Lithium based technology currently provides the best performance for notebook computers. You can also find this standard battery in many other devices such as mobile phones and MP3 players. Like all rechargeable batteries, Lithium-ion batteries will eventually require replacement.
Lithium-ion batteries pack in a higher power density that nickel-based batteries. This gives you a longer battery life in a lighter package, as lithium is the lightest metal. You can also recharge lithium-ion batteries whenever convenient without the full charge or discharge cycle necessary to keep nickel-based batteries at peak performance. Over time nickel-based batteries build up crystals (known as the memory effect) that prevent you from charging the batteries to full capacity, necessitating an inconvenient full discharge and charge.
Most lithium-ion batteries use a fast charge to re-charge your laptop to 80% capacity, then switch to a trickle charge for the remaining 20%. You can charge lithium-ion batteries a large but finite number of times, as defined by the charge cycle of the battery.
A charge cycle means using all of the batteries power, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a single charge. For instance, you could use your laptop for a few hours one day, using only half of its power, and then recharge it fully. If you did the same thing the next day, it would count as a single charge cycle, not two, so you could take several days to complete a single charge cycle. Each time you complete a charge cycle, it diminishes the batteries capacity slightly, but you can put your laptop battery through many charge cycles before they will only hold 80% of original battery capacity. As with other laptop batteries, you will eventually need to replace your battery.
How to maximise power
The length of time your battery will power your laptop depends on how you use it. For instance, watching a DVD or placing a graphics intensive game will use up your laptop battery’s power more quickly than just browsing the web.
With a little care, you can maximise the life of your battery and lifespan of your notebook’s battery. Most importantly use your laptop at the correct temperature. You should consult your laptops user manual to see the optimal operating temperatures but generally you should only use your laptop between 10°C and 35°C and store it between -25°C to 45°C.
Your new notebook
Be sure to fully charge your laptop when you plug it in for the first time, and then ensure you download the latest software updates and drivers as software manufacturers will periodically release updates that may improve battery performance.
For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it is important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. it is not recommended that you keep your laptop plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses their notebook on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing.
Long term storage
If you don’t plan on using your laptop for a long period of time, we recommend that your store the battery with a 50% charge. if you store a battery when it is fully discharged, it could fall onto a deep discharge state, which will render it incapable of holding any charge. On the other hand if you store it fully charged for an extended period of time, the battery may experience some loss of battery capacity, meaning it will have a shorter life. Be sure you store your battery at the correct temperature.
You can choose to configure your laptop in a way that maximises battery life.
- Energy Settings – The energy / power settings in the control panel offer several settings that determine power levels for your laptop. With the latest operating systems, your laptop knows when it is plugged in, and runs accordingly. When on battery power, it will dim the screen and use other components sparingly. if you change these settings to maximise performance your battery will drain a lot more quickly.
- Brightness – Dim the screen to the lowest comfortable level to achieve maximum battery life. For instance, when watching a DVD on an airplane, you may not need full brightness if all the lights are off.
- Wireless – Wireless systems consumes power, even if you are not using this feature to connect to a network. We recommend turning your wireless off when not in use, to conserve battery power.
- Bluetooth – Just like wireless, you should turn off Bluetooth when not in use, as it also consumes power when not in use.
- Applications and Peripherals – Disconnect peripherals and quit applications you are not using. Eject CDs and DVDs if you are not accessing them.