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Laptop battery maintenance

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Thirties, May 20, 2006.

  1. Thirties

    Thirties

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    Folks, as you know, I recently bought a laptop. The way I use it, the machine is plugged in 98% of the time. For the battery to run down, I would have to deliberately set out to do so by unplugging the power cord.

    I did that the second day I owned it, just to see what happened, and how quickly it recharged.

    Should I periodically run the battery to death (then recharge) so as to maintain the battery in good condition? If so, how often, once per month; twice per year?

    Also, do you leave it plugged in to a live outlet overnight, or when turned off and not in use (batteries still receive a trickle charge?), or do unplug the power cord (or turn off the power strip). In those cases, the power shows as slightly drained when I turn it on from house current the following morning.

    I couldn't find any info on this at the Gateway site, and this is my first laptop computer. I'm looking to establish good habits with this nifty little box.

    What are you laptop users doing on this one?
     
  2. hwyhobo

    hwyhobo

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    Mine sits in a docking bay, so yes, trickle all the time. Only gets unlugged when I'm on the go (plane, conference, etc.) Haven't noticed any serious detrimental effects on my battery yet (I'm using an extended-life battery, which is just bigger than regular).
     

  3. Brass Nazi

    Brass Nazi NO BRASS FOR U!

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    What kind of battery do you have? NiCd batteries can develop a "memory" easily but LiIo batteries are susposed to not develop "memory."
     
  4. HAVOC

    HAVOC Remember CLM Millennium Member

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  5. Thirties

    Thirties

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    lithium ion battery.

    Thanks all,I appreciate the info.
     
  6. c6601a

    c6601a

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    It is amazing how much rubbish you can find on the internet; authoritatively posted by people who have no clue. This thread and the above referenced thread have some accurate facts and a lot of BS about batteries.

    Here’s the scoop about rechargeable batteries from someone who has designed over a dozen battery chargers for portable devices over the last 15 years. If your laptop was manufactured in the last 5 years by one of the big name companies (Dell, Toshiba, IBM, Sony, HP/Compaq etc) it invariably has Lithium Ion batteries in it. LiIon batteries require an intelligent constant-current/constant-voltage charger. LiIon batteries have a tendency to catch file in a very spectacular way if they are abused, especially if they are over-charged. Any semi-responsible company will do at least a decent job designing the charger because the consequences of doing things like letting the battery “trickle charge” continuously are far too onerous. If a company started putting out laptops with a charger that indefinitely trickle charged a LiIon battery, laptop fires would be a regular occurrence and you would hear about them on the evening news not on internet chat rooms.

    The “life” of a LiIon battery is measured by the number of charge/discharge cycles (roughly 500) as well as time (roughly 2-3 years). Purposely discharging the battery shortens its life. You can not “deep discharge” a LiIon battery pack because every battery pack has a safety circuit built into it that will disconnect the battery when you discharge it to a certain threshold.

    But there are advantages of occasionally discharging the battery till it cuts out. The only way the battery’s “gas gauge” can tell how much charge the battery contains is by keeping track of how much energy was put in (charging) how much energy was taken out (discharging) and making some guesses about how much energy was lost due to self discharge and the actual capacity of the battery which changes with time. As time passes, the guesses become less and less accurate till you find yourself in the situation where the gas gauge goes from 50% down to low battery alarm 2 minutes, or where the battery stays in low battery alarm for 2 hours. The only way the gas gauge can be recalibrated is for the battery to be discharged till it cuts out, followed by a full charge. While this does nothing to improve the battery and its capacity, it does create an impression of a healthier battery because the gas gauge become much more accurate.

    The bottom line: you can leave a laptop plugged in all day long with no detrimental effects on the battery. Purposely discharging the battery only shortens its life.

    The above discussion does not apply to older laptops (mid 90’s or earlier) that used NiCad or NiMH batteries. Those batteries had very different characteristics, different charging schemes and very different issues.
     
  7. Hailstorm

    Hailstorm Boom Shacka

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    Now thats some real info right there. Thanks man :supergrin: