Handling The Menace of Fake Laptop Batteries

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fakebatteries22-7-14Most of us who use a laptop often find it difficult to buy authentic laptop battery. We have seen many instances where a user faces problems after changing the laptop battery; either the laptop goes off or it gives bad battery backup or heating issue or sometimes far more hazardous explosions.
And these days there are many shops which are selling fake batteries openly and it is a huge task for a user to identify which is genuine and which is fake.

In Mobility India we are covering this story to help readers understand the problem and to educate customers to stay out of fake batteries. And is there any third party good option also available in the market that we can trust.

According to Ketan Patel, Director, Computing Category, Printing and Personal Systems, HP India, “At HP, we give extreme importance to original and trusted computing parts and we recommend that consumers should always opt for genuine spare parts. We also advise consumers to check the company security seal and ask for warranty while buying the battery. We suggest that consumers should rely on HP authorized dealers and our exclusive stores, HP World, while buying the spare parts for their devices.”

In the view of S Rajendran from Acer India, “When it comes to replacing old batteries, wecome across two options in the market: one is fakes and other is so called compatibles. For compatibles, sellers say that this battery runs with X, Y,Z brands etc.We strongly recommend that the customers who are buying batteries for the laptop to insist on warranty for 1 year, as this is the first filter point. Second, they need to understand the type of battery their laptop needs: nickel cadmium, NIMH, Li-ion or lithium poly. Some types are simply outdated. For example, nickel cadmium battery is no longer efficient and so no longer is recommended. Next indicator of genuineness is that genuine batteries have stickers revealing the clear brand names, the compatibility, certifications and the battery part number. The safe way to get genuine ones is buyingthem from genuine authorized outlets.”

Explaining the perils of fakes, Amit Chatrath, Head, Home and Small Business Products, Lenovo India. says, “We recommend the customers to buy genuine batteries from authorized resellers and retailers. Brand certificates or authorizations should be sought from the partner who is selling the battery. Compatible batteries can be risk factors as they damage other components like the motherboard, HDD, etc in a laptop. We also recommend that customers should ask for an invoice and take a note of the serial number of the battery purchased.”

As per the views expressed by Dell, “When choosing a battery, the main point you need to consider is the amount of energy the battery can store. This is measured in watt-hours (Wh). For longer runtime per charge, choose a battery with a greater Wh rating. Dell has a rigorous qualification process by which all Dell batteries are validated to ensure proper function, performance and safety. Some non-Dell batteries are available in the market with claims of compatibility with Dell systems. Dell cannot verify these claims and cannot assure the safety of using them in a Dell system. Dell strongly encourages its customers to use only Dell laptop batteries advertised as appropriate for their laptop model. Dell laptop batteries come with a 1-year warranty and they are engineered for optimal safety and performance for Dell systems and theyare supported by Dell’s technical support for the length of the warranty period.”

How fake batteries can harm your laptops?
“Battery is the source of providing specific voltage at a certain current ampere level for which laptop hardware is designed. These voltage and current output should be regulated to specified margin. Fake batteries do not provide the regulated output which can adversely affect the life of hardware components. There are many risks involved in using counterfeit or fake batteries including damage to the notebook’s hardwareand poor performance of the device,” adds, Ketan Patel from HP India.
According to S Rajendran from Acer, “The risk of using cheap fake batteries is that your laptop equipment including motherboard can be damaged. We have seen incidents when motherboards got totally burnt when fake batteries were used.So in the pursuit of low cost battery,the user should not suffer costly damages.”
As per Amit Chatrath, from Lenovo, “A fake battery can damage the motherboard or the hard disk of the device and it can even catch fire. Fakes battery can also lose the strength and capacity to hold charge sooner than the originals.It is difficult to differentiate an original battery from a duplicate one. Hence, for Lenovo batteries we put a 3D hologram on the box where the serial number on the box matches with the serial number on the battery. All our products are packaged in a white retail box, except the Think batteries which are available in brown boxes.”

How to identify a fake laptop battery?
As per the views of Ketan Patel from HP India, “The original components from HP have the security seal on its box and one can easily identify the authentic HP product by its packaging. Original battery includes a higher security structure as well as better quality.”

Explaining about the fakes, S Rajendran says, “For the sake of identification, genuine batteries are tamperproof, have 3D stickers, watermarks, etc. Also if you have a close look at lettering and printing on the package and the product, on fakes you find lots of inconsistencies. So you should be smart enough to check all these points as there is no single way you can identify the genuineness of the product. Even when we are selling in the retail space, we give batteries a good packaging. We also spenda lot on educating the customers and the channel through PR stories, leaflets, etc.We have our Acer service lounge. Acer authorized retail outlets are listed on our website, so when a customer wants to buy a battery, he can check all the authorized outlets in their locality. What we sell in India has a proper seal, proper retail packing and a part number.”

Steps to Control Fakes
“At HP, we try our best generate awareness through EDMs, leaflets, etc among our channel partners about original batteries and fakes. We also take serious measures against partners who involve in malpractices and sell fake components under HP branding,” informs Ketan Patel from HP.

