One of the top questions we get asked by our customers at Utopia is how best to charge their laptop, do you charge to 100% all the time, do you then totally discharge, do you remove the battery when not in use, do you keep it at a perfect 16 degrees centigrade and only use it when the wind is prevailing to the west? I joke, but there are many myths and many suggestions that a simple Google search will uncover, but not all are correct and not all should be followed. In this simple blog I want to share some of my learnings and observations around batteries.
Batteries don’t last forever no matter how you look after them
We would all love our batteries to last forever, hell you could have easily paid thousands of pounds for your laptop and I agree if we could we would supply a battery that lasts at least as long as our support, 10 whole years, that would be awesome! But physics can be a jerk, so we need to temper our dreams. Lithium-ion batteries contain, surprisingly enough, Lithium-ion electrons and these electrons are the magic that power your hardware. So why can’t they last forever Craig I hear you say?..Well these electrons have the challenging job of passing through layers of insulating atoms and as they do this they slowly reduce in numbers, hence your battery life dropping. I would suggest that over the course of 3-4 years most batteries will have greatly reduced in their ability to hold charge. If not looked after these electrons can reduce to a matter of months.
Out of the box you don’t have to do anything special
Lots of people suggest that when you first receive your new laptop you should allow the battery to completely drain and then charge it all the way to 100%. You don’t need to do this, just plug in and enjoy!
Charge your battery to 50-60% instead of 100% when you can
Keeping your battery charged between 30-60% is actually better for the long term health of your battery than charging from 5-100%, this goes easier on those electrons, as at peak and almost empty charges they are having to work very hard indeed.
Every so often let loose!
Allowing your battery to drop to 5-10% is a great idea every so often, with experts (Utopia included) suggesting around once a month. Once it goes to this point allow it to charge back up to around 80%+. This allows the battery to check in on its discharge level, allowing it to give accurate readings going forward.
Charging overnight is cool too
Modern batteries have built in safety measures to stop them exploding, so not charging to 100% isn’t a safety issue, it’s just a case of maximising your battery life.
All the previous rules hit the bullseye on the ideal conditions you can give your battery, but all of this must be tempered with the reality of what your laptop needs to provide in a real world situation. Train journey tomorrow with questionable power sockets? Well yeah, charge to 100% and get your work done! Just be aware that your battery is a consumable item with a finite lifespan. From an environmental and economical point of view my team and I want your battery to last as long as possible, but some batteries lifes will be harder than others.
Original chargers multiply, hot temperatures divide
Compatible and third party chargers are OK in a pinch, but long term use will often see your batteries life plummet. If you ever lose your charger or need a second for say, your office, try your best to use an original replacement rather than third party options. Alongside this try and never charge your laptop will in a hot environment, like a car or conservatory. While it will not cause harm to your laptop, your laptop battery life will take a hit in these temperatures.
I hope these top tips help and remember they count for any brand of Lithium-ion battery, so if you own another brand of laptop then these tips will work on that too.
Hardware is key
Battery life will also be dictated by the hardware, laptops with desktop CPUs and high end GPUs will have way less operating time than those with mobile CPUs and integrated graphics. There is also technology like Nvidia Optimus GPU switching technology, which, depending on what you are doing on your laptop, it will seamlessly switch between your high performance card and the integrated graphics adapters within a computer system in order to provide either maximum performance or minimum power consumption.
Finally, remember your laptop is a tool to let you do what you need to, sometimes that can be getting work done, sometimes that can be a extra late gaming session in a strange place, whatever the matter, try and not let your battery concerns get in the way of your productivity and enjoying your laptop…we can always help out with a new battery should you need one.
if you have any questions fire them in to me, who knows, I might use it for the topic of my next blog and you could be helping others too!