General Question

kenmc's avatar

How do I make my laptop's battery last as long as possible?

Asked by kenmc (11773points) June 21st, 2010

I’ve recently purchased my first laptop and I’m concerned about the battery life. The laptop in and of itself was appraised to have a great battery life, but of course it won’t be as good as said in use.

I’ve heard many contradicting things about keeping the battery life at the top of its game. Some say to keep it plugged in all the time, others say to only plug it in when necessary.

What do you say?

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13 Answers

CMaz's avatar

I say, don’t worry about it.

veganforlife420's avatar

put the battery life setting on “energy saver”
thats what helped my computer

timtrueman's avatar

I could write this up myself but these guys have pretty much the standard operating procedure for any lithium-based battery maintenance (regardless of whether it’s for an Apple produce or not):

I have worked with lithium battery systems in experimental hybrid cars. Their advice is solid and exactly what I would recommend.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Keep it cool. Use your pc on a hard, flat surface so air can circulate.

LeotCol's avatar

Don’t let the power fully drain. Don’t drain it so much that it has to turn itself off or conk out completely. Thats really bad for the battery. I tend to keep mine plugged in all the time. My battery is pretty much the same as it was the day I bought it.

Oh turn down the brightness on your screen and switch it to power saver if on windows. If you aren’t going online then switch off the wifi. And only switch on the bluetooth when you need to.

sferik's avatar

The two biggest things you can do to conserve battery life while using your laptop is dim the screen and quit applications that you’re not using.

jaytkay's avatar

For long-term life of the battery, Do not leave it plugged in all the time.

I wrecked two lithium ion batteries that way. One has half its old capacity. The other one has zero capacity, it’s a paperweight.

For stretching a single charge out as many hours as possible, dimming the screen saves the most power. Close the lid and let it sleep when you are not actively typing. Turn off WiFi if you don’t need to be on the network.

jerv's avatar

The biggest killers of Lithium-Ion batteries (the type of battery most modern laptops use) are time and temperature. You only have control over one of those though.

Charging a battery means that electricity is flowing into it and since current flow generates heat, charging it will eventually kill it. However, current also flows through it when you are running on battery power, so using it while unplugged also kills it. In fact, unplugging it while in use may kill it sooner since the charging circuitry pretty much cuts off electricity to the battery when it is full, so a plugged in laptop either puts less current through the battery while plugged in thus prolonging battery life due to lessened draw or doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. That said, you should unplug it when not in use unless the battery is nearly dead.

Temperature also has a HUGE effect on the life of LiON batteries. See this chart for details. Since laptop batteries can get rather warm they are often near the CPU, or at least close enough to catch some residual heat, you may consider using your laptop while sitting in a walk-in refrigerator.

Storing it fully charged when not in use wil also kill it; see the chart I linked above.

As for lasting longer on a single charge, there are four big drains.

1) Backlight – Ther eis a reason that MP3 players get 20–30 hours of music play but only 4–6 hours of video playback. My cellphone can last 2–3 days between charges if I set the backlight to shut off after 15 second of inactivity but less than 18 hours if the backlight is always on. Dimming the backlight on a laptop can get you quite a gain.

2) Wifi – If you are not online, turn off the wireless. I could get my battery life to jump by about 15% or more right there.

3) Hard drive – Spin that down whenever it isn’t in use. I can tell when my T135 spins the drive down because my estimated time to discharge jumps from about 5 hours to nearly 8.

4) Optical drive – CD/DVD playback eats batteries alive. I can get over 8 hours with the hard drive spun down and wifi on, but video playback from an optical drive will bring it under 3 hours.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I had a laptop that got too hot and conked out for good so now I want to buy one of those cooling pads the other one can rest on. I also am looking for thicker rubber “feet” to put on the underside to prop it up a bit and increase air circulation.

jaytkay's avatar

I had a laptop that got too hot and conked out for good so now I want to buy one of those cooling pads the other one can rest on.

My $6.99 solution for the hot laptop is an Ikea cookie sheet

jerv's avatar

Personally, I generally have mine a bit off-center to make sure that the vents are clear and never rest it on a soft surface (like the couch or bed) when it is powered up.

I also generally refrain from getting a laptop with a high-end CPU and/or GPU since powerful components draw a lot of juice (shorter life between charges) and generate more heat. I leave the heavy-duty bit-bashing to my desktop system that has a heat sink the size of my fist and multiple 80mm fans blowing more air than any laptop even with a cooling mat could ever dream of.

IMO, the only laptops that can be considered “desktop replacements” are too big, too heavy, and can’t live for long away from a wall outlet anyways so I bear in mind the whole reason I even have a laptop; something convenient to carry that can do stuff for a while on battery power alone. I mean, if I wanted to carry around 8–10 pounds of bulky stuff that only gave me a short burst of enjoyment, I would cart around a thick stack of porno mags!

ricardo811's avatar

If you want your laptop’s battery last as long as possible, Used Operating that consumes low electricity. I may suggest you used linux. As far as I know, you can used a single laptop or notebook as long as 8hours using linux compare to windows (specially vista) that you can only used as short as 3hours

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