MOST people who use modern technology such as laptops have at one point or another come across a sign that pops up and warns you that you are running low on battery, please recharge!
This is particularly annoying if you are in the middle of doing something and you have to drop everything to search for your charger and a power socket. However, modern technology has been designed in such a way that you can use it when you are mobile or not so close to any power socket?
I have come to realise that a very good number of laptops out there can no longer work on their batteries and they have to be permanently plugged into a wall socket during the time they will be in use. This is because the batteries would have long been damaged and can no longer store power. Recently, I was compelled to surf online at the popular Zimpost Café where I was introduced to names like “portable desktops and faketops”.
You are probably wondering what I am going on about and what that has to do with the topic I am writing about, anyway the names I have mentioned above are nicknames coined to identify different laptop batteries that would have long seized to operate. I will not dwell on the intricacies of these nicknames because my major thrust is on ways that you can employ to increase our battery life. I have used various types of laptops from different manufacturers and one common problem in all these brands has been the battery life.
We have switched from the dual core processors to the core 1 series, yes but a poor-performing battery overshadows all these features. Ironically, as technology develops most household names have dismally failed to impress with their lithium batteries packing up in their first years, forcing users to rely on power points. IBM, DELL and ACER are not so popular in our market but these have been doing quite well in producing laptops with longer battery life. HP, a darling of many, has an appealing outlook but has failed the litmus taste especially on their Pavillion DV series.
Most of these are all currently running on a dead battery. Most laptops use batteries that can last for three to five years, or about 1 000 charges. Good to perfect batteries last from five to eight hours although this varies depending on the programmes the user is running.
There are some programmes and processes which demand much more power than others so these could be better achieved while using external power if you plan to use your laptop later without this support. Watching a movie from a hard drive will make your battery last longer than it would if you are watching the same movie from a DVD drive or USB. Spinning around the movie DVD will demand extra power to the ROM. Even USB drives will use their own direct supplies to switch on and in the long run they will drain your Battery.
It would be wiser to first copy your documents to the hard drive while on power then run them on battery from the hard drive One would think that the best way to keep your laptop’s battery from wearing out is by not using it. Contrary to this assertion, batteries are like muscles they need to work out regularly to stay healthy.
One very dangerous habit is to keep your laptop connected on power all the time. This habit is most common with office laptops where users rarely carry them out so these will literally be desktops. When you continuously charge your battery without discharging it, you are also killing it slowly or is it softly. Technology addicts like me carry our laptops around just in case we may need them even though we never intend to use them.
I know that the question upper most in your minds is how often should one recharge their laptop? I remember some years ago, I had a perfectly working battery which I could use for more than five hours but due to bad recharge tendencies, it was dead in less than one week where it lasted not more than 20 minutes after a full charge If you are not going to use it, constantly charging your battery is also a bad idea.
HP recommends on their website that if you are going to leave your laptop plugged in or put up in storage for more than two weeks, you should take the battery out of your laptop. I would personally recommend fully charging and removing it from the laptop if you are going to be working on main power for a long time.
This will still keep it in shape till you discharge it, but do not dump it for the main supply because like I have said, your battery needs a fair continuous exercise to last longer. Using inappropriate and especially universal laptop chargers destroys your battery. Most of these chargers will feed your battery with the correct voltage but wrong current, which will seriously compromise your battery cells. When it comes to chargers do not compromise.
Besides destroying your battery these have the potential to even fry your motherboard. Most old computers that some of our friends are still using with NiCad battery types will benefit from the suggestion above but these are not going to last in our market for long since there are new type of laptops being released. Nickel Metal, especially Lithium batteries, will not benefit from these tricks. Before you even buy your next laptop you should enquire about the technology their battery is using especially if it’s a second-hand, When you continuously remove and replace your battery it will also be exposed to physical dust or dirt particles, which may stain your battery terminals.
These will cause your battery not to work properly or at times drain out quickly as much energy maybe wasted because of poor transmitting terminals. Cleaning any suspicious dirt particles from the terminals can easily check this problem. Clean contacts will always provide good current flow charge.
Should your battery pack up it is now much easier to replace it because with the proliferation of IT suppliers in our industry, most battery spares are now replaceable. I know of some technicians locally who have been replacing old battery cells with new ones. They have been doing a tremendous job in case your battery replacement is not readily available in the market. This has become a much more affordable way to replace a dead battery though the full charge does not last as long as a brand new battery.
These are basics hardware tips that you need to keep on the look out to maximise on your laptop battery life. There are many software tweaks to apply too, to get the best out of your battery but these may be useless if your battery is having some physical, hardware shortcomings.
I have mentioned so many don’ts than dos in this article but there are many tips you can use to actually bring back your seemingly dead battery back to life. At least start with the bad habits that kill your battery before you get to apply the life-saving tips that will make your battery last longer.