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  • Patch Lady – the battery problem

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 22:57 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Technology and batteries have a love hate relationship with each other. We need batteries to power many of our laptops and devices. Yet we still rely on battery technology that when it’s not working right could lead to dangerous conditions. A year ago Amazon contacted me proactively about several USB battery blocks I had. The batteries could explode. So they send me prepaid shipping boxes to safely send back the batteries and refunded me in full for my purchase. I had purchased my bricks several years before so I was surprised with out Amazon handled the recall. It was efficient and quite frankly, given the age of the battery bricks, generous.

    Surface devices are not immune to battery issues. There are numerous threads in various forums about bulging screens that are as a result of battery issues. While there are threads about successful resolutions with units swapped out for refurbished units, there are also other threads where customers have been given conflicting information and some have had to pay to fix the issue. The tell tale signs of an impacted system is a screen that no longer fits well with the rest of the unit.

    Calling up support appears to be a bit of Russian roulette. Depending on your location, support may tell you that you have to pay for the service. Or they may fully replace the unit at no charge. Some will even tell you that there’s no problem at all with a bulging battery:

     

    However as Barb Bowman points out, other tech companies like Best Buy inform their customers that bulging batteries are indeed a problem and they should be handled very carefully. If you are impacted by or suspect you have a unit that has a bulge, the best way to handle the issue is to immediately stop using the device. If you have a Microsoft store near you, take it back to the Microsoft store. If you do not have a Microsoft store near you (the closest one to me is four hours away), the best thing to do is to call Microsoft during business hours and discuss the issue of the bulging screens. If you receive a support personnel that does not handle the bulging screen issue seriously, call back and try with another support personnel or better yet ask to speak to a supervisor. You may also try to get service online.

    Surface devices are notoriously hard to repair. So much so that the ifixit site indicates they are difficult to get into and cannot be upgraded. The Surface Pro 6 has a repairability of 1 out of 10.

    Surface devices aren’t the only ones with battery issues. Even Macbooks have had to start a replacement program to deal with their bulging problems. Lenovo’s had to replace impacted batteries that failed. HP had to expand a recent recall due to battery issues.

    Bottom line, take a look at your laptop. No matter the brand, no matter the price tag. If you start to see your screen bulge, or see a yellow tint on the screen, don’t try to fix the computer yourself, contact the vendor of the laptop and see what they can do for your issue. Batteries shouldn’t fail. And when they do, it can be dangerous. Sign up for notifications from your laptop vendor or keep an eye on recall notices.

    If your device is under warranty, or in the case of Surface devices, less than three years old, chances are very good that you will get a replacement.