Bulging Battery and Planned Obsolescence?

Discussion in 'Systems' started by SireOblivion, Jan 30, 2018.

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  1. SireOblivion

    SireOblivion Active Member

    Yesterday I got to work and found something strange about my trackpad, it looked deformed and part of it was definitely raised up. I had a suspicion that my Battery was bulging and sure enough I turned the laptop over and one of the corners was raised up. I guess the pressure was great enough to push the screw out of that corner as well because I found it loose in my backpack, so luckily I didn't lose it. I opened up the laptop to remove the battery because I don't want to run the risk of this thing exploding and ruining the rest of the computer in the process and because I didn't know how much strain it would be able to take:

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    I purchased my Blade at the end of 2016, so it's the late 2016 model with the GTX 1060; my warranty ended in October so I'm left with two options, replacing the battery myself or going through Razer to do so the former being about $100 for a replacement battery that I can easily install myself or probably several times that through Razer while not having a laptop for a week plus. The choice is obvious.

    I love the laptop to death and it replaced my desktop that I ended up selling, but I've had a fair share of problems with an RMA for a faulty motherboard that wouldn't even allow the computer to turn on months after I bought it, weird white spots on parts of the monitor and now this battery that's giving out just over a year out. As a Razer faithful who's invested a lot into the brand, this is majorly disconcerting but maybe I had some super edge-case scenario where I just had poor luck of the draw...

    However...

    I know someone who specializes in Razer Blade repairs and I went to him for advice as to what happened that caused this on the battery and his response was "nothing you did caused that, it was just poorly made." He continued by saying Razer's design for their batteries is just bad all around because they're designed for high storage but quickly lose capacity and tend to fail. I've also seen him post pictures of failed batteries that are bulging severely. To quote him "they're designed to last a year." To me this kinda stinks of planned obsolescence and puts a pretty bad taste in my mouth. I'm now weary of getting another Blade which I was planning to get if the new line of Nvidia mobile GPUs hit the market and we get a refresh but now I think I'll have to look at other brands (The Aero 15x looks really tempting).

    I'm not looking to get a free repair or a call to pitchforks, but I have just one question: Has anyone had their Blade long term without any issues? I get that everything wears down with time, but less just over a year out I've had two massive issues with my Blade and I paid a premium for seemingly nothing. I've never had such issues with any electronic device after this short of a time frame, or even this troublesome in it's complete life-time. The worst part is the seemingly manufactured issues Razer themselves have implemented or somehow overlooked.
     
  2. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    I’m pretty sure they are already put this on their note since it’s not first thread about it. I had Blade 2015 around 2 years without battery issue and I didn’t also heard problems from the buyer after his 1 year usage. I hope my Blade 2017 will also hold like my old one.
     
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  3. Adondriel

    Adondriel New Member

    You may have to replace your battery yourself. I bought one from china, and it was the exact same battery, works perfectly and the repair is SUPER easy.
    http://www.cheap-laptop-batteries.com/laptop-battery/razer-betty.htm this is where I bought mine from, but amazon seems to have one for only 90$ right now.
    https://www.amazon.com/ZTHY-RZ09-01...-RZ09-01020101-RZ9-01021101-R3U/dp/B071P775ST
    and ifixit has a good guide on how to replace the battery. Batteries die, it happens. Late 2016, I mean yea, my laptop is from 2014, and my battery died on me because I overcharged it. I bought this one about about a year or so later, so depending on how often you use it, it isn't uncommon to see a LiPo battery die within 2 years, as their life cycle count (# of full charge -> depletion cycles) isn't super high.

    If your laptop is out of warranty, I suggest doing the replacement yourself, it's honestly super easy, you just gotta get the tools, which are super cheap. If I remember right, they wanted like, $300+ for them to replace the battery out of warranty.

    (If you are worried about buying it from china, don't ALL the batteries in the world are pretty much manufactured in china... unless you buy Tesla batteries... from the Tesla battery factory that isn't even open yet.)

