Sunday, May 21, 2006

Laptop Battery

I rarely travel without my laptop.

It keeps me connected with my work, my friends, and my family.  It allows me to check on flights, trade my schedule around, and, of course, write for YuHu Stewardess.

I understand that some computer applications are a heavier drain on laptop batteries, so I try to minimize those when I can't get plugged in.  But it still seems that I'm jumping from battery use to A/C adapter and back to battery use with no rhyme or reason.  Now it seems that my battery just doesn't hold the juice like it used to.

I know that I should buy another battery, but so far, I've just not been able to justify the expense.  So I was happy to read about how you can extend the life of your laptop battery by running it through a full discharge/charge cycle.

The way to do this is to let the battery run completely down until the laptop goes to sleep.  Then plug it in and let it recharge completely.  It is recommended that this be done once a month.

I ran it through the cycle this afternoon, and now I'll see how long it lasts.  If you've tried this, I'd like to know if it really does extend the battery life.

 

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19 comments:

Astroprof said...

It is a good idea to cycle certain rechargable batteries now and then. How effective it is in prolonging battery life depends upon the type of battery. Ni-Cd batteries tend to develop a "memory." If you only let them discharge a little way, then eventually, that is all that they will discharge. Lithium ion batteries are somewhat less susceptable to this effect, but they, too, should be cycled. Ironically, lead-acid batteries, like in your car, are just the other way. The more you cycle them, the less life they have.

Anando said...

The "memory" effects are only seen on Ni-MH batteries and not on modern laptop batteries which are Lithium Ion (Li-On) types. Also, you will only see the benefits of the charge-discharge cycles if you were to follow it from the beginning. If your batteries are already displaying low performance, then doing the complete charge-discharge wont help you anymore.

Robert Konigsberg said...

This is the first trip I've taken where I brought along an extra battery, and I can tell you that it made a significant difference for me. For my laptop, it's not too heavy, and not too bulky. Here's what I recommend: borrow one from someone for a trip, and see how it goes for you.

Fly Girl said...

Well, I'm officially confused about whether it's going to help or not.

I guess it won't hurt, and that's probably all I know right now. I'll give it a try to see how long it lasts, but have a feeling the real key here is going to buy a new battery.

Astroprof said...

As Anando said, if the battery already is failing, then cycling it won't bring it back. You'll need a new battery. But, it can't hurt the battery, either, and you get used to a good procedure to follow.

Jeroen said...

It helps a bit but your battery is showing the first signs of old age. Even on modern laptops batteries show old age in 18-24 months and can generally be written off in about 30, not that much that can be done about this.

If you are working on battery try to avoid using the DVD drive, set your screensaver to blank the screen in 3 or 5 minutes and avoid things that require a lot of cpu power (like listening to mp3 files or watching Divx video)

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