Something You Should Know About Batteries

Bat­ter­ies can swell and deform with time. This is a lesson I learned by chance just yes­ter­day, when tak­ing my lap­top in for a repair.

I had been hav­ing prob­lems with my Mac­book Pro for the past week or so. The touch­pad would be click­ing on just about every­thing, even as I was typ­ing; caus­ing the text cur­sor to jump to wherever the mouse was and while mov­ing the mouse/touchpad it would click on every­thing in its path. As you might imag­ine, this made vir­tu­al­ly every­thing impos­si­ble to get done, with­out becom­ing quite frus­trat­ed.

I took it to the Apple store for diag­nos­tics and the first thing the tech­ni­cian checked was the bat­tery. He first noticed that the bat­tery door was not tight­ly closed. He pulled the bat­tery out and set it on the coun­ter, dis­cov­er­ing that it wasn’t flat, as it should be; there was actu­al­ly a bul­ge in it. 

The deformed bat­tery put pres­sure on the touch­pad caus­ing it to mis­fire clicks almost con­stant­ly. 90% of the mac­book pros he sees with touch­pad prob­lems are due to bat­tery defor­ma­tion.

Replac­ing the bat­tery fixed the prob­lem com­plete­ly. This can hap­pen on any­thing with a bat­tery. It has even hap­pened to larg­er bat­tery back­up sys­tems, caus­ing bat­ter­ies to become stuck in racks.

The tech­ni­cian told me a sto­ry about a 911 emer­gen­cy cen­ter with a bat­tery back­up array on a rack. Over time the­se bat­ter­ies enlarged; when it came time to replace them, they real­ized that they couldn’t even get them out of the racks any­more! They had to pay some pro­fes­sion­als high dol­lars to safe­ly remove the bat­ter­ies.

So the lesson from this, is be aware that not only do bat­ter­ies have a lim­it­ed lifes­pan and even­tu­al­ly fail to hold a good charge; but they may also become dis­fig­ured and dam­age or dis­able equip­ment. Who knows, if left unchecked for long enough, they might even break open and leak out chem­i­cals.

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