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Laptop Battery Life - Keep plugged in or use battery?

by dancoiv / January 8, 2013 5:05 AM PST

Using a laptop is great, it gets dragged around the home throughout the evening, so that it can be used where ever the rest of the family is at, etc. My wife is constantly on it. I use a computer at work all day, so I tend to avoid the home laptop.

Regardless, since day one, she always keeps it plugged in. Then takes advantage of the battery when she moves it from one room to the next. Unfortunately, now the battery has her racing to the power outlet before the laptop powers down.

So, I need to get it a new battery. But when I do, should she continue to always keep it plugged in? Or should she be letting the battery provide some of that power back and let it drain? Which method will help extend the life of the battery? Or is there an alternate method?

Thanks in advance for your kind advice!


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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by dancoiv

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Here's what my Toshiba user guide says
by wpgwpg / January 8, 2013 5:28 AM PST

From my Toshiba Satellite L755's user guide:
"<span id="INSERTION_MARKER">To ensure that the battery maintains its maximum capacity,operate the computer on battery power at least once a month. TheLithium-Ion battery has no memory effect so it is not necessary tolet the battery fully discharge each time. However, for betteraccuracy of the battery meter, it is helpful to fully discharge the battery periodically."
They say "periodically" means operating it on the battery at least once a month. Bear in mind that the battery has a limited no. of charge/discharge cycles, so operating on AC power most of the time helps preserve the battery. Even better, if you're not using the battery, power your laptop off and remove the battery for longer life.

Good luck.

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Current, average battery life is "300 cycles."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 8, 2013 10:27 AM PST

We've had laptops on desks for 4 or more years and never did much to them. They come off the desk and better than half of them get about 50 to 80ish percent of the time you expected from a new battery. I'm sure that folk will write more but your issue is not uncommon with a very old battery. Tell more.

There's also some laptops we can run a BATTERY CALIBRATION but the lack of make, model, age means I can't write much more.

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Acer As[ore 5738-6969
by dancoiv / January 9, 2013 1:52 AM PST

My wife got the Acer Aspire for Christmas two years ago, but she notice a short battery life after about the first 6 months. I looked at the battery today, and it appears to have a 4400 mAH capacity Li-ION battery. I think I'll try a replacement that has a little more capacity. Replacement batteries for it are surprisingly affordable ($16 for a 4400, $32 for 5200. and then continues (exponentially) up from there. I suppose the mAH doesn't improve the number of cycles it can be recharged?

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The cycles are not exact.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 9, 2013 2:22 AM PST
In reply to: Acer As[ore 5738-6969

It's a chemical battery so use, age, temperature and humidity means you're never sure of the life span.

The higher mAH does not change the cycle count but it means less cycles would be used given the exact same usage. Higher mAH does indeed translate in more months of life span.

But if the battery failed at 6 months, you don't have to answer but why wasn't that under warranty back then? It sounds like a bum battery

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Very helpful, thank you.
by dancoiv / January 9, 2013 4:45 AM PST

"But if the battery failed at 6 months, you don't have to answer but why wasn't that under warranty back then?"

I don't use the laptop, so I have to believe my wife when she said it only lasted 6 months. It could be she is exaggerating, because she thought she has only had the laptop for a year. I'm guilty of this too. I would guess it may have lasted a year, but I don't really know and wonder if pursuing a warranty would have been worth the trouble, when replacement batteries might be less than shipping it and waiting to get it shipped back. I guess I won't know, as it is definitely out of warranty now.

Regardless, thank you very much for the information you shared with me. This and wpg's replies have been very helpful.

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