General Help & Frequently asked Questions
Help & Advice for Camera & Phone Batteries
- Do I need a new battery (for my phone or camera)?
- Charging Phone and Camera batteries.
- What do the markings on the battery mean?
- Can I use a different capacity battery?
- How should I store my battery?
- How can I make the battery last longer between charges?
- Is the battery dead or is it the charger or phone/camera?
- Finding your phone Brand (Manufacturer or Make of phone)
- Finding the model number or type of phone.
- What do the battery markings mean?
A battery can fail suddenly and completely, but most often as it gets older it will not hold as much charge as it did when new, or it will only hold charge for a shorter time period, needing lots of charging. As batteries age they lose some capacity, and hence they run out of power much more quickly than when they were new.
In our experience if your phone or camera is working normally, but you need to keep charging the battery, then the Battery is very likely to be the problem. If you are re-charging every day when you used to get a few days between charges, or the battery is going flat after a couple of calls then replacing the battery will most likely fix it.
Normal battery life is around 2 years for Lithium - Ion (Li-Ion) batteries if they are charged up regularly. Heavy use (such as in Smart-Phones) may shorten this time to less than 1 year, while light use (phone only used occasionally) could extend it to over 4 years.
The quickest and cheapest way to be certain is to try a new battery. We offer a 30 day money back guarantee to allow our customers to try this, all you will have to pay for is the postage if the new battery does not solve the problem. Please retain the packaging in case you need to send back the battery.
Note also that any swelling in the battery case also shows the battery has reached its end of life.2. Charging Phone and Camera batteries.
Give the battery a full charge before use (ideally with the device switched off) as the battery will not be fully charged initially. Then use the phone normally and top-up the charge whenever its convenient.
It is better to do this than to fully discharge the battery every time, however you should aim to do a good discharge perhaps once a month (i.e. run the battery down to the last bar or until the symbol flashes amber or red).
Unlike the older Ni-Cad batteries, modern Lithium-Ion cells do not have a "memory" effect and don't need to be fully discharged, but neither should they be left on the charger all of the time and never discharged. Its a balance, find a routine that works for you.
The battery has a protection mechanism built-in to avoid over-charging, but note that if the battery is fully discharged and then left flat without recharging for a long time it can become hard or impossible to recharge. So, keep it charged up often and you will get the best results out of your camera or phone battery.3. What do the markings on the battery case mean?
Most batteries will have markings on them such as "Li-Ion, 3.6V, 700mAh" (all explained below), along with some manufacturers identification (e.g. Nokia BL-4B).
Most mobile phone and camera batteries are now made using Lithium-Ion technology, or Li-Ion for short. Lithium-Ion currently provides the best capacity in the smallest and lightest format.
Our batteries (unlike some of the cheaper ones available on the internet) have built in protection for both overcharging and short circuits, which are the two main causes of problems which can ultimately cause a Li-Ion battery to explode or catch fire.
Li-Ion battery voltages are nominally 3.6v or 3.7v (this is the mid point between being flat and fully charged at 4.0v to 4.1v). You can use a simple multimeter to measure the voltage, usually between the two outermost terminals. The other terminal(s) are often for communications or temperature sensing, or sometimes just an extra power connection.
Chargers charge the battery to 4.1V when fully charged. A very low voltage or 0V is not a good sign, as the protection circuitry may have gone open-circuit and the battery will not accept charge from its standard charger. Note however that even end of life batteries may show a reading well above 3V so its not a very reliable test due to surface charge effects. Batteries tend to display higher internal resistance as they get older, and it is this rather than the open circuit terminal voltage which prevents them from working normally in the phone when called upon to service peak current demands.
The 700mAh is the nominal capacity of the battery when new (in this case nominally 70mA for 10 hours, or likely less than 700mA for 1 hour). Higher capacity is generally better, as long as the manufacturer does not compromise on the grade of cell used and the protection mechanisms for overcharging and short-circuits. We test all of these aspects before offering the higher capacity batteries for sale, and note that you can replace your battery with one showing a higher or lower mAh rating without any problems.4. Can I use a different capacity battery?
Yes. Nominal battery capacity is measured in mAh (milli-amp hours) as explained above. So for example a battery with a "600mAh" rating should deliver a nominal 60mA current for about 10 hours. Replacing this battery with a 500mAh battery may give a little less use between charges, while replacing with a 700mAh should give a little longer between charges. We say "might" and "should" because in our testing many battery stickers show ratings which don't hold up in practice. Many batteries that we test show less capacity than the stickers would suggest, so we tend to work on real "as tested" capacity and choose manufacturers with good consistent real capacities.
Newer style phones with features such as a camera, a large display screen and music player can often use much more power and go through batteries more quickly than the simpler mobile phones of a few years back. This is because these features place a heavier drain on the battery, and battery life is related to how many charge/discharge cycles the battery is subjected to as well as the rate at which they are discharged.
Battery technology has improved in the last few years and higher capacity options (in the same battery case size) will often be available for the more popular models. We source these higher-capacity batteries whenever these are available with the right quality cells. This extra capacity allows for the extra load on the batteries in modern phones and so can improve the talk time / standby time and the overall battery lifetime. Generally speaking we will stock and send the highest capacity replacement batteries that we are confident will last well and provide the high quality levels we demand of our products.5. How should I store my battery?
Avoid storing the battery in hot places (e.g. leaving it in the car on hot days), and it is best not to leave the phone on the charger all the time as mentioned previously. We have noticed that in winter time we see a lot more people coming into the store for replacement batteries of all types, including mobile phone batteries.6. How can I make the battery last longer between charges?
