However implausible it seems

Some of you may have seen this in my tweetstream over the weekend:

Now attempting to fact-check one of the more bizarre theories I’ve heard lately: a dead laptop battery benefits from a night at 0 degrees.

Motivation: after two hours of operation with the power plug in place, battery power, according to Toshiba’s power meter, remained at a solid 0 percent.

So I slid the battery out of its slot and into a Ziploc bag, and set it in the freezer for fourteen hours. I gave it three hours to warm back up, shoved it back into the machine, and plugged it in; the trusty orange Charging light came on.

When the orange light turned to green, I disconnected the power cord and booted up the machine. After four minutes, I checked the power meter: 97 percent.

Half an hour later I was down to 84 percent, which is consistent with what I was getting out of this battery six years ago. I shut it down at that point; over the next few weeks I will be draining, refreezing, and recharging this battery, to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Variations on this instruction are all over the Web.

Update: Follow-up report.


  1. Lisa Paul »

    29 November 2010 · 11:53 am

    You ARE Mr. Science!

  2. CGHill »

    29 November 2010 · 11:55 am

    Or at the very least Mr. Cheap.

  3. Jennifer »

    29 November 2010 · 12:25 pm

    Hmm. Must pass this tip onto hubby. His Toshiba has battery issues.

  4. Evyl Robot Michael »

    29 November 2010 · 12:27 pm

    You are a saint, actually! I thought I was going to have to sell plasma to get a replacement battery for my Toshiba. I’m going to try this method first.

  5. fillyjonk »

    29 November 2010 · 1:17 pm

    How about “Mr. Cheap Science”?

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