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Will keeping my laptop plugged in hurt battery?

Discussion in 'Notebook Dummy Guide Articles' started by variable303, Jul 10, 2008.

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  1. variable303

    variable303 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've heard that keeping my laptop plugged in while using at home will drastically shorten battery life. Is this true? Should I only plug my laptop in when the battery is about to run out? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Kdawgca

    Kdawgca rotaredoM repudrepuS RBN Super Moderator

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    Take a look at the Battery Guide.
     
  3. eleron911

    eleron911 HighSpeedFreak

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    Hurt it? no.
    Slowly kill it? yes.
     
  4. AuroraAlpha

    AuroraAlpha Notebook Consultant

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    From the time a battery is made it is already degrading. How you handle the battery during the time you have it determines how quickly it degrades. When you keep it plugged in it generally does two things to the battery that damage it.

    1. It keeps it fully charged. This might seem a bit odd, but the cells in the battery will last the longest when stored with 40% charge.
    2. It causes it to become significantly hotter. Any time you turn electricity through pretty much anything you generate heat, and once a battery is full charged it is provided a 'trickle' charge which is suppose to supply any charge that the computer pulls or leaks, but this charge isn't very precise so much of it automatically becomes heat. The optimum temperature for the batteries is surprising cold, that’s why storing it in a fridge or freezer is often recommended, while a hot car can severally damage it.

    Even if you don’t store your battery in the laptop while on AC, you will probably still have your battery at >95% charge. This means that only the temperature is changed, which can still be significant. If your laptop is next to a strong flow of AC it’s not going to be as effected as if its stuffed in a corner with all the heat forced to stay on the laptop. It’s really a personal choice and unless you follow it religiously you probably won’t get a huge amount of gain.
     
  5. sikidhart

    sikidhart Notebook Consultant

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    I read the guide, but it seems like it's more hassle than it's worth...
    Compared to just leaving the battery plugged in all the time, how many hours/days/months/years does the whole "removing it while being plugged" thing last?

    If you use your laptop where there are power sockets 95% of the time, I just don't see the point... am I missing something here?
     
  6. Infoseeker

    Infoseeker Notebook Evangelist

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    There are some solutions, like my Extended Warranty with Bestbuy gives me the right to change my battery and power brick once for every year of the warranty.

    So 3-year warranty for me = 3 battery changes.

    A battery change a year, can basically justify me keeping the poor thing in my laptop during adapter-use.
     
  7. makaveli72

    makaveli72 Eat.My.Shorts

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    Long and Short...I personally believe from my experience that having ur laptop plugged in all the time will degrade ur batts. life faster...I suggest when it's charged fully to unplug it. Try and make this a habit..I must be honest w/ u...I guess i'm a hypocrite because the laptop i'm using now i'm guilty for always having it plugged in. If I plug it out, or if the current goes..the thing wouldn't last a good 30 mins. Same for another laptop's batt. i've spoiled this way. So...at the end of the day..it's up to u if u want to keep it plugged in all the time or not...I suggest no.
     
  8. millermagic

    millermagic Rockin the pinktop

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    I think the problem with leaving them plugged in 24/7 is being at 100%
     
  9. JPZ

    JPZ Notebook Deity

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    Don't worry about it. If you life in an area where you lose power frequently, it is a very good idea to keep the battery in your laptop to act as a UPS.

    I've put my Z96J 6-cell battery through a lot. It's been discharged almost every day for the last two years(monday-friday for class). I also leave my laptop on 24/7 when I am not in class, plugged into the wall and running folding@home. Even with this rough treatment, my battery still holds 85% of what it was designed to, which I think is amazing.
     
  10. kokoko

    kokoko Notebook Enthusiast

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    within the span of one year, by the 10 month mark you probably will notice a huge decline in performance. Many of my friends have notebooks for schools and never take the battery out, and by the time summer rolled around, all could not hold a charge for over an hour. :( I hope they invent a new awesome battery!
     
  11. JPZ

    JPZ Notebook Deity

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    That's probably because your friends drained the battery down to the point where it could no longer power the laptop very often, if not every day. Each time you do this, you hurt the capacity of the battery. Anyway, my point is that your friends' poor battery conditions are likely the result of something else and not that they never removed the battery. It could be anything from how they discharged and charged the battery to the battery itself- not all laptop batteries are alike.

    As I previously posted, I leave my laptop turned on with the battery in it 24/7, and have for the last two years(since June 2006, my Z96J is from the very first shipment). It has been discharged hundreds of times, and still holds near designed capacity. I can barely manage 3 hours from the battery now, which is a very impressive number for the Z96J. Of course, I make a point not to drain my Z96J battery below about 10-15% unless I absolutely need to. I could count on my fingers the number of times I have discharged the battery below 5%.
     
