As I’ve been moseying around my home more frequently during the day I have been thinking about my battery usage. In the old days, before LI batteries we had to worry about the “memory effect” if we did not frequently discharge the battery all the way. Today’s more powerful batteries don’t have a memory problem, but they do die. And in some cases, a lot quicker than I remember my older-NiMh battery. So I asked the folks at my former employer, Dell, to give me some insight into what they know about battery maintenance. I asked the question using Get Satisfaction.
Here are my questions:
1. Should I leave my laptop plugged in while I am at home? All the time? Or should I run the battery down from time to time?
2. So we all have Li batteries now a days, and I know they have no “memory” effect, but I since I am using my Laptop for almost everything and as I travel around the house, should I pull my powersupply along and plug it in. Or should I not worry about it and let it run down and plug it in when it needs to be charged?
3. Do Li batteries have a set number of times they can be charged and discharged before they die? If so, perhaps I should keep my laptop plugged in until I’m travelling.
I would like a technical answer from the DELL tech department if possible. Less marketing speak and more about what’s happening and why one method is better than another.
So my friend John B, from Dell was quick to answer, or at least point me to the answer. Thanks John!
John B pointed me to The Battery University. And here are the salient points.
Battery experts agree [I love that phrase] that the life of lithium-ion depends on other factors than charge and discharge rates. Even though incremental improvements can be achieved with careful use of the battery, our environment and the services required are not always conducive to achieve optimal battery life. The longevity of a battery is often a direct result of the environmental stresses applied.
You will see from the chart below, it’s all about heat.
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