Dead gadget battery? This $6 tool is a will have to-have for tech repairs

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

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The other day, I located myself fixing someone’s somewhat unpleasant unsuccessful repair. 

The client experienced a defective Pleasure-Con for their kid’s Nintendo Switch, and it seemed that the battery experienced unsuccessful.

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Rather than obtain a new Pleasure-Con, they determined it would make a first rate restore venture and acquired replacement batteries. These Nintendo joycons are rather straightforward to open and the battery easy to exchange, so it is a fantastic repair service job.

The restore seemed to go very well but soon after refitting the battery, the Pleasure-Con even now failed to operate. It was lifeless and would not seem to be to demand up, so they went again in, started poking about, and then matters took a serious transform: They accidentally broke the small fastener that connects the battery to the Pleasure-Con.

This is exactly where I arrived in. I assured the consumer that factors like this happen, that the damaged connector could be mounted with a little bit of soldering, and that the issue with the “new” battery was that it was so absolutely discharged, it would not cost up when linked to the Nintendo Change.

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But the underlying situation below is easy — and pretty frequent: You won’t be able to completely belief “new” pieces to be functioning properly. The most common mend that men and women get started out with is a battery swap every time doable, I check batteries in advance of fitting them, for the reason that getting to open up one thing up a second time to get at the battery improves your possibility of breaking a little something.

Batteries are simple to test: all you want is a multimeter set to browse DC volts, and you touch the purple lead to the crimson wire or the a person marked as beneficial (+), the black lead to the black wire or the 1 marked as destructive (-) and assess the reading through on the display screen to the rated voltage on the battery.

Also: The very best rechargeable batteries you can buy

The Pleasure-Con has a one-cell lithium ion battery with a voltage of 3.7 volts. Completely charged, these hit a large of all-around 4.2 volts, and absolutely discharged can be underneath 3.3 volts (you can find these numbers for distinctive batteries with a speedy lookup of the online). For some rationale the alternative battery had drained to under 3.3 volts and so it wouldn’t charge.

Testing a rechargeable battery

Testing a rechargeable battery

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

It is really a tremendous speedy examination.

I now make a habit of tests all rechargeable batteries just before fitting, due to the fact I as well have equipped a defective battery into a machine, and was remaining scratching my head as to what was the issue.

Also: This $10 gadget is my preferred repair device of all time

I have a trick up my sleeve, in the form of a minimal TP4056 charging board

TP4056 charging board

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

This board is made for charging single-cell lithium ion batteries — you link the battery qualified prospects to the module (I applied clips), join USB power to the module, and wait around for it to demand the battery.

This brought the Joy-Con battery to total demand, and it has been operating fantastic because.

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

Bringing a discharged lithium ion battery again to lifestyle 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 acquire 5 for only $6 — and they’re fantastic for charging single-mobile lithium ion batteries outside of the unit they are intended to be in.

Also: You can under no circumstances guess how lots of tech fix tools this small bag can healthy

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