I’m sorry to tell you this, but in a word, no. It doesn’t mean your device is totally useless, however.
I’ve written here before about the dangers of overcharging your thingie’s rechargeable battery, and more recently I’ve been getting questions from site visitors about what to do once that damage is done.
Before we go any further, see this post for a simple rechargeable battery test you can do at home with no risk to yourself or your device. If the results show your rechargeable battery is damaged, read on.
1. If your thingie is still under warranty, return it to the place where you bought it for a replacement. If you’re going to replace it with the exact same thingie, back up your content first so you can re-load everything onto the new device.
For other types of thingies, the process may be similar but I can’t possibly cover every possible thingie out there, so you may have to consult your user guide or call the manufacturer’s tech support for more information. If you’ve been saving to the memory card on a thingie that accepts memory cards, as I strongly suggested in this post, then moving most of your stuff should be as easy as moving the memory card to your new device.
2. If it’s no longer under warranty and you want to err on the side of caution, just keep the device plugged into a wall outlet whenever you want to use it. You should be able to keep your thingie going for at least its normal, pre-damaged-battery expected lifespan this way.
3. If it’s no longer under warranty and you’re willing to take a risk in the attempt to get normal battery function back, you can try to replace the battery. Be sure to back up your content before you attempt this.
Your first stop should be to the website or customer support phone number of the manufacturer of your thingie, to see if the manufacturer sells replacement batteries. Most DON’T, but it’s worth a shot since that’s your best chance of getting a battery that will fit and will work. A replacement battery from the manufacturer should come with all the supplies and instructions you need to do the replacement.
If the manufacturer doesn’t sell replacement batteries, you’ll have to locate and install an “after market” rechargeable battery. There’s no guarantee this will work, and it’s also possible the after-market battery (or your attempt to install it) could do permanent damage to the electronics in your device, so don’t do it unless you’re willing to accept the possibility that it could kill your device entirely.
Note that after-market batteries may not fit as snugly as the original battery, so even if your initial installation seems to work, if the replacement battery is able to shift within your device it’s still possible it could damage your device later on. In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I don’t think trying to replace a rechargeable battery is a good idea. But if you insist, here are the steps:
a. First, look at your thingie’s case and determine where the battery is located. There should be a removable panel, but it’s probably held in place with tiny screws. Make sure you have a screwdriver that will fit those screws, or buy one that will. Some manufacturers use special screws that can’t be turned with a flathead or Phillips head screwdriver, so you may have to go to Radio Shack or an online electronics store to get the right screwdriver.
b. Google for an after-market replacement battery. Just search on “[your thingie name] replacement battery” to locate your available options—replace the [your thingie name] with your thingie name, don’t leave the brackets in there. When you find the right battery at the right price, order it.
c. When your replacement battery arrives, follow the included instructions to replace your battery. It’s best to work in a static-free environment that’s also as dust-free as possible. If you have some kind of grounding mat (any kind of rubber mat will do in a pinch), do the work on that mat to eliminate any static electricity from your work area.
If the battery doesn’t fit snugly in its slot, DO NOT try to pad the edges with cardboard, clay, or anything else. Introducing any kind of foreign material like that also introduces a fire hazard, because rechargeable batteries tend to heat up when in use.