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Tech: PC Internal Batteries

GUEST,punkfolkrocker 13 Mar 09 - 10:45 AM
robomatic 13 Mar 09 - 11:38 AM
Newport Boy 13 Mar 09 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 13 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM
Austin P 13 Mar 09 - 12:48 PM
John J 13 Mar 09 - 01:00 PM
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Subject: Tech: PC Internal Batteries
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 10:45 AM

Hi, I have just regained access to a couple of retail boxed P4 PC's that are approx 6 years old.

[aquired for a music project-studio that failed to get off the ground
due to the bass player making the singer pregnant,
and the lead guitarist moving to europe in a sulk because he also fancied her..]

These PCs have been stored in dry clean conditions and should be ok to use.

My only concern is what state the internal batteries may be in.
I am not an expert computer user, so need your helpful advice.

How likely is it that the batteries may now be flat,
or even have leaked and damaged surrounding components;
maybe to the extent that the motherboard is a write-off ?

If they are only flat, but not corroded, would the PC's still work ?
Or are the batteries absolutely vital for normal day to day use.

I presume they are replaceable, but what are the chances they may be soldered to the motherboard ?

I've just had to throw away a lot of similar aged unused sealed-packaged rechargable batteries
that had leaked whilst in storage.

Ps, the other thing that I remember people talking about a few years ago,
was shoddy manufactured 'capaciters' [I think ?]
that blew up and failed.
Would that have only happened if powered up,
or again is it something that could deteriorate unused in storage ?

I'm hoping to use them for music recording and editing
because they should still be perfectly adequate for 8 to 16 track mixes.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC Internal Batteries
From: robomatic
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 11:38 AM

There are certain capacitors which fail, but I think they fail under use. In my experienced they 'belly out' sort of like cans of food that are going bad. If the caps are small this might be hard to detect.

I've had board batteries die on me after a few years, both times on Macintosh mortherboards. the computers didn't function without the batteries and once replaced they booted up fine. In that case, the batteries were fixed in small plastic cages which allowed a simple removal/replacement. I don't really know what long term storage would do for them but if the computers boot okay I wouldn't worry about them, in other words, I wouldn't replace them until they failed. The computers are probably not worth much more than the batteries at this stage.

Good luck

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Subject: RE: Tech: PC Internal Batteries
From: Newport Boy
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 12:10 PM

After 6 years, the batteries may well be dead. I've not had one leak yet, and I've just checked my old i486 board.

Few PCs of the last 10 years have batteries soldered in place, and replacement is straightforward. Even if you don't replace the battery, the PC should still work normally. It may not recognise the hard drive, in which case go to the BIOS and tell it to autodetect. It will almost certainly do a Rip Van Winkle impression and insist it's Jan 1, 1989.

The battery powers the CMOS memory, which usually holds only the clock time and the hard disk parameters.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC Internal Batteries
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM

hi, thanks for quick reassuring and informative replies.

I intended to mention that they are 'brand new' completely unused
never taken out of their boxes..
[but that got accidently edited out whilst copy & pasting] I'm trying desparately hard not to remind myself
they cost a total of about £1600 of Band development budget
back then..

Another thing thats just occured,
possibility the Harddrives might have seized up due to inactivity..
so they might need to be replaced !!!???

btw, this has also reminded me to search in storage for an active Bass guitar
and a strat copy with active pickups that haven't had a battery health check up
in the last few years... oh bugger...

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Subject: RE: Tech: PC Internal Batteries
From: Austin P
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 12:48 PM

As newport boy said, If the battery is dead, it will boot up up with its factory failsafe settings with a date like Jan-1-2002 or whatever. You can buy replacement batteries at any computer store but they will ask stupid money.

Go down to the local recycling centre and get a few from dead computers or motherboards, they will be happy to let you have them for free or 50p. Easy to extract with a small screwdriver (there is usually a clip at one side - push it back and the battery pops out).

Tip: Don't put the batteries in your pocket, small change shorts them out and sets your trousers on fire ... ;O)


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC Internal Batteries
From: John J
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 01:00 PM

Re: Capacitors. If you're concerned about them failing you can 'reform' them. I would suggest the simplest way of doing that in your case is to switch the PC on for a few seconds - before it goes into it's boot routine, then switch off. Do this a few times over a couple of hours and it will help enormously.

Re: Batteries. It's most likely the batteries are 3v Lithium, probably CR2032 coin cell types. 2032 means 20mm dia x 3.2mm thick. Lithium cells have a very long shelf life of 10 years or even more. Cheapest place to pick them up is you local 'cheapo' supermarket or a market stall. I bought some recently for 35p each.

Soldered-in batteries tended to be rechargeable 3.6v (NiCd or NiMH).


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