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Laptop Battery "Cover-Up"?

By micro.sleuth ·

My Compaq Laptop Battery Problems:
My Compaq Presario 1255 NiMH battery pack would charge 100%, sometimes, and fail to charge more than 20%, at other times, but the charge would increase about 20% after each new ?Start-Up?. And, a 100% charged battery would seem to fall, suddenly, to the zero level, between Start-Ups, if Start-UP was under battery power, as if the smart battery forgot its last battery reading. The special, battery, LED, ?fuel gauge? would read the same as Windows, since both were reading the same battery memory data.

Fact: Laptop battery capacity is calculated by multipling input current vs. time, since capacity cannot be determined accurately by voltage levels. Therefore, time measurement vs. input current is a more accurate means to determine laptop battery capacity, if working correctly, and is presently being used in most laptop batteries.

Not Battery Cells: Nothing seemed to be wrong with the battery pack, except the fuel gauge; since, it measured 9.6 volts; and, it would burn a 1 amp, 12 volt, 12 ohm lamp bulb for 3 hours (over 2 ampere hours). Plus, the manufacturer?s suggested battery calibration procedures would fix the fuel gauge reading, but not for very long.

Not Windows Software: Windows software was reading my ?smart battery?s? microcomputer correctly, which was confused, internally; and, engineers have been aware of the inaccuracy in most fuel estimates for over 10 years, but have been keeping the solution a secret, since major recalls and refunds would be required to millions of consumers. (See battery calibration procedures.)

Not Leaky Batteries: At first, it was thought that the fuel gauge error was due to the power consumption of the smart microcomputer inside the battery, overnight, if the ?smart circuits? continued to run and consume power. But, if my battery pack is removed for several days, it will retain its 100% charge. Therefore, battery leakage was not a problem within my Compaq Presario 1255 battery, nor was idle thinking!

The Final Clues: But, eventually, it was concluded that any random event, like the main power switch, the modem, the hard drive, the fan or the floppy disk turning On & Off, created a dip in the DC power supply voltage, which could trigger any speedy, low voltage sensor in the ?Smart Battery? and confuse the not-so-smart microcomputer.

And, the reason Lithium battery packs are more reliable than NiMH battery packs is because the Lithium (14 volt) packs use a higher voltage than the NiMH (9.6 volt) packs and the sudden dip in the voltage is unnoticed, as often. The minimum DC voltage that can be tolerated by most laptops may be around 5 or 6 volts before Windows ?Shuts-Down" in order to protect any open files that are being altered by users.

Generally speaking, Windows Software or any Operating System needs about 30 seconds of power to close all Windows or Files and to store those files back in the hard drive "File Cabinet". Therefore, the low voltage alarm is very important for a controlled and error-free "Shut-Down".

Previous ?dumb batteries? were difficult to read by faster computers, since their serial data was asynchronous; therefore, ?smarter batteries? were invented and an external clock input was added to synchronize the transmission of 8-bit serial data messages. Plus, more thinking was added within the ?smarter batteries? as the data pins were reversed. And, at present, ?smart batteries? are able to transmit about 30, unique alarms or codes to the host computer. But, who really needs 30 data points, if they?re wrong? (See: Smart Batteries on the Internet, where may have the best, detailed data.)

At present, Windows software engineers, many computer designers, and many parts distributors seem to be confused about which computers need ?dumb batteries? and which computers need ?smarter batteries?; where the data input pins (3 & 4) are different. So, my present battery is a Compaq 2941-B, which could even be the wrong type of battery for my computer; since, specification data or details of any recent smart battery seem to be inside corporate secrets.

Therefore, in the process of trying to diagnose my battery fuel gauge indicator problem, it was also discovered that:

1. Any new, $150 battery may appear faulty, if purchased, from the wrong vendor and is purchased fully charged.

2. Charging a ?dumb? battery in a sleeping computer, is like leaving a hot iron on an ironing board, overnight, and sooner or later any thermal, safety, circuit may fail.

3. The Screen Saver Timer in the Display Options of the Control Panel Software will override the Power Monitor Settings of the Display Screen in the Control Panel Software. So, who needs this type of redundancy? One variable Monitor Screen Saver is enough, already!

4. The Power Monitor Meter page indicates ?charging?, if the AC Power is ON, and if the main charging LED is OFF. So, at least one sub-routine is confused about charging. Or, software messages should say ?fast or trickle charging? to be more accurate, whichever is true.

5. The Battery Bar Graph indicates FULL, while claiming the battery condition is ?Unknown?, when the main battery is missing, which is confusing and reversed.

