Battery lifetime

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are very common in gadgets like laptops, PDAs and cell phones, unfortunately these are very expensive. I had to replace my Sony battery for 250 Euro(!) – well I bought a cheaper clone for 100 Euro, but it has its drawbacks (at the beginning it worked for 3 hours, now for about one…).

So it pays if you keep your current battery up and running as long as possible. Here are a few facts I’ve collected over the last few months:

  • Lithium-ion batteries can be recharged whenever convenient, there is no memory effect
  • A new battery should be charged and discharged fully for the first three cycles (initial conditioning)
  • Keep the electrons moving (discharge/recharge the battery at least once every month)
  • Don’t keep your device plugged in all the time (this is very bad for the battery)
  • Keep the working temperature in mind (22°C is best for most devices)

I put my notebook battery out if I’m working plugged in for a longer time.

Notebook Li-Ion batteries have a typical lifetime of about three years, but this depends on how you use it. A friend of mine uses his notebook on a daily basis (on battery) and his battery works for about four years now – I’ve used my notebook occasionally (mostly plugged in) and the battery had to be replaced after 2.5 years… .

I’ve read some posts on bulletin boards telling me to put my battery into the refrigerator – these procedure should repair some structure and the battery should work like a new one. Well I’ve tried it with my old battery, but it didn’t work :-).

Broken batteries usually provide their full power but only on very low power consumption, for example my broken laptop battery could power my cell phone for days (weeks?) because it consumes much less power than the laptop.

More resources:

Well – I’m after all a software guy, so the electronic stuff written here should be used with caution :-).

No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.
— John Locke