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Helpful Laptop Tip


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#1 Computer Rescue

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:30 AM

The Battery...

Keeping a laptop battery active and holding a charge means that you must treat that battery with care. A battery is comprised of chemicals that when stimulated with an electrical charge stores that electrical energy as chemical energy and then releases that energy when needed.

So, ask yourself do you keep your laptop plugged in all the time? If so, this is for you. Keeping a battery plugged in all the time will deplete the battery’s ability to hold a charge and in just a few months can ruin a battery for any practical laptop use.

Analogy:

Imagine inside the battery is a football team which when playing is building a chemical charge (charging your battery—plugged in). When they stop playing (100% charged--unplugged) that chemical energy is dispensed as electrical energy that your laptop uses to operate.

Now, imagine that football team is playing and building a charge (charging your battery—plugged in) and instead of being given a break they remain playing (always plugged in) constantly expensing and building energy but never given a break. Those football players get tired after awhile and their ability to build a charge gets weaker until they no longer can play (Unable to hold charge---end of battery).

So, keep that laptop unplugged for as often as possible and only plug it in when the battery nears the end of its charge. This will help prolong the life of your battery for hopefully as long as you own your laptop.

Have a great week!

Steven
Computer Rescue of West Georgia

Note: Applies to other batteries as well such as cell phone batteries.

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#2 jenilyn

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:33 AM

Thanks! I always wondered if it was better to leave it plugged or unplugged.

::unpluggingcomputer::
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#3 sugail

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 10:31 AM

That must be why my laptop keeps telling me my battery is nearing the end of it's usable life, because I keep mine plugged in nearly all the time. Thanks for the info.

#4 C Mark Palm

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 10:39 AM

This is a rule that I'm very familiar with. However, running my karaoke show, it's impossible for me to use it that way. Sometimes my computer won't tell me when the battery is low. And it simply shuts off. I can't risk that during a show so I leave it plugged in. Therefore I get about 20 minutes worth of life out of my battery these days. But it's a small price to pay for the security of not losing it in the middle of someone singing.

#5 sunllcmout

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 10:40 AM

Can the battery be re-conditioned if you've had it plugged in for a long time? Or would I have to buy a new battery?
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#6 Computer Rescue

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 10:44 AM

If you find yourself needing a new battery or charger I would be happy to lend a hand in finding a replacement.

Steven :)
Computer Rescue of West Georgia

Can the battery be re-conditioned if you've had it plugged in for a long time? Or would I have to buy a new battery?


You'd have to buy a new battery. You can of course recycle your old battery but I am not aware of anyone locally who can recondition batteries.

Steven
Computer Rescue of West Georgia

This is a rule that I'm very familiar with. However, running my karaoke show, it's impossible for me to use it that way. Sometimes my computer won't tell me when the battery is low. And it simply shuts off. I can't risk that during a show so I leave it plugged in. Therefore I get about 20 minutes worth of life out of my battery these days. But it's a small price to pay for the security of not losing it in the middle of someone singing.


Right, if your battery won't hold a charge then you'd have to keep it plugged in all the time which won't hurt the computer but won't help the battery. :)

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#7 Lady Raider

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 11:28 AM

That must be why my laptop keeps telling me my battery is nearing the end of it's usable life, because I keep mine plugged in nearly all the time. Thanks for the info.



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#8 Computer Rescue

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 07:31 PM

Well, I am glad to see that this has helped a few folks better care for their batteries. :)

And remember if anyone needs some help finding a charger or battery I'd be glad to help.

Have a good one!

Steven
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#9 Jack Reacher

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:45 PM

Battery? No wonder that stupid thing won't turn on. :blink: :blush:
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#10 November Rain

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:56 PM

I found out about not keeping the laptop plugged in when I had to replace the battery after a few years. I bought a replacement from an online auction site and it seemed great for a little while, but now it drains quickly. The battery drains much quicker than the estimated remaining time indicated. In fact, now as soon as the low-battery warning comes up at 10% charge, the computer goes into hibernation.

