Thursday, July 19, 2012

Exhibit A, M'Lud...

Right on cue, to prove my point about laptops and short calendar life induced by heat, my data logger laptop upstairs chewed up and spat out it's 6 month old lithium ion battery pack this morning.

The machine has been running hot for some time, the fan whirring like mad but not blowing out much air.  The poor machine is worked hard as it also records two CCTV cameras as well.

Then this morning, the battery LED on the machine was blinking orange.  Uh, oh.  Not good.

I pulled the DC cable out to see if the battery had any power and the machine fell over immediately.  No good.  No good.

Pulled the battery pack and it was hot in one spot, just where it was next to the heat sink assembly on the motherboard.  The heat had evidently cooked one cell, ageing it.  When things cooled down I tried again, but the pack was stone dead.

So it was screwdriver time for the laptop to find out why the thing was getting so hot.  The fan was working but just not working well.

About 20 screws later, I'd got the thing into all it's bits and could lift out the motherboard with the integral heat sink and blower.  I blew out the copper matrix exhaust with high pressure air and wads of fluff like candy floss came tumbling out of the intake.  How did all that stuff get in there???  I half expected a small mammal to come out with all the nesting material that it looked like was in there!

Anyway, with that done and the 20 screws put back where they came from, the laptop runs cool and the fan just spins slowly without making the ineffectual roaring noise it did before.  I salvaged a battery from another dead clone laptop and so we'll see how long this one lasts! 

I only put a battery in the machine as a UPS so that I can swap the AC adaptor from solar to grid power without having to reboot the machine, abusing the battery for my convenience (like I said in the previous article :D ).

There you have it, a first hand example of "accelerated ageing" testing.

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