Make your batteries last longer

Darren Yates looks at tips for getting your batteries to live longer.

bat-1There’s no doubt about it – whether its notebook, smartphone or tablet, we’re all looking for ways to make our device batteries last longer. While usage patterns are obviously important and simple tricks like keeping wireless adapters off and keeping screen brightness down are important, how you store your device can also make a big difference.

Lithium-ion batteries power just about everything these days and while they provide excellent power for their comparatively light weight, they’re actually pretty fussy little critters too. The battery chemicals themselves are susceptible to changes in environment as much as longer-term storage habits so it’s well worth understanding what your battery does and doesn’t like so you can get the maximum life out of it. To help you along, here are our three top ways to ensure you make your batteries last longer:

  1. Keep it cool. Research suggests that the hotter the temperature a battery is stored at, the quicker it permanently loses charge. A battery can lose 20% of its capacity in a year stored at 25-degreesC but as much as 35% if stored at 40-degreesC.
  2. Full charge isn’t always good. The recommended battery level for storage is 40%. Store a 40%-charged battery for a year and you’ll lose 4% of its capacity over the course of a year. Store the same battery with 100% charge and you could lose as much as 20% capacity in that same year.
  3. Don’t flatten it. If you completely flatten a battery before charging it, you’ll get around 500 charge cycles out of it. But if you let it discharge to just 50% and charge it, you’ll get as many as 1500 charge cycles from it. So don’t kill it before you recharge it.

These tips apply no matter what device you’re using, whether it’s a notebook PC, tablet, smartphone, digital camera or whatever. If it uses a Lithium-ion battery, it always pays to look after it (and maybe buy a spare). Read more about it at http://tinyurl.com/2349lq2

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