We’ve had some clients come to us with battery woes lately. So, we did some research and have the scoop on how to get the most out of your battery. The original inquiry was about a laptop battery, but the principles we learned can apply to most portable electronics. Here are our tips on how to get the most out of your battery.
What’s in that battery?
Most batteries in today’s portable electronics are lithium-ion batteries. That’s typically what you see powering your laptops, cell phones, tablets etc. If you really want to geek out on batteries, you can learn everything you ever wanted to know at the battery university.
“The lithium-ion battery works on ion movement between the positive and negative electrodes. In theory such a mechanism should work forever, but cycling, elevated temperature and aging decrease the performance over time.”
Every battery will die eventually, and lithium-ion is better than most. Here’s how you can make the most of yours and maximize its useful life.
How to get the most out of your battery – Care Instructions
- Don’t charge it to 100%.
I thought this one was interesting. Everybody wants a battery that is at 100%. It makes our heart happy when we have full juice. What I discovered is that it’s not actually the best thing for a lithium-ion battery. When you get nerdy about batteries, they talk a lot about cycles. A cycle is essentially 1 charge of the battery. The data indicates that you maximize the longevity of the battery by stopping short of 100% full. If you were to fill the battery to 90 or 95%, you would maximize the number of cycles you’ll get out of your battery.
- Don’t run the battery down to 0%.
Deep discharge when you run the battery completely out of juice is more harmful to the batteries longevity than keeping it at 100% all the time. Do your best not to let your battery run down if possible. Optimal battery range for longevity is between 30-95%.
- Heat is bad for it
Another thing to keep in mind is that heat (extreme heat) is bad for your battery. Specifically, anything over 122 degrees can shorten your batteries life cycle. So, keep your laptop and your cell phone off the dash of your car in the summertime if possible. Batteries consistently exposed to extreme heat can die in a matter of a few months.
- Cold is bad for it
Just like getting too hot will decrease your batteries life, so will being too cold. Anything below freezing is a bad idea. If you decide to take your phone or laptop on that snowmobiling trip, try to plan to keep them dry and above freezing. Do not try to charge a battery below freezing.
- Avoid “Fast Chargers”
Fast chargers can save you time, but they aren’t that great for your battery. If you want to maximize the longevity of your device ditch them in favor of a slower charge that will allow you to get the most life out of your battery.
- Common Sense
This includes things like don’t get your batteries wet. Don’t puncture your batteries. Follow the manufactures instructions on how they should be installed etc.
How to get the most out of your battery – Device Settings
In addition to basic battery care steps, there are things you can do on your device to get the most use out of each charge. I’ll talk about laptops specifically here, but many of these principles will apply to other devices as well.
Windows 10 has a bunch of new features that are meant to help you save that juice. Here are some tips.
- Screen Brightness
Most laptops will have function keys with a little sun on them that you can use to turn the brightness on your machine up or down. If yours doesn’t you can get to the brightness slider by clicking on settings>system>display. It can also be found in windows mobility center.
- Desktop Background
If you have a bright desktop background and want to maximize battery life, consider switching it out for black or a darker image.
- Keyboard Backlight
If you have a backlit keyboard you might also consider turning that off to maximize battery life. There is likely a function key for this as well. If not go back to the windows mobility center and turn it off there.
- Battery Slider
Microsoft has tried to make it easier than ever to lengthen your battery life in Windows 10. Simply click on the battery icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen and slide it over to “best battery life”.
- Power and Sleep Settings
Another thing you can do to make the most of your battery is to tell it to turn off when it’s not in use. Specifically, you can set it to go to sleep in as little as 1 min or turn the screen off. You can get to the menu by clicking on the battery icon in the sys tray > Battery Settings > Power & Sleep. The shorter times you set the screen timeout and sleep mode to the longer your battery will last.
- Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
If you know that you’re going to be working offline for a while and want to save battery, another trick is to turn off Bluetooth and wi-fi. These services constantly ping out and can drain your battery. If you know you’re not going to be using them for a bit you can turn them off and save the juice. Turn off wi-fi by clicking on the wi-fi button and hit airplane mode. Bluetooth can be turned off by going to settings> Devices > Bluetooth. Toggle the slider to off.
To sum up. Don’t get your battery too hot or too cold. Don’t fill it up all the way and don’t let it die completely. There are a bunch of different power settings you can check on your laptop to make sure you get the most out of each charge. We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips on how to get the most out of your battery. As always, the friendly staff at i.t.NOW is here to help with all your business technology needs. Happy computing everybody!