How to Increase the Life of your Laptop Battery


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Mitch Bartlett has written in several times before with tips and tricks. They are always excellent advice. This time, he is giving me a few pointers about extending the life of my battery in my laptop. I wanted to share these with you.

The number one priority in extending the life of your laptop battery is to avoid undue heat. Laptops run hot, and that heat can kill your battery. Some laptops allow you to remove the battery any time you are plugged into a wall. This will help save not only on heat, but actual use of the battery, as well. You can also get something similar to the ChillPak. This is a little matt that goes under the laptop, and helps to keep it cool. The Chill Pak is a simple, reusable, cooling gel pak, similar to a medical ice pack, but made of a special material which eliminates condensation, making it safe for use with a notebook computer. Just refrigerate the Chill Pak, place it under your notebook, and watch as your computer speeds up.

Another tip has to do with actual charging of the battery. I’ve always been told that you want to try to keep your battery charge around 40%. I don’t know the technology behind this, it’s just what I’ve been told. Feel free to enlighten me with a comment or follow-up email to this video.

You know how you periodically drain your battery all the way and then recharge it? Don’t do this too often… it can actually shorten the lifespan of the battery. You should only do this once about every 30 or so charges.

Be sure to also check out BatteryUniversity.com for more information, tips, and ideas.

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60 thoughts on “How to Increase the Life of your Laptop Battery”

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  3. that’s nice to know. I just recently bought a laptop about two weeks ago and i want to make a the battery of my HP laptop last as long as it can.

  4. Another way to make the battery last longer. (time between fully charged and fuly drained.) Turn off unnessesary things that use a lot of power. In Windows vista for instance, just put the theme to “windows-classic” (making it look like windows 98, but it becomes more efficient.). Under linux you should turn of compiz/beryl or any other kind of eye candy. Also under linux, you cloud use fluxbox (uses about 6 times less the amount of power compared to gnome and kde)

  5. Another way to make the battery last longer. (time between fully charged and fuly drained.) Turn off unnessesary things that use a lot of power. In Windows vista for instance, just put the theme to “windows-classic” (making it look like windows 98, but it becomes more efficient.). Under linux you should turn of compiz/beryl or any other kind of eye candy. Also under linux, you cloud use fluxbox (uses about 6 times less the amount of power compared to gnome and kde)

  6. I removed the battery whilst watching your video, and guess what my laptop supports it!! yay! I’m luvin the laptie sans battery – it is half as light and saves my battery!! Thanks for that! Also, I was doing the discharge and re-charge routine. I’m putting an end to that after this video!

  7. If you drain a lithium ion battery compleatly and recharge it it can burst in to flames, thers a chip in every lithium battery that prevents this so if it goes to low you cant rechage it, i think it was this that falied on alle the sony batterys.

  8. I have noticed that Wi-fi drains quite a bit of power, I have personally seen my laptop from three to five hours of battery life just by turning it off.

  9. Great show, Chris!

    One thing: I believe you’ll find that Li-ion batteries should be STORED at 40% when not installed (and preferably at slightly above freezing). They should be charged often, keeping them around 100%.

    The worst possible condition for a Li-ion is to be fully-charged at high temperatures. ANYthing that can be done to avoid that — the gel-pak, for instance, or the fan-cooled laptop desktop bases — will help the battery’s life.

    Leaving a fully-charged battery in a closed car in the sun will fry it in one sitting. If that ABSOLUTELY MUST be done, put it in its case in the trunk, which can be as much as 100 C. cooler than the interior of the car under those conditions. (In Florida, we learn these thing quickly. The same goes for cell-phones.)

    When used in computer applications, Li-ions need to be discharged *to the level of the instrument cutoff* about every 30 cycles to prevent the fuel gauge on the computer from malfunctioning. This is not necessary in other applications, to my understanding.

    The basic rule for Li-ion in general is like voting in old Chicago: charge early and often.

    Bill

  10. If you drain a lithium ion battery compleatly and recharge it it can burst in to flames, thers a chip in every lithium battery that prevents this so if it goes to low you cant rechage it, i think it was this that falied on alle the sony batterys.

  11. I have noticed that Wi-fi drains quite a bit of power, I have personally seen my laptop from three to five hours of battery life just by turning it off.