You may wish to switch off the bluetooth feature to save power on the phone. Also you can can shorten the time the display light stays on after use. Both options are available through the phone set-up menus.
Newer phones with lots of features often use much more power than older models and need charging every 2 days or so (for example) instead of lasting a week on standby. It depends on the model of the phone and usage patterns to some degree, and also location relative to the mobile base station (and whether the phone is being used as a data modem for example). Ideally choose a high-capacity battery where available (such as the ones on this site), and purchase a good quality car charger to top up your battery while travelling.7. Is the battery dead or is it the charger or phone/camera?
This section helps you to work out if the battery in your phone, camera or other similar device is faulty before you buy a new one. The majority of our customers suspect that it may be the battery at fault but are not sure, hence this guide. For all other types of battery (e.g. car battery / deep cycle etc its best to call us to discuss your situation, or look through the relevant sections elsewhere on this site).
If you are having problems with your phone or similar device then there are 3 likely causes.
1. Faulty battery (or end of life battery).
In our experience, having sold and fitted many thousands of phone batteries, if your phone is generally working OK but you now need to keep recharging the battery at much shorter intervals than you used to, then the Battery is very likely to be the problem.
The quickest and cheapest way to be certain is to try a new battery. We offer a money back guarantee to allow our customers to try this, all you will have to pay for is the postage if the new battery does not solve the problem. Please retain the packaging in case you want to send back the battery.
A battery can fail suddenly and completely, but most often as it gets older it will not hold as much charge as it did when new, or it will only hold charge for a shorter time period, needing recharging each day perhaps when you used to get a few days between charges.
A battery that has reached its end of life can also sometimes cause the phone to behave strangely, perhaps switching off when you don't want it to, or affecting the display screen. If the phone only works when plugged into the charger then this can be another indication that the battery is end of life - but even then a dead battery can cause problems.
2. Faulty Charger.
First run through the obvious checks. For example if there is a light on the charger does it come on when it should? Does the battery symbol on the device flash as it should when the charger is plugged in? If not then this can be an indication that the charger might be the problem. However the connection on the phone or the phone's internal charging circuitry could also be causing the problem, so its best to try out another charger to localise the fault (for example use an in-car charger or a friends charger if possible). If you don't have an in-car charger to use we can provide most types for $9.95 plus postage, just email or call the store.
3. Faulty Phone / Camera.
If you have ruled out the battery and the charger using the tips above, then the most likely cause of the problem is the device itself. The connector where the charger plugs in is a common source of failure and can work loose, or the internal charging circuitry may have failed.
Often if a phone gets wet it will cause strange behavior, sometimes with the screen going blank or a strange colour. After drying the phone out for a day or two, if it still behaves weirdly (or doesn't work) then a new battery is unlikely to help. In this case you can still recycle the phone (including the battery and charger) at any "Planet Ark" recycling outlet.
However if it works on the charger after drying out then the battery may have been damaged by the exposure to moisture and it may be worth trying a replacement.8. Finding your phone Brand (Manufacturer / Make of phone).
This is normally pretty easy - the manufacturers name or logo is generally on the phone somewhere and stands out OK. The most common ones are Motorola, Nokia, Telstra (or ZTE), LG, Samsung, Sony-Ericsson and Sagem. Among the PDA-style phones Apple, HTC and Blackberry are popular makes.9. Finding the model number / type of phone.
If you don't have the box or the manual, some phones tell you as they switch on or off what model they are (or you can look at the settings in the phone menu). Otherwise you will need to look underneath the battery.
On Motorola phones you are looking for something like V3, V3x, V9, or similar.
On Samsung its likely to be something like GT-I950T (Galaxy Nexus) or GT-I9210T (Galaxy S2 4G).
On Nokia its likely to be "2610" (or 6280, 3220, E71 or similar).
On Telstra (or ZTE) Phones its likely to be F850 (or F152, F156, T7 etc.)
On LG phones its likely to be TU500 (or CU500, KU990, B2100 or similar).
Ignore the following: IMEI numbers, any code numbers or barcodes, CE numbers, "N" numbers with a tick box and triangle, FCC numbers and MSN codes.
The battery cover is normally on the back of the phone and you will need to press down firmly and slide the cover off at the same time. Some batteries (LG typically) actually are the back of the phone - they have a small catch to release them.10. what do the battery markings mean?
From experience we know that its often easier to search on the phone or camera type (as outlined above) than work on the battery. This is because most phone and camera batteries have lots of markings on them and many are very similar (e.g. they all say "Lithium Ion" or "Li-Ion" unless they are of the very old NiCad type).
They all generally also have a Voltage rating of 3.6v or 3.7v, even though when charged this will rise to over 4.0v and when flat will be in the range of 3.2 - 3.3v.
Capacity (in mAh) tends to range from 500 - 1000+ mAh (see our explanation in the section above) and again you can generally ignore this. Some useful markings that you may be able to use to search on are as follows:
Motorola: Look for BC50, L6, BR50 or similar and use that to search or confirm your replacement choice.
Nokia: Look for BL-5B, BL-4U, BL-C2, BL-4C or similar and match to the table in the Nokia section of this site.
Telstra (ZTE) will often have an F number (F156, F152 or similar).
Armed with the battery number (or ideally the phone or camera type) you should now be able to search or browse through our listings to choose the right replacement battery for your phone.
If you need any further help then please email or call for advice.