- How do I figure out which batteries will be compatible with my laptop?
- I hear that batteries from other major computer manufacturers, like Lenovo and Dell, are trust-worthy. Can I use them in my Sony laptop?
The batteries are unique
The batteries aren't like dry cells, with a few standard sizes common to everything. They are very specific, and not interchangeable between computer manufacturers, often not even between different models by the same company. So you can't use batteries designed for another brand. Even if they contain the same internal cells, they won't physically fit in your laptop.
Battery Model Number
The battery will have its own battery model number, usually included on a label on the battery (it might be on a face hidden when the battery is plugged into the laptop). You can also typically find it listed on the computer manufacturer's web site, either under the laptop specifications or a link to accessories or replacement parts.
In your case, Sony has dropped support and no longer offers replacement batteries. These are generally available in the marketplace for most laptops, even very old ones. You can Google the laptop model number, and battery suppliers will have it cross-referenced with the appropriate battery.
I won't get into the usual common-sense caveats that apply to most purchases -- researching the vendor reputation, not blindly trusting claims of matching specs without verifying against the OEM specs, checking return privileges and warranties, etc.
I found specs for your battery at a battery supplier selling genuine OEM batteries: http://www.laptopbatteryexpress.com/Sony-Brand-Vaio-VGP-BPS24-Laptop-Battery-p/sony-vgp-bps24.htm (The same supplier has a third party battery at half the price). BTW, I know nothing about this vendor or the third party brand they sell, and didn't research any reviews, myself.
Your battery model number is VGP-BPS24. The relevant specs for the Sony OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) battery:
- 11.1 Volts
- 4400 mAh or 49 Whr
- 6 Cell Li-ion
- 300-500 recharge cycles
- You can expect about 3 - 4 hours of run time with this computer battery when new, depending on your energy use.
OEM vs. Third Party Replacements
I've had bad luck in general with third party batteries. There are previous, related questions on Super User where users swear by generic batteries they've used and think people are nuts to pay for OEM batteries. I've mainly sworn at them, so obviously, this is a case where YMMV. I've had many that were dead on arrival or failed in less than a year. Such failures are generally covered by warranty, but there's the hassle factor of having it fail when you need it, and having to deal with the exchange and delay.
OEM batteries are pretty universally high quality. However, you pay a hefty price premium. In your case, the OEM battery is extremely pricey, and there is a significant potential cost saving for a generic replacement. The main things I would consider in choosing are:
- The warranty (a multi-year warranty at no additional cost reflects on the quality; an optional, extra cost warranty extension from the reseller, available for everything they sell, may not).
- The internal cells are manufactured by a major brand name manufacturer (a name you recognize). This will be advertised if it is the case.
- Reseller reputation and return provisions.
- Customer reviews of the product, especially the percentage that are low ratings and the reasons given.
From your comments:
So you would suggest, I buy a battery with almost the same specifications as my old one so that it is compatible?
The battery must be the same model number. If it's a third party version, it will probably say "replacement for...", which is OK.
- The physical package will need to match exactly to fit in the laptop.
- The voltage should be an exact match.
The capacity (mAh) should be the same or very close.
If it is less, you will get less run time and it would make me question how similar the cells are if they are less by a lot.
Sometimes, the 3rd party version will have slightly more capacity. I would question it if the difference isn't trivial because it should be hard to get more capacity with matching chemistry in the same package.
So this means that I should not go for one with higher capacity, right?
I would use a criterion of the capacity being within roughly 5%. The OEM battery is rated at 4400 mAh, so I would expect the replacement to be within about 4200 to 4600 (the values are typically rounded to 100's). My rationale:
Any lower would suggest inferior or smaller cells and less capacity.
The thickness of the plastic shell can affect how much room it has for the cells. They can squeeze in slightly larger cells if the shell has thinner walls and they are more clever in their use of space. I would question the hype if they claimed more than about 4600 in the same shell.