  12. I got a USB hub that holds the laptop at a slight angle making it easier to type! But also it dramatically cools the laptop. I have noticed my laptop does not get particularly hot now its sat on this wedge. AIrflow i suppose!

  13. It does depend on your laptop’s age and technology – some have built in cycles so that you can leave them plugged in while you work, and they don’t just keep it at 100% they allow it to run down the battery at times and recharge them…

    For all he speed and technology advances around us every day, it does seem that batteries are not likely to be able to keep up any time soon.

    Have you noticed that on a plane, reported battery charge goes up? My fully charged MacBook read 4hours and 13 minutes left when I turned it on somewhere over the Atlantic… Usually it’s the low three hours mark…

    I bet batteries are recyclable – the casing and connectors are usually fine, so Interpol (or whoever might make such as decision!) should rule that all laptop manufacturers have a legal obligation to replace battery innards periodically for customers.

    There are a few PC laptop battery saver programs that you can search for (almost said “Google for” but I know they don’t want us to call it that any more) – not sure how useful they are…

    Another tip is if you are watching a DVD on battery, copy the files to the hard drive and watch from there – uses less power than spinning a disc for a couple of hours. DVD Idle on the PC does this automatically and invisibly for you.

  14. I got a USB hub that holds the laptop at a slight angle making it easier to type! But also it dramatically cools the laptop. I have noticed my laptop does not get particularly hot now its sat on this wedge. AIrflow i suppose!

  15. Turn off Wi-Fi if your not using it. Also, disable Aero in Vista. Set the screen to turn off every 10 minutes of inactivity (unless your watching a movie). Use a cooling pad (usually $20 and usb) with it plugged in if torrenting over night.

    The only thing I don’t do is take out the battery. That part seems kinda lame. How does it use power when it’s plugged in?

  16. Turn off Wi-Fi if your not using it. Also, disable Aero in Vista. Set the screen to turn off every 10 minutes of inactivity (unless your watching a movie). Use a cooling pad (usually $20 and usb) with it plugged in if torrenting over night.

    The only thing I don’t do is take out the battery. That part seems kinda lame. How does it use power when it’s plugged in?

  17. AJenbo,

    No, the Sony issue was with metal contaminates inside of the cell which caused some Lithium-ion batteries to short. This short is was lead to the huge exothermic reactions we’ve heard so much about. Complete drain can, however, throw your battery into a a sometimes unchargeable state, but most have safeguards against this.

  18. The problem with having a battery in your system when plugged in is that it is getting a constant charge when it dosn’t need it and it gets hot on top of that.
    It’s more for the life span of the battery not the current charge.

  19. AJenbo,

    No, the Sony issue was with metal contaminates inside of the cell which caused some Lithium-ion batteries to short. This short is was lead to the huge exothermic reactions we’ve heard so much about. Complete drain can, however, throw your battery into a a sometimes unchargeable state, but most have safeguards against this.

  20. The problem with having a battery in your system when plugged in is that it is getting a constant charge when it dosn’t need it and it gets hot on top of that.
    It’s more for the life span of the battery not the current charge.

  21. i’v ahd my laptop on charge for like 3years nonstor not [its a torrent system] and the battery is fine i tested it after watching this movie and it lasted 17hours b4 it went flat l8ter

  22. “Have you noticed that on a plane, reported battery charge goes up? My fully charged MacBook read 4hours and 13 minutes left when I turned it on somewhere over the Atlantic… Usually it’s the low three hours mark…”

    If you are using your laptop correctly, you should get better battery life on an airplane. There are at least two reasons for this. First, at least when flying at night, the cabin is so dark that normal LCD brightness is too high. I routinely can use my PowerBook at the lowest brightness setting on a night flight. Because the LCD is by far the largest power sucker, being able to turn down the LCD brightness will extend battery life considerably.

    Second, you should be turning off ALL radio transmitters on your laptop. That means Wifi, Bluetooth, Cellular network card, whatever. Not only does the FAA prefer that you do that, but turning off all your radios also saves battery life. Put this together with a darker LCD and you are saving quite a bit of juice.

    Other things that save battery on a plane are the sheer lack of space (at least in Economy) to plug in power-sucking peripherals like mice and drives.

    Finally I will point out that this thread has gotten two concepts confused. One is “how to make a single battery session last longer” and two, the original point of the article, which is “how to make the overall service life of the battery last longer.”

