Is it a good idea to buy an UPS for powering my laptop?

atonement

Junior Member
Jul 16, 2021
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My Acer Nitro 5 laptop from 2018 used to deliver 6-8 hrs backup in moderate workloads for close to 2 years but in the next 6-8 months it fell by nearly half despite only 40-odd battery cycles used.
Sourcing a good quality replacement battery seems to be quite difficult. Official battery is too expensive plus I have to travel quite a bit to the nearest service center to get it done.
Can I instead use an UPS? An APC model was listed with 9V,12A battery. Assuming PF of 0.65 that's 70.2Wh compared to the original 48Wh battery.
Am I way off my mark in my calculations? If not can I at least expect it to give as long as the original battery when brand new? Portability isn't a concern as I use my laptop as more of a desktop replacement. Mostly its plugged in. But occasionally I need it run for 5-6 hours unplugged which is currently not possible as battery backup is down to 3 hours and declining further gradually.
Thanks.
 
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fralexandr

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Apr 26, 2007
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No, lead acid batteries are not meant to be fully discharged as that leads to premature failure. Expect to get about half the rated watt*hours. I would suggest getting a "power station" (basically a lithium battery w/ inverter) that is high enough wattage to power your laptops charger.

The UPS will also typically beep when not receiving power from the wall to warn of a power outage. That can usually be disabled in software.
 
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atonement

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Doesn't look hard. You can always buy oem battery.
Yes it's not difficult. I had to replace the SSD recently on my own. But considering how poorly the original battery fared I don't have any trust in the third-party ones. Most of them have 6 months seller warranty only which is close to worthless. I couldn't find a single OEM battery in Amazon India.
I explored laptop power stations suggested above but very few options available. It looks due to Covid prices are hugely inflated.
I guess I have to buy the official one after all. It could be just like the SSD the original battery could have been defective.
 

Cy_kkm

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I would suggest replacing the battery, or, if you find it impossible, at the least disposing of the failing one. The cells have a tendency to puff up, and I felt quite uneasy finding that my laptop battery had 5 out of its 6 cells pillow-shaped. A couple felt quite hard. I do not know if they rupture or not in the end if not replaced, but I decided not to experiment. Any lithium battery is literally a latent incendiary device.

I bought mine on Amazon, at a half if not less the official HP distributor's price. The distributor was kind enough to put hi-res images of the batteries on the site. :) My original battery had an OEM p/n in the upper left corner, and a note "use HP replacement p/n xxxxx" imprinted at the lower right. The "genuine replacements" photo had that same OEM's p/n, and the HP replacement number in the right corner. And the one I bought had, naturally, exactly the same OEM p/n, and an empty space in the lower-right corner. Do a bit of research, and match the OEM p/n, not the Acer's p/n. Wish you the same luck. Many components, including batteries, are made by third parties anyway, but sold at a huge mark-up as "genuine" replacement parts.

considering how poorly the original battery fared
I'd day 4 years is close to the lifetime of a modern notebook battery. A lot of engineering compromises are designed into them. My laptop was 3 years old when I replaced the battery. It's not the cycles that count. It's the natural tendency of lithium electrodes to grow microscopic metallic dendrite spikes. When they reach the opposite electrode, they melt, causing a bit of discharge. The process accelerates as the battery ages. An ungodly amount of research is done on reducing this problem, but I would not bet an arm that notebook or phone battery manufacturers are eager to use the latest and greatest chemistry: their incentive is totally not to make a battery lasting 20 years. This all goes into car and wind power batteries, the areas where customers would not tolerate a 3 year lifespan of a battery.
 
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atonement

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I would suggest replacing the battery, or, if you find it impossible, at the least disposing of the failing one. The cells have a tendency to puff up, and I felt quite uneasy finding that my laptop battery had 5 out of its 6 cells pillow-shaped. A couple felt quite hard. I do not know if they rupture or not in the end if not replaced, but I decided not to experiment. Any lithium battery is literally a latent incendiary device.