#11 Computer Rescue

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 09:05 PM

When you purchase a battery online be sure that the battery is new. Nothing worse then buying a used battery that can't hold a full charge. :o :)

Steven
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#12 CPC

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 09:50 PM

Interesting. I have always told people the exact opposite. Google here I come!

#13 CPC

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 10:15 PM

There definitely seems to be mixed opinions on this around the internet.

This page seems to have some good facts(although long). Of course I can't confirm they are accurate.
I'm a link!

Excerpt 1
A lithium-ion battery provides 300-500 discharge/charge cycles. The battery prefers a partial rather than a full discharge. Frequent full discharges should be avoided when possible. Instead, charge the battery more often or use a larger battery. There is no concern of memory when applying unscheduled charges.

The limited number of cycles is why I have always suggested running on wall power whenever possible.

Excerpt 2
Removing the battery from the laptop when running on fixed power protects the battery from heat. With the concern of the battery overheating and causing fire, a spokesperson for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises to eject the battery of affected laptops and to run the machines on a power cord. It should be noted that on a power outage, unsaved works will be lost. The question is often asked, should the laptop be disconnected from the main when not in use? Under normal circumstances, it should not matter with lithium-ion. Once the battery is fully charged, no further charge is applied. However, there is always the concern is malfunction of the AC adapter, the laptop or the battery.

Excerpt 3 (Summary)
Simple Guidelines
Avoid frequent full discharges because this puts additional strain on the battery. Several partial discharges with frequent recharges are better for lithium-ion than one deep one. Recharging a partially charged lithium-ion does not cause harm because there is no memory. (In this respect, lithium-ion differs from nickel-based batteries.) Short battery life in a laptop is mainly cause by heat rather than charge / discharge patterns.

Batteries with fuel gauge (laptops) should be calibrated by applying a deliberate full discharge once every 30 charges. Running the pack down in the equipment does this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate and in some cases cut off the device prematurely.

Keep the lithium-ion battery cool. Avoid a hot car. For prolonged storage, keep the battery at a 40% charge level.

Consider removing the battery from a laptop when running on fixed power. (Some laptop manufacturers are concerned about dust and moisture accumulating inside the battery casing.)

Avoid purchasing spare lithium-ion batteries for later use. Observe manufacturing dates. Do not buy old stock, even if sold at clearance prices.

If you have a spare lithium-ion battery, use one to the fullest and keep the other cool by placing it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze the battery. For best results, store the battery at 40% state-of-charge.


I think I can see where people disagree, seems to me you run off battery whenever possible and you run out of charge cycles quickly. If you run off wall power with the battery in it you subject it to heat and shorten its life. I guess the "best" option as suggested above to to run it without the battery and plugged in to the wall. But personally that wouldn't work for me, I bounce all over the house with my laptop sometimes plugged in, sometimes on battery.

Thoughts?

#14 A Former Geek

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 10:19 PM

Interesting. I have always told people the exact opposite. Google here I come!


Me too, when it comes to Lithium Ion Batteries. For the older Nickel Metal Hydride, they should be discharged regularly. Let us know what you find.



#15 sugail

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 10:19 PM

Well it's certainly clear as mud to me. :lol:

#16 Computer Rescue

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 10:30 PM

Well, it appears that the internet has thrown my experience for a loop. The newer lithium-ion batteries seems to change things up a little bit.

According to Apple:
“For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it’s important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses her MacBook Pro on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing. If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month.”
http://www.apple.com.../notebooks.html

“Newer laptops use lithium ion batteries that have no memory, says Isidor Buchmann, the founder of Cadex, a Canadian manufacturer of battery chargers and analyzers. They don't need to be discharged to maintain their life, he says. Lithium ion batteries prefer a partial rather than a full discharge. Nonetheless, every 30 charges or so, you should run them down to zero. This measure isn't to preserve the battery but to recalibrate the fuel gauge--the indicator on the laptop screen that shows how much battery juice and time remain” http://forum.noteboo...y-so-often.html

See also: http://www.marco.org/195827279

It appears that we may be at a stalemate.. :)

It may be better to err on the side of caution and simply use the laptop for its purpose which was not as a desktop computer but as a mobile computer that pretends to be a desktop once in a while to charge. :)

Steven
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