According to Amit Chatrath from Lenovo, “We regularly informand educateour partners about the advantages of using original products. We also spread awareness through informative collaterals like banners and posters in all our stores. We recently conducted legal raids in the markets of Bangalore and Hyderabad for dealers selling counterfeit products.”
According to Dell, “Dell recommends that users replace their batteries with a genuine Dell battery obtained from Dell. When using a genuine Dell battery, you can be assured that you have a battery that has been designed, qualified and manufactured to strict Dell quality standards that offers the users safety and performance.Some non-Dell batteries are available in the market with claims of compatibility with Dell laptops. Dell does not verify these claims or the safety of using them in a Dell laptop. Dell strongly encourages its customers to use only Dell laptop batteries advertised as appropriate for their laptop model. Only Dell batteries are engineered for optimal safety and performance for Dell systems and are supported by Dell technical support for the length of the limited hardware warranty period.”

Which Laptop Battery is Right for You?
Laptop batteries are available according to the model and type which they’ve been designed. All laptop batteries do, however share some common characteristics that differentiate them from regular household batteries. Rechargeable batteries are more complex than standard batteries. This is because the electrochemical reaction that provides power must be reversible. Care has to be taken when recharging them to ensure they perform at their best. Some companies offer used “cheap laptop batteries” for sale, saying that they have refurbished each battery and restored most of its useful life. The fallacy of this is that, although possible to refurbish a second-hand laptop battery, the cost to do so would be more than the price of a new battery. So, “Buyer beware,” and if you must buy discount laptop batteries, better you go for new batteries.

Ketan Patel, Director, Computing Category, Printing and Personal Systems, HP India
Ketan Patel, HP India

According to Ketan Patel, Director, Computing Category, Printing and Personal Systems, HP India, “At HP, we give extreme importance to original and trusted computing parts and we recommend that consumers should always opt for genuine spare parts. We also advise consumers to check the company security seal and ask for warranty while buying the battery.
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S Rajendran ,Acer India
S Rajendran ,Acer India

As per the views from S Rajendran from Acer India, “We definitely want customers who are buying batteries for the laptop to insist on warranty, as this is the first point of filter while it assure that while spending 4tousand rupees I have a warranty of this product for a year.”

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Explaining about the perils of fake – Amit Chatrath, Head, Home and Small Business Products, Lenovo India says that “We recommend that customers buy genuine batteries from authorised resellers and retailers. Brand certificates or authorisations should be sought from the partner who is selling the battery. “
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dell_logoAs per Dell, “When choosing a battery, the main quality that you need to consider is the amount of energy that can be stored in a battery. This is measured in Watt- Hours (Wh). For longer runtime per charge, choose a battery with a greater Wh rating. “
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Laptop Battery Buying Advice:

Every laptop battery hits old age, depending on once usage as how heavily they are using their laptop. On an average a genuine laptop battery lasts from 18-36 months. After that they slip into a slow decline and lose the ability to take a full charge or basically no charge. As in general a typical battery pack can be recharged between 300 and 500 times before the chemicals inside start to wear out, so after that the result that a battery that once powered a system for three hours can now run for only an hour or less. That the time when you need to replace the your laptop battery.

Types of  battery
The next main thing a consumer should look for is the type of battery. Batteries can be made using several chemicals. For laptops, there are four main types. They are Ni-Cad, Ni-MH, Li-Ion, and Li-Poly. There is no major manufacturer that still makes Ni-Cad laptop batteries, as they are a very old and primitive type of power. Ni-MH is newer and more advanced, but is not as good as its Li-Ion and Li-Poly counterparts. If we compare the last three types (Ni-MH, Li-Ion, Li-Poly), we find that Ni-MH batteries weigh more than the other two, but produce less current than the other two. Li-Ion and Li-Poly are the most advanced types of batteries on the market, and you should try to get one of these two types if possible. Most laptops that come with one type of battery can not use any other type of battery, meaning that if your laptop came with a Ni-Cad, it must be replaced by another Ni-Cad. The same goes for the other types. Please note that in some cases, this does not apply. Some laptops that come with a Ni-MH battery can be replaced with a stronger Li-Ion one.

laptop-battery1-30-7-14Options available:
There are two basic types of notebook batteries: the brand-name batteries that the manufacturer sells and the aftermarket batteries that are available from third-party resellers — often for a significantly lower price. But as all of us want to save money, but not if it puts our notebooks at risk. Buying an aftermarket battery often goes against the advice of laptop manufacturers, and in some cases can even void the warranty. So you have to be very sure weather its worth it to save a few bucks?

Other option which you must avoid:
Refurbished battery is an another option that few local shops can offer you. Usually the warranty on this type of battery is very minimal. Refurbished batteries do not hold as much power when compared to new batteries. Also, they can kick the bucket on you randomly since you really do not know how old the battery is. Our recommendation is to to stay away from this.laptop-battery2-30-7-14Our Verdict:
Its always better to buy a genuine laptop battery from the listed authorized center of your brands, as that comes with part number, warranty, and company service option but you might have to shell few extra.If you are looking for a third party option then a one year warranty is a must. Don’t buy any battery with a warranty less than one year. Batteries have been known to die early, and a three month warranty could leave you high and dry.

What to do with your old battery:
Go for recycle, many vendors organize free laptop Battery Recycling Program in India for consumers. So to stop e-trash go for this solution, as this will also stop refurbished or duplicacy.