post, you can see two aftermarket battery images I shamelessly pulled off Amazon. While I recommend OEM products, that is a decision you have to make. The one on the left is the 91Whr battery, the one on the right 65Whr. Dimensions? See page 41 of the Service/Users Manual. Yes, the one on the left is longer. Note however, the position of the connector, relative to the left edge of both is in the same place. Same thing is true for the mounting holes.It's looking promising so far...
Now you say the unit has a hard-drive in it. Go to page 44 of the service manual and note your laptop can take both a SATA3 and mSATA SSD (solid state drive). You'll see the mSATA on page 18, and the specs, again on page 41). You are pretty certain there is a SATA3 in it. This comment for other readers: one could be very lucky, and open the unit, and find an mSATA installed, or you could go into Device Manager and determine what drive is installed perhaps even battery in Device Manager or by entering BIOS. (perhaps saved someone work) to do the determination). Getting closer.
And so, it appears that if you want to place a bigger capacity, new battery in your laptop, you can. But you raise important questions, and I cannot assess you're ability nor willingness nor how much this is worth to you. Only you can make those assessments.
If there is a SATA3 in there (likely) instead of or in addition to a SSD mSATA drive, I think you are correct, it would have to be removed to install the high-capacity battery (I'm not exactly sure of it, but I cannot see them designing the laptop where installing a higher-capacity battery means that a portion of it will lay on top of the SATA3 hard drive).
Providing you are willing to do this, I see options:
1) You'd install an mSATA, move your OS and files to it (you'd need some SW to do this - you can research, or pay someone to do it who has the SW), remove the SATA3, install the longer 91Whr battery, and potentially re-use the SATA3 drive in an external USB-connected enclosure (these are dirt cheap). Personally, I have questions about licensing, but Microsoft must make it possible to swap out a hard drive that fails. Can that license be moved to the SSD? I'm a little iffy there to be perfectly honest. Did your laptop come with Dell OEM installation DVD/CD? If not, you could contact them for one. You purchased the laptop, the license is yours.
2). You'd install an mSATA, and install a new OS (probably on CD/DVD - again check to see if CD/DVD came with your laptop - or call Dell - may be available for nominal fee) that comes with a license, onto the mSATA, then just move the data files from the SATA3 that you wish to keep onto the mSATA, then follow the above steps to remove the mSATA3 and re-use in an external drive. You'd have to install the application SW from scratch. Got installation media for them?
3). What if you find out (I re-read your original post) that you have both a mSATA and a SATA3 drive installed? Where is the OS loaded? On which one? Well, you probably need get your files ultimately onto a new mSATA of higher capacity. If your data files are on a pre-existing mSATA, you move them off onto some external storage, possibly a share on another computer that's networked. There's also a USB external enclosure for them (Amazon is your friend). I think, depending on your configuration, "where there's the will, there's a way".
Now how to install the OS if you don't have a CD-ROM drive? Either share a CD/DVD drive from another computer, or purchase a USB external drive (these are cheap on Amazon).
Let everyone know if you have any more questions and maybe I or another peer that reads the thread can help you further.
Many thanks for your effort!
The battery connectors and the mounting holes of the two battery types indeed look very similar on the images, which is promising. I had read the service manual before opening this thread.
Perhaps I should have given more information about the configuration of my machine and about my concrete plan:
I have a first-generation, maxed-out M3800 (16GB RAM, 4K screen) with two hard drives:
- a 256GB mSATA boot drive (LITEON 256M6M)
- a 500GB SATA data hard drive
The machine came with MS Windows pre-installed on the mSATA SSD in 2014, and it is still running great after 5 years. I mainly use it as a desktop replacement in my office, but also as a mobile device for teaching and research at a university. Unfortunately, the battery capacity has become underwhelming now (90 minutes runtime with office tasks). The machine being out of warranty now, I would not hesitate opening the case and installing a new battery by myself.
My plan is the following:
- replace the 256GB mSATA SSD by a bigger, decent 1TB drive (e.g., Samsung 860 EVO) and clone the Windows installation to the new mSATA SSD
- put the old mSATA SSD into an external enclosure - remove the 500GB SATA HDD and put it into an external enclosure
- replace the 61Wh battery by a 91Wh battery (OEM if possible)
Another promising fact may be the following: The aftermarket batteries for the M3800 are also compatible with certain XPS 15 models (9530, at least). In the XPS subforum, there are several threads about upgrading the battery of a XPS 15 to a higher-capacity model:
https://www.dell.com/community/XPS/Dell-XPS-15-9560-FHD-i7-7700HQ-56Whr-battery/m-p/6043068 https://www.dell.com/community/XPS/XPS-15-9570-Battery-upgrade/m-p/6127012 https://www.dell.com/community/XPS/DELL-XPS-15-9530-Replacement-Battery-amp-mSATA-Drive/m-p/5870174
I guess that the battery upgrade of the XPS 15 would not be possible if the mounting holes and battery connectors were different. 🙂