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How do I extend the battery life of my laptop?

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by BikeManiac, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. BikeManiac

    BikeManiac Guest


    I just bought a Thinkpad R60 equipped with a Li-ion battery. I want to
    know how to extend the battery life. I have been using the laptop for a
    few hours now, and the laptop does not get warm/hot in the area around
    the battery - the processor is located at the other end.

    When the battery is in the laptop, plus the AC cord is plugged in, I
    have the possibility to control at what battery level the charger
    should start charging. The default factory settings are 96%. This means
    that when the battery is plugged in and I turn on the laptop, I will
    run on the battery from 100%-96%. As soon as it reaches 96%, the
    charger will charge it to 100%. This should mean that the battery
    constantly cycles between 100 and 96%.

    But it that good for the battery?

    I have the possibility to change the threshold for when the battery
    should be charge. Let's say I could change it to 40%.

    So my question boils down to:

    1. Should I run with the AC cord without the battery plugged in as much
    as possible?
    2. Does it hurt my battery to have a high charging threshold?
    3. Should I fully charge the battery. Then take the AC cord out. Run on
    the battery till it's below 40%. Then shut off the laptop, plug the AC
    cord in and let it charge WITHOUT using the laptop. When the battery is
    full again - then run on the battery only.
    4. Other variations ... ??

    I'm sort of confused - I have seen too many batteries not functioning
    after 1 year.

    Regards, Lucas Jensen
    BikeManiac, Oct 5, 2006
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  2. BikeManiac

    Tom Cole Guest

    No, I don't think so. The computer will run off the A/C.

    However, the battery will slowly self-discharge over some weeks until it
    gets to 96%. The laptop charging circuit will then kick in to charge the
    battery back up to 100%, then stop charging. The cycle will then repeat.

    I have an old Thinkpad 600E which works on the same principle.
    Tom Cole, Oct 5, 2006
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  3. BikeManiac

    M.I.5¾ Guest

    This is good. The prevailing wisdom is that it tis the heat that limits the
    battery's life. Even so, personally I would still remove it.
    I uses up battery life in a situation where it shouldn't need to, so No.
    I would say yes.
    Why not set the charging threshold to 100% so that the battery is not used
    at all when plugged in. If 96% is the maximum, then a raspberry to Lenovo
    for such a crap design. In this event, definitely remove the battery on AC
    This means that you are consuming the limited charge/recharge cycles of the
    battery unnecessarily. You get around 500-700 full cycles.
    As stated above, this is believed to be related to heat. But if you
    continually charge and discharge your battery, it is going to join all those
    short lived batteries, not through heat, but by exhausting the actual life.
    M.I.5¾, Oct 5, 2006
  4. People say that you should remove the battery and run directly off the
    power supply. I tend to agree. According to this web page,
    you should store the battery in a cool place at 40% charge between uses.

    You may also want to get a small uninterruptible power supply to ride
    through brownouts and be able to hibernate when power fails completely.
    The smaller UPS's are much cheaper than laptop batteries.

    Good. Heat kills Li-ion batteries slowly.
    Pierre Asselin, Oct 6, 2006
  5. BikeManiac

    Notan Guest

    How does one "store the battery at 40% charge?"

    Notan, Oct 6, 2006
  6. BikeManiac

    mike Guest

    step 1: run it down to 40% charge.
    Step 2: store it.

    One school of thoght holds that if you store it in the fridge around
    30-40 C., the state of charge doesn't matter as much.
    mike, Oct 6, 2006
  7. BikeManiac

    Notan Guest

    Sounds simple, but...

    How often do you check it?

    When it passively runs down, at what point do you bring it back to 40%?

    Do you sit there and watch it get to 40%, then disconnect and store?

    And, last but not least, is it *really* that important? <g>

    Notan, Oct 6, 2006
  8. BikeManiac

    mike Guest

    You're asking for a level of detail that you're not likely to uncover
    You're worrying too much.
    Put it in the fridge and forget it.
    mike, Oct 6, 2006
  9. BikeManiac

    M.I.5¾ Guest

    You need to get that fridge repaired pronto.
    M.I.5¾, Oct 6, 2006
  10. BikeManiac

    BillW50 Guest

    I have a lot of devices besides laptops with Li-ion batteries. And if
    the battery never gets warm and if the charger occasionally rechecks the
    battery to see if it needs charging or not (my Toshiba 2595XDVD doesn't
    until the AC is interrupted).
    I disagree. Small drains doesn't seem to harm Li-ion batteries at all.
    And I tend to believe it might actually help them.
    Well it wouldn't hurt, but I'm leaving my battery in this Gateway
    MX6124. The battery is always so cool and never seems to get warm. I
    wouldn't do this with my Toshibas. They have already ruined a few
    batteries by the heat alone.
    I think 96% is a very good idea myself. As trying to keep the battery on
    charge whenever it drops down to 99.9999% is a sure fire way to kill a
    good battery IMHO.

    Here is my reason in part for this. When you store a Li-ion, it has high
    internal resistance which will discharge in time. Normally it would take
    over a year before you have to worry about it. So if you charge them
    once every 6 months, you may have lost about 40% of the change by then
    and recharge them. They last just fine.
    Yes I won't discharge the battery either unnecessary. But small amount
    of discharging like down 90% before recharging a Li-ion seems to me is
    able to last 10's of thousand of these types of recharging.
    Full discharge and charging cycles will kill a Li-ion in time. But brief
    discharging and recharging doesn't seem to hurt a battery noticeable at
    all. I have Li-ion batteries lasting over 10 years using this method. So
    something I am doing right anyway. :D
    BillW50, Oct 6, 2006
  11. BikeManiac

    BillW50 Guest

    Btw, following your advice... they pull out the battery and let it sit
    for a month or two. Now the battery is only at say 90% of full charge
    (because of internal battery resistance). So how is this better?

