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Toshiba's battery recall and tips on maintaining your laptop's battery


IDG News service and SlashGear report that Toshiba is initiating another series of battery recalls due to risk of fire.

The models that may be affected are Satellite A100/A105 and Tecra A7 and two accessory/replacement batteries, model numbers PA3451U-1BRS and PA3399U-2BRS.

This link to Toshiba's support site can help you check if your battery is affected or not. This recent recall follows a major set of recalls made last year.

New polymer to prevent battery overheating

Lithium-ion batteries are a major source of mobile power for laptops are lightweight and small, but they pose a threat due to overheating caused by overcharging of electrodes. Researchers at Tonen Chemical, an affiliate of ExxonMobil Chemical based in Tokyo, Japan, have achieved success in creating a polymer separator that plays an active role in preventing the overheating of batteries.

Here's a quote from an article at Technology Review:

Unlike present separators, which break down at a little above 150 ºC, the new Tonen material stays intact up to 190 ºC. By preventing massive electrical shorting, the new separator could prevent the accelerated heating that leads to explosions, said Peter Roth, program manager for advanced technology development at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, NM. Sandia is now testing the safety features of the new separator.

Tips for maintaining laptop batteries

While we are discussing laptop batteries, here are a few tips to keep your power investment in top shape:

  • Make sure the battery is discharged and used frequently.
  • When charging, make sure you fully charge it.

Here are a few pointers for getting the most of your laptop battery:

  • Dim your screen to the lowest setting.
  • Disable auto Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network detection (if you don't need the Internet).
  • Turn off music and DVD and CD players.
  • Turn off software (like the Hibernate or Stand-by mode in Windows XP) and turn off scheduled tasks.

Here's an article from our own Paul Mah on things you should know about lithium-ion batteries, and here's a thorough analysis on the saga of lithium-ion batteries. So, how has been the performance of your laptop battery?

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