Do they not make them like they used to?
August 25, 2010 5:28 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to replace the battery in a cell phone or do I have to buy a whole new phone?

I've had an LG-VX5500 for about a year and half now and I'm pretty pleased with it. However, just in the past week it has run out of power by the end of the day, even if I've hardly used it. I used to only have to charge it once every four days or so. Now I have to at least once a day. If I were to buy a replacement battery, would that solve the problem or is the phone on it's way out?

Details: The phone came free with my plan (through Verizon), which doesn't expire until June of next year. It uses a lithium ion 3.7V battery. I don't use it to send text messages, only to make and receive calls. It has a camera but I don't upload the photos anywhere, they just live in the phone. Would deleting some of the photos help? The phone has never been through any major trauma; I've dropped it a few times, but not recently. The charger connects into place without any problem.

If I am doomed to buy a new phone, can anyone recommend a durable, no-nonsense equivalent that would cost under $50?

posted by Hey Dean Yeager! to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nah, just buy a new battery for it. That may not be the problem, but it's where I'd start looking.
posted by Netzapper at 5:30 PM on August 25, 2010

The Verizon store will likely have it, or check Amazon, ebay, Radio shack, etc.
posted by theora55 at 5:30 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Googling "VX5500 battery" yields plenty of links. For example.
posted by meta_eli at 5:31 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also, electronics batteries are full of heavy metal. Radio Shack and many other stores recycle them. more info.
posted by theora55 at 5:32 PM on August 25, 2010

They're like $5 on eBay. Delivery included.
posted by jon1270 at 5:40 PM on August 25, 2010

Buy a new battery.
posted by limeonaire at 5:51 PM on August 25, 2010

Check with Verizon to see if your phone is still under warranty, if it is you may be able to get it fixed as it can be considered faulty hardware
posted by uboat at 5:56 PM on August 25, 2010

Best answer: nthing buying a new battery, but the first thing I'd try is taking the battery out, wiping off the connectors, and putting it back in. I recently bought a used Samsung Reality from eBay and thought that it needed a new battery. Nah, just a connector cleaning.
posted by Verdandi at 6:36 PM on August 25, 2010

eBay! Way cheaper than the retail store. The battery for my (sort of out of date) phone was so cheap I got two batteries. If my phone died while I was out, I had an extra battery in my bag so I didn't have to worry.
posted by littlesq at 8:07 PM on August 25, 2010

posted by yoyo_nyc at 9:47 PM on August 25, 2010

A cell phone battery may run down abnormally fast if your are in a location where reception is abnormally weak. Even if you are not making a call, the phone ramps up the power output attempting to tell the nearest tower "here I am." Same thing if the phone spends time inside an enclosed metal container; e.g., a drawer in a steel desk or gym locker.

Caution: Li-ion batteries lose their ability to retain a charge even if not used. Even in the original packaging, and never used, a several year old battery may be just about worthless. I speculate that's why some of the ones sold on the internet are so inexpensive. When I bought a new battery for a LG vsx4400 I got it directly from a verizon store (for $32), and while there took it out of the box to check the date which appears to be printed below the bar stripe; e.g., "100219".
posted by Kevin S at 9:49 PM on August 25, 2010

eBay! Way cheaper than the retail store.

Make sure you don't end up buying cheap knockoff batteries though. A faulty battery can cause a fire, which is not good for a device that you carry in your pocket.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:08 AM on August 26, 2010

How long have you been with Verizon? I'm a very long term customer and every time something goes amiss, I call customer service and remind them of my extraordinary loyalty. I got my New Every 2 date moved up by 6 months for a similar problem.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:41 PM on August 26, 2010

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