Home Computers Busting Myths & Learning Real Tips-Tricks to Increase Laptop Battery Life

Busting Myths & Learning Real Tips-Tricks to Increase Laptop Battery Life

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You may have heard many things and myths about laptop batteries. I believe many of us haven’t even tried anything but we all believe on just whatever is told. I am putting a small review and multiple tips to get most of your laptop batteries. I may have left some points. You can let me know that (I hope you will).

Today, Laptop Batteries have evolved to a great extent. Benjamin Franklin coined the term ‘Battery’ in 1748.  In 1981 a portable computer Osborne with battery pack was made. However, the thing which really made battery famous was smaller sizes and backup time. Today this battery had become so great that manufacturer boasts about 15-19 hours of work.

Types:

There are 3 types of battery for Laptop:-
1. Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd),
2. Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-Mh) &
3. Lithium Ion (Li-Ion or LiON).

NiCd: First Rechargeable laptop batteries ever. They gave high output with lower costs. NiCd was used to be very heavy and had other complaints regarding safety and reliability, so their use declined.

Ni-Mh: This gave higher outputs and were more reliable. You can still find them. Model laptops kept at a showroom have them.These were cheap to manufacture and better than NiCd. They were lovely. They became famous soon and defamed later,  as a very annoying fact came out. What is that? You will see, read on.

Li-Ion: These are currently used ones. Li-ion is v light, with great output, higher reliability & safety. L-Ion Batteries have average life of 2-3 years, which added to the benefit, even if the cost is little more.

Now let’s see some myths:

1. Freezing & Reviving:

 

People believe that when your battery is gone then you can revive it back by Freezing it (of course by covering in some sheets, etc.) in a refrigerator!!! Really??? Is it an ice-cream which melts and can be shaped back? Let’s see. Alkaline batteries / NiMH,  NiCd,  Li-ion: Any battery, at “room temperature” have self discharges at the rate of less than 1.9 % per year.  Even if, MYTHS are believed then; refrigerating or freezing them will only be able to maintain the charge by VERY tiny amount.  NiMH & NiCd batteries may show some little advantage of it by an increase in time by; say 5 minutes?

Man! That’s too much risk for 5 minutes. Your laptop is at stake (& who is using this battery type now, by the way?). Now, No Matter What… You can NEVER restore Lithium-ion once worn-out, because it is not designed to be restored. Wake Up!

Manufacturers over the world have shown a big concern towards freezing attempts by people.

If I can’t still get it to your head, and you have decided to do it, then –

– Cover up battery so much that moisture doesn’t enter.
– After removal, wait at least for 1-2 days.
– Don’t start Laptop after putting Battery back (just charge until its full first) and then start
laptop WITHOUT power supply.

2. Charging, Overcharging & No charging:

Overcharging will never improve your battery life and not advised. Continuous and repeated charging also falls in same category. Only exception is Li-Ion, which seems to improve in performance when done ‘Shallow Charge’. It means, never let your battery drain completely. When it reaches around 80%, put back the charge.

Old batteries will give more performance and increased life, when completely discharged due to their cycle thing. Here is the answer to annoying thing pointed above in Types. It is called as “Memory Effect”. It is shown by Ni-Cd’s.

laptop_battery_life

This effect says that Ni-Cd loses their ‘Max Charge Holding Capacity’ when charged repeatedly without a previous Complete Discharge. Battery is believed to “remember” the smaller capacity than the previous max one, so next time it doesn’t get charged above that. Over the period, you lose the Maximum Holding Capacity of battery.

Some Terms:

Battery shelf life: The Time, an inactive battery (unused & uncharged) can be stored before it becomes unusable. All batteries have different shelf life. Charged and used period isn’t counted in it.

Battery calendar life: Elapsed time before a battery becomes unusable whether it is in active use or not. So, you can call it ‘Total battery life.’

coup de fouet: When you put sudden load of applications for a battery to run; it may die instant. Wait for 2-3 minute after starting your laptop.

Memory Effect: Explained earlier.

Real Tips to Increase Battery Lifespan:

* Start Up: NEVER directly put your laptop to AC power. You will damage battery and Power Arrays of laptop. Plug your adapter to AC outlet first, start it & then connect it to Laptop. This is safe & actual way.

* Screen Brightness: This is where you waste biggest amount of your Battery Time. Dimming the screen by a little, will increase the time so much that even you will notice. I have seen many laptops can be worked with lower brightness without straining. Adjust the screen to your need. Furthermore, don’t hurt your eyes by Over & Under brightness. You can increase it for a movie or something, anytime you want.

* Background Programs: Increased CPU load, make it to run on hyper mode kind of thing, substantially increasing Battery usage. “So? You want to say that I shall not run my Research and Animation softwares?” No! I am not saying that. I have seen many people having WinAmp, iTunes agent, Picasa Photo center running in background when they use it seldom or even don’t use it all. You can yourself look at your Taskbar. How much loaded it is? Stop them if use it very less. You can use any of available software to ‘Disable’ them at start-ups. Don’t be lazy you can start them manually when needed.

