A new laptop battery will provide around 500 charge cycles
during its lifetime. A charge cycle is a single instance of a fully charged
battery being drained to 0%, then back to full. Draining to 50% then back to
full would count as half of a charge cycle.
Poor battery usage and other factors can cause the battery's
life to sink below 500 charge cycles. On the other hand, proper care and use
will yield over 500 cycles. The tips below will help you maximize a laptop
battery's lifespan and get the longest battery life you can.
Do Lithium-ion Laptop Batteries Have a “Battery Memory”?
Before our modern lithium-ion batteries powered most of our
mobile devices, nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries were used and
faced an issue called 'battery memory.' Battery memory issues occur by repeated
discharge to a non-minimum level, which caused the batteries to "forget"
their full charge capacity. We recommend that users routinely allow their
batteries to fully discharge and recharge them to combat this.
Lithium-ion batteries do not require this maintenance as the
chemistry does not yield a 'battery memory' issue. This practice is hard on
lithium-ion batteries and should be avoided.
Can a Lithium-ion
Battery be Overcharged?
Another holdover from previous times is that charging a
battery to 100% and leaving it plugged-in is destructive. If a lithium-ion
battery is over-charged, it will fail in a big way (material fail, carbon
dioxide pressure build-up, thermal runaway, ignition). This is why all
lithium-ion batteries are equipped with special integrated circuits that
prevent over-charge. Once capacity is reached, the circuit prevents any further
charge from being applied to the battery cells. Thus, leaving a device
plugged-in at 100% will not harm a lithium-ion battery.
Battery Care and Laptop Usage
Below are our top three tips to ensure that your battery
stays as healthy as possible, for as long as possible:
1. Avoid Completely Draining the Battery
As mentioned earlier, discharging a lithium-ion battery to
full depletion is hard on it. Doing so repeatedly will undoubtedly yield a shorter
battery life. It would be best if you did not let your battery fall below 20%
capacity. Charge to full before then and repeat.
2. Avoid Excessive Heat Build up
Lithium-ion batteries do not like heat. Heat causes the
battery to work overtime, but there is nowhere to put that extra energy, causing
more heat. High temperatures are hard on batteries and will reduce their lifetime.
Always make sure your laptop has proper ventilation.
Operating one on a blanket, pillow, or lap can cause the material to block the
heatsink intakes and vents, causing not just your battery but your entire
laptop to heat up. Additionally, take care to keep your computer and its battery
out of hot environments. Being in direct sunlight, hot cars, or near heating
can cause significant degradation rapidly.
3. Charge to 50% for Long Term Storage
If you must store a lithium-ion battery such that it will be
out of use for a week or longer, it is best to do so at 50% charge capacity.
The worst way to store a battery is while fully depleted. The battery may fail
if fully depleted for a long enough period.
Batteries will slowly deplete in storage, so every so often,
you should check its charge level and return it to 50% for further storage.
Maintaining 30-50% capacity during storage is best for your battery.
When to replace and disposal
Our article on laptop batteries has details about replacing
your laptop battery if it is not charging or other battery-related issues. If
you replace your laptop battery, it is advisable to dispose of the old one
Micro Center offers free battery recycling. Drop any old
battery off at the service department and the team will forward it to
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