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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Best Ways to Save Laptop Batteries



 Modern laptop personal computers have processing technologies and powerful software applications that have become so advanced as to replicate the desktop PC experience. To maximize the mobile computing benefits that laptop PCs offer, users can keep in mind several measures to both conserve the capacity of their laptop battery, and extend the battery's life for as long as possible.

Background
According to PC Magazine, a typical laptop battery will enable the PC to run at full power for a few hours. In most cases, after about 18 to 24 months, laptop users will notice a steady degradation in the performance of the battery, and that the battery will run the PC for less and less time after each recharge. This is because lithium ion batteries have a limited number of charge cycles -- meaning a limited number of times they can be taken from a full charge to a full discharge -- before they aren't able to hold power on their own.
Charging
Users who leave their laptop plugged into a power outlet with the battery inserted into the laptop for long periods of time are likely accelerating the battery's decline in performance. This is because the battery only rarely has an opportunity to discharge and it loses its charge capacity. If the laptop must be plugged in to an outlet, one solution to save battery life is to pull the battery out of the laptop and use it only when the laptop is unplugged. According to PC Magazine, every 30 days or so (or every 30 charges), users should do a full battery discharge -- which means charging the battery to its full capacity, then using the computer until the battery is completely drained, and fully charging again.
Overheating
One of the easiest ways to damage a laptop battery and quickly degrade its performance is to cause the laptop to overheat, or to use an alternating current (AC) power adapter that has the incorrect voltage. Users should take care to verify their adapter matches the AC outlet voltage. In addition, users can help prevent overheating by using a cooling pad when the laptop is in their lap, or to place the laptop on a pillow or blanket that can block cooling fans and cause the laptop to heat up.

Conserving Battery
Users can also take steps to conserve their battery between charges. Among the most effective steps are disabling Bluetooth and wireless connectivity (when it's not needed) and reducing the screen brightness. In addition, users can change their laptop's power management settings and reduce the amount of time the laptop stays on with no activity before going into "sleep" mode. Disconnecting unneeded accessories from the laptop and cleaning a battery's metal contacts with alcohol are two other ways to save battery power.

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