In the last two parts of this series, I covered the factors of temperature and charging. While the high temperatures inside modern laptops are probably the worst enemy of a Li-ion battery, frequent discharge/charge cycles will negatively influence a battery's life. If your laptop is a desktop replacement, then you probably only need the battery every now and then. It can be quite frustrating if you want to use your laptop for the first time after a year without AC, only to realize that your batteries are already dead even though you never really used them. However, if you remove the battery from the laptop and store it accurately, there is a good chance that it will be in good condition when you need it next time.
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Don't store a battery that is almost empty. Stored batteries continue losing energy, albeit at a much slower pace. If the stored battery is totally discharged, it could be destroyed.
Don't store a fully charged battery. Fully charged batteries deteriorate faster than half-charged batteries. Most articles I've read recommended storing laptop batteries with a 40–60% charge.
Store the battery at a low temperature. I usually put it in the fridge. It keeps my battery fresh and crisp. Check out this table at Wikipedia. 0°C (32°F) seems to be the best storage temperature. I wouldn't put the battery in the freezer even though Li-ion batteries only freeze at approximately −40°C.
Store the battery in a dry place. A moist environment will accelerate discharging the battery.
Check the battery state every now and then. I would remove it from the fridge at least every 30 days to calibrate it (fully discharge and charge).
Let the battery warm up a little before you put it back into your laptop. If the temperature is raised too fast, it will strain the battery.
When I started this article, I thought I'd just share a few tips I've found on the web. But then I realized that there are quite a few things that can be done wrong with laptop batteries. That's how I ended up with three articles. It is quite amazing that we can build space ships that have enough energy to fly to the moon but still have no decent portable energy sources for simple laptops. Perhaps fuel cells will change the picture in a few years.
Please note that even though physics was my minor in college, I consider myself a layman when it comes to battery preservation. Any comments and tips are welcome. Here are some of the articles I've read about this topic:
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- Lithium-ion battery, Wikipedia
- How to prolong lithium-based batteries, Battery-University.colm
- Laptop Battery Care, Battery.com
- Take Care Of Your Li-On Battery, Ezine @articles
- How to Take Care of Your Laptop's Battery and Make it Last, Associated Content
- Notebook Battery Guide, NotbookReview.com
- 5 Tipps: So halten Sie Ihre Akkus fit, PC-Welt
- Should I Remove the Laptop Battery For A Desktop Replacement Laptop?, About.com
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Thanks Michael for alot of great info!!
Since I use my laptop as a desktop, I always keep it plugged in and my battery is at a 35% to 40% “Time Remaining” level according to the battery indicator icon in my sys tray. I keep my battery stored in the fridge @ 34 degrees F.(According to you). Two questions Michael:
1.)It is stated that my Li-ion battery should have between 300-1000 charges. At an average of 650 [(300+1000=1300)divided by 2=650] therefore if I use my battery once per month does that mean that my battery should last for 54.16 years? (650 months divided by 12 months = 54.16 years)
2.)How do you respond to that if I do keep my battery at a 40-20% charge, when I do need this battery, do I fully charge it before using, or do I drain the battery to 10% then recgarge to 100%?
Thanks again Michael!
D. Stephen Michael Seme
Michael, I find that your tips are the most informative that I’ve found regarding battery maintenance.
Stephen, sorry for the late reply. I somehow missed your message.
1.) I don’t think that your battery will last 54 years because it also discharges if you don’t use it. However, I think you have a good chance that it will survive your laptop.
2.) You can charge it to 100% when you need it because Li-ion battery don’t have memory effect.
Peter, you are welcome.
There are other things to go nuts about than batteries, but they are pricey and one doesn’t want to buy new ones unless needed. I’ll share my experiences of a three year old main PC Dell laptop (9 cell) used on the home office desktop, and a two year old Acer netbook (3 cell) kept by the living room armchair, both used over 90% of the time on AC power.
As I say, I know there are battery fanatics and I’ve never wanted to be one, but after running through Li batteries left in an earlier laptop I decided to try to save the ones that came with my newer machines. After a bit of online research I kept the batteries at around half-charge at room temp, cycling them every month or two. The bigger Dell ran about 4.5 hours brand new, and now runs about 4 hours. The Acer ran about 2.5 hours and now runs about 1.5. On the basis of previous experience, I’d fully expected to replace batteries before now, but for both PCs I’m content to wait at least another year.
hello, i have problem with my dell vostro laptop 1510, battery, now i can use just one hour, it is showing to replace my battery, if i keep in refigerator i can recover, how many percentage of charge i have to store before keeping refrigerator, plse advice me and send mail to me.
I hope you still around for this article …. I have 3 queries …
1) I’m still not sure on your answer to Stephen.
When you say “Charge it to 100% when you need it” … does that mean fully charge before using to 100%, or use until drained (10%) THEN charge to 100% ?
2) Another querie is shouldn’t one put the battery in a sealed container in the fridge, as wouldn’t there be moister in the fridge itself?
3) And a last querie please ….
If I use my laptop half day via ac at my desktop and the other half on the road, … would you suggest that when I get home and there is sufficient power in the battery, to take the battery out when every using ac on a daily basis?
It wouldn’t bother me taking the battery out every day … just want to know if it’s the best thing to do.
