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Is it a virus or is something wrong with my laptop battery?

by lilmister / October 18, 2008 7:17 PM PDT

I own an HP Pavilion dv2615tx Entertainment Notebook and my battery is a 6-cell. Recently my laptop has been acting up, as in my battery meter tells me its 80-90%, then during that time my laptop goes dead. And it's only been on for 20-30 mins where as the battery life of my laptop is at least an hour and 30 mins. Then when I put it on charger the battery meter tells me it's like 30% after waiting for an hour or so, then jumps to 100% fully charged.

Is something wrong with my laptop, my battery, or is it the work of a virus...If it's the latter what sort of virus is it and how do I fix it?

Please help me!

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I doubt its a virus.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / October 18, 2008 9:59 PM PDT

It's possible that something is using up resources on the system and so draining the battery, but if the notebook is otherwise running well when on battery power. then I doubt it is that. It looks like just the batteries.

How old are they? Eventually batteries wear out, and require repeated charging. Perhaps that is the case with yours?

There is something else about rechargeable batteries which is controversial, and in any case may only apply to older type rechargeable batteries, and perhaps not to the newer Lithium/Hydride ones. The problem is "memory charge", and goes like this;

If you get a new set of batteries and do not fully discharge them before putting them on the charger for the first time, then the amount of charge remaining in the batteries is lost once you recharge them. Subsequent recharges will only recharge partially, from the level of that first recharge. For example;

1] Battery is 3/4 empty. It is placed on the charger and when it is fully recharged only that 3/4 of the original full charge is available. Subsequent recharges will only recharge back up to 3/4's, whether or not there is no charge left.

2] A battery is fully discharged and is empty. When recharged the whole charge is recharged and is available for use. Subsequent recharges will supply a full charge, even if the battery is not fully discharged.

Like I say it is controversial, but some recommend fully discharging batteries before recharging them. In fact, I have just purchased a new set of cordless phones for my home, and the manual recommended I discharge them all before connecting any of them to the charger.

I'm not sure, but I believe Lithium/Hydride batteries may be different.

Mark

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that makes sense but...
by lilmister / October 18, 2008 10:11 PM PDT
In reply to: I doubt its a virus.

Thank you for the insight, that might be the problem. But the age of my battery (and the laptop itself) isn't even passed a year. I tried removing the battery and replacing it; that fixed the problem of the incorrect battery meter, but the power drained very quickly nonetheless (upon startup the meter read 79% then after a few seconds just dropped to 49% and so on and so forth). I posted this same question on yahoo answers and one person replied saying that the ions in the battery have almost completely decayed. And if I continue to use this same battery my laptop could explode quite easily.

Is this true?

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Well,
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / October 18, 2008 10:28 PM PDT

I have heard of laptop batteries exploding, but that was a while ago, and seemed to be a problem batch of batteries. You can read more if you Google Laptop exploding batteries.

But while my knowledge is very limited, I don't see that a discharged battery is going to explode. Ions in batteries are just negative ions, ie the electrons that create the current, and positive ions, that attract the electrons to the positive terminal. I don't see how an electron can decay, and if a positive ion decays then you have radioactivity. I'm not sure any battery manufacturer would add radioactive material to their product.

I would agree that the battery might need replacing, but perhaps others here can say if there is any danger of exploding.

If you start glowing in the dark, then I will know I am mistaken, Devil

Mark

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You should never
by PudgyOne / October 19, 2008 1:10 AM PDT

drain your laptop battery below 10%. HP's default settings are lower than that, I think around 3-5%. You may have drained the battery down too many times that it's slowly not charging anymore.

I just re-installed the system on my daughter's HP Laptop and changed the power settings to warn at 14%, Hibernate at 10%. The old Ni-Cad batteries used to like to be fully drained but the new Lithium Batteries like to be charged sooner, but remember usually 300 cycles and then the slowly fails.


Rick

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FYI
by Jimmy Greystone / October 19, 2008 1:14 AM PDT
In reply to: I doubt its a virus.