  23. i’v ahd my laptop on charge for like 3years nonstor not [its a torrent system] and the battery is fine i tested it after watching this movie and it lasted 17hours b4 it went flat l8ter

  24. Dude (narcarsiss) are you saying that your laptop battery lasted SEVENTEEN HOURS?? And after being Constantly plugged in for Three Years (It’s 3 years plus old??). I call major BS on that man. My laptop, straight out of the box, never lasted more then Five hours (Wi-fi Was on I’ll admit). Anyway, just throwing in my 2 cents. 😛

  25. Dude (narcarsiss) are you saying that your laptop battery lasted SEVENTEEN HOURS?? And after being Constantly plugged in for Three Years (It’s 3 years plus old??). I call major BS on that man. My laptop, straight out of the box, never lasted more then Five hours (Wi-fi Was on I’ll admit). Anyway, just throwing in my 2 cents. 😛

  26. I’ve got an HP laptop that’s several years old and the battery is rarely discharged. The battery will give me 3+ hrs. (just like it was when new) when the computer is unplugged. Yet in contrast I bought a Compaq laptop just over a year ago (as a supposed upgrade to the HP) and periodically discharged it, etc. (i.e. used it like it was intended for). The battery now has a bad cell and only lasts for 15 minutes tops.

    For those frugal users… In our house when the laptops are used as desktops we use the wood containers that clementines are sold in with a non-skid pad underneath (if you don’t want/like clementines ask the produce clerk/mgr. if you can have any they are discarding). It allows for great air circulation as well as bringing the screen up to eye level. The wood doesn’t scratch the computers surface and the container makes a convenient storage box for papers, software, cords, etc. (No, you won’t get any Ginsu knives with this sales pitch either 🙂 )

    Wi-fi usage does make a difference just as the CD/DVD player usage does to your battery life. Remember it is a radio transmitter that has to be able to reach a considerable distance (at least in theory) just as the base station does in reverse.

    Also be sure to monitor the temperature of your power supply when fully recharging a battery and using the laptop at the same time. My Compaq’s power supply will almost burn my hand when doing this. If possible keep the laptop off during the recharge. The same goes with wi-fi usage and battery recharging.

  27. urmm..i got a question..some ppl said tht it is good to take out the battery, but thn there’s othr pple said tht it is bad.. i wanna knw wht actlly will happen if we didn’t take out the bttry & continue charging it?

  28. So let me get this straight..and correct me if I’m wrong, I’m just a bit confused.

    1) When an individual’s battery is full, and he is near an outlet, he should just remove the battery and store it somewhere cool, and just run the laptop plug into the wall.

    2) When the individual run his/her laptop, he/she should only let the battery go down to 40% (Possibly 30%)? Just don’t let it drain.

  29. That’s what everyone says, but I’m pretty sure laptops are developed now a days that you don’t need to unplug the battery while plugged in AC, it will not charge through the battery if it’s 100%.

    Also, cold is not good for Lithion Ion batteries from what I heard.

    As for letting 40% or whatever, doesn’t sound right.

  30. Cold isn’t good for Li-Ion batteries, but in normal use it won’t make a difference, mayb if you where running in 0 -10 deg cel u may need a different battery. LI-ION does have a memory. Unless properly cycled from fully up to fully discharged you may notice a difference of upto 100 charges, possibly more. Also DO NOT STORE slightly discharged, ALWAYS STORE FULL. If the battery is left discharged for any amount of time it will b fucked.

  31. Mute your sound, or atleast disable all windows standard sounds.
    Turn off scheduled tasks
    Working on your dvd-cd rom drive also takes a bit of battery.
    When your computer is at home, plug in the power cord and take out the battery.
    Most standard laptops comes with a battery with 6 cells, (dont know what it stands for) but I do know that you can buy a 9 or 12 cell battery for about $80-100 more, these batteries last longer.

  32. Wi-fi usage does make a difference just as the CD/DVD player usage does to your battery life. Remember it is a radio transmitter that has to be able to reach a considerable distance (at least in theory) just as the base station does in reverse.

  33. it is best to store the battery at 40%, not 100 or 0. YOu can let it run down to 0 though, just down store it like that for long periods of time.

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