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I've got an oldish D820 that's got a 100% dead battery.

I know that I could, in theory, take it apart and replace bad cells in the battery. I'm not really comfortable with doing that.

I also know that there are various places that sell replacement batteries for 20% to 80% of the cost that Dell would charge.

Does anyone have any experiences with buying more than a couple of these off-brand batteries? If a battery goes boom, it could be really ugly, so I'd rather not risk it, but at the same time, the dell batteries are really expensive...

Any opinions on these ebay / off-brand battery vendors?

Thanks!

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Although somewhat subjective, it is a genuine question. –  David Pearce Jun 14 '10 at 5:22
    
What battery technology? NiMH? Li-ion? If it is with lithium then you should not tinkle with it, it may say "boom" (may be when tinkling, may be afterward). –  Vi. Jun 14 '10 at 12:57
    
I have very old Toshiba laptop (only 4 MB of RAM). It's NiHM battery was down to 0.0V for a long time. But I managed to charge it up. Now we use still use it with a bit modified power supply connection (usual power jack is also broken). –  Vi. Jun 14 '10 at 13:01
    
I'd give an answer but I've only ever bough replacements from the manufacturer. At least, if it has issues you know you can track down the company that made it and get a replacement/refund. That, and the power supply are the only parts that I insist on buying stock. –  Evan Plaice Jun 15 '10 at 8:16
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4 Answers

I just bought a "genuine, original" (maybe counterfeit or factory second?) Dell battery off a chinese ebay vendor for $250 less than Dell wanted.

It works great so far (still get 3 hours or so, 2 years later).

If anyone is interested I wrote a detailed post about it: Dell 1720 Laptop replacement battery and power adapter .

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We run countless Dell Laptops. We have bought replacement batteries for quite a few of these. Some have been non-dell replacement batteries. I can happily say we haven't noticed much difference between the Dell Batteries and the non Branded replcement batteries.

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What vendor did you use for the non-dell brand batteries? –  chris Jun 14 '10 at 13:19
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We bought from ITCSales.co.uk –  Joe Taylor Jun 17 '10 at 14:54
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Well, it depends :-). I have bought numerous replacement batteries (they being essentially a consumable item), and never "original parts".

I believe it is just like with all other consumer items:

  • "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is", but OTOH, the most expensive item is often not the best
  • Buy from a vendor you trust.

I bought most of my replacement batteries either off ebay, or from big battery retailers (online), and had no serious problems. One battery went dead after a few weeks, but I got a replacement.

So I believe buying from a reputable vendor is probably at least as good as an "original" battery.

BTW, I recall reading that there are only a handful producers of LiIOn batteries in the world anyway. So it's quite likely that the no-name battery and the original part actually come from the same factory...

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I think most modern lithium ion batteries have a bunch of electronics around the battery to prevent overcharging and other stuff like that. I'd be worried that the cheaper companies would "save" some money by cheaping out on these parts. Or by using lower tier battery modules. The savings have to come from somewhere... –  chris Jun 14 '10 at 14:14
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@chris: Well, the savings might also come out of the outrageous margins that the manufacturer charges for the batteries :-). But you're right, that's why I'd recommend a reputable vendor. However, the manufacturer will not necessarily be the most reputable vendor... –  sleske Jun 14 '10 at 15:00
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Although I have not tried them myself, the problem with the cheaper batteries (and most things in general) is that you get what you pay for. Sure, Dell batteries are super expensive so they make more money, but if you use them you know you are protected under warranty and all sorts of stuff like that. You are pretty much guaranteed a particular lifespan for how long the battery should last (depending on which country you are in).

Sure, you might find a bargin, but personally, I would not chance it.

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Well, if you buy a new battery, you will have the legal guarantee (depending on jurisdiction), plus any guarantee the dealer offers you. Whether you buy from OEM or 3rd party does not make a difference in this respect. Of course, the OEM's guarantee terms may be better, but then again they might not be. So just compare and buy where you get the best offer (not just on price, but price+guarantee+trust in vendor). –  sleske Jun 20 '10 at 19:59
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