Tag Archives: battery

What's the Best External Battery for the PSP, iPod, or iPhone?

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Several blogs have reported that the battery life of the iPhone 3G and the original iPhone running 2.0 have put a damper on the phone to last all day. Despite the fact that the battery life of the 3G is bad, it’s still better than other phones like it. It’s true that it drains fast. What are you gonna do? You could carry a cord around with you wherever you go, or get some kind of external battery pack.

I’ve had my Lenmar external battery pack for awhile, and never really used it much. It’s an excellent device though. It’s a high-capacity external battery that will charge any USB device, so long as you have the proper cable. That would includes a DS, PSP, iPhone, iPod, Zune.. anything that charges via USB. Yes, it’s as big as the iPhone itself, but not nearly as heavy. It does the job, though, which is what matters.

When you’re traveling, using one of these just makes sense. Why carry tons of separate chargers with you? Simply take an external battery with you, and charge all your devices with it. It has a mini USB connection, and a regular one. There’s an indicator light that will tell you whether anything is charging or not, and turns off when the device is fully charged.

These aren’t cheap to buy, but it’s actually saving you money. Think of buying 3 or more separate chargers for devices. Keep in mind, as well, that even proprietary chargers still charge via USB. Using this helps me get through the day, and doubles my charge on my iPhone. I’ll be looking for an external battery made specifically for an iPhone. So, pass along your recommendations!

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Are Mobile Car Chargers Good for Phone Batteries?

Chris Levo is the President and Chief Editor of Nteract Solutions. He sent me the following email after watching my video about charging my iPhone on the go. It’s excellent information, so you should read it carefully.

I was watching your video about leaving your house with your iPhone, and needing to charge it if it runs out of juice. You mentioned a car charger being a very good idea and what should be done (retract, iGo, whatever you want to call it). Any charger that goes into the car is bad for the device battery. Why? Because the power is not regulated like in your home. In my line of work, I have seen many batteries die because people use their car chargers WAY too much. A car charger should be a LAST resort. I try to explain to customers that when they get home they obviously (well I guess 99.9% of the world) take out their wallet, keys, coins, or whatever is in their pocket before going to sleep. Make it a habit to charge your phone with your home charger.

The same goes for purchasing cheap home chargers just to save a buck. Many customers frown at $30 for a home charger because they lost theirs and say they will just go to the “flea” market and get one for $10. The ones for $10 are worse then the vehicle/12v charger port (not called a cigarette lighter in any vehicle anymore because the lighter portion does not come with the car unless you add the option. That is another answer to a question you had at the beginning of the video).

I’m tired, it’s late, but I just wanted to get this out and make you aware of the fact that using a car charger can kill the length of the battery by as much as 50% (if used more then the home charger). Just something to think about before you go plugging in your expensive device in your car charger or don’t feel like running upstairs or where ever it is in your home to plug in your device because you might be too tired. Take the extra 2 minutes and plug it into the home charger.

The moral of the story here is to be proactive when it comes to keeping your mobile device charged. Use the proper home charger. Trying to save a few bucks or some time now will end up costing you far more down the road.

Battery Saving Tips for iPods and Zunes

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If you use your MP3 player a lot, you likely go through batteries very quickly. Here are some great tips that can help you extend your battery life… and save you some money.

  • Backlight: You can change the setting on your iPod to adjust how long your backlight stays on. You can also set it to stay off permanently, to save the battery even more. Just changing the backlight on-time from 10 seconds to 5 can make all the difference. If you are in a well-lit area, turning it off all together can help as well.
  • Drain the battery Purposely run down your battery every once in awhile to increase life. You should fully run the battery down, and then charge it fully. You can easily run the battery down by pressing “play” with the volume up full, and leaving it to run if you dont have time to listen to it.
  • Play your music at a lower volume. Turn it down to a level where you can hear it over conversation and other noise… but set it so you can just hear the iPod a little bit more. By doing this, you can not only help preserve your hearing but also save alot of battery life.
  • Use lower-quality music files and changing albums To reduce access to the disk drive on hard disk ipods, there is a certain amount of cache memory for the music files to be loaded. This increases battery life and increases speed between the changing of song. It also acts as jog protection.


