What’s wrong with my phone battery?

Published on 11/01/2009

Eliud Wanyo

I recently bought a replacement battery for my mobile phone, but it does not last for long, and I have to keep on recharging the battery. What s wrong with it?

Aggrey Wafula, Nairobi

With the proliferation of mobile phones, counterfeit batteries are now available all over the place. The sad thing is that they are not that easy to spot.

And to make matters even worse, they cause problems because they run out quickly and the quality is never up to par.

Lithium ion batteries power mobile phones. Fake batteries can easily explode, and cause severe burns. Such explosions can also lead to fire and loss of property. If you do have children, then you need to be very careful where you buy replacement batteries for your phone.

If you really want to have an idea of the widespread nature of the problem, look no further than Nokia.

The world’s biggest maker of quality mobile phones estimates that 75 per cent of the replacement batteries for its phones are fake. An original Nokia battery, for example, will contain detailed information, including the voltage capacity of the phone, warnings on its use, where it was made and a serial number. Also, the luminous Nokia holographic seal on the battery’s cover is properly embedded, clearly printed and displayed. It has the word “Genuine” clearly printed in small type, and does not change colour easily when exposed to light.

The holographic seal also has six notches, which are missing on the fake batteries. In the US, Europe and Japan, a lot of the fake batteries will be sold on internet auction sites. However, in African countries like Kenya, where policing of imported electronic merchandise is weak, counterfeit batteries are sold openly. The reason many of these batteries backfire, is due to the shortcuts taken in making them, and so the quality is compromised, and they leak or puncture easily. Some batteries also contain mercury, a highly poisonous substance.

I recently installed the Opera Mini browser on my phone, but every time I activate it, the handset switches off. Is it a virus?

Evelyne, Nyeri (via e-mail)

Opera Mini is a versatile browser, just like Firefox. Unfortunately, it is designed for smart third generation (3G) phones, like the Blackberry 8300 and Nokia E61i and N series. These are phones that are like mini computers, with more memory than most other phones.

The problem you are having is that your phone probably does not have enough memory to carry the browser when it is activated. If that is the case, then even dumping picture and music files to create space will not help.

I am not sure what make your phone is, but most mainstream brands have websites that will advise you on the best browser for your particular model.

The writer is an electronics technician. [email protected]

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