Bad Battery! Bad.

Sometimes a new cell phone or laptop or even a new battery just doesn’t work  the way you expect — or at all.  A likely reason for such failure is that the battery is just plain bad. A Battery can show up defective right out of the box or drain too quickly after you’ve used it awhile.

In the recent past, Samsung has offered new batteries to purchasers of their Galaxy series cell phones. Obviously, there must have been some bad batteries in their warehouse. But if your device wasn’t part of the battery recall, here are some distinctive characteristics that indicate a bad battery.

Is Your Battery Swollen?

Will your cell phone or laptop spin on a table top? If your device isn’t flat anymore, you should check your battery and see if it is swollen.  The battery might be fat or even squishy.

Swollen Battery

Swollen Battery

This condition could be serious because not only is the battery bad, but there is a remote possibility that it could explode. You definitely need a new battery! And remember to properly dispose of the bad battery at an e-waste facility or send it to us as part of our batteries4less recycling program.

Lithium-based batteries are more likely to swell than other types of batteries.

Is Your Battery Hot?

Electronic devices usually get hot when they are turned on. It’s not a surprise that rechargeable batteries generate heat because batteries are all about electron movement. When you are using your cell phone or laptop at its capacity, like a long call or long use of the GPS, it might get warm, even hot. The heat causes the charge to drain faster. However, if your device gets so hot that it shuts off, the battery is probably bad. If your cell phone is warm when it’s on but you aren’t using it, it is time to get a new battery.

According to CNet, “Overheating batteries typically vent hot gases that can cause serious injuries, so keep your distance.”

Does Your Device have Power?

blank cell phoneIf you turn on your cell phone and nothing happens (no lights, no sound)… it’s likely you have a battery problem. It could be that your battery has expired. It could also be a battery contact problem. Check to see if your battery contacts are clean and straight. You can clean the contacts with an eraser. (Try shaping the eraser to a point with a sharp knife.)

If after cleaning the contacts you still get no power (no lights, no sound), you probably have a bad cell phone battery. On some model of cell phones, you can even check this out by removing the battery, plugging the cell phone into its charger, and turning it on (hold down the Power button for a few seconds). If it comes on without the battery, you know you need a new battery, not a new phone.

Is Your Device Holding Its Charge?

If you use your cell phone’s features a lot (GPS, Bluetooth, music, videos, and games) then your battery might run down fairly quickly. But if you are judicious with your usage and your phone still doesn’t hold a charge, it’s likely time for a new battery.


Here are some guidelines for your equipment:

  • Don’t mix chargers, equipment, and batteries.
  • Be careful with swollen or hot batteries.
  • Dispose of bad batteries properly.

A quick reminder: Batteries run down whether you are using them or not! If your cell phone has been in a drawer for a year, you just might need a new battery!



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