How to Get the Best Life Out of a New Laptop Battery

With many people planning to take their laptops to family gatherings this holiday season, not having a good battery can be a real pain. No one likes to be tethered to the wall while the family moves around, enjoying time spent together. However, like any rechargeable battery, there are a few steps that you need to take to insure that you get the best life from your new battery.

Battery Basics

A new battery comes in a discharged condition and must be charged before use. Upon initial use (or after a prolonged storage period) the battery may require three to four “Charge – Discharge” cycles before achieving maximum capacity.

If the battery will not be in use for a month or longer, it is recommended that it be removed from the device and stored in a cool, clean place.

It is normal for a battery to become warm to the touch during charging and discharging. A charged battery will eventually lose its charge if unused. It may therefore be necessary to recharge the battery after a storage period.

When charging the battery for the first time, the device may indicate that charging is complete after just 10 or 15 minutes. This is a normal phenomenon with rechargeable batteries. Remove the battery from the device and reinsert it then repeat the charging procedure.

Actual battery runtime depends upon the power demands made by the equipment. In the case of notebook computers, screen brightness, the use of the CPU, the hard drive, and other Peripheral’s result in an additional drain upon the battery, effectively reducing the battery’s run-time. The total run-time of the battery is also heavily dependent upon the design of the equipment. To ensure the maximum performance of the battery, optimize the computers power management features. (Refer to the computer manual for further instructions.)

How can l Maximize battery performance?

  • Break in New Batteries: New batteries come in a discharged condition and must be fully charged before use. It is recommended that you fully charge and discharge the new battery two to four times to allow it to reach its maximum rated capacity. Keep the battery clean; its good idea to clean dirty battery contacts with a cotton swab and alcohol. This helps maintain a good connection between the battery and the portable device.
  • Exercise the battery: Do not leave the battery dormant for long period time. We recommend using the battery at least once every two to three weeks. lf the battery has not been used for a long period of time…perform the new battery break in procedure described above.
  • Battery storage: if you don’t plan on using the battery for a month or more, we recommend storing it in a clean, dry cool place away from heat and metal objects. Batteries will seIf discharge during storage: remember to break them in before use.
  • Notebook users: to get maximum performance from the battery, fully optimize the notebooks power management features prior to use. Power management is a trade off: better power conservation exchange for lesser computer performance. The power management system conserves battery power by setting the processor to run at a slower speed, dimming the screen, spinning down the hard drive when not in use and causing the machine to go into sleep mode when inactive. The notebook user’s guide will provide the information relating to specific power management features.

How are batteries rated?

There are two ratings on every battery: volts and Milliamp-hours (mAH). The voltage of the new battery should always match the voltage of the original unless the battery is a different chemistry (NiMH and Li-lon batteries have different voltage ratings. even if they’re for the same laptop). Some batteries will have higher milliamp-hour ratings than the original battery found in the device. This is indicative of a longer run-time (higher capacity) and will not cause any incompatibilities. On rare occasions your Notebook’s BIOS might need updating so it can recognize the higher capacity battery.

How long do batteries last?

The life of a rechargeable battery operating under normal condition is generally between 500 and 800 charge-discharge cycles. This translates into one and a half to three years of the battery life for the average user. As the rechargeable battery begins to die, that user will notice a decline in the running time of the battery.  When a battery that originally operated the notebook for two hours is only supplying the user with a half hours worth of use, it’s time for a new battery. To prolong the life of any battery, we highly recommend fully charging and fully discharging, not charging when the battery is 50% full.

Should I recycle the older battery? How?

Be environmentally conscious; do NOT throw these batteries in the trash. If you don’t know where your local recycling facility is, call us at 248-738-8700.  We will do our best to help.  (or visit www.mygreenelectronics.org)

Disclaimer:  This helpful information is given to you as a courtesy. We cannot be held responsible for any damage that may occur as a result of these instructions (hardware or software). We are not battery experts.

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Do you have any tricks for getting a better lifespan from your rechargeable batteries?

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1 Response to How to Get the Best Life Out of a New Laptop Battery

  1. Julie says:

    Great article with very useful information! Thanks.

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