I bought mine on Amazon, at a half if not less the official HP distributor's price. The distributor was kind enough to put hi-res images of the batteries on the site. :) My original battery had an OEM p/n in the upper left corner, and a note "use HP replacement p/n xxxxx" imprinted at the lower right. The "genuine replacements" photo had that same OEM's p/n, and the HP replacement number in the right corner. And the one I bought had, naturally, exactly the same OEM p/n, and an empty space in the lower-right corner. Do a bit of research, and match the OEM p/n, not the Acer's p/n. Wish you the same luck. Many components, including batteries, are made by third parties anyway, but sold at a huge mark-up as "genuine" replacement parts.


I'd day 4 years is close to the lifetime of a modern notebook battery. A lot of engineering compromises are designed into them. My laptop was 3 years old when I replaced the battery. It's not the cycles that count. It's the natural tendency of lithium electrodes to grow microscopic metallic dendrite spikes. When they reach the opposite electrode, they melt, causing a bit of discharge. The process accelerates as the battery ages. An ungodly amount of research is done on reducing this problem, but I would not bet an arm that notebook or phone battery manufacturers are eager to use the latest and greatest chemistry: their incentive is totally not to make a battery lasting 20 years. This all goes into car and wind power batteries, the areas where customers would not tolerate a 3 year lifespan of a battery.
It's much easier to source batteries for Dell/HP than Acer at least online here. I had noticed what looked like a little swelling in one of the cells but 2 Acer technicians dismissed it as of no concern. I will keep a close eye on it. Right now getting 3 hrs backup. Once it falls below 2 hrs I will have to replace it.
I had confirmed with another fellow on NBR forums whose parents had a similar Acer laptop and despite using the it plugged in most of the time the battery still had 80% health after a few years. Maybe just like the SSD the battery was also defective. If I get the official battery I will surely test it thoroughly this time.
Not just in laptops but I guess it's the same for smartphones as well. My 5 year old devices are at 80% health but my current device is down to a little over 70% health after less than 2.5 years.
 

Cy_kkm

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I had noticed what looked like a little swelling in one of the cells but 2 Acer technicians dismissed it as of no concern
Well, it depends on the definition of a "concern," whether it means safety or longevity. From the safety standpoint, the cells should have gas bleed valves, so they're unlikely to rupture and catch fire (but then, the Three Mile Island reactor also had one, and it's failure caused the whole kaboodle; and a laptop battery isn't quite a nuclear-grade tech). But the fact that they are bloating means they are packing up to depart in the Southern direction. The outgassing occurs when the thing I described in my previous reply happens: microns-thin wires grow, short and melt, damaging the electrode at the point of contact. The more times this happens, the more gas is released and more scarred the electrodes become.

And it may depend on how much swelling it is, so I'd probably trust the techs in your case. In the one I disposed of, 1 cell was like new, 3 quite puffed up to a different degree each but still squishy to touch, but the remaining 2 felt more like basketballs. I reached for work gloves and a face shield while handling it. I dunno if they all end their life in this basketball shape and it's alright, or some release contraption failed. And believe me, even having once removed a fragment of a hot Dremel cutting disk from my nostril (ouch!), I usually throw all the prudent personal protection to the wind. I'm a careless guy. Space is big and nostrils are small. But not this time.

I'm sorry that it's so hard to source Acer OEM batteries, I never owned one. That sucks.

Ah, and once there was the time when grass was greener, pretty ladies passing by on bicycles even prettier, and you could remove the battery from a notebook with a flick of a latch. Lithium batteries, regardless of chemistry, can be stored for a decade charged to 40-50% in a fridge, in a zipper bag with a packet of silica gel, with only a minor loss in performance, if pumped up yearly for self-discharge. This was how I stored my digital tape(!!!) camcorder's batteries. But the 65⁰C furnace hell in the guts of a notebook is quite an unhealthy environment for a fully charged battery. I've never seen a notebook or even a 3rd-party hack that would cut off charge at a set point. If there were a way to keep it charged at 40% when you're working at home and don't plan to use the battery for a while (hint: COVID!), it would likely add no less than 50% of usable life to it, despite the heat.
 