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Apple Macbook Battery Help

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There are a few tips I have when it comes to keeping track of your battery health and performance. You can do these things from inside your Macbook, or by using a great little application I discovered.

On the battery itself, there is a tiny little ‘button’, for lack of a better word. If you push this, a guage will light up, telling you how much charge is left in the battery. This works whether the battery is installed in the machine, or taken out of it like I have here.

Inside your Macbook, you can go up to the left hand corner, and click the Apple logo. Choose the “About this Mac”, and head to the System Profiler. Once there, click on the “Power” section. You’ll see all the battery information listed to the right. You can find out about:

  • Charge information
  • Charge remaining
  • Full charge capacity
  • Battery health
  • Voltage
  • Amperage
  • Exact model information in case a replacement is ever needed

There’s also a program available called coconutBattery. coconutBattery isn’t just a tool which shows you only the current charge of your battery – it also shows you the current maximum capacity of it in relation to the original capacity your battery had as it left the factory.
You also get information about the battery-loadcycles (how often did you fully load your battery), the current charger (coconutBattery even warns you if you plugged in a wrong charger for your Notebook) and last but not least information about the age of your Mac. Best of all, you can save the current state of your battery, and then track its performance over time. Oh… and did I mention this program is absolutely free?

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Get Better Vista Performance on a Laptop Computer

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Have your meeting online, with GoToMeeting. You can get a free 45-day trial at GoToMeeting.com/ChrisPirillo.

When I posted an email recently from TheDub, I received a lot of negative feedback. My answer remains: if your laptop doesn’t run well after upgrading to Vista, you can always go back to XP. TheDub also sent me a new email, telling me about a free tool to help with Vista performance on laptops.

Vista has been out for about a year now. It’s good for some, ok for others, and not-so-good for still others. I’m disappointed in Vista, but not because of performance issues. For me, it’s more about what Vista should be… but isn’t.

This time around, TheDub said in his email that he found a great free tool that helps his laptop run better while using Vista. VistaBattery causes your laptop to automatically do a couple of different things when the power cord is unplugged from the wall. This tiny program will save up to 70% of your battery by disabling those nice, but greedy Vista features. It will automatically change your power scheme to “power saving” mode, and disables the Vista Sidebar, Aero, and Desktop Search. All of these nifty features can be resource hogs… and that includes your battery.

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Laptop Power Supply and Surge Protection

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Recently, long time chatter CamBlack came to me for help with his mom’s laptop. I was able to hook them up with HP, who replaced the laptop for her. Now, Cam is wondering about whether or not a laptop needs a surge protector.

The bottom line is YES. If a laptop is plugged into the wall, it needs a surge protector. The power brick in the middle of your cord is not a surge protector, as many people think. That little black box is mainly to keep the laptop from overheating. It filters the electricity that is running through your power cord.

Anything plugged into a wall should have a surge protector… and not just those cheap $1.00 ones, either. The more you pay, the more protection you’ll get. What a surge protector does, basically, is to provide an interruption between the outlet and whatever may be plugged in to the surge protector.

To go one step further, a UPS (or Uninterruptable Power Supply) is an even better idea. This will provide surge protection, and also has a small battery. If the power should unexpectedly go out, the UPS battery will give you time to save your data and program states so you don’t lose any of your work.

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Battery Recall Video

When was the last time you checked to see if your laptop battery had been recalled? Apple, Dell, Sony, Lenovo, etc. – doesn’t matter. Sooner or later, hardware is going to fail. In this case, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. They’re not gonna come running after you, though – take matters into your own hands before something bad happens.

Imagine if you’re on a plane and your battery decides to take a nosedive (no pun intended). You could have averted disaster by doing a little fact-checking beforehand. In case you thought it was going to be difficult to do, I’ve recorded a small video tutorial – and thanks to GearLive for providing the hardware:

I should register BatteryGoBoom.com at GoDaddy with my CHRIS1 coupon code, eh?