  12. gremlin_freak

    gremlin_freak Notebook Enthusiast

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    I used to have a Dell Inspiron 9300 that I would keep plugged in all the time. I actually decided to try my own little experiment of slowly working the computer into boosting it's life by wearing down the battery a lot more and not keeping it plugged in. I did see a slight improvement in my battery which was very nice. It definitely was a good result. I cannot say that will work for every laptop though.
     
  13. exiled

    exiled -_-

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    some company forgot which name are trying to get nano wire lithium batteries patented. they are suppose to last 10x longer i believe.
     
  14. Heathkidd

    Heathkidd M860TU

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    the new EEPC is getting a battery upgrade the end of this year thats a "all day battery".. i think it uses new tech..
     
  15. DannyWestfeld

    DannyWestfeld Notebook Enthusiast

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    But can the new tech be used interchangeably with devices that ran the old tech?

    Going back to the discussion, would keeping the batteries in still make a difference even if you use the laptop around 3-5 hours max for around 4 times a week?

    I also found it a hassle removing it each time (and the paranoia that the latch would weaken from constant use also was there).

    The AC disconnecting thing is a good idea as well. One question though, the jack is always tightly connected to the laptop's AC pin. It always takes considerable force to remove. Is there a way to make this process easier or will it loosen up in time (like a new shoe)? I'm also afraid that one day the cord might yank the pin as well.
     
  16. Sharkonwheels

    Sharkonwheels Notebook Evangelist

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    Technology isn't interchangeable, unless the charging system has intelligence that can be upgraded. For example, Nickel-Cadmiun(NiCD) and Nickel Metal-hydrive (NiMH) cells are 1.2v nominal, LithiumIon (LiIon) is 3.6v, Lithium Polymer (LiPo) is 3.7v. The new-school Lithium Nano-Phosphate (LiFe) by A123 systems is 3.3v, but hasn't been used in a laptop-sized application yet.

    As to a "new awesome battery," no amount of technology can make up for negligence. That's like a person who never changes the oil in their car, waiting for an engine that doesn't need oil changes.

    If a battery does not get used, capacity goes away. I had a posting in another thread pointing to batteryuniversity.com, which is a good site if you want to learn about battery technologies, and strategies to make them last longer. If you want to keep a battery for more than 8-12mos, I suggest actually USING the battery at least 2-3 times per week. Use it to about 5-7%, and then recharge it. If your battery is already screwed up, and only giving about 30-60 minutes, then use it until Windows complains, then LET IT COOL DOWN, and THEN charge it. Try to not put too much thermal stress on it while cycling it. Lithium-based batteries are hard to bring back from the dead, so chances are slim, but if it's early in the damage cycle, it may be possible to stop it, and maybe even reverse SOME damage.

    T
     
  17. bulik

    bulik Notebook Consultant

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    i'm interested with your article. can you explain futher about using the battery to 5-7%. thanks
     
  18. powerpack

    powerpack Notebook Prophet

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    Wow the talk of the negative effect of keeping plugged in are way overstated. Also over drawing and over charging are not issues unless there is a defect in battery circuit. The talk of using it periodically is correct I believe but more like once a month. Not twice a week.

    It all depends on how you use. I use batt every day A/C most the time. For me not worth it to pull out. If you don't use batt every day maybe every couple of weeks then yea store at 40% in fridge when not needed.
     
  19. Sharkonwheels

    Sharkonwheels Notebook Evangelist

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    Actually, it's pretty much a known fact.
    We go through hundreds of batteries at work for latitudes for that VERY reason:

    They sit in docks, and the batteries rarely get used.

    Most people at work go through a battery every 6-9 months, and I have the same one my D610 shipped with around 5/2006, and I get about 90% of the capacity from the battery, that I had when it was new.

    Being into RC cars, I mess with batteries, and all sorts of chemistries, from NiCD, to NiMH, to LiIon/LiPo, and LiFe. One thing that we RC'ers are VERY familiar with, is batteries.

    And no - it's not because we're electrical and chemistry engineers.
    It's because if we screw up our batteries, they are VERY expensive to replace.

    You think buying a new laptop battery for $80-120 is expensive?

    Search around on the net, and see how much an 11.1V 6000mah name-brand LiPo pack is (names like Kokam, etc..). You'll see prices of $250+.
    And with the current that we run, the batteries are life-limited, to begine with! Higher voltage and capacity will only raise prices. We have to learn how to treat the batteries, so as not to spend a ton, and that carries over, whether it's cell phone batteries, or laptop batteries - the technology is the same.

    T
     
  20. powerpack

    powerpack Notebook Prophet

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    Sharkonwheels nice post but as I said before guys you way overstate the problem. 6 to 9 months batt is fried? Pay attention document and stop using impression as clearly you overstate. I have never removed batt in a little less than 2 years lost 20%. I do use batt 5 days a week so that could help vs never using.

    If I had an RC that had a polymer batt yea it would be in the fridge tell the weekend. Gets back to usage.
     
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