Laptop Battery Best Practices

Laptop Battery Best Practices Information from our HP rep and/or HP's website via Steven Diaz  Many factors go into determining how long your battery will last; run time varies depending on how and where the notebook is used.  Battery cycle life is the total number of discharge-charge cycles a battery yields before it can no longer hold a useful amount of charge.  Estimating the cycle life of a rechargeable Li-Ion battery is difficult because cycle life is affected by the average operating temperature of the battery and its energy discharge rate. Factors that contribute to loss of battery capacity:
  • Li-Ion battery cells suffer gradual, irreversible capacity loss with each discharge-charge cycle.  Such aging occurs more rapidly as temperature and discharge loads increase.
  • The self-discharge rate of a Li-Ion battery is higher if the battery is left in an unpowered notebook.
  • During prolonged storage or non-use, the battery charge will decrease below its recommended low-voltage level.
  • Leaving the battery in a depleted condition for an extended period will accelerate the decrease in FCC (full charge capacity).
  • Leaving the battery at a high level of charge in a high-temperature environment for extended periods (for example, running a notebook computer in a docking station under a heavy load) will accelerate the loss of capacity.
  • Running high-end applications using the battery accelerates the loss of capacity.  For example, playing 3D games will lower FCC faster than using word processing applications.
  • Keep battery contacts clean.
  • Make sure that the cooling vents are not blocked; higher temperatures reduce the unit efficiency which affect battery life.
  • Optimize power settings:
    • Adjust screen brightness.
    • Turn off wireless - this is a significant drain on your battery.
    • Turn off scheduled tasks.
    • Avoid Power intensive activities like watching a DVD or listening to a CD.
    • Remove peripherals when not in use.  External hard drives, CD-ROMs, Zip drives, PC cards, and other peripheral devices can draw power from your battery even when they are not in active use.  Disconnect them when you have finished using them.
    • Do not leave batteries exposed to high temperatures for extended periods. Prolonged exposure to heat (for example, inside a hot car) will accelerate the deterioration of Li-Ion cells.
      • Store Li-Ion batteries between 20°C and 25°C (68°F and 77°F) with 30% to 50% charge.
      • Store it properly; it’s a good idea to store the battery discharged to about 40% in a cool place.  Avoid storing a fully charged or discharged lithium ion battery for extended periods - this will diminish battery life.
      • Remove the battery if the notebook will be stored (turned off and not plugged into AC power) for more than 2 weeks.
      • Remove the battery if the notebook will be plugged into AC power continuously (via a wall adapter or docking station) for more than 2 weeks.
      • Charging the battery correctly - current Lithium and nickel based batteries (NiMH) can be partially discharged and recharged without issue but Lithium ion should never be completely drained.
        • NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydrade) batteries should be completely drained and recharged every one-three months.
        • Calibrate the battery while the computer is not in use.  A calibration cycle requires that the battery be completely charged and then completely discharged.  The calibration may take one to five hours, depending on the age of the battery and the computer's configuration.  Under normal usage, batteries should be calibrated a minimum of once every 3 months.

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