February 21, 2024

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Useless gadget battery? This $6 software is a need to-have for tech repairs

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The other working day, I discovered myself fixing someone’s rather unpleasant failed mend. 

The consumer had a faulty Joy-Con for their child’s Nintendo Switch, and it appeared that the battery experienced failed.

Also: Why you need to have a batteryless jump starter (and how it performs)

Alternatively than buy a new Pleasure-Con, they made the decision it would make a good restore undertaking and purchased substitution batteries. These Nintendo joycons are fairly quick to open up and the battery effortless to exchange, so it is a excellent maintenance venture.

The repair seemed to go very well but after refitting the battery, the Pleasure-Con even now failed to work. It was lifeless and wouldn’t appear to be to cost up, so they went back again in, started out poking all around, and then factors took a significant flip: They unintentionally broke the tiny fastener that connects the battery to the Joy-Con.

This is the place I arrived in. I certain the customer that issues like this come about, that the damaged connector could be set with a little bit of soldering, and that the trouble with the “new” battery was that it was so wholly discharged, it would not demand up when connected to the Nintendo Change.

Also: How to solder: Applications, recommendations, and tips to get you commenced the simple way

But the fundamental challenge in this article is straightforward — and pretty widespread: You won’t be able to entirely belief “new” pieces to be doing the job appropriately. The most typical mend that people start out with is a battery swap any time achievable, I test batteries in advance of fitting them, simply because getting to open up anything up a next time to get at the battery increases your possibility of breaking something.

Batteries are straightforward to check: all you will need is a multimeter established to examine DC volts, and you touch the purple lead to the crimson wire or the 1 marked as constructive (+), the black direct to the black wire or the one particular marked as negative (-) and review the reading through on the display screen to the rated voltage on the battery.

Also: The finest rechargeable batteries you can acquire

The Joy-Con has a solitary-mobile lithium ion battery with a voltage of 3.7 volts. Fully billed, these strike a higher of around 4.2 volts, and totally discharged can be down below 3.3 volts (you can find these numbers for distinct batteries with a fast look for of the online). For some purpose the alternative battery experienced drained to down below 3.3 volts and so it wouldn’t charge.

Testing a rechargeable battery

Testing a rechargeable battery

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

It is a tremendous swift examination.

I now make a pattern of screening all rechargeable batteries prior to fitting, since I much too have equipped a faulty battery into a device, and was still left scratching my head as to what was the make any difference.

Also: This $10 gadget is my beloved repair software of all time

I have a trick up my sleeve, in the type of a tiny TP4056 charging board

TP4056 charging board

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

This board is designed for charging solitary-cell lithium ion batteries — you connect the battery sales opportunities to the module (I utilised clips), connect USB power to the module, and wait around for it to demand the battery.

This introduced the Joy-Con battery to full charge, and it has been performing good considering that.

Bringing a discharged lithium ion battery back to life with a TP4056 charging board

Bringing a discharged lithium ion battery back again to daily life with a TP4056 charging board

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

You can get these charging boards for USB-C and microUSB, they’re inexpensive — you can get 5 for only $6 — and they’re good for charging solitary-cell lithium ion batteries outdoors of the unit they are supposed to be in.

Also: You’ll hardly ever guess how several tech maintenance equipment this minimal bag can in shape

Need to have a multimeter? I definitely like the Pokit Pro that connects to a smartphone, but if you might be starting out, you can choose up a fantastic multimeter for $12.