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QUICK AND EASY POINTS!  Laptop battery life question, is it better to leave it IN or OUT?

Posted on 2006-11-05
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Hi,

I bought a Dell Inspiron 1505 Duo Core computer.  I find that I plug in the AC adapter 96% of the time that I'm using the laptop.  

Is it better to leave the battery in the whole time that I'm plugged in?  

Or, is it better to leave the battery out and only put it in when I know I'm going on the road?

My goal is to prolong the life of this battery even though I know my laptop is plugged in 96% of the time that I'm using it.  

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Question by:shaolinfunk
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Mark earned 87 total points
ID: 17876577
The comman way to treat thnis is to remove the battery, but make sure there is at least 40% charge on it . Running the laptop with AC and the battery in it as high as you do will degrade the life of the battery due to heat. Here is a link to an article explaining this.
http://mobileoffice.about.com/od/usingyourlaptop/f/laptopbattery.htm
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by:Mark
ID: 17876581
There is also an interesting point at the end of the article regarding using a UPS (Uninteruptable Power Suuppy) when running without the battery installed. When power fails the laptop will shutdown and data will be lost without battery or UPS
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by:wlennon
ID: 17876612
Most rechargeable batteries need to have the memory of the battery set, you do this by...When you have a new battery, charge it up completely before using it, when you do, don't use AC Power until the battery is dead or your Laptop tells you to reggae.

Often times this needs to be done a few times to set and get the most out of the battery.
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by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 22 total points
ID: 17876775
Depends on the Battery  - Nickel Cadmium Batteries (NiCad) as Wes says do indeed have a "memory" and give the best service from being fully charged then fully discharged, More Modern Lithion Ion (Li-on) Batteries dont suffer from this degradation from "Part Charging and recharging"

I have an HP Nc8430 as my "Workhorse" and the battery has never been out of it since the day I got it - Though If Im at a client site, Im on batteries And It still will give me at least 3-4 hours
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by:shaolinfunk
ID: 17876983
Hi Pete,
Thanks for pointing out the difference between NiCad and Lion.

I have a 53 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion....so should I just ignore what the sparkmaker is saying?

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by:Mark
ID: 17877022
The guidlines I provided were for L-Ion batteries. Heat is the issue with which we are dealing with here.
The calibration technique that wlennon provided is viable for L-Ion batteries when they act as if they short charge.

This following excerpt is from the  link. http://www.answers.com/topic/lithium-ion-battery

-->Guidelines for prolonging Li-ion battery life

This article includes how-to sections and may need to be edited to encyclopedic style. The how-to sections may qualify to be moved to Wikibooks.
Please improve the article by removing or rewriting the how-to sections, or discuss the issue on the talk page.

    * Unlike NiCad batteries, lithium-ion batteries should be charged early and often. However, if they are not used for a longer time, they should be brought to a charge level of around 40%. Lithium-ion batteries should never be "deep-cycled" like NiCd batteries.
    * Li-ion batteries should be kept cool. Ideally they are stored in a refrigerator. Aging will take its toll much faster at high temperatures. The high temperatures found in cars cause lithium-ion batteries to degrade rapidly.
    * Lithium-ion batteries should never be depleted to empty (0%).
    * According to one book[6], lithium ion batteries should not be frozen. Note that most lithium-ion battery electrolytes freeze at approximately −40 °C, which is much colder than the lowest temperature reached by most household freezers.
    * Li-ion batteries should be bought only when needed, because the aging process begins as soon as the battery is manufactured. [citation needed]
    * When using a notebook computer running from fixed line power over extended periods, the battery can be removed and stored in a cool place so that it is not affected by the heat produced by the computer. [citation needed] (However, a notebook computer's battery prevents sudden loss of the data in memory during power failures and brownouts. Reasonable alternatives are the use of an older lithium ion battery or an external uninterruptible power supply.)

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by:hong7cong
ID: 17879440
Most of laptops now got Lithium batteries and though, it's said that we could keep our laptop plugged to AC power source as long as we want. But the best practice is to charge the battery till it's full and then keep using the laptop without AC power untill the system asks you to re-charge the battery. This is quite similar as we use our mobile phone.
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by:shaolinfunk
ID: 17881632
hong7cong,

i want to prolong my battery's life.

are you saying that it's better to fully charge, then nearly drain, then fully recharge as much as possible?

rather than take out the battery, store it, and only put it back in for those 4% times that i'm on the road?

