Laptop Battery – This is How You Take Care of Yours

When you get a new laptop everything is working perfectly given that you’ve got the good fortune and it’s not dead on arrival. Then things start to wear and tear, here’s a crack, there is a dent but the battery often dies rather fast, and that’s not a natural consequence of age. Lithium-Ion batteries die on their own, but not in the one year time frame some people manage to kill theirs.

Dell Latitude D510 laptop battery

If you want to have a notebook with a proper battery you need to buy a brand new one, people usually say something like this when they give tips to their friends. I’m not telling you here to buy an used or second hand notebook, rather trying to give a few tips on how to keep the battery in its original shape even 2 years after you’ve bought it.

Fujitsu LifeBook S7110 laptop battery

Drop heat like it’s… hot. If you’ve got a chance, avoid using your notebook in a hot room or outdoors in direct sunlight. Deterioration in stored batteries is a function of age, charge level and temperature. There are two ways to keep your Li-Ion power source in good condition even if you can’t avoid all heat sources. Internal components like the processor, GPU, even the battery itself emits heat that the notebook tries to get rid of through lids and holes.

IBM ThinkPad T60P Series laptop battery

Always put your computer on a flat, firm and hard surface to ensure nothing hides the lids. Using it in your lap does just the exact opposite, don’t do that unless you know what you’re doing. On the table you can put something under the back bottom edge of the notebook, that way you’re lifting off its base from the surface allowing better airflow.

In my own non-representative experiment I used a notebook that always shut down because it overheated. Using some better thermal adhesive between the heatsink and the core I managed to get rid of the problem but that’s not the point; under full stress during a Prime 95 Small FFT test I noticed that laying flat the processor went all the way up to 82.4 C, while just with a CD case put under the back edge I managed to shave it down to 78.5 C. Four degrees Celsius with not even half an inch lift. Lithium iun loses about 10 % capacity in a year stored in 25 degrees, while in 40 degrees, which is normal during operation, it loses up to 25-30%.

It makes perfect sense to get a notebook cooler but you don’t really have to buy one, common sense and paying some attention makes a big difference when handling a portable computer. Another thing you might consider to prolong the life expectancy of the unit is to store it half charged whenever you’re not using it.

Lithium-Ion cells hate three things above anything else that you can and should do anything about; heat, being completely discharged and being overcharged. Avoid them and you’ll have an internal power source in your computer that has about 80% of its original performance rather than 40 minutes tops.

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