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Compaq Contura Aero Frequently Asked Questions
Section - 2.1.8.2 Conditioning and the Memory effect in NiMH batteries

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[C] From: "Pres Waterman" 
Subject: Re: battery and hypercharger
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 23:37:11 -0400

Well, you aren't gonna want to hear this, but the Extend Hypercharger is
poorly designed. It discharges down to about 5 volts, waay too low for a
12v pack. Lots of use of this "feature" is harmful.

Pres Waterman  

[C] From: "Denis Hall" 
Subject: Re: Are battery reconditioners worth it?  YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!!!
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 22:43:55 -0400

>Hi,
>
>I've heard about battery conditioners for the first time in the Aero pages.
>Are they important for extending the life of an Aero battery and, most
>importantly, are they worth the price? They cost more than the battery
>itself and it seems they are only for one type of battery. Any enlightenment
>on this will be much appreciated.
>
>Thanks and best wishes,
>
>Dada            

Hello Dada,

Here's my *weighted* opinion regarding Conditioners for batteries...
First, some background...I have an Aero 4/33c which I've owned since
1994.  Early this year , I started looking for a new battery since my
original batteries were very tired, and virtually useless...I happened to
find an Xtend Hypercharger/Conditioner for sale and decided to try it.  Boy, wa
s I happy.   I
"revived" one battery to 1+hour capability, and the other to only 30
minutes.  Not perfect, by any means, but still worthwhile.  It started me
thinking that others were having similar dilemmas, and that many of us
were *shocked* by the prospects of shelling out $100+ for a new NiMh
battery for our aging Aeros.  This put me on the search for less expensive
options, and ultimately led me into re-selling specific Aero items which I
thought others would also need.The bottom line is this...CONDITIONING in
itself is very important for NiMh batteries.

I have seen various "opinions" regarding how best to accomplish and
maintain proper conditioning and battery care, whether simply by being
sure to FULLY DISCHARGE the battery every time you use the laptop, and
allowing to FULLY RECHARGE uninterrupted in your Aero, or by using an
external Hypercharger/Conditioner  such as the Xtend units

I have been reselling.  The simple fact remains that proper battery care
is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of Laptop maintenance, and perhaps
the most costly in terms of performance of the laptop and  high 
replacement costs of the batteries.  A good source of battery care
information(IMO) can be found at the Xtend site here:

http://www.xmpi.com/html/product_faq.html

I can only speak from my experiences, and state that I have been amazed at
what these Conditioners can do for batteries that people have considered
"DEAD".  I now am handling IBM products, and have rejuvenated many
batteries which were considered JUNK, and brought back to useful life via
the Conditioning cycle in one of these Xtend units.

Sorry for the long discourse....I'm sure others will elaborate and/or
correct  :)  my statements and give you a wider spectrum of opinions on
this issue...

Have a Great Day,

Denis Hall, Michigan

[Q] I have an Aero 4/25 with only the small battery. I purchased it used from a
friend, tho he had only a few months on it (wanted money for a car). When I
bought it, the battery would charge up to a reading of 165 or so, while now it
only goes to 157. Being Ni-MH, it shouldn't (as far as I know) suffer from
memory problems as a NiCd would. Any comments?

[A] From what I've read, NiMH does suffer from the memory problem as do the
Litihium-ion batteries. It's just that they are not as suseptible to this
malady. It's still a good idea to condition the battery every now and then.

  --Ed. Note: Yes indeedy, the aero battery will develope a nasty memory
unless you discharge it down every now and again. However, do not discharge
it all the way to 0 volts or you CAN DO IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE. Several 
methods have been tried to achieve this goal; everything from car 
headlamps and electric fans to power cycling the aero. The important thing
to remember is just letting the aero run till _power down_ does not seem to
be enough. You should condition your battery every 45 days or so. At the very
minimum let it discharge three times from full charge without hibernation.
                               - Philip

Date: Sat, 1 Jun 1996 16:09:59 +0800 (WST)
From: Denis Cheong <dcheong@rand.gp3.ecel.uwa.edu.au>

I was speaking to somebody at a shop called "Batteries Plus" in Osborne
Park, WA Australia the other day about battery dischargers, and he said
that you have to be *VERY* careful about discharging the battery too
much..  He suggested that it should not be discharged below 1V per cell
in the battery pack - i.e. probably 8 volts on our Aeros, assuming there
are 8 cells in it (I think that'd be right).  I would tend to believe him
a) because he seemed to know his batteries pretty well; and b) when I was
getting 4+ hours out of a battery and accidentally left it on my 200mA
discharger overnight it only lasted 2 1/2 hours the next charge.  It's
okay now after 10 or 15 complete cycles, but it's something to keep in mind.

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