HP Extended Life Battery AJ359AA

It’s stran­ge to see how my blog has tur­ned into a tech-blog, whe­re I am often docu­men­ting my love for gad­gets. After almost 5 years of blog­ging, I think it’s safe to assu­me that I am geek who loves to bring his gad­gets to per­fec­tion* — only to quick­ly rea­li­ze that the­re no such thing as “a sin­gle truth” or even “the per­fect com­pu­ter”.

One of tho­se attempts at impro­ving my IT hard­ware is the recent purcha­se of the exten­ded bat­te­ry pack for my HP 6930p laptop.

This par­ti­cu­lar machine.….well.…*sigh*.… is very pecu­li­ar, and not what I expec­ted when I bought it (2nd hand) a year ago. The issu­es I am having with this com­pu­ter are the following:

  • The WXGA+ dis­play has good colours, but it drains the bat­te­ry like any other CCFL screen. Too much, I think, while the com­pe­ti­tors alrea­dy come with modern LED screens. Plus, it is only real­ly bright when screen bright­ness is set to a maxi­mum (ambi­ent light sen­sor tur­ned off). Not good.
  • The inter­nal EV-DO/UMTS modem (HP un2400) may be able to work with many dif­fe­rent glo­bal mobi­le net­works due to the fact that it dyna­mi­cal­ly loads its firm­ware on each start, but this also means that it’s a pain to get this working wit­hin GNU/Linux. Also, it may only be acti­va­ted while the main bat­te­ry is inser­ted. WTH?
  • Faul­ty dis­play lock — as men­tio­ned ear­lier (which I’ve mean­while fixed mys­elf to some extent).
  • Ther­mal design. My lap­top actual­ly never over­heats, but I’d love to see fan inta­ke being on the side ins­tead of at the bot­tom. I think I’d only see this with an IBM/Lenovo Think­Pad though.
  • Bat­te­ry run­ti­me. As men­tio­ned abo­ve, I get about 2–3 hrs on the stan­dard 6‑cell bat­te­ry with about 60% screen bright­ness and one wire­less adap­ter (Wifi OR WWAN) acti­va­ted. The HDD is also opti­mi­zed via HDDScan + some other tweaks to save on bat­te­ry power. I should, howe­ver, men­ti­on that my lap­top has a dedi­ca­ted ATI gra­phics card and no inter­nal Intel gfx solu­ti­on (my pre­vious note­book was an HP nx8220 with 15,4″ dis­play, 8cell bat­te­ry but also ATI gfx card and had a stan­dard bat­te­ry run­ti­me of about 3.5–4hrs).

I think when it comes to power saving, the best method is to use an ope­ra­ting sys­tem that was opti­mi­zed to run on this lap­top and con­se­quent­ly comes with a good power manage­ment. With a stan­dard Ubun­tu 9.10 instal­la­ti­on, you won’t find this com­fort for dif­fe­rent rea­sons. I *think* it’s against this back­ground that the default set­ting on a Ubun­tu instal­la­ti­on is to quick­ly dim the screen while the com­pu­ter is idle becau­se the screen often con­su­mes the most ener­gy next to the HDD and the (often obso­le­te) DVD dri­ve. Win7 adop­ted a simi­lar approach and now comes with an impro­ved power manage­ment which I am yet to explo­re and com­pa­re to my pre­vious WinXP experience.

Last week, I found this real­ly cheap offer (30,- ins­tead of ~ 120,- EUR) for an HP AJ359AA 8‑cell exten­ded bat­te­ry pack that direct­ly con­nects to the bot­tom of this lap­top and is also com­pa­ti­ble with the docking sta­ti­on I am using at my home office:


The exten­ded bat­te­ry pack may cover some parts of the vent / fan inta­ke, but this real­ly does­n’t make any dif­fe­rence for the machine.


With both bat­te­ries con­nec­ted, the lap­top now weighs 2.867 gr — which may sound qui­te a lot for a 14,1″ lap­top, but it does­n’t feel too hea­vy and also due to the good mate­ri­als used on this HP, the­re’s no flex on any parts. Sin­gle weight is about 446gr for the 2nd bat­te­ry. (+ ~ 500 gr for the power sup­ply AND it’s hea­vy power cord !).

HP power sup­plies actual­ly deser­ve their own blog post. Serious­ly. The­se bricks also come with thick & bul­ky power cords in most regi­ons which may be requi­red by law but also suck tre­men­dous­ly. Plus they don’t have an acti­ve LED like most other com­pe­ti­tors and are very sen­si­ti­ve to irre­gu­lar power sources. The Ken­sing­ton power sup­plies aren’t an alter­na­ti­ve, btw.


It’s not as bul­ky as it may look like from the pictures.


HP also even­tual­ly inclu­ded an indi­ca­tor on the bat­te­ry for the char­ging sta­te — good! You’ll also find this on DELL lap­tops from 2004, though… what took them so long?


The lifted bot­tom in the back not only adds a con­ve­ni­ent ang­le for typ­ing — it also impro­ves hand­ling of the com­pu­ter while balan­cing it on your kne­es. Also, for tho­se who aren’t using their com­pu­ter on a docking sta­ti­on, this also eli­mi­na­tes any hea­ting pro­blems with the fan inta­ke on the bot­tom as it lifts the com­pu­ter up and pro­vi­des a bet­ter cir­cu­la­ti­on of air.


One important detail is that the lap­top uses the ener­gy com­ing from the exten­ded bat­te­ry pack first — and then swit­ches to the pri­ma­ry bat­te­ry. Smart!

My preli­mi­na­ry ver­dict: for only 30,- EUR, this was a very smart purcha­se as it not only impro­ves over­all bat­te­ry run­ti­me, but also adds hand­ling com­fort and an impro­ved heat manage­ment. For any owner of an HP lap­top, this is a high­ly recom­men­ded add-on (not only for tho­se who requi­re that extra bat­te­ry runtime).

I am sure you’ll get about 10–12h out of the­se two bat­te­ries with an LED screen and SSD dri­ve. But then, even the che­a­per Acer Time­li­ne con­su­mer note­books will achie­ve that… (that is: I am not sure if my next note­book will be a busi­ness machi­ne when I get a simi­lar or even bet­ter per­for­mance with che­a­per con­su­mer hardware).

*per­fec­tion: I am always loo­king for the BEST lap­top that will pro­vi­de a per­fect key­board, a bright LED screen with gre­at con­trast, at least 3 USB ports, an ilu­mi­na­ted key­board, good weight below 2,5kg, 12,1″ — 14,1″ screen size and stan­dard bat­te­ry run­ti­me of at least 5hrs. Sounds like a Mac­Book (Pro) to me, or an IBM T410s. Hmm.… still too expen­si­ve atm. My gf does not under­stand why I am so picky on this, but she’s also never been in char­ge of IT in a government insti­tu­ti­ons in Kenya whe­re pro­duc­ti­vi­ty depends on a per­fect mix­tu­re of hard- and soft­ware. Or in other words: I choo­se my hard­ware for a sce­n­a­rio which would also enab­le me to use it in an inter­net café in Nai­ro­bi as well as taking it to Lake Tur­ka­na — or a con­fe­rence in Europe.

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