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by:whizkidcomputersltd
whizkidcomputersltd earned 22 total points
ID: 17883018
I have actually just recientlly read one of those laptops for dummies books (no offence tho - thats just what its called :))

Basiclly what I have learned from it is that it is best to...

- Take the battery out if it is mostly going to be deskbound - due to heat damage (as sparkmaster said)

- You dont need to constantlly recharge and let it drain - although it does say that you should do that at least once every 3 months (this applies to Lithiam ION batteries only (the older ones suffer from the dreaded memory effect - as some of the others were saying) - as you have a LION battery you should just do it once every 3 months or so.

- If you do take the battery out remember that you lose your built in UPS (again as sparkmaster said)

- When you store the battery make sure it is charged (more than 40%) and that you store it in a NON METALIC container (you dont want to short it)

- so in your case I would defentlly recomend taking it out and only using it when you need to go out to make the life of the battey last longer, just remember to do the full recharge/drain thing once every 3 months and you shouldn't go far wrong.
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by:hong7cong
hong7cong earned 22 total points
ID: 17887361
My recommend is that we should not take out the battery and use the laptop without this one. Beside of acting like an UPS for the computer, the battery also keeps the electric power source stable, not too high and not too low as manufacture's requirement. So, connecting AC power source directly to our laptop without battery, I think that's not good for our computer (for example, mainboard) especially where the power source is not even.

If we got a new battery and it's not yet used. So, we might keep it off-site for a long time. But if that battery is already full-charged once and even after that we drain of the battery, say about 40%, but at that time, the battery cells are already activated, so the quality of the battery would be reduced if they are not, say "exercise" frequently - like "muscles" that are not exercised :))

So, I think, to prolong your battery (and also you laptop) you should keep using that in proper way. In this case, it's to keep it full charged and then drain at least one per month.
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by:wlennon
wlennon earned 22 total points
ID: 17891097
Any Batteries worst enemy is heat, I use a small UPS for Laptops and remove the battery when using electricity and store the Battery in the fridge. After 3 years, the battery is as good as new and no time loss.
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by:shaolinfunk
ID: 17891285
whizkidcomputersltd,

are you saying i should drain it every 3 months?  

i'm confused because i thought Li-On don't have to be drained at all like the older batteries....
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by:shaolinfunk
ID: 17891395
wlennon,

which small USP do you use?
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by:Mark
ID: 17894060
So much for the "quick and easy" question.
@shaolinfunk-->Your present situation is using your laptop like a desktop(As per the battery and AC are concerned) And this should dictate the longevity of the battery. To leave it in will shorten its life due to heat and short charging while at 100% charge all the time.
To use the battery  as a power backup is important, but theUPS is the answer to that as stated in my 2nd post.
To run the laptop on battery and charge it as you need it will give you the expected lifetime for the battery,2-3 yrs tops.
To remove and store it with at least a 40% charge in a dry cool environment,( also pointed out in my earlier posts either by link or excerpt,) will lengthen the time you will have an operable battery when it is not needed.
The 3month usage  time frame is to ensure the battery is functional and to exercise it so it will be reliable.
These are your choices. You must decide which you need.
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by:shaolinfunk
ID: 17906527
sparkmaker,
thanks for summing everything up.

i am a student and i travel back and forth between school and home with my laptop.  i plug in at both school and home.  would i have to plug my laptop's bulky AC adapter into a bulky UPS and then plug the bulky UPS into an outlet?

if yes, which personal UPS would you recommend?
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by:Mark
ID: 17907980
The power adapter would be used in all cases, I think if you are actually travelling with it back and forth you would be better served by using the battery ,as it is intended. The extension of the battery life would be negligible to the personal energy you would waste lugging a UPS around with you. In essence it would be more efficient to have the battery as the backup as hong7kong has mentioned. Use the battery when going to school and plug in when needed, at home use the UPS if you are running it for prolonged times and remove the battery to reduce its heat build up. This way it will be exercised, also be a  back up when in school, and give some longevity due to being used half the time. Remember that L-Ion batteries start to degrade the moment they are initialized unless they are stored cold. This isn't practical unless you leave it out for months at a time.
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by:shaolinfunk
ID: 17908211
precisely what i wanted to know!  thanks!
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by:Pete Long
ID: 17908475
ThanQ
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by:wlennon
ID: 17908748
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