One of the batteries on the ancient Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop died completely and our Larval Engineer reports the other battery isn’t far behind; it gets her from outlet to outlet and not much more. Pursuant to that comment about harvesting reasonably good cells from dead batteries to build an extended-life external battery for the Canon SX230HS camera, I made a preliminary pack probe.
The label says it’s a 14.8 V battery, so you’d expect four 3.7 V lithium cells in series. The 3.8 A·h capacity suggests parallel cells:
Indeed, peeling off the label shows four cells pairs in series:
The case joint seems firmly welded together and resisted simple attempts to crack it open. I might run a slitting saw around the edge, although I’ll probably just crunch it in the vise because the patient need not survive the operation.
A single cell should have a 1.9 A·h capacity, although in an awkward cylindrical form factor. The 3.5 A charging current would drop to 1.7 A for a (string of) single cells.
The Canon SX230HS uses a single 3.7 V, 1.1 A·h prismatic “battery”, which means replacing that with a single external cell wouldn’t be a major win; the size difference shows how much lithium energy storage tech has advanced in the last decade or so. A pair of cells in parallel would quadruple the runtime, which might be enough. Three in parallel would be fine, although that would require attention to matching their capacity; the nominal 5.2 A charging current (1.5 × 3.5 A) seems aggressive.
Time to start mulling charging circuits…