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.


Batteries for cell phones are a commodity and thus often quite cheap. The interesting part is that fake batteries will often cost the same as original ones and some dealers will swear by the fake Chinese NokLa phone in their hands that they are of course only selling “Original Nokia” products.

Original. Yeah, right.


What you see here:

A) original battery that came shipped with my Nokia 6230i

B) fake “original” battery from eBay @ 6,39 EUR

C) most-likely “original” battery from eBay @ 4,99 EUR

Battery B really pissed us off as it was drained within a few hours (!). The hologram is just very simple yet it looks like an original battery (except for the hologram and the deeper golden contacts). There are no hints on Nokia’s website other than the hologram (they used to have a form to double-check that number on the holo but imho even those numbers were faked).


Battery B was bulk-ware, meaning that it came shipped in a plastic bag while battery C was in an original Nokia packaging with a proper invoice. A bit irritating that there are two different mAh readings – a sticker that says 850 mAh on the front and a printed 970 mAh on the back. On Nokia’s website it says 900 mAh for the BL-5C, but hey – Nokia’s website has never been that accurate on phone details. Nokia also published a product advisory on the BL-5C type some time ago – a successful battery type has been produced over 300 million times and is built by five different manufacturers.

There are many, many dealers on eBay that sell BL-5C batteries for Nokia phones and I’d say that most of them are just fake ones. On the other hand, candidate number C was the cheapest, came in an original packaging and seems to perform like candidate A. Simbaya!

eBay as an online marketplace of course isn’t the best platform to purchase such electronics, but it is the one with the most competitive, or let’s say: comparable prices. Any other online-shop or even physical store will be more expensive (due to shipping rates & other general expenses). And it ain’t about the costs alone – I’d be willing to cough up more on a battery (but not too much!) if the dealer can assure that it is indeed original. I know this is a huge issue with product piracy and so on but – other than with cars where a non-original spare part may just as well be performing as required – most fake batteries also don’t last as long.? There may be exeptions to this general rule, but from my experience with this and other phones, most copies aren’t good enough, not even close. Probably also because they are commodities and their Chinese manufacturers just don’t give a damn…