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Look Ma - No Hands!

Armada M700 Battery Problems

Wowzers, here’s something unusual! I’m at Starbucks this morning, which isn’t really all that strange. The bizarre part is that I’ve got wireless access and a live laptop.

This is a four year-old Compaq laptop; I’ve replaced the batteries more times than I can count (I think laptop vendors count on selling batteries, like Gillette selling blades). Eric (that’s Eric H., my program manager) somehow was able to revive my dead laptop battery – it wouldn’t give me 5 seconds of life before, but now I get almost 90 minutes out of it. Don’t know what he did, but the little lithium-ion dude is back.

Not only that, but he also found a free wireless signal. Probably not provided by this Starbucks, of course, they’ve got their own T-Mobile. We’re guessing that one of the other shops here dropped in a Linksys station and didn’t bother to secure it.

Coffee, wireless, bloggin’ in the morning… I almost feel like Doc Searls. smiley

Of course, as the day wore on I found that perhaps that whole dead-battery-recharging thing wasn’t all it was cracked up to be – it failed again. Dead as the proverbial doornail, not able to take a charge at all.

Plugging it back in, I noticed that I was getting a 103 Charge Circuit Failure error message while it was booting. Scouring around the net didn’t find a lot, but I did find one reference for a different Armada to the same problem being resolved by “resetting the BIOS” (really resetting the CMOS, I believe).

That’s a simple procedure – Hold Fn down while powering the system on and repeatedly tapping the F11 key. The laptop begins to startup (green lights) and then powers back down. Do this at least 3 times, then let it boot. It’ll count all the memory and give an message about CMOS being wrong. Let it reset the amount of memory in the laptop, save the settings and exit.

Now it boots without the power cord again. The Windows XP power meter shows a fairly reasonable amount of time/power left (58%, 1:10 remaining as I type this). So I let it go, working and letting it run down again. Then plug it in & let it charge. After a couple of hours – and a good dinner – I unplug it and head out to the deck.

Nothing. No lights, no power.

All right, one more thing to try. I recall that I also saw someone mention that I should try taking the battery out for a few seconds. Hmm, actually in all that mess earlier – before playing with CMOS, I did take the battery out to try it in Eric’s laptop (where it worked, oddly enough). Ok, I’ll give that a go. Take it out, count to 10, put it back.


[later]Pretty quickly here I’m getting several hits each day via Google from people apparently in the same boat. If you’re having a similar problem and these steps help (or don’t), or if you have tried other things which help (or don’t), please let me know and I’ll add to this. email me

July 16th update: well, for me at least that “fix” only lasted 1.5 months – I’m getting the Charge Circuit Failure and pretty minimal charge lifetime again. I do not own this laptop any longer, so I can’t do any further testing.


  1. thanks work like a charm

  2. work like a charm thank

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