If you’ve had the same laptop for several years at a time, chances are you’ve noticed how the batteries slowly become less effective. Usually by year three and almost always by year 4, they suck. Manufacturers are required to continue making replacement battery packs for a number of years after they cease making laptop models, but these can be very spendy, and depending on the vintage of your laptop they also may no longer be available. If your model was popular you can sometimes find after-market battery replacement solutions, but again for a high price. There’s another alternative though for those who aren’t afraid to get their hands a bit greasy. Most folks don’t realize that if they cracked open the battery pack for their laptop, what they’d find inside was a collection of power cells – basically imagine 4 or 6 c cells or overlarge AA cells in series, kind of like what you’d stick into the back of your television’s remote control, but with a hard plastic shell wrapped around it. If you’re handy you can crack open the plastic shell and replace the contents with new non-sucky lithium ion cells at a significantly lower cost than buying a replacement battery for your laptop would cost you, and often you can boost the capacity of the battery pack beyond what it was initially designed for. There’s a handy tutorial here with some photos that uses and IBM laptop battery pack as an example, but the same principles would apply to other models. If you’re interested in pursuing this make sure to google your laptop model so you can determine what kind of cells you’ll need to replace the ones it initially shipped with.