Guide To Getting The Most
From Laptop Batteries
let you do more on the move, offering greater choice and
flexibility than ever before. But a laptop only keeps you mobile
while the battery is charged. Everyone who buys a notebook
wants to know how long its battery will last.
The brief answer – it depends! Battery
Life is highly variable, depending on how you use your laptop.
Batteries for laptops come in three main types: nickel cadmium
(NiCad), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), and lithium ion. You can
recharge each of these batteries with an AC adaptor over and
over and over. In most cases, it will give you between one and
two hours of computer use, depending on a number of factors.
Battery Use Factors
There are a number of factors that contribute to
or determine the usable battery charge time for your laptop.
USB Devices drawing power (such as iPODs).
Use of hard drive.
Use of optical (CD/DVD) drive.
Battery charge state (was it fully charged).
Battery age - batteries have a finite life
Memory upgrades - more memory means more power
Battery Extension Tips
Following are tips to help you get the longest
battery life possible.
Keep Your Screen as
Dim as Possible – LCD screens are one of the biggest
battery drainers. Adjust your setting so you have enough
brightness for comfortable computing. During an overnight
flight, for example, you can dim your brightness yet still see
clearly. Most notebooks have simple applications you can use
to control LCD brightness; consult your user’s manual.
Use Power Wisely
– Turn off or disconnect unused devices; each of them drains
power. Most notebooks have power-management options. When
you’re not using your laptop, you should have it on sleep mode
(assuming you really need it on), or your notebook’s
equivalent. This mode keeps enough power running to maintain
minimal function, so you can resume full power with very
little delay when you’re ready to return to your work or play.
But if you don't need it on at all, shut it down.
Cut Down on Hard
Drive Activity - You can cut down on how hard your hard
drive must work by defragmenting it regularly. This can be
done automatically at selected regular intervals once you’ve
located the Disk Defagmenter in the
Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools menu and follow the
prompts. Also adjust your power settings so that the
drive sleeps when not needed.
Drive Use - if you are on the road, a portable CD/DVD
players will have a vastly longer battery life, than using
your laptop as a CD or DVD player. If there are files or
programs that you use from your CD/DVD drive, copy them onto
the hard drive.
Disable Startup Items
– Every time you boot up (in Windows), startup items load into
memory, causing additional CPU’s power load. You can easily
disable startup options simply by clicking Start then the Run
feature, then entering C:\MSCONFIG (and pres Enter) and
following the prompts.
Keep Your Battery
Fit! - Yes, you can actually condition your battery.
When you buy your laptop, charge the battery to its full
capacity, then discharge it completely. Next, fully charge it
again. This way your battery actually learns how much
electrical charge it can hold. Always make sure when you
charge your battery fully.
Contacts - Remove your battery and clean its metal
contacts with alcohol (ideally do this every two months),
allowing it to dry thoroughly before replacing it. This makes
sure the power transfer between the laptop and its battery is
as efficient as possible.
Use The Airliner
Power Port - many of today's airliners offer special
power ports that you can use to power your laptop. You
will need a special power adaptor to connect your notebook
computer, but they are worth having and using. Also,
take advantage of airport waiting time to plug in and get as
much charge as you can!
A auto / airliner power adaptor
is available for most major brand