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Laptop Battery Power

Updated on August 4, 2011

A laptop requires its power from either a main source plug or a battery pack. Both a laptop and a desktop need a small battery inside them to maintain the real-time clock. Inside a laptop however, there is also a larger battery to allow the laptop to be portable. The life of a charged laptop battery depends on how the laptop is used and how the power options are set in the control panel to help conserve power, if your laptop is sitting unused. The power management software on most operating systems allows you to set power options which will help extend the life of the battery. Once a laptop battery eventually runs out completely. It is impossible to recharge it, and you have to just dispose of it. This is the reason that most manufacturers will only give you a 6month warranty on the life of the laptop battery.

Different types of batteries are:

Lithium Ion (LiIon)

LiIon batteries are used on most of the modern laptops and also other smaller portable devices due to the light weight of the LiIon battery, and longer life. The thin size of the LiIon battery makes it suitable for laptop computers. A LiIon battery can be charged whenever needed, and frequent charging or overcharging of the battery does not overheat the battery. A LiIon laptop battery normally lasts for about three to four hours when it is fully charged. LiIon batteries do not suffer from what is called the memory effect present in other NiCad batteries. The overall life of a LiIon battery depends on aging instead of its charge and discharge cycles.

Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH)

NiMH batteries fall in between LiIon and NiCad batteries. NiMH batteries use Nickel (Ni) and a hydride-absorbing alloy instead of Cadmium. NiMH batteries last longer though, and they have less memory effect than typical NiCd batteries. However, these types of batteries have a shorter life than the other battery types. A typical NiMH laptop battery lasts for about two hours when it is fully charged.

Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)

NiCd batteries are the oldest type of batteries that are used in laptops. Nickel (Ni) and Cadmium (Cd) are the main active chemicals. These NiCd batteries suffer from the dreaded memory effect. This reduces the overall battery life. To get around the memory effect, the battery has to be fully discharged before you charge it again. Another disadvantage of a NiCd battery is that it can produce dendrite conductive crystals inside the battery. These can easily cause short circuits. Cadmium is also a serious environmental hazard.

Improving battery performance.

The actual runtime of laptop batteries largely depends

The amount of time that a laptop can run from its battery depends on the amount of power that you are consuming. Click here to read about some great ways to extend the lifetime of the battery.


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