Lithium Batteries - Tips to Make Your Laptop Last Longer

By: Anna Woodward

The basic makeup of each battery type is very similar. Each has a positive electrode (cathode), a negative electrode (anode), a separator and an electrolyte. However, the chemistry in each is different. The differences offer various levels of performance.

Much of our newest technologies demand much more power than its predecessors. The features and sophistication of the newer electronics have truly increased the power demanded from batteries. It is this power demand that motivated the industry to develop power sources to keep up.

A lithium is different from an alkaline.

Both the chemistry and construction of lithium and alkaline differ. It is the lithium design that helps this newer power source meet the high drains of many of today's devices.

These new and powerful batteries are used in various portable electronic devices, and are widely used as a mobile laptop computer power source.

Here are some tips to make your laptop power source last longer:

Heat Kills!

Heat truly decreases the life span of lithium batteries. You may notice that if you use your laptop as a replacement for a desktop, the battery capacity decreases greatly. Some measure the decrease at 60% to 80% of the original capacity after about a year.

If you use your laptop as a desktop, you should remove the battery while using the plug-in power source. And before storing your laptop battery, you may want to first check with the manufacture on the effects of moisture and dust in the casing.

Correct Storage

If you don't plan on using your lithium batteries for a while, you may want to put them in your refrigerator - not the freezer!

Ideally, you should store at a 40% charge level. At 100%, you may have unnecessary stress and internal corrosion. But if the charge is too low, the battery can eventually become unusable because it will self discharge.

Calibrating Helps

Most manufacturers agree that there is some benefit to completely discharging your lithium batteries periodically, especially for your laptop. If you completely drain the laptop cell, it will help to recalibrate which will allow for more accurate measure of the life span.

You should try this every 30 charges or when you notice readings are off.

Calibration does not extend the discharge time - it only resets it to show the remaining charge accurately.

Memory is not what it once was ...

When I got my first cell phone, I was told to let it completely die before recharging. This idea is that of memory. This process of completely discharging before recharging to the max, would supposedly give my phone the complete battery capacity.

If I recharged with 50% capacity already, the battery would assign the half way point as the empty point, and cut the capacity in half.

But this does not apply to lithium cells - only for nickel based. In truth, fully discharging your lithium battery often can be harmful to its battery's health, possibly making it completely unusable if levels go too low.

The modern lithium has a safety circuit to make sure it doesn't reach the point of no return. The safety circuit isn't guaranteed. If you leave it completely drained for a few days, the safety circuit probably won't save it.

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