Laptop battery safety check

Recently, there was an issue with some laptops used at the lab having bulging batteries, which posed a fire risk. Everyone who uses a computer, especially a laptop, should periodically check the safety, integrity and charge rate of their computer batteries. Let’s make this the first instance of an annual exercise.

Please take a moment today to examine the battery in your computer for the following:

1. Safety and integrity
2. Charge level

Here are the steps you can take for each:

Safety and integrity
This is by far the most important thing to check with regards to your computer batteries.

1. Looking at the underside of your device, examine the outside casing for bulges or cracks (see photos below).
2. If possible, physically remove the battery from your computer (This will depend on the model of your computer, as some models do not have removable batteries).

  • When placing the battery on a flat surface, does it sit flat or does it rock back and forth?
  • When placing the battery back in the laptop, make sure it fits easily and is even.

If there are any issues with your battery, discontinue use immediately and place it off to the side. Do not place the battery back in the computer. To dispose of your battery and to request a replacement, contact the Service Desk.

Charge level
Over time, a battery’s charge level decreases. This is normal. If your computer turns off as soon as it’s unplugged from a power source, or if there’s a flashing battery light when you plug it in, it’s time for replacement. To dispose of your battery and to request a replacement, contact the Service Desk.

Rich Eckert is a Fermilab Windows desktop engineer.