When I bought a new notebook recently, I resolved to take better care of my laptop battery this time than I had with my previous ones. With my last laptops the battery was more or less dead after a year or so. If a battery is treated with care it can last up to four years. I thought that I knew how a notebook battery has to be handled, but after googling this topic, I realized that quite a few of my beliefs were outdated. Most of my layman's knowledge about rechargeable batteries was related to Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries, which are no longer used in laptops (as far as I know). In this post, I summarize the tips I found on the web to preserve lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, which are probably in most laptops nowadays.
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There are two important keywords when it comes to battery preservation: charging and temperature. That is, how the batteries are charged, and the temperatures to which they are exposed, are key factors that determine their lifespan. Today I will write about how temperature influences the lifespan of a laptop battery, and in my next post I will cover charging and discharging.
Many people believe that low temperatures are harmful for batteries because they think of past winters when their car didn't start in the morning after a cold night. However, the technology used in car batteries has little to do with Li-ion batteries. The same applies to non-rechargeable batteries, which can even be recharged a little by exposing them to the warm sunlight. The truth about Li-ion batteries is that high temperatures are their worst enemy. Therefore, the following tips will help prevent laptop batteries from getting too warm.
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- Always use a laptop on a hard surface. Don't put it on your lap (despite its name) or on thermal insulating materials such as cushions. If you like to work in bed with your laptop, I recommend using a laptop table. I have this one, and I am quite content with it.
- Try to avoid charging the battery while you are working with the laptop. Charging the batteries increases your laptop's temperature. The problem is that the CPU, the graphics card and the hard disk also heat up your laptop, which adds to the temperature increase experienced when charging the battery. Many vendors deliver their laptops with software that allows you to disable charging. You also can remove the battery while you are working on AC current.
- Make sure the laptop's ventilation can always work properly. Don't place objects before the ventilation systems opening. Don't run or charge the laptop while it is in its case.
- Don't leave the laptop in the car or under the sun in summer. Use a bike. It keeps your laptop battery cool and your own battery healthy. And too much sun exposure causes only skin cancer anyway. 😉
In my next post, I will give you some tips on how to charge and discharge a laptop battery in a way that prolongs their life.