lithium ion batteries

How can I get Microsoft to replace my laptop?

Episode 1412

Johnny from Atlanta, GA

Johnny is a Microsoft developer and he has noticed that his laptop battery has expanded, creating a bulge and warp. So he had to get it repaired. But Microsoft wants $600 to repair it!But there's a silver lining in that Microsoft replaced the laptop for free instead. But it took a few months. Leo says that's irresponsible because a laptop with a bulging battery is basically a bomb waiting to go off. Leo says it's stories like that which led Consumer Reports to ding Microsoft for its terrible long term reliability.

Are electric cars safe for the environment?

Tesla Model S

Episode 1403

Sandra from Fullerton, CA

Sandra hears that the lithium ion batteries in Tesla cars aren't recyclable and that Tesla simply dumps them in the ocean. Leo says that isn't accurate. They are recycling, but they can be difficult to recycle because if they're exposed to the air, the inside of the batteries can catch on fire. They are recyclable and it takes about a decade or two before they will be replaced. By then, the recycling technology will have improved as well.

Could my devices overheat and explode from a power inverter?

Power Inverter

Episode 1382

Manny from Ashtabulah, OH

Manny is a long haul truck driver and he has a lot of gadgets that require AC, so he needs an inverter. What's the best one that will provide power without overheating his gadgets? Leo says that in theory, the gadgets won't take more wattage that they can handle and if they are getting warm or even hot, that's just normal. Well made devices have circuitry that prevents overcharging.

Why do so many devices have non-replaceable batteries?

Nintendo Switch

Episode 1373

Clarence from Chesapeake, VA

Clarence is concerned about the new trend to have irreplaceable batteries in devices, like the new Nintendo Switch. Leo says that iFixIt says the battery in the Switch can be replaced with the right tool and replacement part. It's doable. But there's no user serviceable part for the battery in the iPhone. It's all glued in now. Apple will repair a battery for you, but it can't be done by the user. Clarence's battery should last around 500 complete charges. Once that happens, they are dead.

How can find out if my iPhone is part of the battery recall?

Apple iPhones

Episode 1367

Igor from North Hollywood, CA

Igor has been hearing about battery issues on the iPhone. How can he find out if his is part of the recall? Leo says that Apple has a site that he can check here. Chances are, it may not be part of it. In the end, batteries do fail. They wear out after 500 full recharges. Also, he won't want to run them down and then recharge every time. He should plug it in when he's not using it.

Will my laptop battery die out?

Episode 1296

Jim from Los Angeles, CA

Jim's Lenovo laptop gets a notification that his lithium ion battery is 70% depleted. Leo says that there's a lot of mythology and garbage about LiOn batteries. But what we do know is that a standard battery has a cycle life of about 500 recharge cycles. They've discovered why and are working on designs to make sure batteries never wear out. But that isn't in the current state of the art. You can do things to make sure you get the most out of your battery by 1) never completely depleting your battery and when you do store them, store them half charged.

Is it harmful to use an external battery with my iPhone?

Apple iPhone Battery Case

Episode 1254

Kenny from Temple, TX

Leo says it isn't harmful at all, and Apple even sells an external battery for the iPhone 6/6s. In general with these charging cases, when you charge the case it will also charge the phone. On the Mophie cases, there's a switch for when you want to switch to the battery. When it comes to Lithium Ion batteries, though, the best thing to do is keep it charging. The battery will last longer if it stays charged vs charging and discharging. It's definitely not good to let it fully drain.

How long does the battery last on my tablet?

Episode 1250

Richard from West LA, CA

Richard has a Barnes and Noble Nook reader and he wants to know how many full recharges he gets. Leo says that he'll get about 500 full recharges as any given lithium ion battery will. But Richard hasn't ever run down his phone, keeping it plugged in most of the time. Now he can't recharge it. Leo says that a battery is always going down/up and it could just be worn out.