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atonement

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Jul 16, 2021
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Well, it depends on the definition of a "concern," whether it means safety or longevity. From the safety standpoint, the cells should have gas bleed valves, so they're unlikely to rupture and catch fire (but then, the Three Mile Island reactor also had one, and it's failure caused the whole kaboodle; and a laptop battery isn't quite a nuclear-grade tech). But the fact that they are bloating means they are packing up to depart in the Southern direction. The outgassing occurs when the thing I described in my previous reply happens: microns-thin wires grow, short and melt, damaging the electrode at the point of contact. The more times this happens, the more gas is released and more scarred the electrodes become.

And it may depend on how much swelling it is, so I'd probably trust the techs in your case. In the one I disposed of, 1 cell was like new, 3 quite puffed up to a different degree each but still squishy to touch, but the remaining 2 felt more like basketballs. I reached for work gloves and a face shield while handling it. I dunno if they all end their life in this basketball shape and it's alright, or some release contraption failed. And believe me, even having once removed a fragment of a hot Dremel cutting disk from my nostril (ouch!), I usually throw all the prudent personal protection to the wind. I'm a careless guy. Space is big and nostrils are small. But not this time.

I'm sorry that it's so hard to source Acer OEM batteries, I never owned one. That sucks.

Ah, and once there was the time when grass was greener, pretty ladies passing by on bicycles even prettier, and you could remove the battery from a notebook with a flick of a latch. Lithium batteries, regardless of chemistry, can be stored for a decade charged to 40-50% in a fridge, in a zipper bag with a packet of silica gel, with only a minor loss in performance, if pumped up yearly for self-discharge. This was how I stored my digital tape(!!!) camcorder's batteries. But the 65⁰C furnace hell in the guts of a notebook is quite an unhealthy environment for a fully charged battery. I've never seen a notebook or even a 3rd-party hack that would cut off charge at a set point. If there were a way to keep it charged at 40% when you're working at home and don't plan to use the battery for a while (hint: COVID!), it would likely add no less than 50% of usable life to it, despite the heat.
As far as I know Dell, Lenovo and Asus have been providing the ability to limit battery charging for some years now. And recently Apple as well I think. This is one "trend" I wouldn’t mind other OEMs aping! I would have otherwise limited battery to 40-60% when plugged in. Temps. aren't an issue as even while gaming the max. battery temp. I have seen is 31°C, mostly in the mid-twenties otherwise. I have been looking into some power stations as well but nothing really stands out. Lack of charging over USB-C is a big drawback. Official battery seems the only viable solution.I don't see the laptop's performance becoming inadequate in the the next 3 years or so.
 
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lagartharagn

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Jan 5, 2022
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It is the best to use ups for your best laptop.
if you face load shading than its better other vise normal backup of any laptop is much enough.
 

Cy_kkm

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As far as I know Dell, Lenovo and Asus have been providing the ability to limit battery charging for some years now.
Yay, wowzers, thank you! I did not know the setting existed in any notebook! My 2018 HP Spectre x360 does not have that. And it's dying, I have a thread here that got no answers, but I'm almost sure it's the mobo. The issue seems really crazy: what does the LED brightness PWM has to do with the LVDS clocking? I found a spot on the case to hit with a small hard rubber mallet with exactly the right force that instantly brings the screen back in sync at the full brightness and all white screen—it does not regain a stable picture by itself any more, and loses it again at a half brightness already, too much to read at night. And it started at 1 notch up from the lowest brightness... The issue worsens day by day. I ordered a Lenovo from Costco yesterday, a latest model with the 11th gen Intel. Thanks for you info. I'll search for the charge limit setting when it arrives. Luck has it, Lenovo is on your list.

