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Under normal circumstances, the average life of a laptop battery is roughly three years. However, some users are able to employ a few simple tricks and enjoy anywhere from five to seven years of use before having to replace the battery. If you want to know how to get the most from your laptop battery, here are a few ways to extend the life without having to make a great deal of effort.
First, the laptop battery should not allow to remain unused for extended periods of time. If you plan on not using your laptop for a couple of weeks, remove the battery from the unit and store it in a cool dry place. When reinstalling the battery, follow the manufacturer’s procedure for charging a new computer battery to bring it back up to full strength.
Even with laptops that are used daily, it is a good idea to disengage the AC power source from time to time and run strictly on battery power long enough to almost exhaust the power supply. The reason for this is that laptop batteries are subject to what is known as a memory effect. By only running the battery down to half capacity, the battery can effectively forget about the other 50% and begin to malfunction.
Using full battery capacity at least once or twice every couple of weeks will minimize this effect and keep your battery charging at optimum efficiency. Keep in mind that not all laptop batteries are subject to this phenomenon. If you use a Li-Ion or Ni-Mh laptop battery, you don’t have to be concerned about memory effect.
Avoid any actions that would lead to damage to the laptop battery. This means making sure the battery is not exposed to moisture or extremely high temperatures for long periods of time. Take care to not drop the laptop battery on a hard surface. Any of these incidents can crack the casing and possibly damage the battery cells.
Last, clean the laptop battery contacts from time to time. Minute amounts of dust and residue can collect on the contacts and create an extra strain on the battery during charging activity. Use a simple cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently clean the contacts every few months and the battery should last a little longer before a replacement is needed.
I've had the same laptop battery in my Toshiba satellite computer for nearly 5 years, but I tend to use an AC adapter and plug it into the wall most of the time. I don't travel much with my laptop, so I am probably getting a lot more battery time because of that. I'm not looking forward to the day my current battery conks out, because I've heard that replacement laptop batteries can be very expensive.
I may have to try letting it run on pure battery power like this article suggested and see if I can get even more life out of it. There are times when I'd like to take a laptop with me on vacation so I can keep up with emails and some vital work stuff.
The technician at my favorite computer repair shop told me to think of a laptop battery like a balloon. If you only inflate a latex balloon to a certain point and then let the air out, it never has a chance to stretch out and reach its full potential. A laptop or notebook battery works the same way. You need to charge it completely and then let it run almost out of power a few times to "stretch" it.
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