Laptop Battery Care When Always Plugged In

Posted January 3, 2010 3:32 am by with 19 comments

If you use a laptop as your primary computer and find that for the most part you leave it plugged in on your desk, you need to take battery care into consideration. In a situation like this, you do not want to constantly be charging your battery. This article explains it well.

To summarize, having your battery in a ‘constant’ charge state will reduce the life of the battery, so it is good to occasionally fully discharge it. I have been following this procedure with my cell phone battery and find that the battery lasts several years holding a good charge.

I recently switched to a laptop to replace both my home and work desktop computers and I typically run on battery power, only charging when needed. I know this reduces the performance of the machine, but very seldom do I need to utilize these resources, so I don’t really notice it.

Do you have any laptop battery care tips or tricks you use? If so, please share in the comments.

19 responses to Laptop Battery Care When Always Plugged In

  1. archer9234 January 3rd, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I thought batteries cut charging when the battery is at 100%.

        Reply

    • Jason Faulkner January 3rd, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      They do, but keep in mind that when the battery loses charge over the course of the day, it will recharge automatically. The state of being constantly charged without full discharge can lower the life of the battery.

          Reply

      • Yup June 26th, 2010 at 2:05 am

        you'd think, being at the cutting edge of technology, these companies would have gotten over that hurdle long ago.

            Reply

        • Brendan July 27th, 2010 at 2:49 am

          mac has. :) they only recharge when the battery has lost a larger portion of their capacity, whereby extending your battery's life. GO MAC

              Reply

  2. Steve Stone January 3rd, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Thinkpads come with a battery monitoring program that tends to help always plugged in users. If you don’t run on battery the program will ask you to perform a deep discharge when it thinks the battery can use it.

        Reply

  3. Leanne January 3rd, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    This may sound like a stupid question but does “fully discharge” mean Dead Dead or almost dead (blinking battery icon)?

        Reply

    • Jason Faulkner January 4th, 2010 at 9:39 am

      Until it dies on you.

          Reply

      • Leanne January 4th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

        Thanks Jason. I will be sure to let it die completely every few charges then.

            Reply

        • Jason Faulkner January 4th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

          I don’t think you need to do it every few charges… personally, I do it about once a month. I have found it does the battery good as long as it is done every so often.

              Reply

  4. richtea January 5th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    New battery for old HP laptop, quote leaflet: Inside the laptop battery is microprocessor software, etc., unquote. The recommendation is to leave the battery in but fully discharge & recharge it once a month to maintain capacity. I find “dead” no longer exists, since the “software” wherever it may be prevents the battery going below ca 3%. Bought on Ebay at good price & could not care less if it only lasted a couple of years regardless of (mis)use.

        Reply

  5. earlwallace January 6th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Jason,

    I have taken the battery out of my HP 9000 laptop when using it at home (99% of time). So far the pc has given great service for a year and a half without the battery. No data is lost because the UPS keeps it on long enough to save open files. Does the actual laptop battery t act as a “spike” catcher”?
    Again thanks Jason for all the tips.
    earlwalalce

        Reply

  6. Ricky Ricardo January 6th, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    If you want it plugged in for performance just take out the battery and put it back on if on the go

        Reply

  7. Dave January 21st, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    For true, long life of your batteries, NEVER run until they die on you. That’s the worst thing you can do for them. I flew RC models for years, and had transmitter and receiver batteries test above their rated capacities for years by using a proper charge/discharge cycle. NiCads in particular should be discharged to 1.1V per cell given a double A sized battery which was rated at 1.2V per cell. So a 4.8V pack should be discharged to 4.4V before charging. If you let cells go completely dead, they don’t go dead at the same time and as such, live cells start applying a reverse voltage to dead cells causing premature failure.

    What it comes down to though, there is no set rule that covers every type of battery. You need to know if they are NiCad, Nihm, Lithium-ion, etc to get the proper charge/discharge practice in place.

        Reply

    • Surfacing February 4th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      When the device dies on you, you are not actually at 0% charge. There are fail safes in the power management software that will not allow the battery to be discharged beyond its minimal charge level. This is because all these electronic devices use lithium ion batteries, and the battery would be damaged were it discharged to truly ‘dead.’ In fact lithium ion batteries require a microchip to control their state in order to prevent such damage from happening. This is not only for discharge, but charging as well. They must be charged at a very precise current, and to exactly the right amount, otherwise they will be destroyed. Even cordless power tool batteries (assuming they are lithium ion) have chips built in to control the charge level.

      So, the truth is you cannot actually completely kill a device battery by running them til they ‘die.’ The software prevents you from doing so.

          Reply

  8. laptop battery June 28th, 2010 at 2:25 am

    If you want it plugged in for performance just take out the battery and put it back on

        Reply

  9. Detton July 26th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks for all the tips.

        Reply

  10. canada batteries August 3rd, 2010 at 2:24 am

    your post is really useful,i also know some way to improve battery life.When charging the Battery Pack for the first time, the device may indicate that charging is complete after just 10 or 15 minutes. This is a normal with rechargeable batteries. New Batteries are hard for the device to charge; they have never been fully charged and not “broken in”.Sometimes the device's charger will stop charging a new battery before it is fully charged. If this happens, remove the battery from the device and then reinsert it. The charge cycle should begin again. This may happen several times during the first battery charge. Don't worry, it's perfectly normal.

        Reply

  11. Dell Inspiron 8200 Battery August 18th, 2010 at 5:59 am

    nice post.thanks for sharing.it’s very useful.i will obey your suggestion.

        Reply

  12. notebook September 23rd, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    you’d think, being at the cutting edge of technology, these companies would have gotten over that hurdle long ago.

        Reply

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