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Any way / software to check how long laptop battery can last without waiting for it to drain

Posted on 2012-12-24
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
My corporate office has one Lenovo X220 but nobody knows if it's
been used for how long by the previous owner.  They also offer
Dell E6230 laptops.

I'm choosing between one of the two but first I need to know
how long the battery will last (as previous owner(s) had used them
before).

Q1:
Windows 7 power meter usually doesn't give a good gauge.
Is there any tool / software that I can install to gauge for the
laptop I'm going to choose/collect, how long the battery will
last on full charge?

Q2:
Assuming it's brand new standard battery (6 cell ?) for both
X220 & the Dell E6230, which of them would last longer?
0
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Question by:sunhux
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16 Comments
 
LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:AliQahtani
AliQahtani earned 69 total points
ID: 38719714
Hi sunhux,

can you try Battery Eater is a free Windows utility that can do a full load test on your battery and let you know how long it should last.

please check the link for the more information
http://www.computeractive.co.uk/ca/step-by-step/1933790/test-laptop-s-battery-life

to download  go to the website
http://www.batteryeater.com/news.html
0
 

Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 38719781
Thanks.  Does it take very long to run to generate the report?
Whole idea is not to fully charge the battery
0
 

Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 38719786
Thanks.  Does it take very long to run to generate the report?
Whole idea is not to fully charge the battery
0
 
LVL 37

Assisted Solution

by:Neil Russell
Neil Russell earned 69 total points
ID: 38719791
There is NO METHOD to check how long a battery will last without a FULL charge and discharge.  How can it? Software can NOT tell the physical condition of a battery.
0
 
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:IanTh
IanTh earned 69 total points
ID: 38719907
windows can kindof guess how much is left in the battery but its not exactly correct
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 38719911
And we all know how well windows "Guesses"!!!

One of my kids laptops has 3 hours remaining 10 minutes before it shuts down.

Forget any windows estimates on a battery of unknown state.
0
 
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:xmlmagician
xmlmagician earned 68 total points
ID: 38719981
i do not think that any app or program can measure it accurately for the very simple reason that there are too many variables. everything mentioned above it can give you a good guestimate of how much/long you have left.
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Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 38720106
what kind of battery does the laptop have this has a bearing on its charge capabilities
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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 38720132
Well, I have to choose between a Dell E6230 & a Lenovo X220 from
our corporate office & I guess they're both used before by some
other staff.

The officer in charge of the laptops only allows me about 5-10
minutes to take out the laptops from the store room to test
them, so I really don't have the luxury of fully charging up
both laptops to the full to determine which of the two has
better batteries.

It's crucial for me to have a longer battery operational hours
because I often went to places where there are no AC power
supply to charge up the batteries.  Certainly I can spend my
personal money to buy spare battery but it's not worth it to
spend my own money for work purpose.  It's difficult to
justify to my management to buy such things (even if it's
consumables)
0
 
LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38720204
if you explain that to the guy in charge, he may let you test
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Expert Comment

by:xmlmagician
ID: 38720214
I will agree with nobus, if you reason with them
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Assisted Solution

by:Frosty555
Frosty555 earned 136 total points
ID: 38720680
I can chime in here and say that I am particularly happy with the battery life on the Lenovo X220.  It is particularly long. If you buy (or if it already has) the extended "slice" battery, you get even more life. My X220, with slice battery, gets approximately 8 hours of REAL battery life from a full charge. Without the slice, I get about 4 hours of real world battery life (still better than a lot of laptops).

So if you have to pick one and your main goal is battery life and you don't have the time to properly test them, I'd say the X220 is a safer bet.
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LVL 31

Assisted Solution

by:Frosty555
Frosty555 earned 136 total points
ID: 38720688
Also, FYI the Windows 7 Power Meter is actually pretty decent given the information it has to work with.

It has to guesstimate battery life based on the instantaneous battery discharge rate, and it takes a moving average over time, takes into account some common battery discharge characteristics (e.g. faster discharge near the end of the battery's life), and then gives you a rough extrapolation of the remaining life. Assuming healthy batteries it is usually pretty accurate.

But the biggest thing that changes the results with regards to predicting battery life is exactly what you're doing on the computer. More CPU, memory and HDD usage will drain the battery quicker and there is no way for Windows to account for that. The battery drains much quicker streaming a YouTube video than it will just sitting at the desktop.

So IMHO it is a fair test to fully charge the laptop, turn it on, close down as many unnecessary programs as possible, set the screen to not turn off, and then just leave the computer sitting at the desktop for 10 minutes. Then look at how much battery life Windows is reporting. If you do the same thing with both laptop I think you'll get a fair comparison for which one is better.
0
 

Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 38721199
Both the X220 & E6230 comes with 6 cell battery.

The E6230's battery is 58Wh Type J79X4 ; not too
sure about the X220's.

What I like about X220 is the keys & the edge of
the laptop are rounded (not too piercing on the
palms) while E6230's keys are rather hard to type
on with sharp edges.

However E6230 comes with two USB 3 ports while
I doubt the X220 which our corporate buys has
any USB 3 port (wanted USB 3 for faster backups
& when I map an external USB 3 HDDs to other
server, it's faster)

Both comes with 7200rpm HDDs:
X220 has   Hitachi HTS725032A9A364   while
E6230 has  Seagate ST320LT007-9ZV142
0
 
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 38721955
Once again.......
If you have no way of knowing the actual state of the battery, and you wont do in ten minutes, then you have a lucky dip.  Either battery could be dead in a week, you have no way of knowing in a five/ten min window.
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Accepted Solution

by:
kode99 earned 69 total points
ID: 38725440
On the Lenovo there is a 'Power Manager' utility that is part of the Thinkvantage stuff (unless its been removed,  its in the original setup though).   The utility will tell you the battery info including the date,  what the last full charge was AND what the batteries original spec was.  It also shows battery estimated life.  So you can get a view of roughly how worn the battery is compared to the 'new' state.

Dell has a utility that is part of the support software on an original setup to get battery info.  It will give you similar info,  including what the battery fully charges up to currently.

Outside of the current max charge levels on the batteries,  I would probably also check the date's on the batteries (shown through the utilities as well).  Even if it a battery has not been used heavily it also does lose capacity over time.  If there is a big age difference you might want the newer battery even if the battery power levels are similar.

It is possible to test batteries without running them through a full charge/discharge,  I just don't know that the hardware on a laptop can do it accurate enough.  My company uses a stand alone unit that gives very accurate results in about 10 seconds.  It essentially loads the battery and looks at the how fast the voltage drops under load, adjusts for temperature and gives you a result based on known decay rates for the battery type.  The unit probably see's much finer changes in voltage than the sensors on a laptop in order to do it so fast.

I'd probably go with a heavier test than Frosty's suggestion and stress the computer for a few minutes and check the battery before and after.  This is not about a time estimate but about seeing which battery is in better shape.  In the long run the battery in the best condition will serve you better.  Obviously not as good as our battery tester but would probably give a result sufficient to compare the systems.

Here's a example freeware stress tester,

http://www.jam-software.com/heavyload/

Just do the same test on each.  This will give you an idea of how well each battery holds up.  Could turn up other issues as well.

To be honest I think the information from the manufacturer battery utilities about how much a full charge is on the batteries currently will tell the tale without having to do any more testing.  This is based off of the charging history.
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