How to use a battery – taking care of the heart of your laptop
A battery is the accessory that distinguishes a PC from a laptop. A set of lithium-ion or lithium-polymer cells allow the computer to be mobile. It is thanks to this simple device that we have portable computers. However, there are often cases where laptop users exploit their batteries to an unusable state. There is a common situation in which after disconnecting the power supply, a laptop (and not even an old one!) can turn off after just several minutes. This course of affairs is usually a result of poor battery use, due to which your expensive, mobile laptop becomes an ordinary PC.
If the motherboard is the computer’s backbone, and the processor is its brain, then the battery would have to be the heart that constantly works by pumping energy into the silicon body. Usually, we don’t pay much attention to them, and as it often turns out, it is their failure that results in inability to use the computer and forces you to connect it to life-support in the form of a power supply. We welcome you to the first part of the guide – taking care of the heart of your laptop.
First, let’s talk about using your computer in a way that is best for the battery. A number of aspects affect the degree of battery usage during operation.
The key here is screen brightness and it’s important to find a happy medium when setting it. Of course, the darker it is, the less battery power is used, however, it’s necessary to remember that your eyesight is much more important, and the brightness level should most of all be comfortable for the eyes.
The second important issue is component work intensity. It’s worth limiting the number of simultaneously active processes to only those that are essential. This mainly relates to a large number of applications that you can do without, but which run in the background and put a strain on the processor. It’s a good idea to solve this problem by refraining from running certain programs during system start-up.
Another aspect that affects the health of the battery is working temperature. The easiest way to maintain the optimum temperature is to regularly clean your laptop’s heat dissipation system. To do this, use compressed air or even a compressor. You should also avoid working on a bed, for example, placing the notebook on a duvet or any other surface that will block the cooling vents, and if you really care about it, you should try cooling pads.
Also remember that all devices connected via USB also consume energy so just unplug them whenever they’re not in use. This mainly applies to accessories such as external drives or internet modules, but even a mouse can be a drain.
There are many myths and revealed truths around this aspect of battery handling, some of which check out, but some may potentially damage the battery. Let’s start with some simple battery charging guidelines.
Most of the false battery myths are a remnant of the older nickel-cadmium technology. Ni-Cd batteries had a memory effect and it was recommended to discharge them completely. The batteries used in laptops currently are made in lithium-ion or lithium-polymer technology and these features do not apply to them, quite the opposite. Li-Ion batteries react very negatively to complete discharge and can thus be permanently damaged, especially when left discharged for an extended time. In such cases, the battery voltage drops below 2.7V and the crystal structure of the cells is damaged, making further charging impossible.
It is therefore extremely important to set the system to sleep or hibernate at e.g. 5-7% to protect yourself against this risk. In the latest Windows versions, this option is set automatically, but if you have a slightly older system, it is worth checking if you have it running.
The ideal charging method depends on how you use the laptop.
Home work system
If you mainly use your laptop at home, with the AC adapter plugged in, it is worth considering charging the battery and removing it from the laptop just to let her rest. A battery that is continuously charged to 100% due to high voltage can cause electrolyte oxidation, which consequently reduces its capacity. If you want to use such a mode, it is necessary to remember to not put away a discharged battery! Leaving the battery without power for a long time will most likely result in irreparable damage.
An additional complication that may result from using this solution is the risk of data loss. In the event of loss of power from the socket, your laptop will turn off like any traditional computer, because the UPS function does not maintain the power supply. However, if you’re not doing anything very important, this system is very beneficial and will definitely allow you to significantly extend the battery life.
You also have to keep in mind that the battery has to work from time to time. You need to remember about the hidden battery and every few, no more than a dozen or so days, put it back into the computer and go through the discharging and charging cycle.
Mobile work system
In this mode, you should focus mainly on not discharging the battery, especially when you don’t know when you’ll be able to charge it again. It’s a good idea to remember the energy saving tips I mentioned earlier.
If your needs are greater, it’s worth taking an interest in the topic of expanded batteries, or batteries with non-standard cells. This way you can easily gain extra hours of battery life.
That’s it for today, but soon we will present the second part of this comprehensive guide, debunking a few more myths and describing in detail, among other topics, whether a battery’s viability can be restored. If you need any more advice, suggestions, or need batteries – please contact us and visit the store’s website.