Why is my cell phone battery BEING like this?
March 10, 2008 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Why did my cell phone battery start dying after a few hours?

I've had my cell - a Razr using Verizon - for about one year exactly and its battery has always lasted at least two days on a full charge. I don't talk on it that much and get excellent reception. Yesterday, it told me the battery was dead after about six hours. I charged it all the way, and it did the same thing today. I haven't had any longer-than-usual conversations or any issues with service, which seemed to be the biggest causes of battery drain according to my internet research. Is my phone broken? I've been told to just buy a new battery, but I have a hard time believing the battery is dead already as there was no decline - it just gave me 48 hours for 13 or so months and then randomly went to 6. Help!
posted by lxs to Technology (10 answers total)
One possibility is that you were in an area with poor cell coverage. In that case, you phone will repeatedly try to connect to cell towers. In attempting these connections, it will use up a lot of power. It's the equivalent to talking on the phone.

When you are the edge of reception, your phone can fall into this mode and burn up an awful lot of juice quickly.
posted by Argyle at 8:05 AM on March 10, 2008

I don't know, but it seems widespread. My verizon motorola phone (which is a very basic model -- i.e. no camera) does the same (just past one year and not tons of use and won't hold a charge for $#?/). Others I know have had the same problem. My cynical mind says it's just another way for them to make more money -- either by having people buy new batteries, or pony up for new contracts to get new free phones or of course, buying new phones because verizon seems to be just about the only place you can buy a phone that will work on the Verizon network.

I am digging up my old phone, seeing if it will hold a charge and then I am switching back to it. It will be my very last resort to buy an new battery for the new phone.
posted by nnk at 8:06 AM on March 10, 2008

Certain types of batteries lose capacity with age. They lose capacity faster if you charge them earlier than necessary (i.e., if you charge the phone when it's not just about dead, the battery "learns" over time to have a smaller capacity). A year seems to be an average lifetime for a cell battery for us. You can find better prices for cell phone batteries online.
posted by yerfatma at 8:11 AM on March 10, 2008

(I am not trying to be confrontational) but I've had 4 or 5 cell phones and this is the first one where the battery's conked out after a year. I can't believe that battery technology has devolved to such an extent -- or for that matter, that my charging habits have changed that much. I am sticking to my guns -- it's planned extinction and it's just wrong.
posted by nnk at 8:21 AM on March 10, 2008

I guess the thing probably just is dead. I must have just been lucky with my past two phones, both of which had pretty decent battery life for 2+ years. Thanks for helping me come to terms with this loss, everyone :(
posted by lxs at 8:25 AM on March 10, 2008

Yeah, the battery is probably borked. My girlfriend and I have both owned Razrs in the past, and after roughly a year the thing can barely hold a charge.
posted by booticon at 8:36 AM on March 10, 2008

Take the battery out and feel the thickness around the edges and then in the middle. Is it fat in the middle? If so, it's definitely dead. I just dealt with this issue on my old Krzr that was just over a year old. The battery was fat enough that I had to force the battery cover on.

I called Motorola customer service and they're shipping me a new battery. 1-800-331-6456.

I got a new phone anyway so I'll use the krzr as a backup if I ever need it.
posted by odi.et.amo at 9:02 AM on March 10, 2008

Have you changed bluetooth settings recently? if you have Visibility 'ON', this will drain a battery pretty quickly.
posted by tdischino at 9:16 AM on March 10, 2008

The battery starts aging as soon as it is manufactured. Aging doesn't begin when you buy it. You may have only owned it for a year, but how much longer before that was it manufactured?
posted by Class Goat at 9:29 AM on March 10, 2008

The same thing happened with my Krzr, and I was told that the battery is likely to swell like this when exposed to extreme heat (like a car on a summer day). As I was too broke to buy a new one at the time, I discovered that the battery lasted a little bit longer if I put it in the freezer before charging.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:36 PM on March 10, 2008

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