    Link to guide:
    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Razer+Blade+14-Inch+(2013)+Battery+Replacement/40190

    On the topic of "planned obsolescence" I don't think this is true, I think the designers were tasked with fitting all of the parts inside the laptop, and they did just that. They designed the components to fit the shape, and a side effect of that, is that you get slightly unstable batteries, apparently. Actually, mine never failed on me, it only failed because I was stupid and left it plugged in for 3 months, without using it. No wonder it died on me. So, you may have just gotten a bad battery, that had a shorter life span, or it may have just lived it's life to the full extent. Think about how this would have shown itself in a different laptop, the laptop would have just started to last shorter amounts of time, or just not holding nearly as much charge as it should. It's the same issue, you just gotta go buy another battery. "It's designed to last a year" is bullshit, they don't design for failure. They design to fit it into the space allocated. You were probably just unlucky, or there could be a flaw in the manufacturing, but it's not "designed" to fail.

    I think in your specific instance, you just got unlucky. Did you buy it direct from Razer or did you buy used? Razer does not plan for these things to die. I used my Razer Blade 2014 14" since 2014, no issues (until I overcharged it) But, other than battery issues, I've not had many issues since, and the laptop is by far the best laptop I have ever owned... and I've owned plenty of laptops before this one... all of them were slow and sluggish, the M.2 SSD is the best part about these laptops, that and the formfactor. Just monitor your battery from now on and that shouldn't happen... If the battery exploded like that overnight, did you happen to leave it running while in your backpack overnight? that could have overheated the battery, or it could have just been a battery that wanted to die, LiPo(LiLo in the case of the battery I have) batteries are notoriously unstable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
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  4. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    How can your battery overcharged? Since Blade 2015, I always plugged it at home, battery stopped charging after near 100%. And on 2015 one, it reduced only 30 minutes to 4 hours battery life from 4,5 at first time I bought it after around 2 years, and Blade 14 2017 still can easily reach over 6 hours (close to 7) after 10 months (same battery always plugged at home).
     
  5. vistar

    vistar Active Member

    The 2016 RB has a different connector than those listed, otherwise exactly the same battery. Unless one is willing to remove the connector from the old battery and attach it to the replacement.
     
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  6. SireOblivion

    SireOblivion Active Member

    Sourcing and replacing the battery isn't an issue and I'm currently running my laptop sans battery until my new one arrives from China.

    I bought directly from Razer, had them replace my motherboard once it died via RMA, and now my screen has blotching and the battery exploded. Not to mention the Killer Wifi card also died and I had to replace that, but those are notoriously terrible so I don't fault Razer on that piece of tech (but I do fault them choosing poor parts). I've also had various issues with other Razer products: 2 Stargazers, a Nabu, a Seiren, also the Razer Phone has the worst camera I've ever used but that's besides the point.

    The laptop is my daily driver so it was on my desk in sleep mode before I packed it in the morning before my 10 minute drive to work, it didn't explode overnight so if it overheated in 15 minutes in a backpack that's cause for concern.

    I'm not the electrical engineer, so I'll quote the exact response on the batteries here:

    When asked if this is a cost cutting measure:

    I'm currently awaiting a response on if the limited spacing would factor into all this and I'm interested in that response since it's a bit over my technical expertise and he's a very talented guy and is even engineering his own laptop, so he'll know better than either of us.
     
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  7. kaeizr

    kaeizr New Member

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  8. Adondriel

    Adondriel New Member

    According to this article https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/articles/battery-articles/battery-bank-tutorial.html (had to confirm what I believed I knew) when you wire them in parallel, you gain more capacity, and this is better for the battery, actually, because it discharges SLOWLY rather than rapidly, doing anything in a quick fashion with batteries is bad, charging too fast? BAD. Discharging too fast? Bad for battery life. I think, if we analyze the size of the laptop chassis, and the amount of power needed to power the CPU AND GPU, that will probably reveal the reason as to why the battery is designed the way it is. Especially in my case, since I don't have one of the 1060 GPUs, I still have like, the 870m. (actually, this shouldn't matter cause the whole thing about m series chips, was that they had to use less power for laptop purposes, which is what the power efficiency updates of the 1000 series fixes)

