Care and Maintenance of Batteries

Our modern lifestyle depends on batteries. They are in our phones, laptops, tablets, music players, and more technology coming in the future.  Right now, the most common kind of battery is Lithium-ion, which often costs 10-50% of the price of the device it powers.

I’ve killed my fair share of Lithium-ion batteries over the years, done some research, tested anecdotally, and come up with some specific advice to maximize the life of your batteries.

Rules of thumb

Keep the electrons flowing

When a battery is kept at 100% charge for long periods of time it tends to age prematurely.

Keep the temperature down

Heat is the real enemy of Lithium-ion batteries.  High heat stresses them, damaging the cells inside and reducing their ability to keep a charge.

Specific advice

Make sure there is a full charge cycle every month

If you usually use your device while it’s plugged in, run it until the device shuts off and then immediately charge it until full.  I do this monthly.  This accomplishes two things; it calibrates the software as to the actual battery charge, and more importantly, keeps the electrons flowing.

Store a battery at 40% charge

If a battery is to be stored, be sure to bring the charge down to 40% of it’s full charge.  This minimizes the aging of the chemicals inside.  Batteries will slowly fail from the moment they are manufactured.

Take the battery out when you plan to run your laptop from the power adapter for long periods of time

Two things occur when you have your laptop plugged in with a full battery, both of which will shorten its life.  When a laptop is plugged in, it’s battery is kept at 100% charge and stored underneath a hot device.  These two things combine into a perfect storm to age the battery.  Many sites claim that a Lithium-ion battery kept charged and under a hot laptop will last a maximum of two years.  This is over-optimistic, in my experience.

2 notes

  1. dmangus posted this