If you have an old laptop battery, it is more than likely a lithium-ion battery. This was the technology, first developed in the early 90s, that made so much modern technology possible. A lithium-ion battery is well known for providing a massively increased power output, impressive charge cycle times, and the ability to be integrated into a smart battery system.
Li-ion technology has been constantly developed and refined, making more efficient all of the benefits that those original models provided. Today, advanced li-ion batteries are responsible for the USB rechargeable smart batteries produced by high-tech startups like Pale Blue Earth out of Park City, Utah as well as making possible nothing less than the electric cars that are already revolutionizing our world.
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How Batteries Degrade
Nevertheless, even the most advanced li-ion battery is still subject to the slow degradation that is a feature of every battery that has ever existed. There is an essential principle underlying this process of degradation, and it still applies in all cases. Every completed charge cycle reduces a batteries lifespan, or in other words the capacity to hold power the next time it is charged up. The process is a familiar one – they begin to run out quicker, and eventually they stop working altogether.
However, considering what a remarkable piece of technology a li-ion battery is, you might be wondering if there is anything you can do with an old li-ion laptop battery. Do they have any use at all?
Reusing Your Laptop Battery
Sadly, if you are thinking of reusing your old laptop battery for any of the uses that it previously had, you will be out of luck. Nevertheless, if you are planning to get a bit creative with your DIY or to simply have a bit of fun, there is actually a great deal you can do with an old li-ion laptop battery. Here are some ideas:
A li-ion laptop battery is typically made up of li-ion cells. Each of these in an old battery will actually be able to hold a charge, just not enough to power your laptop anymore. Nonetheless, by taking apart your laptop battery and hooking up the cells to things that use a lot less power, you might find that there is enough power in these little cells to work for these simple devices. A great idea is LED or bicycle lights. Depending on how old your laptop battery is (and how degraded it is) you might find that they go dark a bit too fast. In many cases though, it could certainly work.
A Solar-Powered Generator
This one requires a bit of DIY and a few extra components, but an old laptop battery can be pretty successfully turned into a brand-new solar-powered generator. The trick is to take apart the battery and harvest the cells that still work. With a couple of wires, a charge controller, an inverter, and a small solar panel, you can make yourself a brand-new power source.
A DIY Magnet Holder
After harvesting the working cells from your old laptop battery, they can be put to good use as a magnet holder. Even dead battery cells still feature magnetic ends. By sticking them all together and attaching magnets to these, you can create quite a quirky – or even decorative – magnet holder.
Of course, if you don’t have the time or inclination to explore any of these options, you should endeavor to recycle your old battery as best you can. But before that, it cannot harm to see what interesting new uses you can find for these remarkable items.