Motorola Razr V3 BR50 / BR56 Battery Replacement Options
At least know this... Motorola doesn't make BR50 or BR56 batteries anymore, so what to do?
[February, 2012] I have two Motorola RAZR flip phones, a pink one for my wife and a silver one for myself. They are the old-school flip phones that you talk on, and not the new hip Razr Droid smart phones. These old school Razr phones used to be "cutting edge" when they first came out, and were all the rage. I've had them for about five years, and they still work just fine, so I don't see any reason to replace them. I don't need a "smart" phone... I'm not addicted to the internet or to crazy birds. But the batteries in the phones are finally starting to die.
So last month I popped open the battery compartment and saw that they use a BR50 battery. I went on Amazon and found that I could buy a new, genuine oem BR50 battery for $4.70 with free shipping. That seemed reasonable for me, and I figured Amazon was a reliable place to shop (though it was through a third party company, but a company that had a good sounding name and was "approved" by Amazon), so I placed an order for one battery.
A few days later I received my "new" BR50 battery in the mail. It was actually not a BR50 battery as ordered, but was a BR56 battery. It also had a manufacturing date on it of 2007 (this is 2012), and looked surprisingly beat-up for a "new" battery (my guess is that it was salvaged from a discarded phone). I contacted the seller and complained that I got the wrong battery and it was 5 years old! I said I wanted the correct BR50 battery and I wanted one made within the last six months, or I wanted my money back. He told me he could get me a BR50 battery but the "newest" one he had was dated 2008. I told him that if that was the case, I wanted my money back, and I guess because he didn't want the bad feedback with Amazon he refunded my $4.70.
Disappointed with my Amazon "third party vendor" BR50 buying experience, I decide to trying buying it directly from a cell phone accessories provider website, and I was willing to pay more. BR50 vs BR56... I also did a little more research and discovered the BR56 would also work for the razr phone. The different between a Motorola BR50 and BR56 battery is that the BR56 holds a little bit more charge and thus lasts longer, but the BR50 and BR56 batteries are both the same size and both fit in the RAZR cell phone. Since I learned that the Motorola BR56 battery actually was a little better than the BR50 since it holds a little more charge and thus should give long talk times, I decided to search for the BR56 battery instead of the Motorola BR50. I did a quick Google shopping search for "Motorola BR56 battery" and found the following listing being sold by what appeared to be a reputable company.
Not wanting to be scammed again, I emailed the company first, and this is how the email exchange went with Tracy, the sales person at the cell phone accessories website:
[me] "I'm interested in your BR56 for $9.99 plus shipping [V3 Bulk Pkg Motorola Br 56 Std 780mAH Li Ion Batt]. Do you guarantee that it is a new and genuine Motorola battery? And what is the manufacturing date on the battery? I ask because I just bought a "new" BR56 on amazon and got ripped off (it turned out to be dated 2007 and looks used). Thanks in advance for your answer. Steve"
[Tracy, sales person] "I guarantee they are new and genuine. I do not know the dates because we are always getting new shipments so the batteries we have today probably will not be the ones that we have tomorrow. Tracy"
[me] "Tracy, Thank you for your quick reply about your BR56 battery. I understand you have inventory turnover. Can you tell me what the date (or at least the year) is on the BR56 batteries you currently have? I would think that if you are getting new shipments the batteries should be newer and not older than what you currently have. Also, can you guarantee that the battery I purchase would have been made at least in 2011, or what year? Thanks, Steve"
[Tracy, sales person] "Hi Steve. I have to check from the warehouse which is currently closed but if I am not mistaken this is the one that Motorola does not make anymore so the year would not be 2011. I would have to double check that. Tracy"
[me, the next day, after not hearing back on the actual date] "hi Tracy, Per your reply yesterday, can you check with your warehouse and find out what the year is on the dates on your Motorola BR56 batteries and let me know? Thanks. Steve"
[Tracy, sales person] "As I said Steve, These are no longer made and have not been for a couple of years. here is the date"
[me] "Thanks for your reply, but you said "here is the date" but I think you forgot to type the actual date? What is the date on them? Thanks"
[Tracy, sales person] "11/18/2009"
* * * * *
What I learned from this email exchange is that although seller will call their batteries "new" (and perhaps technically they are), what they won't necessarily disclose or tell you unless you pester them is... MOTOROLA DOESN'T MAKE BR50 OR BR56 BATTERIES ANYMORE, and hasn't for a while. And rechargeable batteries don't store for ever. After a year or two sitting around on a shelf, a battery that was new will lose most or all of its charging capability. So if anyone is telling you that they will sell you a NEW BR50 battery, ask them what "new" means, and when the battery was actually made.
But what are the alternatives for a BR50 or BR56 battery? Well, I believe there are some companies making BR50 and BR56 replacement batteries, and I intend to finish this once I've found a trustworthy solution, and share my answer with the world. Stay tuned.
Further update... It seems that Radio Shack offers a BR56 aftermarket brand called Lenmar. Best Buy also has their own aftermarket brand, but I've never heard of either of these aftermarket brands, and the online reviews for the Lenmar BR50/56 battery sound hit-or-miss. The batteries may also only be sold online, and I don't want to buy a battery unless I can go into the store and check what the manufacturing date is (and also easily return it if it turns out to be junk). I'm going to research these two after market brands, and then I'll update this again!
2013 update: Lenmar CLM5696 (Motorola BR50/BR56 equivalent) Lithium-Ion
2014 further update - Last year (2013) T-Mobile "upgraded" the 4G service in our area. They used some of the "unused" capacity from the 3G spectrum, and claimed it wouldn't effect the 3G service, but it did. That is to say, after the "upgrade" our old-school 3G Razr phones could no longer get a signal at our house, although they could get a signal in other parts of town. The Razr is not 4G, and thus we had to buy new 4G phones to be able to get a signal at home. Thus, after many years of great service, we were forced to retire our trusty Razr cell phones. Razr... RIP.
OEM Motorola BR50 and BR56 replacement batteries for the Motorola V3 Razr flip phone
Unfortunately, and not widely reported, Motorola doesn't make the BR50 or BR56 batteries any more. :(