    I can't set my Gateway MX6124 settings. But the battery charge is
    sitting at 97% right now and the battery isn't changing yet (almost
    always on AC power). I can force it to charge just by pulling the AC
    plug here for a second. Wait I will do it now. Okay I just did and the
    light said it was charging for about a minute. But it is still just 97%.
    Go figure.

    I say the best advice to someone is to take all advice with a grain of
    salt. And do what you want to do at first. Then check the capacity of
    the battery every month or two and see how much you have lost in that
    time. If you are losing too much too fast, modify your care and then
    check it later on and see how well that works. And keep doing this until
    you find the correct care for your system.
    BillW50, Oct 6, 2006
  12. BikeManiac

    Notan Guest

    Actually, I don't worry about it at all.

    My point was, with all that you'd have to do to keep it at a 40% charge,
    *you'd* be worrying too much! <g>

    Li-Ion batteries seem to last 1-2 years, regardless of how often they're
    charged, as long as heat buildup is kept to a minimum.

    Notan, Oct 6, 2006
  13. BikeManiac

    BillW50 Guest

    Hi Notan... How do you explain some of us have Li-ion batteries still in
    service after 10 years? And I can say none of mine have ever seen a frig
    BillW50, Oct 6, 2006
  14. BikeManiac

    Notan Guest

    When you say "in service," are you talking about laptop rechargables,
    used on a regular basis?

    Notan, Oct 6, 2006
  15. BikeManiac

    BillW50 Guest

    Well I don't have any laptop Li-ion batteries that has made it that long
    yet, but I do have Li-ion cell phones that gets used briefly on
    batteries and usually on a charger most of the time so they are almost
    always at full charge. Although they do also sometimes sit uncharged and
    off for months at a time too.

    I also got 6 years out of my Palm IIIc Li-ion battery and I would charge
    it up usually when it hit 50% charge. And I didn't see any decrease in
    capacity either with it. The Li-ion battery is soldered in, so you can't
    easily remove it and so I didn't. Nor can you truly shut it off either
    as it only sports on and standby.

    Maybe a total reset will truly turn them off, as I can't see how they
    can sit in the store without the batteries going dead after about 10
    days. As that is about how long I can let it sit on Standby. Well I
    won't let it sit no more than 5 days without a charge as the RAM would
    drain the battery about 50% in that time. What did it in was I was gone
    for a month and I forgot about it (wasn't on a charger either) and the
    battery never recovered. If I had it on the charger, I'm pretty sure
    this one would be still running and it would be 7 years old now. :)

    And I do have some 7 year old laptop Li-ion batteries too. And the best
    one was the one I only used when I needed portable power, never drained
    it down past 40% and I would always charge it back up to 100% and then
    pull it out and let it sit on the shelve for months at a time when I
    needed it the next time. Here is a list of 5 of them that are 7 years

    Battery 1: about 80% of having full capacity

    Battery 2: about 60% of having full capacity

    Battery 3: about 06% of having full capacity

    Battery 4: about 05% of having full capacity

    Battery 5: about 0% of having full capacity

    #5 totally opened and no voltage could be read from it. #3 & 4 was
    allowed to cook in two Toshiba 2595XDVD laptops. Rarely used for battery
    power and was allowed the laptops to control when they should be charged
    or not. Thus I left them in the laptops most of the time and rarely had
    taken them out. Laptops were most on AC power almost all of the time.
    And after about 2 years of service, they are stored and only charged up
    twice a year. Pretty worthless for much of anything after 2 years. But
    they haven't got worse since I pulled them out.

    #2 was mostly taken well cared for like #1, but it was allowed a bit of
    time living in a laptop for a number of months. The only thing that
    harmed it was the heat of the laptop is all I can figure out. As none of
    the 5 batteries were ever fully discharged a lot.

    This Gateway MX6124 I just got in August, I'm doing something different.
    I'm leaving the battery in all of the time and I rarely use battery
    power with it. I'm doing this because the battery stays cool in this
    laptop and I'm betting that leaving it in here won't harm this battery
    much. But I do check the capacity about once a month and so far it lost
    about 9% of capacity. But I am not worried yet and once it does lose
    another 10% or so (meaning about 20% loss), I'll probably start removing
    it. But I'm going to try to make it for 2 more years before that
    happens. Time will tell. :D
    BillW50, Oct 6, 2006
  16. BikeManiac

    Richard Cole Guest

    Richard Cole, Oct 6, 2006
  17. BikeManiac

    mike Guest

    makes it easier to get that warm milk at bedtime ;-)
    mike, Oct 6, 2006
  18. BikeManiac

    Joseph Fenn Guest

    I do it a different way. I put 2 tiny holes in the lid or wherever
    there is space enuff to bring them out from the empty bios slot,
    through the holes, and substitute with a durcel lithium or several
    others companys also make these. The battey is lithium and 3vdc
    and its about 1/3rd shorter than an AA sell. Once done you can forget
    about bios loss of power for about 10 years or better.
    Joseph Fenn, Oct 7, 2006
  19. BikeManiac

    Notan Guest


    Notan, Oct 7, 2006
  20. BikeManiac

    NoNoBadDog! Guest

    So now you have a dangling battery to deal with? No Thanks!

    NoNoBadDog!, Oct 7, 2006
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