Thanks very much
Ps … Please look at this article regarding storing in fridge and recharging only to 40% every 4 to 6 months.
Just looking for opinions/comments/feedback on this article.
Robin, Li-ion batteries have no memory effect. Thus, it doesn’t really matter how much you charge or drain them before use. The only two things that really count are the number of re-charge cycles and the temperature. So removing the battery whenever you don’t need it and store it in the firdge, is helpful. I don’t know why this article recommends storing the battery when the charge is at 40% charge. Most sources I have read say 60-70%. I think the point is that a stored battery discharges at a lower rate if the charge is low and any kind of discharging/charging reduces the life of the battery. However, you also have to avoid that the battery is completely discharged for a longer time. Hence, 40% is a bit risky. Protecting the battery from moisture is certainly important.
Thanks so much for replying so quick.
Would you say the articles method of wrapping and protecting it when putting in the fridge is good & accurate?
Thanks again for the great article.
Just following up on my query about whether you think it’s a good idea to to wrap in in cling wrap and/or put in in a sealed container before putting it in the fridge, to protect it from any condensation or moisture from the fridge?
If not, what is the best way you would recommend?
Robin, yes wrapping the battery makes sense. As I have said before, protecting the battery from moisture is important.
Thanks a lot for the info. This is the clearest and best presented battery care info I have read. It seems a bit over the top at points, and you’d need to be an extended battery life enthusiast to follow it religiously, (but knowing my temperament I’ll probably do just that 🙂 Cheers, Mark
I would put the battery in a plastic bag but not a fully sealed one.
If humid air is trapped with the battery, condensation will form when the temperature is decreased.
The humidity inside of closed refrigerator is low.
HELLO CAN I LOCK MY BATTERY INA CONTAINER AND PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE? I WAS WANDERING IF THE CONTAINER WILL FORM WATER DROPLETS. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN WRAP IT IN?
VERY GOOD ARTICEL TOO. THANKS
Michael, I would wrap the battery in a cloth and then put it in a wathertight box.
I have a battery that’s been in a drawer for a couple years. I put it away because it wasn’t holding charge. Now, I plug in and it’s charging up to 100%. Then I unplug and run on battery and it quickly drops to 8% (maybe lower, but I plug back in.)
Any idea what’s going on? Is this battery rescueable? I can’t figure out search words to look this up… so I’m completely stumped by it.
Curls, sounds as if your battery is dead. You probably need a new one.
Thanks. I’m puzzled though how it can say it’s charging to 100%. Why would the charging rate get that broken when a battery is close to dead?
I ran it with a performance option that let it run till it quit. It had 3 or so minutes. Enough for my use (to stop the unit from shutting off when the power adapter doesn’t connect.) So it’s definitely close to dead.
Any suggestions or blogs written on companies to buy less than very expensive batteries or adapters from? My targus adaptor keep shorting out it’s tips. Thanks!
Curls, read the article again, carefully, line by line.
You left the battery in the drawer way too long. Again, read the article line by line. You let your battery run out and so it died.
100% just means it’s fully charged. But most of the cells are dead, so the few that are left can’t keep your laptop running much at all.
It’s like if I took away most of the money in your bank account. You still have 100% of what’s left (say, $8). But you’ll spend it in no time.
Don’t leave the battery in the fridge, even in a plastic zipped bag. Inside the fridge there is a lot of humidity, though the fridge is constantly dehumidifying its internal air as a byproduct of its cooling effect. That’s why when you pick a can of soda, you might even see a droplet of water on the can. Even if you put the battery in a ziplok, it will sweat from inside. So the fridge is not a good solution.
Better buy some silica gels. They work better against humidity.
The cells will expire by date. If you put it back in, it will get the date from the system and say that its expired if enough time has passed to make it so (2 to 6 years). Manufactures are very clever. The battery is limited by date or amount of charges, what ever comes first.
My fridge has a humidity of 3%, and is the driest place in the house.
Thank you for this helpful article!
Is this thread is still alive? I have a few more questions.
1) On my computer, the battery is also the battery cover. So if you take it out, you have an empty compartment where the battery was. And the battery compartment is unprotected. Is there a solution for this?
2) I’ve had the same extra-strength battery in my computer for I think ten years. I almost always ran the computer off AC, and almost never off the battery. And didn’t ever remove the battery to try to extend its life. About a month ago, Windows started constantly showing that the battery icon is recharging. Sometimes it says “54% available (plugged in; charging)” and sometimes that, “54% available (plugged in; not charging)”. This inconsistency happens for no reason I’m able to detect; not related to anything I’m doing or suddenly doing differently. It’s an old battery. So probably needs to be replaced. But could the problem be the power cord?? Or something else?
3) To prevent getting stuck in the future with a computer for which replacement batteries might no longer be made, does it make sense to by a spare now and store it (possibly for years)? Would it work when the not-spare I’m about to buy stops working, years from now? I’m asking because I like this computer; it’s sturdy, and has a wide screen, and other good features.
Leave the battery in the laptop when you use it. Removing the batter only makes sense if you don’t work with the laptop for a longer time.
If the battery is ten years old, it is probably dead.
Buying a replacement battery in advance doesn’t make sense because batteries also deteriorate when they are not used.