    Also, yea, I really hate Killer networking crap, my MSI motherboard had it on it, and the one driver update BROKE DNS. HOW THE FUCK DO YOU BREAK DNS ON A NETWORKING DRIVER!?!?!?! I've gone through so many keyboards/mice so I never get to use them to death, really. I did use the one to the point where I had to repair the scroll wheel, but that was actually really easy (had to make it tighter, so it wasn't spinning/contacting weirdly, causing buggy scroll behavior, like down for a bit, then randomly it would scroll back up)

    Yea, Razer isn't without fault, and I wish their support service wasn't the same as Apple. Either way, I still love this laptop. I also just fixed my battery issue, by re-plugging it in again. I wish warranty was more than 1 year, really... cause no one has money to have to keep sending it in for repairs (not counting the downtime, which is imo the worst thing). At least with Razer it's easy to replace/repair, if it was Apple you would be hard pressed to actually be able to fix things, half of the stuff is all soldered in, and the screws have tamper detection, which is just... so shady. I've never used a "normal" laptop to the point of having to repair it, really, cause they always end up becoming so slow, even after doing a reinstall, because the tech specs have become out dated.

    Sadly, after this semester I probably won't be buying a laptop anytime soon, so this one will be my laptop for a long time to come, since I don't actually use a laptop very often, other than for work, but I use my work laptop for that. I think this battery issue may just be a flaw in the manufacturing of the batteries, or a flaw in the design, batteries explode like that, if I remember correctly, when they short circuit. (I think, not 100% on that, i'm not huge on the circuit stuff)

    I really wanted to get a razer phone, but I just can't justify it, I like my provider (Google Project Fi) because it's cheap. AND IT WORKS INTERNATIONAL! I had service all of Costa Rica, even in some of the most remote areas of the country, I had service just about everywhere. I have lots of razer gear though... but I've never had any of them completely fail on me. I had one keyboard that liked to spam keys randomly, like the key would act as if it got stuck. Sorry that this happened to your laptop, that would be so horrendous to get into work to end up seeing that. Sorry for this giant wall of text, this class i'm in is SOOO boring.
     
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  9. SireOblivion

    SireOblivion Active Member

    For the small battery space, this was the response:

    As for the Killer stuff, Razer really needs to stop using it, it's absolutely garbage. Mine died within months of purchasing it. Ever since I've had an Intel Wifi card without ANY issue. I really don't get why anyone uses it, I even looked up the Killer card on the internet and there's cases of them failing in other laptops too. It's just terrible hardware and I think it only gets used because of it's stupid "gaming" aimed marketing.
     
  10. Jakooth

    Jakooth New Member

    Hi,

    I have exactly the same problem. I noticed a month ago my screen cannot close and yesterday I spotted my track-pad is deformed identical to what you have in the first picture. Blade 2016 GTX1060, warranty was over in November. Luckily no deformation on the bottom of the body yet, but I'm expecting more problems, because I'm using the Blade for work and I cannot simply stop doing my job for a few weeks.

    Now I'm thinking should I go through Razer official service, or replace the battery myself - which looks super easy, but I need to do a research for a trustworthy re-seller. Probably leaning towards the second option, not because of the money (man I already spent more than 3000$ on this in Europe, I can handle a few more), but because of time and sensitive information on the notebook I have and I do not want other people to mess with it.

    Good people and team from Razer, could you please give an advise how to prevent damaging the battery again?
    I'm not looking for prolonging its full discharge time. I just do not want this poor battery thing to destroy the laptop. Honestly 2-3 hours of battery life is fine with me. I'm even for the opt of throwing away the battery and loose the mobility, if this is going to prevent damage on the laptop.
    • I started now to unplug the charger when at 98-100% and I'm plugging it back at around 20-30%, but I'm really frustrated doing this all day long. I was not expecting always plugged in to be a problem for 2016 top priced hardaware. I do not have the same issues with a Dell Precision for example.
    • I also used to work a lot with the lid closed, because it is connected to a big screen, but now I'm keeping it open to allow a little bit more cooling all the time.
    • I have a custom power plan in Windows to keep the processor at 85-90% most of the time.
    • Most of the time I'm writing code in a simple editor, and just for about 2 hours average a day I'm pushing this to the 90% limit with Unreal 4 and 3dsmax.
    • I'm using this once a week for 1-2 hours with VR - I do not use the notebook for any other form of gaming!
    • I'm shutting down the system every night - no sleep, no hibernate... real shut down.
    • Most of the year it is working for about 8-10 hours a day.
    Where I'm wrong to have this broken for just over an year?
     
