Your Computer Has a Battery

April 21, 2010

Everyone knows that laptops have batteries, but did you know that all computers have a battery? It’s true. Desktops usually have one battery while laptops have two. The battery you may not be aware of is the battery on the motherboard of the computer. its purpose is to give the computer the ability to remember the date, time, and all of its hardware settings if there is no power to the computer. It’s kind of like having a battery in your alarm clock so that if there is a power outage, you don’t  have to reset your clock.

Sometimes you may unplug your computer because you are moving it or because there is lightning in the area. And sometimes there are power outages. When power is restored to your computer, you may get an error message on boot about the date and time not being set. If you get this, it means the battery on your motherboard is dead. By the way, if your computer looses power for a minute or two, when the battery is dead, it may not loose it’s settings because there are capacitors that store up power that can be used for a short period of time to keep the settings.

So the question becomes, is it important to replace that battery and can you do it yourself. And of course, we’ve got the answers. Unless you have some sort of unusual hardware setup, which is very unlikely, then it’s not important to replace the battery. It’s just annoying after moving your computer or after a power outage. You’ll have to go into setup and set the date and time. Yes, it’s very important that the date and time on  your PC are set. If they aren’t, your security software won’t work right and it can cause all sorts of other problems as well.

If your battery goes and you want to replace it, a replacement battery is usually $5 or less and can be had at most any place that sells batteries that work in watches, calculators, cameras, etc. Whether or not you can replace the battery yourself depends on your computer. If it’s a laptop, then most likely it’s going to require that the laptop be almost completely taken apart to get to the battery. So we wouldn’t recommend that you do that. If you have an all-in-one type computer that combines the computer and the monitor in one, this also might be difficult to work on and you might want to call us for that.

For a desktop, it’s easier. It’s pretty easy to take the cover off and when you do, you can pretty easily spot the battery on the motherboard. Round, flat, and silver, it looks like many batteries you’ve seen before. The only hard part about changing the battery on a desktop is getting the battery out without breaking the latch that holds it in. Generally, you can take a small standard screwdriver and gently push a flexible piece of metal to the side and the battery pops out. Then you just make sure you pop the new battery in the same way and you are good to go.

The important thing is to make darn sure you don’t break the latch that holds the battery in. If you do accidentally break it, you’ve got three options. Get a new computer, replace the motherboard, or jury rig it. Getting a new computer is pretty self explanatory. You’ll need to call us to get the motherboard replaced. Motherboard replacement isn’t cheap and it’s impossible to find replacement motherboards for older computers.

The last option is to do some soldering and manually connect the battery to the motherboard. It isn’t pretty, but it works. Usually cheaper than replacing the motherboard.

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