We all own more battery powered products than ever before, and in most cases those batteries are rechargeable. Laptops, music players, phones – they all have rechargeable power packs, almost all of them using lithium.
These batteries don’t last forever. No matter what you do, their capacity to hold charge will decline over time, typically down to 80 per cent after 12-18 months in the case of apple a1175 laptop battery.That’s a range, not an absolute cut-off point, so how can we make these batteries last as long as possible? Ignoring the exceedingly rare risk of a fire, is there any way to ensure we get the best performance from our portable power supplies?
If you do use the mains as your primary power source – as you might well if the notebook’s your main machine – at least make sure you use your laptop on battery power a couple of times a week. This is what we didn’t do with the netbook. It has stayed attached to its AC adaptor for most of its life, with the battery barely being used.
The connected battery will charge to 100 per cent and then the battery pack’s electronics will ensure the cells receive no further charge. At this point, the biggest threat to the battery is heat from the laptop’s internals. Make sure your laptop’s vents don’t become covered. Beyond the heat generated by its operation, a laptop can safely be left connected to the mains.
When you use your laptop on battery power, make sure its charge drops to at least 80 per cent. But don’t let it drop to zero. Depending on which operating system you use and how its power settings are configured, you’ll get a low-power warning first and, later, your machine will sleep, hibernate or shut down.
At this point, your battery should still be charged to 5-10 per cent of its capacity, and you should now charge it, whether you want to continue working or not. If you’re not going to be able to do so for some time, make sure you’ve saved your work and your laptop’s shut down or hibernating rather than sleeping. These two modes turn the laptop off whereas sleeping just keeps it ticking over, but power is still being drained and you run the risk of emptying the battery.
Completely draining the battery is a no-no. Battery manufacturers and laptop makers say that it’s a good idea to drain the battery as far as the laptop will allow every so often and to then charge fully in order to synchronise the various capacity monitors within the power pack and the laptop. That ensures that your capacity read-outs are as accurate as they can be.
If your laptop’s going to remain unused for a long period, keep it cool. Never freeze it, but sticking the battery in the fridge, for example, will prolong its life. Battery manufacturers recommend storing batteries with a charge level of 40-50 per cent.
If you do refrigerate a apple a1175 laptop battery, don’t start using it as soon as you take it out again. Leave it several hours to warm up to room temperature first. Rapid warming could cause condensation, and you don’t want moisture forming inside your battery pack or laptop.