* Multitasking?: It is good. But, make it more as in terms of Processing and software not with so many Hardwares attached to USB’s when laptop is on Battery. Use them when needed. Try to cut them down. Wifi, Blutooth all running in background eats up more than you can imagine. Turn them off.

* Vista Looks: How many of you know that Vista ‘Looks’ is because of better performance using up your RAM? Don’t believe me? Just remove 1 RAM from slot and

it will say that Aero Transparent theme needs to have more requirements than current. You can always switch to plain or basic look of Vista. Disable them if you care more about performance. After all; looks aren’t everything.

* RAM: Lol, many people don’t know this. Adding more RAM will make your laptop use less battery. How? Less RAM means more ‘Page Filing’ Page File is system of Windows which is made on Hard Disk to increase OS performance. Less RAM >> More Paging >> More HDD rotations >> More battery consumptions. Got it?

* HDD: When data are written, it doesn’t go circle wise (wrong info if you think it happens in series or circular form); it gets written random anywhere on disk. Defragmenting HDD will keep all data near to Head by rewriting it from farther positions which is scattered all around disk. This helps to decrease platter rotations >> Less battery consumptions.

* Power settings: This, I never found much effective though. My friends say it works great in Vista & 7. You may try it on Laptop/ Portable mode to save some percents.

* Use HDD: Want to watch a movie? Put the AC supply on. Then copy all movies to HDD. Never watch movies from CD/DVD. I don’t recommend it even when you are using AC. Always watch, play from HDD. Lasers aren’t generated and motor doesn’t move without extra power.

* Songs?: You can save a lot here by putting earphones instead of laptop speakers. The laptop speakers take more power than the tiny ear plugs. And earphone actually sounds better, at least for me!

* Hibernate or Standby?: Ok! There are too many views here. Hibernate will write data to disk about your state and temporarily will shut-off (which in view of some use more battery). Standby directly goes to standby by but whole system is up and running. I like to go with Hibernate from my experience.

* Battery Maintenance: Always detach battery at least once a month and clean contact points. Less carbon >> Decreased resistance >> More performance. You can use Alcohol Swabs to clean the points. JUST DON’T WET THEM. Just wipe & dry. Come on, it’s not a Rocket Science. Small insects, ants etc may go inside batteries and other part of your laptops. So look after the places you are keeping your laptop.

* Temperatures: The killer! Continuous increasing temperatures >> increasing resistance in circuits >> More power needed >> More Battery Usage. Also; More Temperatures >> More Fan speed >> More Battery usage. Try to keep it cool. If you care much then you can use a laptop docking. Some even come with Fan! At least never obstruct the Exhaust and Inlets.

* Packing up?: If you are planning to not to use laptop for sometime then make sure it is charged at least 50% . Don’t leave battery in Laptop. Detach, store at room temperatures.

That’s all for now. If you have some more things to share, please don’t hesitate.

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7 Comments

  1. Rakesh

    February 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Great tips.. thanku. But are u sure that Vista Looks eat more battery power?

    Reply

  2. wallpaper

    March 14, 2011 at 4:33 am

    I have a question, i have HP pc and exactly after one year it shows me HP alert that my battery is dead and i need to buy a new one. Should i buy a new battery or i can still work with this one? Thanks for help.

    Reply

    • Mrinal Buddekar

      March 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      You mean HP Laptop right? When a battery is dead, it will drain very faster even if shows that there is 100% charge remaining. So, you can figure out that it is really dead or not. You can still work with it using your Adapter Cable there is no harm in it. However, if you are a mobile person, consider buying new one. There's actually no way to get, the dead one back. I recommend battery with more cells (if supported by laptop) and extended HP warranty (which you get at small fees).

      Reply

  3. Ajay Ahuja

    April 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Great post and great efforts taken. I always believed that keeping battery charged and not usyng it will keep it forever live. I was wrong…. thanks.

    Reply

  4. anil

    April 26, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    really great man. loved it. very vital info. can i copy it to keep it with me?

    Reply

  5. tyler

    August 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    my laptop battery is basically dead, hp sucks, i had my laptop for about 9 months before the battery was dead, then when it was under warranty they said they would send me a new battery, still dont have a new battery, its now been a year and 8 months about, it makes me real mad, thats why i want a new laptop, i didnt over charge the battery or anything, its just horrible

    Reply

    • Mrinal Buddekar

      August 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm

      @tylerProblems are based person to person. When company makes million laptop 100-200 can go faulty. Trust me, its not about HP. You got one of them. It even happens with Sony and Dell. (actually Dell is leader in HDD and battery failure, at least in Asia). So, it is just bad luck. Yeah, but they must provide customer service and replacement asap and promptly. As Sony does, when a unit is reported faulty. For that you can blame. I will suggest you get number of nodal officer from site and call him/her. If they don't take action, file "Right to Information" to company (will cost just some bucks). It is in our hand to bring these companies on route and not forget us.

      Reply

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