How to extend battery life?

How to extend battery life?

Batteries are designed to discharge and recharge them. This is the most basic knowledge in the field of battery operation, which unfortunately most users do not have. In order to understand why, for example, a laptop should not be constantly kept connected to the mains and why it is sometimes worth to discharge it completely, you need to understand how the battery works and what exactly it is supposed to do.

The most common batteries we find in this type of device are lithium-ion batteries (Li-Ion). There are also more advanced lithium-polymer batteries (Li-Pol), but both technologies share a certain feature. The life of such rechargeable batteries is usually 2-3 years.
This is due to the fact that their action is based on chemical reactions which weaken over time and thus reduce battery capacity. This is a completely natural process. So how to use the batteries correctly? First of all, you have to be moderate. The battery should be neither deeply discharged nor charged too often.


Deep discharge

The battery should not be discharged to a deep discharge, which can occur when the battery is discharged to 0% and left in this state for a long time. Laptops inform us about upcoming battery discharge in advance. Therefore, do not underestimate the information from your computer about the need to connect the power supply.

But - NOTE! - sometimes you have to let the device do a little "reset". Thanks to the fact that once every few weeks we let the battery drain until the laptop is turned off by itself, we will not let it "get used to" the fact that we charge it whenever it has e.g. 50% power. However, we should remember to recharge it as soon as possible. Leaving the battery discharged for a few days or even weeks will cause permanent damage, which most often manifests itself as a reduction in its capacity.

How many times can a battery be charged "fully"? 300 to 500 times during its lifetime. According to calculations, this is the frequency that allows for about three years of trouble-free use.


Shallow discharge

Let's start with the fact that the process of recharging lithium-ion batteries is a big burden for it. To put it illustratively, each charging is an effort for the battery, which consequently shortens its lifespan. Charging a slightly discharged battery "just in case" is one of the worse things we can do during its operation, because it means unnecessary charging. If you want to take care of it, let it discharge at least to 80%.


Temperatures also in moderation

The lithium-ion battery works best between 5°C and 40°C. So if you want to operate the battery correctly, you should pay attention to the temperature at which you keep it. And we are not only talking about the temperature of the air outside, but also the specific place where we keep it. Lower ambient and battery temperatures mean a slower aging process and therefore a longer lifespan. This should be kept in mind even in seemingly normal situations such as keeping the computer on your lap (!) or, for example, leaving it in your car overnight when the temperature drops below 5°C, as this greatly reduces the battery lifespan (capacity).


The battery is to operate

When buying portable, both mains- and battery-powered equipment, you must remember that batteries are there to use them. So if you're one of those people who works on a laptop that's still plugged in and you use the battery very rarely, you need to remember to let it discharge more strongly before you plug it back in. In such situations, you also need to let the battery discharge more often (even once every 2-3 weeks) until the equipment communicates a low battery level.

If you're really using a laptop that's permanently connected to the mains, it's best to remove the battery. To do this, first charge the battery as much as possible, and then let it discharge to about 50% while working on the battery. Then you can take it out safely, put it in a dry, cool and safe place. If you don't use the battery, but want to keep it alive, you need to recharge and discharge it at least twice a year.


Remember these few rules

  1. Use batteries, because that is what they are for.
  2. Load them when you want, but remember to make sure they are clearly discharged when you do so (minimum to about 80%).
  3. Let it sometimes discharge to a safe level of about 5% (usually the level of self-deactivation of a laptop).
  4. Do not allow deep discharge (do not hold a discharged battery for several days or even weeks without charging).
  5. If you use mains power most of the time, it is best to remove the battery.
  6. If you are not using the battery, store it in a dry and cool (but not cold) place, half charged at most, and recharge it first before using it again.
  7. Watch out for high temperatures - use extra computer cooling if necessary. Usually, it is enough to have your laptop serviced once a year to clean it from dust.

All this will allow you to enjoy the life of your battery for as long as possible.