Sunday, February 10, 2008

How to save no money at all by blowing yourself up!

The internet is 90% porn, sure. It's also 9% videos of people with dicks in a box and dancing on treadmills. And .9% people blathering on and on in their blogs. (Ahem.) But here's the cool thing. The internet is also .1% information on how to do anything and everything. Seriously, it's like the cheat codes to the real world. Want to know how to fix your brakes? No problem. Want to know how to hack your phone to work with another phone company? Easy peasy. Want to know how to make a rail gun out of two magnets and a few ball bearings? Go here.

So, when my laptop battery died and wouldn't hold a charge, I was excited to find this video, which explains how to open up the battery and simply replace the lithium-ion batteries inside for much less than the overpriced laptop battery. In the video, the narrator replaced a $100 battery for only $37. Woo-hoo! Especially since Dell wanted over $150 for my laptop battery. Ha! I'll show the bastards!

I'm not an idiot, though. I ordered a new, normal battery first, just in case things went wrong, and managed to get it for about $90 from a discount site. Dell really is a bastard selling those things for $150, especially as they only last for a couple of years.

First thing was to carefully take the battery apart. You're not meant to, and they don't make it easy, but voila!

That's nine lithium-ion batteries inside. Now to figure out what voltage and amps they are. Aaaannndddd... the markings on the batteries themselves are absolutely no help to me at all, it turns out. But it's actually kind of cool, because over the next few hours, I get to reacquaint myself with all the science and math of electricity I had once known.

Like, for instance, if you connect batteries in parallel, they keep the same voltage as each battery, but you add their amps together.

And, I also learned some new stuff. Like, lithium-ion batteries explode if you hook them up wrong.

And when I finally calculated what voltage and amps the individual batteries were and priced them, they were about $9 a pop. Times 9 batteries, and that $81 plus shipping. Versus the $90 I spent on a perfectly good, pre-assembled, non-exploding battery.

So, I was forced to do a little risk/reward calculus. How much money would I have to save in order to risk blowing myself up? After some deliberation, I decided the answer was $35.

So if those batteries drop to $6 each, well, this might just be one hell of an exciting blog.

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