FYI, some of your information only applies to certain types of rechargeable batteries.

What you describe is called memory, and it really only tends to apply to NiCD or Nickel Cadmium rechargeable batteries. These fell out of use for laptops ages ago, but they are still often found in things like cordless phones. There are ways you can make the battery "forget" and charge fully again.

Lithium Ion or Li Ion batteries do not suffer from memory. This was the major reason for them being used in laptops. They're also commonly used in cell phones now. While they don't suffer from memory, like all rechargeable batteries, they do eventually wear out and start losing capacity. It's just the nature of the chemistry of the materials used to store the power.

Most people tend to think it's best for Li Ion batteries if you discharge them approximately 2/3 of the way before recharging. I don't know that there's really any hard evidence to support this improving the longevity of the battery, but it does make a kind of sense in that you're only going to get about 500 recharge cycles before a Li Ion battery starts to deteriorate. And when they start to deteriorate, they do so rapidly. In any case, it's not a good idea to plug your cell phone in every night to recharge the battery. You'll chew up the recharge cycles in a hurry that way and end up spending more on replacement batteries. Not to mention the highly toxic materials that wind up in a landfill somewhere.

I don't know much about Nickel Metal Hydrite (NiMH) batteries as far as this goes. Just that they lack the kick of alkaline batteries, but they tend to be able to provide a steady charge for a longer period of time than alkaline. I've also only seen them in your standard consumer sizes of AAA, AA, etc.

You also have your sealed lead acid batteries used in UPS units, and I believe this is also what is used in car batteries. Pretty sure they don't suffer from memory, or a gradual loss of capacity. They just pretty much go bad overnight. But I could be wrong, don't know a whole lot about these either. So if someone has a credible source of info on this, and no Wikipedia doesn't count, I'd be interested in seeing it.

In the end, it all depends on what kind of rechargeable technology we're looking at. With a laptop, unless it's going on about 10 years old, it's going to have a Li Ion battery, so memory isn't an issue. Depending on the age of the system and the amount of battery use, it could just be giving out. Like I said, you only get about 500 recharge cycles, so if you're a heavy battery user it's conceivable you could need a new battery in as little as 6 months.

Since the original poster didn't share any details on their usage habits, it's hard to say. But nothing I saw made me think it was anything other than the normal lifecycle of a battery.

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Yes thanks for that Jimmy.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / October 19, 2008 4:39 AM PDT
In reply to: FYI

I wasn't at all sure of my facts there, so what you say is very useful.

Have you heard of any laptop batteries 'exploding' because the ions were degrading? Other than the bad production batch of batteries reported a couple of years ago, i have heard of nothing like that, and I don't quite know what a degraded ion would look like, other than radioactivity.

Mark

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No
by Jimmy Greystone / October 19, 2008 6:12 AM PDT

No, the only exploding Li Ion batteries I've ever heard of were the ones produced by Sony that made their way primarily into Dell laptops. But if you heat up any battery too much, it can become dangerous. Though the majority of the time, you have to really go out of your way to make this happen. Like putting it in a microwave for several minutes. It's pretty rare for your standard Li Ion battery to explode however, short of a manufacturing defect. And before it ever explodes, it will likely give warning signs such as deformations in the battery itself. So if your laptop develops something of a bulge where the battery is, you probably want to pull it out immediately and contact the manufacturer.

UPS batteries are a bit of an interested exception. They will "bloat" up if they aren't replaced quickly after degrading. It's sort of a slow overload, but they gradually get bigger and bigger until sooner or later the container won't be able to handle the stress and ruptures. That would be Very Bad(tm) to have happen. I once had to use a flathead screwdriver to pry a UPS battery out of a unit that had been neglected like that for far too long. Took me like a half hour to 45 minutes to slowly lever the thing out.

