How to Replace a Laptop Battery on the Cheap

Last Updated Jun 21, 2010 10:56 AM EDT

Here's a hard truth: all laptop batteries die eventually. Usually it happens gradually, with the battery holding less and less of a charge over time, but sometimes a battery just gives up the ghost without warning. Either way, a replacement may cost you upwards of $100, and possibly more.

If you're handy with a soldering iron, or know someone who is, you may be able to "refresh" your existing battery for a lot less.

See, inside the casing of many laptop batteries lies nothing more than fairly commonplace lithium-ion batteries. You can buy replacements for the cells, swap 'em in (that's where the soldering comes in), put the casing back together, and get back to work -- all for as little as $40-50. This video provides a great example:

Obviously this requires a little bit of electrical skill, but I think it's well worth the effort (unless, of course, your laptop is under warranty and the battery qualifies for replacement).

If you have any experience performing laptop-battery surgery, hit the comments and tell your fellow readers what they should know.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.