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How can I extend battery life? I'm confused.

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by domtam, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. domtam

    domtam Guest

    I recently bought my very first laptop computer. It's a Toshiba A70
    (Pentium-4 3.0 GHz, 512MB RAM, etc) May I know the best practise of
    extending the battery life? What I mean is not only extending the time
    between recharge, but also more importantly, the life of the battery
    itself. I've heard of horrible stories that the battery of a laptop can
    degrade rapidly (say,15 minutes between recharge) after one year of
    use. I don't want to repeat this story.

    What I usually do so far is to use the battery power (i.e disconnect
    the AC cord) as much as I can even if I could access AC power. I
    usually use up all the batter power until it automatically goes to
    hibernate mode. I then recharge the battery without turning the laptop
    on. After the battery gets fully recharged, I will unplug the power
    cable and repeat the above process again.

    Is that the right way to do it?

    I've heard of some advices that I should never drain the battery to 0%
    (or close to 0%). Is that true?

    If it is true, what I am doing is totally wrong! Should I plug in the
    AC power to use the laptop whenever I can access AC power?

    Should I fully recharge the battery everytime?

    I've heard that DVD can also drain battery life quickly. If I don't
    play DVD, I don't think it it will use the battery, right?

    Is there any need for me to "disable" the DVD feature (is that even

    Any other suggestions?

    domtam, Jan 12, 2005
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  2. What you are doing is not good for the battery.

    When the laptop is going to be on AC for a while (most of a day or
    more), remove the battery completely. The evidence suggests that, more
    often than not, leaving the battery in the laptop when it's on AC for a
    long time is not good for it.

    The battery has a limited number of charge-discharge cycles. The number
    is probably in the range of 300 to 500. What you are doing now is
    "using these up" unnecessarily. That's one of the worst things you can do.

    It's best not to take the battery below about 20%. Most battery mfgrs.
    seem to recommend that if the battery is going to be stored "long term"
    that it be stored at about a 60% charge. Some, however, recommend
    storage at "full charge" with a partial cycle (some use & recharge)
    every 90 days or so. It's not clear on that aspect.

    The DVD drive isn't a significant issue.
    Barry Watzman, Jan 12, 2005
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  3. domtam

    bobb Guest

    Oh no! not ANOTHER battery care thread.

    Whatever u do, do not run out and buy one of those ugly polyurethane
    "glove" to fit over the laptop so it won't scratch.

    This gotta be one of the most often question EVER asked in the history
    of humanity. Make use of http://groups.google.com archive of this
    forum, u will find everything that was ever said about this subject
    and you will keep yourself busy for weeks. Have a ball.
    bobb, Jan 12, 2005
  4. domtam

    domtam Guest

    Thanks, Barry! It's great to see your reply before I continue my

    Is the following what you mean?

    - At home/office/wherever I can access AC Power:
    Remove the battery from the laptop. Plug in the AC cord. I can now use
    my laptop as long as I need.

    - When I'm about to use it on-the-road:
    Install the battery back to the laptop. Plug in the AC cord to recharge
    the battery. Recharge it fully.

    My another question is whether it is bad for battery life if I keep
    using the computer while recharging.

    - When I'm on-the-road (no AC access)
    Use the battery power until it is down to 30% or so. (Right figure?)
    Then, recharge the battery again.

    Is my understanding correct?
    domtam, Jan 12, 2005
    Hash: SHA1

    Hi Dom,

    Whenever I read one of these battery thread (they occur quite
    often), I have to laugh. Batteries at $150 to $250 are fairly cheap.
    When the battery stops lasting as long as you like just buy a new one.

    I never take the battery out of my machine and I probably am on
    mains 90%+ of the time. I like having the UPS factor of the battery
    in place.

    My laptop is my primary computer and I use it 1200hrs to 1800hrs a
    day. Mollycoddling the battery would be a pain in the neck. The
    laptop is a disposable tool with a finite life. I grant that I know
    people who are still using their Pentium II laptops and are happy
    (if not quite as productive as people using newer machines). For me
    productivity is the final measurement of the usefulness of a computer.

    Ciao . . . C.Joseph

    That which a man buys too cheaply . . .
    He esteems too lightly

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    C.Joseph Drayton, Jan 12, 2005
  6. domtam

    Gene Guest

    I agree - for the L-Ion type batteries, bringing them down to 0 is very
    bad. That advice was for Ni-MH batteries which suffer from a "memory"
    problem if you charge them before they are fully discharged.

    I'd say it's not unreasonable to want to conserve your battery when it
    costs $150-$200, and the whole laptop might cost (replacement cost
    after 1-2 years of use.... when a battery typically dies... $600).
    Then you say, "why should I buy a $200 battery to salvage $400!

    One other thing to add: I think system life, including the battery (but
    also the hard-drive) is affected by how much time you use the machine
    in "DC" mode, because typically the fan will shut down. I know my
    Thinkpad runs much hotter on battery power than A/C... and I've had to
    replace the battery (and hard-drive) after 13 months! This may not be
    an issue if you have one of the low-voltage type Centrino processors,
    but definitely consider it with the P4.
    Gene, Jan 12, 2005
  7. It makes very little difference whether or not you use the computer
    while recharging. Either way, the battery will be fully charged. The
    charge rate will be lower if you are also using the computer, in general
    that can be slightly beneficial, but charging will take longer (perhaps
    a lot longer).
    Barry Watzman, Jan 13, 2005
  8. I went to google for this very question a couple of months ago.
    One of the better links was: http://www.batteryuniversity.com .
    Pierre Asselin, Jan 13, 2005
  9. domtam

    Joseph Fenn Guest

    * Army MARS State Coordinator for Hawaii *

    Somewhere I saw a neat battery for laptops that is about the same size
    as the laptops, but its about 3,8th inch thick and believe it was
    lithium ion which is better than nimh or nicads and it gives you
    about 3 hours useage without any power system ac needed. I guess
    you just stick it under the laptop itself.
    Kokomo Joe
    Joseph Fenn, Jan 13, 2005
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