  11. kompassorpigo

    kompassorpigo New Member

    How do you "overcharge" a laptop battery? I thought it's recommended to keep it plugged in, and that the laptop is smart enough to use the power from a/c when it's plugged in, thus, minimizing battery degradation
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  12. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    Nothing wrong with your usage, though the way you use the battery, make its wear rate faster than always plug in at home. And using dGPU laptops with open lid is good choice because mostly Optimus laptop switching automatically between iGPU and dGPU, and when dGPU working it needs better airflow output by opening the lid. Battery bulging is battery defective that manufacturers should replace it for free even out of warranty imo, I think I saw Apple and gigabyte did that (they has also similar problems).
    You’re right, 2 years owning Blade 2015 i always plugged it at home, battery only down 30 minutes from around 4,5 to 3,5~4 hours depending usage (non intensive like gaming), and Blade 2017 till last month still same 6~ hours but some updates (maybe windows or other softwares) ruined to 4~5 hours (maybe retweaking power options or drivers update needed), but luckily I never facing battery defective.
     
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  13. Pentalobe

    Pentalobe Active Member

    The battery swelling is caused by contaminants (eg, moisture from high humidity in the cell factory seems to be most common).

    I've replaced the crappy killer/qualcomm wifi with an intel 8260 in every razer laptop I've owned (3 and there will not be any more).

    Their laptops are not designed to last. I have yet to experience battery swelling, mine always have had faulty motherboards that cause BSOD and eventually refuse to boot at all. It's not planned obsolescence, just cheap and shoddy laptops. They still sell pretty much the same models today, how is that obsolete?

    Meanwhile I also own thinkpads from 2011 and a macbook from 2015 that still work as if they were brand new.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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  14. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    Well explaining, it also explains my old Razer Blade 14 2015, Razer Edge 2013 that runs still well, on edge the tablet, I did only SSD and Ram upgrade because it was needed to play nowadays games. The rest is originals components. BSOD happened with reason (too low/ high uVolting/ oClocking value) and it solved itself by windows and adjusting the value.
    I’ve also MacBook Pro 13 2012, seating at other table near printer doing printing Job, Qosmio 17 sitting under my Blade as Blade 14 undertray, works also still (on power adapter power) only to update my car navigation software. I’ve also vaio Z 13inch from 2006 with windows XP, also still works but those aren’t useful for nowadays needs, the load time isn’t for 2018. It’s untrue if 2 years old laptops are still works as new brand, unless you never use it, especially battery performance, not mentioned softwares bugs, and increased softwares performance needs day by day.
     
  15. enyar2000

    enyar2000 New Member

    I just noticed the same warped touchpad as the OP on my early 2016 Razer Blade.

    I only rarely unplug my Blade. It is 99% of the time plugged in sitting on a riser to keep it cool. I use the graphics card in a Razer Core V1. I leave the fan settings in Synapse set to "cool mode" and the laptop is never even slightly warm to touch.

    Interestingly all 6 of the cells in my battery pack were swollen. That makes it highly unlikely to be a battery issue and more likely to be a charging issue.

    And I find that interesting too because whenever I have checked the battery icon it almost always has a status similar to plugged in, 99% charged and not charging. If it is almost never charging why did all six of my battery packs end up swelling and posing a fire hazard in my home.
     

    Attached Files:

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  16. SireOblivion

    SireOblivion Active Member

    If the laptops are not designed to last, when other ones are, then yes, that's the definition of "planned obsolescence." Making a low quality laptop that'll die right outside of warranty because they got cheap with their design and parts is super scummy but it's part of the business model, because they then get to screw you over with ridiculous repair prices. Getting the battery replaced by Razer is several hundred dollars for something that requires you to take out a couple of screws and disconnect some ribbon cables. Not to mention 5 or so days without a laptop. It's ridiculous and I advise others not to buy Blades, go elsewhere for a good gaming laptop.
     
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