Nothing lasts forever, not even your laptop battery. Science and technology has yet to discover the immortal battery. Until its discovery, you need to settle for the current battery and do everything you can to make it last longer.
Like clothing, cell phones, and people, batteries have limited existence. But, there are ways to slow down the ageing or wear and tear of your unit’s battery.
Do you know what contributes to your battery’s declining health? It’s the charging and discharging cycle, and it is impossible to avoid that. At some point, the battery will drain and you will have to recharge; that’s for sure. The trick is to make sure that your battery will only need to charge and discharge in as few times as possible. One way to avoid charging and discharging your laptop battery is to remove it when you won’t be using it.
Remove the Battery
As stated earlier, you need to remove the battery of your laptop if you are not going to use it. Make sure to shut down your unit properly before removing the battery, or the unit is turned off. After removing the battery, you can plug in your AC adapter and continue working at your table.
If you need to take your laptop on the road, then you need to insert the battery again and charge it for a few hours. Your battery will still lose some of the charge even if the battery practically sits in waiting. It is prudent to charge it first before heading out. You don’t want your unit to suddenly die on you due to drained battery, especially when you are in the middle of an extremely important documentation, and there’s no available outlet where you can plug in your AC adapter.
Remember not to intentionally discharge your laptop battery before removing it, especially when you intend to use the AC adapter. Keep in mind that you are trying to discharge and charge in as few times as possible.
Advice from the Experts
There are things that you need to avoid doing if you want to make the life of your battery last longer. Most of the time, the causes of your battery’s short life are the practices that you thought would not harm your battery.
The method you follow in charging your laptop battery can affect your battery’s ability to keep the charge as it ages. For starters, there are people who believe that they need to drain their battery before they can charge it to 100%. They also believe that such practice can help them keep their battery healthy. However, a Microsoft spokesperson believes that it might not be the best thing to do. He said that a lithium-ion battery, which modern laptops usually have, can immediately lose its ability to hold a charge for a long time if the user frequently drains and recharge it. It also affects the battery meter’s accuracy.
He further added that lithium-ion batteries can last longer if they get frequent charging a little at a time. Your aim should be to maintain a minimum capacity charge of around 40%.
Another expert suggests maintaining a battery capacity charge of 40% to 80% on a regular basis. It is not an easy thing to do, but it will keep your laptop battery healthy. You can charge it up to 100% if you need to take your unit on the road.
The practice of draining and charging the battery to full capacity is not applicable for lithium-ion batteries. However, if your unit has a nickel metal hydride (NiMh) or nickel cadmium (NiCd) battery, then the said practice could work well for the battery of your unit.
A lead technician and operations manager at a popular computer store and repair shop emphasized the role that charging cycles play in your battery’s health. Think of charging cycles as you would think of your car’s mileage. A car can only give its peak performance within a certain amount of miles; it may not give the same performance after it has reached the mileage limit. A laptop battery can give optimum performance within a certain amount of charge cycles. Charging it from 70% to 100% is considered one cycle. Each time the charging reaches 100%, your battery consumes one cycle from its limited charging cycles.
If you let your unit charging, your battery will reach a full charge capacity. If you failed to unplug it and use the unit though, the battery gets discharged and the battery will charge up again since it is still plugged. When it reached 100%, one charge cycle is consumed regardless of the needed percentage to reach the battery’s full capacity. As a result, the charge cycles will continue to deplete as long as the unit, with battery, is plugged in. When that happens, expect the life of your battery to meet its end anytime soon.
Things to help you keep your Battery in Good Health
You can activate your unit’s battery saver mode. The saver mode or eco mode will adjust the settings of your laptop to help ration the remaining battery power. You can also turn off unnecessary or unused devices, shut down processes and apps that are not needed, and adjust your activities so you only need to use less power. Just make sure that before you disable a certain component it is not in use or you won’t need it.
If your keyboard has backlighting, you can turn it off when you don’t need it. You can also bring down your screen’s brightness to save some power. You can also turn down the sound of the speakers or use earbuds. If you can work without listening to any sound, then you can turn off the speaker.
You can disable some of the processes and apps by visiting the task manager. You can press Ctrl+Shift+Esc or Ctrl+Alt+Del, and choose task manager. Go to the process tab, which shows the processes that are running in your computer. You don’t need some of these processes, like those associated with cloud storage device, video players, and/or music, and you can disable them without affecting your current work. In case you are not sure about a certain process, it is best to leave it running. The process is a little bit different for MacBooks.
You can help stretch the life of your laptop battery by simplifying your activities. Multitasking may seem like a way to go when you have full energy, but running several processes or programs at once could be hard on the processor. The processor needs to draw more power to take on such great load. You can adjust your computer use by using or running one application at a time. You also need to avoid running programs that are resource-intensive. Close any additional programs that you won’t use while working on a certain task.
It is also important not to damage or break the battery contacts – they are the ones that connect or link the computer to the battery. If the contacts get damaged or become dirty, expect disruption in the flow of power when you are using the battery. You can clean the dirty contacts with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. The damaged contacts might need a professional’s touch to be repaired. However, there are laptop models that seal the battery to the frame of the laptop.
Occasionally, you can let the laptop battery drain completely as you use it normally. Don’t force to drain the battery by using it more even though you are no longer working on something important. Keep in mind the charge cycles that each battery has.
It is also important to keep everything cool. Make sure that your laptop has proper ventilation – check if nothing obstructs the ventilation ports. Dust buildup is the usual problem. You also need to check if the laptop’s fan is working. You can use a can of compressed air to puff out the dust. Also, you need to avoid placing your laptop on a pillow or blanket to ensure proper ventilation. Place your laptop on a solid and flat surface whenever you use it.
It also helps if you do regular laptop tune-up. You can defragment your hard drive regularly for efficient data retrieval. You can also declutter your drive by removing unwanted programs, trash or old files, seldom used applications, and other unnecessary things in your computer system.
Upgrading some of your computer components can make it work more efficiently, and prolong the life of your battery. You might want to add more RAM (random access memory) to your system to make it faster.
Bringing battery backup is a sensible move, especially if you need to work using your laptop while on the road. You can swap the spare laptop battery once in a while when charging. You can also opt to buy an external power pack (technically, it is a battery), which you can use like a charger.
Other Factors that Affect the Performance of your Battery
Your battery also ages, and it becomes more challenging for it to hold a charge as time goes by. Its age also affects its performance and health.
High temperature also prevents your battery from keeping a charge. A Chrome hardware engineer stated in an email interview that extreme temperatures can deplete the life of your battery over time.
Remember these things and make your battery last longer than expected. In due time, with the help of Science and technology, the ideal laptop battery will emerge.