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my user habits
by lilmister / October 19, 2008 3:49 PM PDT
In reply to: FYI

Thank you for that insight. My user habits? Well during the time my battery was working fine, I would usually (not all the time) drain the battery until it warns me to charge it, otherwise until it dies out (which is usually the case when I am too late in putting it on charger). After I use my laptop I never leave it plugged in; I always unplug the charger. The behaviour of my battery is very uncanny because I have a brother and sister who own a Toshiba and Sony Vaio laptop respectively, and they keep their laptops plugged in every now and then even when not in use. Do certain programs that I use while and off charging affect, for example I ocassionally use Fruity Loops Studio and yahoo messenger when on battery etc. Also, does charging your ipod on your laptop affect battery life as well?

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Battery testing
by PcTestCard / October 19, 2008 11:01 PM PDT

Why not visit HP web site and see if they got the battery software for you to reset and test the battery.

I knew some brand name PC manufacturers have the software application that can reset the battery and also test and recycle the battery.

Actually, the first 3 times of using the brand new laptop with new battery is recycling the battery by charging the battery to full and used up/discharge all remaining power before the next recharge, this is truth even on ion battery. (Do not recharge the new battery while it is half empty for the first 3 times of uses)

Also, every month, still recommend to recycle the battery once by charge the batter to full and empty the battery again before recharge it to full again.

Now, if there is no battery recycle application to test and reset the battery, try unplug the PC cards or any removable device from the laptop, then unplug the Ac adpater and battery as well and leave the system without any power supply, then holding down the power button on the laptop for a few seconds to reset the system, then just connecting the battery and the AC adapter and reset the BIOS as well.

Let the battery charged to full and unplug the Ac adpter and let the laptop running on the battery alone, try not to do any command and just let the laptop remain powered on based on the battery only, may need to configure the power scheme to not get in the standby or hibernate mode also not to let the LCD get shut down as well, do these until the battery complete discharged itself. Then recharge the battey to full again, repeat this a couple times, although a little time wasting, but worth a try at night before going to bed, and recharge the battery again on the second day.

I have seen some technician use the electric bulb with 2 electric wire connect to the batter direct and let the bulb to discharge the battery completely. But I would not recommend this since it need more skill and the selected bulb and equipment to do so.

Hope this helps!

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Battery life
by Willy / October 20, 2008 1:58 AM PDT

Most decent laptop batteries are expected to last roughly 12-18mos. depending on usage. Review the battery specs for "FULL" recharge cycles. Thus, at 12mo. use you should expect some battery issue even if properly maintained, these are batteries afterall. The batteries do degrade over time and they will display after a full charge they won't maintain the same uptime as when fresh. For whatever reason, don't expect perfect batteries after 12mo. usage and you should be prepared to buy a "new" replacement. Its not that the old battery is done in, but it just won't be able to be 100% capable again due to degradation.

As for exploding batteries these were supposed to be from a bad batch at manufacturing and not because of design or make-up. If they had been manufactured correctly and quality controlled the issue would have been mute. These things happen and for any device/product.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Battery software Virus
by cnet2014 / February 2, 2014 9:43 AM PST

for several months now we have had similar problem with our computer that the screen blinks a couple of times and then shuts down withing 3 minutes. At first we though it was overheating, tried the cooling ting under after vacuuming fan. Then we thought is was battery. We noticed that it is always exactly 4 hours after the computer does start. 2 weeks ago I noticed that when the screen blinks twice the changing light went out after even though computer is plugged in. The battery shows 86% when charging light goes out and drains to 4% in about 3 minutes. Not possible. When the computer starts up again it starts at 4% and gets back to 100% in about 5 minutes. Again not possible. I started shutting down immediately when screen blinks and remove the battery. Then I must wait several hours but when I put battery back in and start the battery starts off around 86%. All this tells me that some virus is in the power management software and is signalling wrong battery levels causing the compute to shut down.

What do you think.

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I think more details are required.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 2, 2014 12:48 PM PST
In reply to: Battery software Virus

I've seen such with old batteries. Given the rated 300 cycles this tends to really confuse owners. That is, a battery can be worn out in under a year.
Bob

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