6. Most of the time, the Battery would overheat and abort the charging process, since it was already FULL. And, normally, it required exactly 3 hours to charge after being bled to death, and truly dead. So, all internal, secret, mystery circuits are timers!

7. Software charges the battery for exactly 20 minutes after any START-UP, even after reading 100% full. Therefore, overheating occurs, repeatedly, which challenges any battery safety circuits in my battery, Compaq type 2941B.

8. So, the Control Panel Alarm Point software appears to be faulty, as well as unnecessary, since it allows too many options. One software, ?low battery alarm? is enough; since, one 10% warning is sufficient (if accurate), and the real battery power low alarm input from any battery pack will panic the software into ?Sleep Mode?, then into ?Comatose?, if shaken. But, the ?Wide Awake Mode? is necessary to control the battery charge, overnight, if the battery memory circuits get confused!

9. Bleeding the battery for 4 hours (by using a 10 ohm, 10 watt resistor from Radio Shack or a 12 volt, 1 amp, 12 ohm, automotive, tail light bulb) is the easiest way to clarify any confusion in the battery microcomputer. But, any calibration procedure is only a temporary fix, since the battery?s confusion will return, randomly.

10. WARNING! Do not attempt the above battery bleeding procedure, unless you are a qualified technician and need a reliable, $150, flashlight. Use the computer to bleed the battery, as instructed in your laptop manual, since it has been known for over 10 years that Smarter Battery, secret software has problems with their fuel estimates.

Therefore, Compaq, Type 2941-B, battery and many other laptop batteries have voltage sensing circuit problems and battery, safety, high temperature circuits prevent charging my battery 100%, on one cycle, after the battery becomes confused. And, the consistent fuel gauge error is caused by random resets of the battery memory; plus, more errors may be due to battery circuits that consume power, when the battery is idle and the host computer is OFF.

All batteries over-heat as resistance drops to almost zero, if fully charged and still charging. And, the combination of heat created by new, internal wireless modems, unrequired battery charging , and the higher heat caused by faster and faster super processors have caused several laptop fires, ruined the credibility of several corporations, and has sold millions of $150 batteries, needlessly, Worldwide.

Plus, another problem seems to be the random, high voltage sparks that are created by any reversal of the 2-prong AC Plug, which may reset timing counters on any internal battery charging circuits (on newer, smarter batteries); thus, providing a false battery reading or interpolation. Therefore, turn your computer off, before inserting power cords!

Many engineers may have suspected the capacitive or inductive discharge problem for years, since most new laptops now contain polarized (3-prong) AC Plugs and "Line Chokes", that look, like bubbles in the power cord. And, Windows XP may have the same battery charging problems.

A. Never charge a frequently faulty battery, overnight, if the host computer is comatose!
B. Software should read all battery status data, at least twice, several seconds apart; because, false data may occur (since the battery is always connected to the DC plug in the Laptop) during any power surge. But, do we really need 30 different battery alarms or status messages to charge any battery?
C. For reliability reasons, all 2-prong AC Adapters should be recalled or exchanged for polarized AC Power Adapters, which will help protect other computer components, too, from random "AC power transients", from any transformer adapter ?static discharges?, and from any stray transients caused by Power ON/OFF relays.
D. Fix the Control Panel, Power Monitor variable alarms, or remove them.
E. Double-check to determine which battery type is intended for your computer.
F. Quadruple-check all battery software routines for ?smart battery? errors.
G. Check all battery software for ?secrets? that could be implanted to sell more batteries.
H. Recall all batteries that are suspected of having internal sensor or software problems.

Recall Solutions:
Since battery problems have cost consumers billions of dollars, already, battery makers could be sued for product liability damages, unless the failure to predict transient pluses is blamed on computer designers. Therefore, a compromise solution could please all.

Open Software should be developed to insure that the correct software logic is being used to estimate battery time, as expected by the computer designers. Lithium, NiMH, Alkaline, NiCd, and Gel-Type Battery Packs can all be recharged, safely, with smarter, open software. But, Secret, Proprietary, Faulty, Battery Software has ruined the reputation of several corporations, already.

