Battery Maintenance – Laptop Battery Life – and Longer Battery Life for iPhone
Get the Best out of Your Battery
Consumers of batteries are usually concerned of how to get the best of batteries that they may purchase. Different battery types have varied energy density, runtime, cycle life, durability, size, weight, cost and safety. But buying a good battery for the right application is one thing but maintaining that battery so that you can get the best out of it is another thing.
Energy Density and Power Density
In batteries, energy density is defined as a measure of how much energy a battery can hold. A higher energy density means a longer runtime. Power density is defined as the amount of power the battery can deliver on demand.
Types of Batteries
Today, there are four popular types of batteries in use. These batteries are namely:
1. Lead-acid battery. This is an inexpensive battery. It is heavy and is used where large power is needed and weight is not a problem. This battery is ideal for emergency lights, ups, automobiles, wheelchairs, etc.
2. Nickel-cadmium battery. This battery is ideal in applications needing a long battery life, high discharge rate, a wide temperature range. The nickel-cadmium battery has a medium energy density and has a disadvantage of containing toxic metals. The nickel-cadmium battery is usually used in power tools, two-way radios and biomedical equipments.
3. Nickel-metal-hydride battery. This battery in comparison to nickel-cadmium battery has a higher energy density but a shorter battery life. The good thing about the nickel-metal-hydride is that it contains no toxic metals like in nickel-cadmium battery. The nickel-metal-hydride battery is ideal to the fast changing fashion sensitive and technology changes of the mobile phones and laptop computers. The laptop computers and mobile phones usually move out of fashion when their nickel-metal-hydride batteries are still in good condition.
4. Lead-acid battery. This is an inexpensive battery. It is heavy and is used where large power is needed and weight is not a problem. This battery is ideal for emergency lights, ups, automobiles, wheelchairs, etc.
5. Lithium-ion battery. This is the battery of the moment as well as the future. The battery is still developing as more technology comes up. The lithium-ion battery has high energy density. The bad thing about this battery is that you need protection circuit to control voltage and current otherwise it can have serious safety problems. The lithium-ion (with cobalt) battery is proving very popular with the laptop computers, iPhones and mobile phones where weight is a big issue. Today there are large models of lithium-ion (with manganese or with phosphate) batteries for large use in hospitals and power tools. Lithium-ion battery have large power to allow a high cell voltage of 3.6 volts in just a single cell which means you only need one battery to power your iphone or mobile phone. The lithium-ion battery is also a low maintenance battery with no memory and no scheduled cycling to extend the battery life.
Now you have bought your new laptop, iphone or mobile phone that comes with the original battery that the manufacturer recommends. Today, laptops, iphones or mobile phones batteries can as well be made of lithium-ion-polymer for thinner geometry. The next thing is how to maintain the battery that comes with the laptop, iphone or mobile phone so that you can get the best out of your original battery. You do this by following these steps:
- Today, your laptop, iphone or mobile phone should be using the lithium-ion because of the many advantages lithium-ion battery has. But one great concern about lithium-ion battery is the aging problem of degenerative effects whether the battery is in use or not. What you should do is to ensure you check the date of manufacture before you buy any lithium-ion battery. The lithium-ion battery is unlikely to go for more than 5 years whether in use or not. Unfortunately, manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries have become very shrewd and may or may not indicate the date of manufacture on the battery. It’s not only the lithium-ion battery that has degenerative effects but also the other batteries like nickel-metal-hydride batteries.
- If you must store your battery without use, store the lithium-ion battery at temperatures of about 15ْ C. This kind of temperature will slow the aging process.
- Store the battery at about 40% of full charge. 100% of full charge or low charge storage is not acceptable and will lower your laptop’s or iphone’s battery life.
- In case of laptop, disconnect the mains power if the battery is fully charged and let the laptop be powered by the battery. The mains power introduces heating which is not good for the lithium-ion battery.
- If at home or a place where there is electricity, remove the battery and power the laptop with the mains. You may have to connect it to ups to avoid power surges.
- Do not discharge the lithium-ion battery too low. The best thing is to charge it frequently within the range 30% charge to 90% charge. Remember lithium-ion does not have memory problems like nickel-cadmium batteries which require deep discharges of as low as 0% charge.
- Do not charge lithium-ion batteries at temperatures approaching freezing point.
- Do not use miracle chargers or super-fast charging for lithium-ion batteries but charge as per the instruction provided by the manufacturer.
- Overcharging or charging to higher voltage, the lithium-ion battery will heat up and may lose stability. This could cause the battery to explode and perhaps this may come up with flame.
- Although original lithium-ion batteries from genuine manufacturers have automatic controls for avoiding over-charging and over-discharging, always pay special attention to this especially today where we have pirated lithium-ion batteries that do not meet the recommended standards.
- If you must replace your battery, avoid the cheaper route of buying lithium-ion batteries and battery chargers from third party suppliers. Spend a few more dollars and get a genuine battery from bona fide manufacturers. Unfortunately, not many people can be able to distinguish between an original battery and a counterfeit battery because they may look the same.
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