Skin-Deep Authenticity: Tearing down a “genuine fake” Samsung Galaxy S II battery

When you have the same smartphone for almost 3 years, it’s likely that your original battery’s not going to last as long as the service contract. And as long as you’re not an iPhone user you will probably look into a replacement or spare battery.

coverMy first replacement cell was a 2-pack of “1800 mAh” batteries for $5. These had 66% of the stated capacity and TI’s Impedance Track gauge said that the DC internal resistance was about 250 milliOhms. That’s… pretty terrible. Those two cells quickly led their end in a battery recycling bin. My next two were “genuine” cells from eBay. They cost about $12 each and had rather authentic-looking labels on them too. Their performance was pretty good, but one of them became all bloated so I decided I’d take a look at the cell that’s inside. I peeled off the label, and the truth comes out…

2014-01-01 04.53.39This battery was an outright lie in terms of capacity! 1350 mAh is about 80% of the 1650 mAh capacity that was written on the outer label. The cell’s manufacturer is unknown, but the battery markings read “BMW-524655AR 1350mAh 2012.09.03.1110”. Wait, look at that manufacturer date. Something’s fishy…

2014-01-01 04.53.54The outer label states a manufacture date of July 20, 2012. The internal cell states one of September 3, 2012. Unless this battery was manufactured in a time-bending factory, then these batteries certainly aren’t genuine.

Next up was the protection circuit. The “genuine fake” battery uses a DW01 protection IC and uses a generic 8205A dual NFET for swiching. And there wasn’t even a thermistor; the PCB uses a 1.5k ohm resistor to simulate one. A genuine board uses a single SMD package that integrates the FETs and the protection IC.

Below is a comparison of the protection board of a fake battery and a “genuine fake” one. At least the “genuine fake” uses the same black appearance of the original.

The “genuine fake” battery, after only 2 months of usage (not even 20 charge cycles’ worth), became so swollen that I can’t keep the back cover on. Running this battery through a bq27425-G2A battery gas gauge determined that the real capacity of the battery is a paltry 944 mAh, with an average internal resistance of 187 milliOhms. Absolutely pathetic.

samsung galaxy s ii replacement battery old ra graphGoes to show you get what you pay for. But some things may be more deceiving than others…

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3 thoughts on “Skin-Deep Authenticity: Tearing down a “genuine fake” Samsung Galaxy S II battery

  1. Pingback: How Not to Cut Monocrystalline Solar Cells | Rip It Apart – Jason's electronics blog-thingy

  2. I love this post. And you are right, there are genuine fake batteries even if we are always buying samsung batteries. And this article indeed help us know the difference between both battery that are genuine or fake. Like what I did, I bought a battery to replace the old one and I was contented for it. Genuine batteries are indeed safe.

  3. Como habrás notado, me he quedado leyendo hasta el último
    de los artículos que escribiste. Espero que esto te sirva como motivación de que estás
    haciendo un trabajo muy bueno. A nivel personal, soy
    amante de los buenos textos y me gusta proseguir a las personas que tienen las habilidades de hacer llegar experiencias mediante
    las palabras. Por este motivo te dejo este comentario
    y para cerrar quisiera decirte que me ha encantado poder
    llegar a tu sitio. En hora buena!

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