My ailing laptop (part 1)

The broken screen

My 3-year-old laptop is falling apart. One of the screen’s two hinges is broken and it’s no longer possible to close the laptop. Also the screen is coming away from the actual frame. It appears to be a common fault with this particular Dell laptop.

On YouTube I found a couple of videos that show the procedure for replacing hinges – it’s not easy and essentially requires completely dismantling the laptop. The removal of a dozen components and millions of screws (and putting it back together) is not for the faint-hearted. I’m a software guy, I don’t do hardware! With this in mind I decided to postpone attempting a repair and instead opted for a new laptop (a Dell!) and perhaps attempting a repair on the old one at some future time.

The failing battery

So now I have two functioning laptops, the old one with the screen hanging off, and the nice, new, shiny one. But suddenly the battery on the old laptop has started to generate warning messages about how it’s about to fail. I’m hoping that a failed battery means that a laptop will continue to work from mains power, but it’s a bit of a nuisance having a permanently trailing power cable.

With a dodgy hinge and a failing battery one might consider writing off the old laptop, but it’s still functioning and it’s a high-spec machine, so I decided to search for a replacement battery.

Replacing a laptop battery

Dell don’t stock replacement batteries so it’s necessary to take a chance on a compatible battery. Choose from,, and several others. There’s no way of knowing the quality of their products, who makes them, whether they’re safe, whether they hold their charge. It’s pot luck. I went for I thought it was based in the UK. The log from the delivery company, UPS, show it’s not a UK company, it’s Polish. I’m not happy and in two minds whether to cancel the order and even to write off the £40 cost of the item. I decided to wait for the item to be delivered and take it from there. I may just decide to live with a failing / failed battery and only fit the replacement battery if absolutely necessary. It worries me that I don’t know whether the new battery will be safe. I’m open to any suggestions / recommendations.