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The battery blues

October 14th, 2009 (01:22 pm)

My Gateway laptop is 3 years old now. When I bought it, its battery life was about 2 hours. As recently as a year ago, it was long enough that I could use it on the train both to and from work, and not have to charge it during the day. Now, it's just barely enough to last one way.

So yesterday I started looking for a new battery. I found some good options, but, along the way, I also found a Gateway manual that mentioned that shortened battery life was sometimes due to miscalibration, and explained how to have the laptop recalibrate the battery. OK, I thought, I'll try that; maybe I won't have to spend $90.

The calibrator takes several hours, and the laptop needs to be plugged in, so I put it off until I got to work today. A while ago, it finally finished, and announced that it had its numbers. It had previously believed the battery capacity was 2090 mAh (down from 4400 mAh). Now it knows that was wrong; the actual capacity is 1894 mAh.

Sigh. You were supposed to figure out how to get more energy out of the battery, not less!