How to Extend the Life of Laptop Batteries

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How to Extend the Life of Laptop Batteries

One of the chief complaints that many laptop users have is short battery life. Consumers feel as if they constantly have to recharge their batteries, or even worse, keep their laptops connected to their chargers on a constant basis. Most laptop batteries are not meant to last more than 10 hours maximum, with five or six hours being the standard amount of battery time available on fully charged laptop batteries. Though these numbers represent what is typical with normal use, there are ways to maximise the life of a laptop battery and get just a bit more out of a computer. Certain things that users do end up draining laptop batteries quickly, and most consumers do not even know about the several tips which make a big difference in how quickly their laptop batteries drain.

Small but noticeable changes help increase battery life and reduce the number of hours spent charging laptop batteries. Consumers who believe long battery life is an important quality should consider purchasing laptops that are known for long battery life, but they should first try some easy ways to cut down on battery usage.

Start with a Quality Machine

Some laptops are built for longer battery life. Many manufacturers make claims about how much longer their laptops' batteries last, but there are a few brands that have been tried and tested and shown to offer anywhere from seven hours or more of battery life. Some of these brands include laptops by HP, Lenovo, Apple, and Asus. Several HP models, such as the Pavilion and the Folio, offer six hours or more of battery life. As for larger laptops, the Apple Macbook Pro offers up to six hours or more as well.

See What is Connected

Any external devices that are connected to the laptop can serve to drain the battery faster. Disconnecting as many devices that are not in use at the time preserves battery life and improves the overall performance of the computer.

USB Devices

Peripheral devices that plug into the laptop including an external DVD/CD player, an MP3 player such as an iPod, or even playing a game that is on a disk or using a mouse that is plugged in can drain the battery. A webcam, portable USB drives, and even a PC card can drain away a laptop's battery life. In moments of crucial battery life, such as if a user is working on a project or an important document, unplugging these devices can make a marked difference in battery life.

Make It Dim

Another easy fix to get more out of a laptop battery is to decrease the brightness of a monitor's screen. This is usually simple and involves pressing a key on the keyboard. Laptops with smaller screens use less battery life in the first place, and reducing the brightness helps even further.

Clean Up

A cluttered desktop can really slow things down when it comes to battery life. Removing clutter from the screen and from the system itself, which most users do not even notice after a while, is a great way to speed up the processor. Consumers can throw items that are not needed into the computer trash or put files on an external drive to free up space.

Take Out the Trash

Consumers should empty their computer trash bins frequently. Having a lot of items in the trash is hard on the processor and in turn makes the computer work harder, thus shortening battery life. Keeping the desktop clean and the trash empty are easy ways to keep a machine running efficiently.

Defragment the Hard Drive

Running the defragmenter on the hard drive makes the hard drive faster and therefore uses less battery life. This is mostly for PC users, as Apple users do not really have to do defragmentation. There is usually an option for defragmenting in the system tools folder, and users should ensure that their batteries are not being charged while the defragmenting programme is running, for the best results.

Shut It All Down

Consumers should take note of what they are running when they are on their computers. Many users try to multitask and run many open windows, turn on music while working, or have games going while they are working. To conserve battery life and optimise machines, it is essential to battery life to shut down as many extraneous windows and programmes while users are working.

While many consumers feel that multitasking gets more things done, users who have to keep stopping to charge up their batteries or have their machines die altogether, are not able to get anything done at all. Users who focus on one task at a time have longer lasting laptop batteries.

Cool It Down

Keeping the system cool and avoiding overheating is another way to preserve laptop battery life. There are a few ways to do this successfully. A cool laptop does not have to work as hard, and keeping it cool ensures the battery is not damaged and prolongs the battery's overall life span.

Cooling Pad

Cooling pads help keep laptops cool. This makes it easier for users to sit with their computers on their laps, or another surface that may become temperature sensitive. Hot batteries degrade faster than batteries kept cool, and this is an affordable and simple solution to that issue.

Surfaces

Keep laptop air vents open. Users should not set machines on surfaces that block the vents, such as thick blankets or pillows. This traps heat inside the machines and quickly damages the batteries, so not only do they drain faster, but they have to be replaced sooner as well.

Housekeeping

Some simple housekeeping solutions keep batteries at their optimal performance. Keeping things clean in and around the laptop is a great way to extend battery life, and it is simple to add to a weekly cleaning routine.

Clean Battery Contacts

The metal contacts of the battery need to be cleaned with alcohol to keep the battery running smoothly. Another good idea is to give the battery a rest when a plugged in machine is in use via an AC adapter by removing the battery completely.

Dusting

A dusty laptop can create damage inside and clog the cooling fans, which slows down the processing and causes damage to the battery over time. Extend the lifetime of a battery by keeping the laptop clean. Whether it means keeping a desk clean where the laptop sits most of the time, or using a special canned air duster to keep the keyboard and internal components dust free, keeping dust and dirt away from the machine prolongs the battery's overall life and maximise the computer's processor.

Reasons Why Batteries Drain Quickly and Solutions

There are many reasons why laptop batteries are not lasting for the long haul. Many people do not realise that by simply having their iPods hooked up through USB ports, this usually slows down the batteries and makes the computers work slower.

Issue

Solution

Too much going on at one time

Close unused open tabs, games, music programmes, or unused software programmes and work on one item at a time.

Dirty, dusty computer

Use canned air to clean air vents and keyboards; do this at least once a week.

Overheating machine

Slip a cooling pad underneath computer.

Do not set computer on something that covers its vents.

Slow processor

Defragment the hard drive.

Empty trash.

Unplug peripheral USB devices.

Keeping up with computer maintenance, both internal and external, is the best way to ensure batteries do not drain too quickly. Overcharging batteries is also bad; batteries should only be charged when they are dead, and consumers should avoid overcharging batteries.

How to Buy Laptops or Laptop Batteries on eBay

If you are not content with your present laptop due to its short battery life, or you are simply in the market for a backup or replacement battery, there are many options for both on eBay. Navigate to laptops and netbooks, and you can shop for a new machine by screen size, whether you want an Apple or a PC laptop, or shop by what type of processor you want, such as Intel Core i5. Keep in mind that a smaller screen has a longer battery life, and a machine such as the Apple MacBook Pro and the HP Pavilion are recommended for long battery life.

If you are purchasing an extra laptop battery, which is always a good idea for backup purposes, or simply replacing a worn out battery, use eBay's home page to navigate to laptop batteries and shop by system, by number of battery cells, or by the battery capacity. Make sure the battery is new for best results, and only purchase batteries and laptops from reputable sellers who have excellent feedback ratings from other purchasers. Communicate with the seller by clicking "Ask a Question" on the seller's page to discuss laptops and batteries, and ask if you can meet the seller in person to pick up your system, if you are worried about shipping.

Conclusion

A laptop computer makes life more convenient, but it can also be a source of stress when the battery dies frequently or needs to be replaced. However, there are some things consumers can do to ensure they are getting the most out of their laptop batteries, and to prolong overall battery life without having to purchase replacement batteries for many years. Keeping the battery in good shape also means that the rest of the system runs efficiently, faster, and lasts longer. A healthy battery means a computer is running in good shape, and should be reliable for many years. It is always a good idea to have a spare battery around too, especially for users who travel frequently and may not always have access to an outlet for quick charge ups.

Users can get the most out of their laptops by following certain steps to ensure their batteries are not drained too quickly while in use. It is also always best to let the batteries completely die before charging, and in some cases, waiting a couple of hours before charging, if time allows.

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