(I'm going to be keeping this post at the top of the page through the rest of Sunday. Newer content will appear beneath it, later on.)
I posed this question on Facebook, and I thought I'd throw it up over here as well, since not everyone who reads me here is over there.
Basically, my laptop -- nearly two years old -- has worn out its battery. (No, not its welcome! Just its battery.) The battery still charges, but its full charge now lasts less than an hour, which means that it's time for me to investigate a new battery. All well and good.
Now, this machine is a Dell Inspiron, and the Battery Life meter makes the bold claim that I should only use Dell batteries and nothing else. And of course, Dell batteries are only available through Dell. But I've found some third-party batteries available out there, for quite a bit less money than the Dell ones, so I'm wondering: are there any actual consequences to using a third-party battery, or is it OK to do so? Such as, are Dell machines specifically set up to only charge Dell batteries, so if I get a different brand, is there a possibility that the thing doesn't charge?
Also, a respondent over there -- Sean, actually -- tells me that he believes usage of a battery while a laptop is plugged into the AC outlet tends to shorten a battery's lifespan, and my best bet is to get the new battery and then only use it for when I'm actually in need of battery power, and use the old one when I'm plugged into the wall. (In truth, I'm plugged in more than ninety percent of the time, anyway, when I use the laptop.) Is this the case? I figure if I get a new battery and get about three years out of it, by that time I'll be in the market for a new laptop anyway. (This machine is working just fine, with just a couple of hiccups that are so minor I barely notice them anymore.)