The high temperature battery alarm could be used as an upper calibration point, minus 5 to 15 minutes, and used to abort all charging current. The battery hardware, power low alarm could be used to ?panic save? all data, safely; where, the same, variable, Power Monitor Software Alarms would be unnecessary and redundant in Windows software. New, fully charged or randomly charged batteries could be substituted, without calibration, if the programmers would learn how to use both alarm points for calibration of their time estimates. An example follows:

Logic for: ?A Software Battery Fuel Gauge?, where, the charge current is equal to the average discharge current, and the time count is displayed in minutes:
1. Ignore all internal battery fuel gauge readings, except low voltage and temperature.
2. Preset a battery stopwatch timer to ?zero? during any new software configuration.
3. Preset a ?Full? battery constant to 360 minutes. (This could be a variable reference.)
4. If Start-UP is on AC Power. Check timer for Full, and begin charging if not Full. Start the stopwatch timer, and stop same if power drops, or on high temperature.
5. If the charge cycle was from zero to full; then, reduce the elapsed time in the stopwatch timer by 10 minutes, and save the value as the ?Full? reference constant.
6. If Start-Up is attempted on DC Power, Check the stopwatch timer for battery time, allow the Start-up, if battery has more than 5 minutes of fuel, and use the stopwatch timer as a countdown timer. Always Save Data and Shut-Down on the hardware ?battery low alarm?, and reset the stopwatch timer to zero for automatic calibration.
7. If running on battery power, always announce ?Battery needs fuel?, every minute, if power is below 10%. (This alarm could be changed to 20%, if desired.)
8. The reversible stopwatch counter is only used to estimate the battery time expected, after switching to DC Power, and tells how much time is available in minutes.
9. Display the fuel stopwatch timer in minutes in RED or GREEN digits, every minute. (Red = less than 20 minutes. Green = more than 20 minutes.)
10. Software could compensate for high Wireless Modem energy demands, also, and observe any deterioration of the battery by long term changes in the charging time or the discharge time.

Future Battery Status Signals:
Only three status alarms lines are needed to provide 8 different alarms or data readings.
Therefore, all battery data could be read in binary, like 0 = battery missing, 1 = ? full, 2 = ? full, 3 = ? full, 4 = full, 5 = low voltage, 6 = faulty and 7 = high temperature; where, any external clock would not be required or could be used to enable or disable the charging curent. A "7" would be expected within a specific period of time, which would test the circuits and help calibrate the fuel indicators. And, a failure to receive a high temperature alarm, within "x" minutes, could be used to indicate that the battery should be replaced.

Or, two alarms are all that is really needed; where pin 2 = high temperature, pin 3 = enable charging current, and pin 4 = safe voltage (above 6 volts); where, an enable pulse could be used to trickle the battery or to charge Alkaline Batteries, too, by variations in the input current cycles.

A simple zener diode circuit could be used to establish any "safe voltage" level.
And, a simple automotive fuse; plus, a bi-metal cut-off could be used for safe overload protection and a high temperature, cut-off, safety valve.

All future recharging circuits should be removed from battery packs to reduce costs; since, computer software can be corrected or improved cheaper than internal battery ?smart software?. And, all Real Time Clocks should be powered from the main battery pack, when available, which would increase the life of the hidden, internal, tiny, back-up, watch battery.

To read over 6000 additional consumer battery complaints, use Google and search for: ?Dell Laptop Battery Blues? and ?Laptop Battery Problems? on the Internet.

To read ?The Armistead Family Story?, use a Google Search and discover 280 typo-errors in only 21 of Shakespeare?s perfect Sonnets, that were missed by millions of scholars in the last 400 years. Shakespeare was too busy (like Microsoft) organizing Jamestown to proof read his sonnets; plus, he was shipwrecked on Bermuda for a year, where he wrote ?The Tempest? and built another ship, with 100 survivors, from scrap lumber, which included Gov. Thomas Gates and John Rolfe of Darmstadt, Germany.

The Four Computer Modes (or Moods):
Comatose = Fully OFF, or in a coma with a Window open.
Hibernation = Almost OFF, but may remember the last unfinished task.
Sleeping or Standby = Almost ON, bored, and just saving energy.
Awake = Fully ON and thinking, mischievously, in microseconds.

Research by: James H. Armistead, Inventor and Poet
Sacramento, CA. 95822, and this theory is believed to be true and accurate.
(Ex-IBM, Burroughs, RCA, TRW, Varian, & DWR Computer Technician.)

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Hey everybody! Let's put it to a vote!

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Laptop Battery "Cover-Up" ...

Troll, spammer, or demagogue?

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Lots to read, little to ponder

by mjd420nova In reply to Laptop Battery "Cover-Up" ...

I ahve serviced so many laptops that have had bad batteries, bad connections, underpowered adapters and just about ecery fault know to exist. If the manufacturers would get their collective heads out of the sand and realize what the real trouble is, then the consumers wouldn't be the ones to suffer the pitfalls. I would like to see battery packs that were built in such a manner that they would have very secure and postive connections and designed such that they could not be hooked up in reverse or punctured. Just think about how the battery in your car is designed. WHy, because they have to do it that way or the car is a death trap, why should a computer be any different??

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