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Randy The Tech Professor

August 14, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Simple Laptop Battery Advice

Hello everyone,

Many of my computer repair clients have laptops so I get many questions concerning laptop batteries. Everyone wants to prolong the life of their laptop battery but not everyone knows how to do it. There are many “old wives tales” out there concerning battery usage and much confusion on the issue. Some questions that I hear:

If I leave the laptop plugged in all the time will I ruin the battery? Can I damage the battery if I charge it for too long? What if I don’t charge the battery enough? If I’m not using my laptop for an extended period of time should I take the battery out of the computer? When should I replace my laptop battery?

There are many more questions but you get the idea. Here is the simple advice that I give to my clients:

1) The batteries in modern computers have built in circuitry that automatically prevents overcharging. You cannot overcharge a Lithium Ion battery – the built in circuitry prevents it. If you could manage to overcharge a Lithium Ion battery, it would explode!

2) The Lithium Ion battery in your laptop has approximately 500 discharge/charge cycles. Once you’ve charged it 500 times (about two years for the normal user), you’ll have to replace the battery.

3) You are not going to reduce the laptop battery life by leaving the computer plugged in all of the time.

4) Wireless Network Cards and USB devices will reduce the battery run time. If you’re not using a USB device, disconnect it. If you’re not using your wireless connection, turn it off.

5) It used to be (in older computers) that you had to fully charge and then fully discharge the battery at least once every two to three weeks. Modern computers with modern batteries (Li-Ion batteries) do not suffer from the memory effect and will take care of themselves automatically.

Professor Randy says: Simple huh? Don’t stress yourself out by thinking about how you can prolong the life of your laptop battery. Enjoy your laptop and use it as you so desire, the battery will serve you well, it’s life will eventually end, and you will then have to replace it. Nothing more and nothing less!



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