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Ivan's picture

How to protect your battery

bad apple

We all love portable devices because they provide flexibility. Ironically most of the time they are being used as desktop devices and are plugged in all the time.

This is potentially a problem because batteries wear off much more faster if they are not being used enough.

To protect your battery in your MacBook, MBP, iPod or iPhone let it completely go empty until the device switches off. Then, charge it to 100% again. This cycle will "format" your battery and allows it operate more efficiently on the long term. Format your battery this way at least once in two weeks. The more you do it the better.

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garycmartin's picture
7 pencils

Modern batteries survive a number of recharge life cycles. As you use up cycles, your total capacity degrades until the battery can't support the load required. Charge cycles don't have to be 100% full to empty cycles to count, so running your battery down to 80% and then plugging back in to mains power counts as 20% of one cycle gone for good. Apple has a page about this,, they recommend doing a full 100% to 0% cycle once a month, if you're not otherwise using the battery.

Hints for protecting your battery:

1) Use it only when you need to
2) Don't let it get hot!!
3) Don't store it with out some charge (I think about 75% is suggested)

3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

Stupid question of the day:

I practice 1 and 3, but not 2. Why does it get hot (lithium?), and is there a way to prevent this overheating?

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
— Frank Zappa

"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

Ivan's picture

Yeah, how do you protect from heat? My MBP gets really hot.

garycmartin's picture
7 pencils

Well, I guess it's down to your usage and environment, no magic tricks. I have a friend in Australia who bought the same laptop as me (a couple of months after). About a year or so later, after a couple of hot summers for him and a couple of British summer for me, his battery was playing up and needed replacing, mine's still giving about 1:30-2hrs of charge (not great but good for 4+yrs use).

If you're doing heavy cpu work, make sure your machine is getting well ventilated. And just to be clear, too much heat really will degrade the battery whether you've used it much or not. It's just chemistry, imagine 2 raw stakes, one sitting on your kitchen table for a week, the other sitting in the fridge...

I guess if you really have to leave your laptop rendering out some huge 3D animation for a few days, and you have reliable mains power, I'd be tempted to remove the battery to keep it cool.

Sasi's picture
63 pencils

Yes, you are totally right, it's the everyday practise for me to pull out the power cable when the battery is about to be fully charged and plug it back only when battery reaches 20 or 30% charge.

Anyway, be environmental friendly and don't use the network all the time, your battery gets useless and the same time you're wasting a lot of energy.

robertgrey's picture
1 pencil

But also they does not support too much power and the fluctuation of light. But you can handle it if you had done any course of Laptop Repair Training. By this you have no problem in resolving the issues of your laptop.

phoenixeuhouai's picture
9 pencils

Don't use it when you charge it :)

garycmartin's picture
7 pencils

Yea, good point. The battery generates more heat during a recharge, so if your environment is warm as well, probably better not to be doing some high cpu load task at the same time.

Ivan's picture

I've seen some people putting object below the laptop to allow for more ventilation below the machine. Does that make sense?

Sasi's picture
63 pencils

You think of that lousy highlighter? :D Sure, Beni hacked the system :D

Ivan's picture

Yepp, you got me. ;)

phoenixeuhouai's picture
9 pencils

You should wait your battery to be at 0% to charge it again, this is what you should do with new electronic objects like phone, mp3s, cameras, but you should also do it time after time.

FinnSpinn's picture
4 pencils

The only reason to fully deplete a li-ion battery is to recalibrate the charge meter. Depleting a li-ion battery can even kill it if the charge goes to low (yes it happend to me). This is what wikipedia sais about the subject:

Guidelines for prolonging Li-ion battery life

* Unlike Ni-Cd batteries, lithium-ion batteries should be charged early and often. However, if they are not used for a long time, they should be brought to a charge level of around 40%–60%. Lithium-ion batteries should not be frequently fully discharged and recharged ("deep-cycled") like Ni-Cd batteries, but this is necessary after about every 30th recharge to recalibrate any external electronic "fuel gauge" (e. g. State Of Charge meter). This prevents the fuel gauge from showing an incorrect battery charge.[21]
* Li-ion batteries should never be depleted to below their minimum voltage, 2.4 V to 3.0 V per cell.
* Li-ion batteries should be kept cool. Ideally they are stored in a refrigerator. Aging will take its toll much faster at high temperatures. The high temperatures found in cars cause lithium-ion batteries to degrade rapidly.
* Li-ion batteries should not be frozen [37] (most lithium-ion battery electrolytes freeze at approximately −40 °C; however, this is much colder than the lowest temperature reached by household freezers).
* Li-ion batteries should be bought only when needed, because the aging process begins as soon as the battery is manufactured.[21]
* When using a notebook computer running from fixed line power over extended periods, the battery should be removed,[38] and stored in a cool place so that it is not affected by the heat produced by the computer.

steveballmer's picture
653 pencils
I am not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be me!

Flub-Dub's picture

so ill just sum it up

  • with Li-Ion batteries, the "format" is not recommended unless the fuel gauge on the battery starts to be imprecise. that is at most once a month

  • do not discharge the Li-ion battery under 10-12%, because this will put an additional stress on it. there is a minimum amount of current the Li-ion batt. needs to hold at all times

  • the heat is the biggest enemy of the batt. anything you can do to cool your laptop better, such as a cooling station underneath will help

  • if you're planning to store the battery for a while, consider emptying it to somewhere in between 40%-50% and then store it in a cool place. dont freeze it though

  • the battery starts to age the minute it leaves the factory, so make sure you buy a new laptop and not one that has already been sitting on a shelf for the past half of year

  • a laptop li-ion batt. has a life of 2-3 years. if you take care of it you might reach the 3rd year with still good juice. if not. you might notice a degree of decay after 1.5 years

  • recharge the batt. at will, anytime. cycles function differently with li-ion

  • since, after 3 years its rather hard to find a new battery for your old laptop, if you plan on keeping your rig, i would start looking for an extra new batt. when the 2nd year of use approaches.

Ivan's picture

Good summary

TarryG's picture
1 pencil

I know that one must "format" battery 3 time after buying and later at least one time per year. It will help to battery be in charge more.

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