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How to Get the Most Use from Your Laptop Battery

The new lithium batteries in laptops can provide a longer useful life than the previous generation of Ni-Cd (nickel cadmium). The best way to begin the life of your laptop battery is to condition the cells. Laptop batteries are only warrantied for one year, so when the battery is new, it should be charged and discharged a few time,s allowing a full charge cycle each time.

Lithium batteries should never be fully discharged but taken down to 10-20 percent of capacity. These levels can be configured in the Power Settings of your laptop.

If you are going to be using your laptop plugged into the AC adapter or in your port replicator for an extended period, take the battery out before you power up your computer.

Heat is an unfriendly element to the condition of your battery. When your laptop is plugged into AC and/or situated on a port replicator, the heat of the charge/discharge cycle can shorten the effective life of a battery. The AC adapter provides a “topping off” state that can cause the battery to discharge faster than normal. Going through this process over time, you'll discover that the notebook battery only lasts a very short time and no amount of charging will correct this given the current state. Again, take your battery out of the notebook and store it in a cool place. Placing a battery in the refrigerator does not help.

The amount of time your battery lasts when using your laptop is dependent on usage of the CPU, the brightness of your screen, and your use of optical drives, and other peripherals. If you take care of the battery at the beginning of its life, it can provide power and productivity for a long time.

Blair Johnson, (701) 231-7896

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