Tips to charging your laptop battery

We come across many clients during our time at the shop that have given up on their laptop..

.. battery or think that it’s not worth it. But without a good battery in your ‘laptop’ surely this unit would lose all the point of it’s name right ?

Effects of Memory

First off, it is important to clarify the myth that persists on laptop batteries. The effect of memory.

In lithium based batteries this does not exist. It may exist in the older Ni-Cd type batteries but certainly not on the majority (or nearly all) of laptop batteries nowadays. With this in mind you should realise that fully discharging and recharging your laptop battery to the full is completely useless. Worse still, this will damage your battery if done frequently.

 

All modern lithium batteries can be charged at any percentage, at any time, having no negative effect on the cells. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, we usually suggest that the battery does not drop below 6 – 10% before charging to avoid stressing it out.

Should you disconnect the battery from the laptop?

Another regular question. Simple answer is Yes and No. This really depends on the situation.

A fully charged battery & laptop plugged in do no harm. Neither will it ‘waste’ extra electricity, nor will it cause any more wear and tear. When a laptop battery reaches 100% the battery stops receiving charge and simply switches to electrical power only.

But, if your laptop is one of those units that heats up quickly or is suffering from an overheating issue, then yes, it will do harm. Not only will it do harm to the laptop itself in the long run but it will also decrease the battery life dramatically.

Look at it this way:

Under normal use the laptop temperature should be in the region of 40 – 50ºC – under these circumstances the battery can stay on

Under intensive use the laptop temperature would typically be over 60ºC+ – in this case the battery should be pulled out.

Battery Discharge

A full battery discharge till 0% should be avoided if you would like to maintain optimal battery health. We usually advise partial charges of 30% at a time (more frequent / less overall time) instead of a full discharge all at once.

Laptop batteries embed a capacity gauge to check and report to the Operating system the current charge level in the cell. Unfortunately, over time this becomes inaccurate due to everyday charging and discharging. Nowadays there are some laptop manufacturers who include tools in the BIOS of the computer to calibrate the battery but if your laptop does not have this feature, fear not! We will be explaining this can be done manually in a few simple steps further below.

Remember a full discharge should be performed every 30 discharge cycles on average followed by a non-stop full recharge.

As an example, you can use the laptop for a few minutes a day until you reach the chargeable level of between 5-10% (you do not need to fully discharge it all in 1 day if you do not have the time). Then just fully charge it to 100% straight through without interruptions (the laptop can be on and it can be used in the meantime)

How to properly calibrate the battery

1. Fully charge the battery and double check that it has reached 100%

2. Let the battery rest, plugged in, for 2-3hours. (laptop can be used during this time)

3. Unplug and use the laptop on battery.

4. Use it until it reaches 5% and then put it into hibernate

5. Once it hibernates, leave the laptop for at least 5 hours (typically 7-8hours or overnight)

6. Plug the laptop back in to a full charge and let it reach maximum capacity. (you can use the laptop during this time – just let it charge to the full)

After the above calibration is completed you will have the updated ‘real’ capacity of your battery including the reduced capacity that it can truly offer (Lithium batteries deteriorate by time so this is normal) Some people might feel that this process can cause more wear since it reports lower values than before but that is not the case. After a successful calibration, the wear level remains the same, it is just a more accurate reading of the actual capacity that remains inside the cells of your laptop battery.

Storing your battery for a long time if not used

If for some reason or other, you plan not to use the battery for a long time, we suggest that you store it in a cool, dry place and at around 40% capacity.

The Do’s and Don’t s for battery life longevity  

1. Heat is your enemy – Cooler lasts longer! If your laptop tends to run hot by default, buy a laptop cooler base with some internal fans

2. Do not leave your laptop in the car on a sunny day or during Malta’s summer months. This is one of the biggest problems we face living in Malta.

3. Do not leave your laptop running high intensity programs for nothing for long periods of time

4. Do not use the battery until it reaches 0% frequently

If you need to purchase a replacement battery we will be glad to provide you with a personalised quote. Simply call us on +356 21 422 934 or pop by our shop. Our technicians will be glad to meet you!

Published: 27 July 2016

Atom repairs IT

We repair IT. That is what we do. We are a company focused on repairs, upgrades and refurbishment of all kinds of Information Technology devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

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