More Tips for Longer-Lasting Laptop Batteries

Last Updated Aug 4, 2011 2:46 PM EDT

Hardware budgets are feeling the pinch of our tepid economy, and many companies are making employees use their laptops longer. If you are starting to tell your folks to keep plugging along with their laptops for four or five years instead of just three, you might be running into an unexpected expense: dead laptop batteries.

Well, to be fair, your laptop's batteries probably aren't completely dead. But since Lithium Ion batteries tend to lose about 20% of their capacity each year, a typical three-year-old laptop might only get about an hour or so on a charge, which might not even get your folks through an entire meeting. Here are four simple tips to forestall the day that you need to replace those batteries:

Keep it cool. Heat is the primary killer of batteries. Tell your employees to be careful not to let their laptops overheat. One common way that happens is packing a running laptop into a backpack or briefcase. If the laptop fails to go to sleep (and let's face it -- sleep glitches are common), then the laptop can get crazy hot in an enclosed space. You can almost smell the loss of battery longevity.
Recondition your battery regularly. Most laptop manufacturers (except Apple) don't generally tell you about this, but a simple process known as reconditioning (or occasionally, recalibrating) can breathe new life into your laptop battery and add capacity back. To do that, turn off your screen saver and any other power management tools which put your PC to sleep. Fully charge the laptop, and then let it run all the way down -- right until it powers down due to lack of juice. Then charge it back up again and restore your power management stuff. Do this every few months (such as three times a year).

Remove it when you're not using it. When you leave your laptop plugged in at your desk all day every day, the battery never gets a chance to discharge and recharge -- which is critical to its long-term health. Thankfully, there's a simple solution: Remove the battery. As long as your laptop is connected to AC power, the battery isn't necessary; it'll run without it. Just remember to pop it back in before you take your laptop on the go.

Start with a super-sized battery. When you purchase your next round of laptops, upgrade to the extended-life battery. Not only will it give you significantly longer runtime to start with -- great for road warriors and anyone else who works away from the office a lot -- but the inevitable loss of battery life will have a less pronounced effect. The added cost of the larger batteries is worth the investment, because they end up lasting significantly longer.

More on BNET:

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Market Data

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Market News

Stock Watchlist