How To Recharge/Repair Your Car Battery

One of the problems in this time of lockdowns and quarantines is that you don’t get to drive much and if you haven’t taken a drive for two weeks or so then you’ll probably find that your battery is dead. One thing that you can do is to jump start your car which should be fine especially in an emergency.

But the best thing to do is actually to charge your battery and this is where a car battery charger comes in. It plugs into your main outlet and then you have clamps that connect to the battery.

If your battery is badly deteriorated, you will need to repair. The deterioration is caused by the buildup of lead sulfate crystals in the battery cells and this is what prevents the battery from holding a charge. The lead sulfate crystals can be removed by charging with low voltage pulses. Once the crystals are removed the battery should be able to hold the charge again.

You just have to wait until the battery becomes full. This will take quite a while especially for repair.

A car battery charger this is definitely a good addition to your car toolkit. So aside from jump starting you now have the option of charging or repairing your battery as well.

MacBook Pro Battery Replacement

My MacBook Pro’s trackpad hasn’t been clicking properly for a while. It requires considerable effort to push and doesn’t provide much tactile feedback. I didn’t really mind it too much since I just use taps and gestures. I thought it was just my Mac getting old.

But I eventually learned that it is a common issue with MacBooks. It turned out that the battery is swelling and impinges on the trackpad pushing it upward and preventing the full range of motion. Now it’s either an accident or a clever design feature of MacBooks, but when the trackpad act erratically, people would then go to the shop and have it serviced thus averting a possible battery disaster. Of course, that didn’t work in my case :P

One solution offered by people on the net (always taken with a grain of salt, or more) is pricking the battery cells to release the trapped gases that caused the swelling. Intentionally creating a mini ecological disaster in your workspace at best or obliterating it with a mini explosion. Uh huh. Not for me.

The best solution is replacing the battery. But I’m not about to blow away several thousands to replace the battery of a 4-year old laptop. So the next best thing is to find a cheaper non-OEM replacement part. I found one from PCPartPH. They deliver via courier but I wanted mine right away so I did a “meet up”. Transaction was quick and easy and as soon as I got back home, I installed the new battery.

So far so good though I noticed capacity is not per specification (3980mAh vs 5200mAh). I’ll observe for a few days and see how it goes.

Energizer XP1000

My usage pattern (heavy mobile browsing, moderate SMS, and some calls) coupled with Smart’s poor 3G network coverage results in dismal battery performance of my iPhone 4S. Despite my best efforts, standby is at only 20 hours with usage of around 4 hours and that already includes my sleeping time. Fully charged in the morning, I get up to12-14 hours of standby before I need to recharge. Usually, I’m back home by then. But that means I have a problem when I’m away for more than half the day.

My solution is the Energizer XP1000. It is a small (about the size of 1/3 a deck of cards) and light emergency charger and backup battery. It has a “universal” charging cable that allows you to charge the XP1000 via a USB port and charge different devices by attaching different tips  or connectors for different standards/devices. The package includes tips for mini-USB, micro-USB, iPhone/iPod, and Nokia.

The XP1000 specifications claims it stores a charge for a year, can be recharged up to 500 times, and is rated at 1000mAh. It charges my iPhone 4S from almost empty to just over 50% in around 2 hours. Not bad. That should give me an extra 6-7 hours of standby and a corresponding amount of usage. My only quibble is that the universal charging cable makes carrying the XP1000 around in your pocket a bit less convenient. But it’s not a problem if you have a gadget bag.

Rating: 4/5

iPhone Heat and Battery Issues

I’ve been noticing that the iPhone strangely heat ups while just sitting on the table or in my pocket. That can’t be good for the battery and indeed it’s not. Even when fully-charged in the morning before going to work, it doesn’t last more than 3PM. Yesterday it even died right after lunch.

I’ve tried so many things: Turning off location-based services (negligible), turning off 3G (extra 2 hours), reset network settings (no effect), reset all settings (no effect), etc all to no avail. But I finally, I stumbled upon a solution that made a huge difference.

I read in a MacWorld article that it could be a sync issue. So I downloaded the recommended System Activity Monitor and tried troubleshooting as described in the article. Indeed even at standby, the processors were registering 10% or so usage. It led me to think that maybe my Google Exchange calendar, mail, and contacts are the culprit.  Is Google that evil? :P

So I deleted my Google Exchange account. I immediately noticed the processors registering less than 5%. I recreated the Google Exchange account and observed. Processor usage remained at less than 5% on standby. I continued observing the whole day today and, with defaults (3G and location services) on, it hit 10% battery at 14 hours standby and 6 hours usage. And it no longer heats up unless used heavily. Huge improvement!

UPDATE: Problem returned. I’ll try removing the Google Exchange account again.

UPDATE: Removing the Google Exchange account didn’t work either. So I setup as new phone and then recreated the account. Seems to be working fine now. But I noticed low 3G signal really drains the battery. I guess nothing more can be done short of changing providers.

Motolite Express Delivery

Your car out of battery? Thankfully, this usually happens in the parking and not in the middle of the road. This is exactly what happened to me this afternoon. Good thing there’s Motolite Express Delivery. Just dial 370-6686 and you can have a new battery delivered and installed in about an hour. I was able to pay by credit card, and even got a P300 credit for the trade-in value of the old battery. Running out of battery is inconvenient but less so with Motolite Express Delivery!