Do you perchance know, is it set in BIOS or in the software that comes with the machine? Or an additional download?

(Went googling for it.)
 
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atonement

Junior Member
Jul 16, 2021
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Came across this article https://ownsnap.com/hp-dell-asus-acer-msi-silently-introduced-battery-protection-stop-charge-utility-driver-like-lenovos-vantage-conservation-mode/?
Apparently more manufacturers have started providing this feature. Even bloody Acer but only in 2020 models and later. HP in only Probooks.
I think there has to be BIOS support but it needs a software by the OEM to enable/tweak it. If you are concerned about Linux support at least for Asus it seems it's possible with some terminal commands with an upto date kernel. IIRC in case of Dell it can be done wholly in the BIOS.
 

thecoolnessrune

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Yeah my old zBook G1 had a software option for limiting the battery charge, but my zBook G7 Firefly has no option. It’s strange how random the choice is. Yeah 80% charge is fairly substantial drop in runtime (a “14 hour” run time becomes around 11 hours, and of course a much more realistic 5 hour runtime becomes only 4). But you’ll be enjoying that battery capacity for a lot longer because it makes a huge difference in how long your battery can maintain high state of charge.
 
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atonement

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Jul 16, 2021
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Yeah my old zBook G1 had a software option for limiting the battery charge, but my zBook G7 Firefly has no option. It’s strange how random the choice is. Yeah 80% charge is fairly substantial drop in runtime (a “14 hour” run time becomes around 11 hours, and of course a much more realistic 5 hour runtime becomes only 4). But you’ll be enjoying that battery capacity for a lot longer because it makes a huge difference in how long your battery can maintain high state of charge.
Power cuts fortunately are quite rare where I live and usually don't last for more than an hour if that, so I wouldn't mind limiting charge to even lower, say 60%, if it helps prolong battery life noticeably. The few occasions I need 5-6 hours backup I mostly had the luxury to plan ahead. Laptops are meant to be used plugged in as most seem to severely limit peak performance when running off of battery power. The Apple M1 notebooks seem to be a notable exception. Is this because batteries cannot provide enough power to maintain peak performance? Or it's to prolong battery life at the cost of performance? It seems to be a case of choosing between Calendar aging vs Cycle aging.
Manufacturers don't seem to stock batteries for very long and especially in case of internal batteries third-party alternatives don't seem to be as readily available at least in case of Acer nevermind their actual quality.
I will make sure that the next laptop I buy will have this necessary feature. I have had mostly excellent results with limiting battery charge in my smartphones.
 

clintonalli

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Mar 15, 2022
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My Acer Nitro 5 laptop from 2018 used to deliver 6-8 hrs backup in moderate workloads for close to 2 years but in the next 6-8 months it fell by nearly half despite only 40-odd battery cycles used.
Sourcing a good quality replacement battery seems to be quite difficult. Official battery is too expensive plus I have to travel quite a bit to the nearest service center to get it done.
Can I instead use an UPS? An APC model was listed with 9V,12A battery. Assuming PF of 0.65 that's 70.2Wh compared to the original 48Wh battery.
Am I way off my mark in my calculations? If not can I at least expect it to give as long as the original battery when brand new? Portability isn't a concern as I use my laptop as more of a desktop replacement. Mostly its plugged in. But occasionally I need it run for 5-6 hours unplugged which is currently not possible as battery backup is down to 3 hours and declining further gradually.
Thanks.
UPS is must for powering Laptop
 

lakedude

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Mar 14, 2009
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Having a proper internal battery is going to be preferable to having a big clunky external UPS.

Besides the battery 🔋 chemistry ⚗ issues already discussed the external battery is going to burn up a significant fraction of usable power trying to charge the internal one that is going bad. The portability of a big heavy UPS is another issue. The lead acid batteries in a UPS will not have a better service life. They go bad all the time.

If you really wanted to go external you maybe should remove the internal completely.
 

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