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Archive for February 8th, 2011

Reading the date code on your Dell laptop battery

It’s a well-known fact that Li-ion batteries have a shelf-life, and the OEM warranty on batteries is typically only a year. This is because not only do the cells degrade over time, but they also degrade over use. If you’re having trouble with your laptop battery, it’s often worth a minute or two to read the date code on it to see if it’s premature failure or old age. You can read more about Li-ion cell life here if you’re interested.

Every Dell part has a PPID sticker, and the Dell part number is part of that number. Along with the country of origin, the date of manufacture, and some other information. I’ll explain three of these fields. Here is a sample PPID sticker from a Dell battery:

Reading the date code on your Dell laptop battery

You see three fields marked in the photo:

Country of origin: The first field (blue field) in the photo indicates the part’s 2-letter country of origin. In this case, Korea.

Part number: The second field (green field) in the photo has the Dell part number. In this case, UD265 (the leading zero is omitted if present). Knowing the part number makes it easier to order a replacement battery. :)

Date Code: The fourth field (red field) in the photo shows the parts date code in three digits:

The first [hex] digit indicates the year of manufacture. 1-9 for 2001-2009 respectively, 0 for 2010, A for 2011, B for 2012, C for 2013, D for 2014, E for 2015, F for 2016, etc. (Note: See Chris’ comment below.)

The second [hex] digit indicates the month of manufacture. 1-9 for January through September, respectively, and A-C for October through December.

The third [hex] digit indicates the day of manufacture. 1-9 for day 1 through 9 respectively, and A-V for 10-31.

This battery was made January 5th 2008.

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Nyko Intercooler for the Nintendo Wii

Knowing that heat is one of the biggest enemies of electronics makes me a bit of a cooling junkie. I say a bit because I still won’t dare any exotic PC cooling solutions, like water cooling (water + electricity?) but I will mod heatsinks and fans onto things like routers, modems, etc.

So, now I have a Wii.

I noticed while playing even graphics-intensive games that the fan in the rear of the unit doesn’t spin up at all, and the graphics will occasionally lag. Now, this could either be a good thing (the hardware isn’t hot enough to need it) or a bad thing (the hardware is hot and needs it, but it’s not kicking on).  So, I was thinking of tearing it apart and doing something along the lines of hooking the fan directly to a v+ line.

I started searching for some pre-manufactured solutions, and I found the Nyko Intercooler. $6 isn’t bad, and since it doesn’t use the USB ports for power (a lot of solutions did and I didn’t like that) I figured “why not?”

I got the Intercooler today and hooked it on. It installs by snapping over the rear fan exhaust and features a pass-through from the ac adapter for power.

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Intercooler, installed (click for larger image)

So here’s the quick review on this unit.

The Good:

  • Powers on and off with the unit
  • Clean design
  • Good airflow
  • Easy installation
  • Inexpensive
  • Doesn’t block any ports

The Bad:

  • Loud. (It reminds me of an old desktop CD-ROM drive spinning at full speed)
  • Doesn’t come in black ;)

All in all, its a decent little gadget, and at $6 delivered, I can’t complain. The “feet” you see at the bottom of the ac adapter pass-through are designed to keep the pass-through supported, so it doesn’t damage the ports connection to the Wii mainboard. They are removable and support a horizontal configuration. The unit does have good air-flow and makes me think I’m going to have to spray out the intake filter on the bottom of the Wii occasionally with compressed air.

Not a bad bit. Though I haven’t done enough gaming since I installed it to see if it makes a difference in the areas where I noticed lag.

Do you have one of these devices (or something similar) for your console? What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below.

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