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Photo: Ed Yourdon

For a writer there’s nothing worse than your laptop battery punking out when you’re on the road. Except when your backup laptop’s battery punks out, too.

I WAS REALLY AT wit’s end last week, when not just one but both of my laptops died the night before a trip. “I’m going to walk over to Staples to check out laptop prices,” I told my husband, who reminded me that we weren’t exactly in the market for making a big purchase.

He fancies himself something of a handy man, so he logged on to YouTube and entered the search phrase: “laptop battery hack.” He found this video, then bought replacement Lithium batteries and a soldering kit for about $20.00. Thirty minutes later, voila: a laptop battery almost as good as new… and for a price that was a lot more comfortable than the cost of a new laptop.

Community Connection:

There’s another reason why the battery hack trick is good: it keeps dead batteries out of landfills. To get some perspective on where your e-waste goes, check out the photo essay, “Intolerable Beauty: Chris Jordan Photographs American Mass Consumption.”

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About The Author

Julie Schwietert

Julie Schwietert Collazo is a writer, editor, researcher, and translator currently in New York, formerly of Mexico City and San Juan.

  • vmcalves

    Thanks Julie – perfect timing for me, as my laptop battery has been lasting about, hmmm, 2 to 3 minutes lately. Will look into the same solution!

  • Michelle

    This is exactly the kind of thing I wish I could just come up with. I never would have thought of just building my own battery. Very smart.

  • Turner

    Again, good timing – I get about 10 min on this thing.

  • Ryukyu Mike

    Excellent piece. THe Dell in the video looks just like the piece of crap sitting on the bar next to me. Battery died about a year ago, so, I just keep it plugged-in allthe time. Costs alot more to get the battery shipped from US to Japan. I can probably save over $100. You do have to be careful soldering on a lithium battery, though. Not just eye protection; they can explode and castrate you. Maybe I’ll teach the wife to solder !

  • Julie

    Glad this proved so timely for several readers! And Mike- thanks for the warning… fortunately, both laptop and husband are intact! :)

  • kimayou Meigui

    Great tip to save all of us chained to the computer while travel frustration against the dead battery! I just wish I trusted myself not to cause the batteries to explode! I might find a friend who does things like this as a hobby…

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