Back to School mid semester laptop battery tip

The last thing you want is a laptop battery FAIL during an important presentation or while writing a paper. The solution is to keep an extra, low-cost Battery Edge replacement battery handy. Battery Edge says: More Power to you! And, at Battery Edge’s low, low prices, you can afford to.

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8 Ways to extend your laptop battery’s life!

If you’re like me, you have a laptop computer that you use a lot. I used mine to take notes in graduat school, and work on my thesis in the campus library until midnight. And later, when I had my own website design business, my laptop became indispensible: Not being able to afford an office I would offer to meet them at their offices or at a nearby cyber-cafe  at their convenience, of course. Remember: On the Internet, nobody knows youre a dog.

Your laptop: Don’t leave home without it

Of course, working remotely like that did have a few drawbacks: an overabundance of caffeine, for one; customers who expected you to buy them lunch, in addition to a $7 latte, for another; and, if meeting them at their company digs, the expectation that you had nothing better to do than to sit in their conference room, answering questions and taking suggestions from everybody from the CEO to the IT manager to the woman who ran the stockroom: “Hey, Evie. Whaddya think about the buttons on this guys navigation scheme?”


But, the biggest drawback of them all was the possibility of your laptop running out of juice in the middle of a pitch. The desperation of asking desperately looking around for an outlet to plug your computer into, and discovering that the sole unused outlet within miles is in the least convenient location possible (either right next to the espresso machine behind the counter, or in back of the executive secretarys desk). Then, rummaging through your overstuffed laptop case, replete with bus schedules, fast-food wrappers, and, sometimes, remnants of the fast food itself.

Then, remembering: youd left the power chord plugged back at your home office (your moms sewing room), becausewell, thats why you bought a laptop in the first place, wasnt it?

If you read my previous posts on the subject [here and here], you already know that trusting the manufacturers statistics regarding battery life is somewhat naive. So the only realistic thing you can do is to play the odds: buy a good battery, along with a good spare or two . . just in case! A terrific source for such is the outfit I work for, BatteryEdge.com, where compatible replacement laptop batteries go for as much as 70% less than the manufacturers brands. But, more about that later.

Stay . . . just a little bit longer.

It’s a sad technological fact that lithium-ion batteries begin to age the minute they are manufactured. So, in addition to suggesting that you buy one or more spare batteries, here are 8 tips on prolonging their useful lives, in addition to the life of the expensive one that came with your computer. The following information was found on Wikipedia’s great article on Lithium-ion batteries, as well as in part of BatteryUniversity’s lesson plan.

8 ways to increase the life of your Lithium-ion laptop battery

  • Charge it early and often. If you’re not planning on using it for a period of time, you should only charge it to about 40 percent of its capacity. However,
  • Every 30th charge, discharge it completely to recalibrate its internal tracking software.
  • Unless you’re performing number 3, never allow the battery’s charge to be depleted past its minimum voltage.
  • When not using it for a period of time (this also applies to any spares you might purchase), store it or them in the refrigerator. Heat kills batteries in parked cars.
  • Don’t put it in the freezer by mistake. Not good.
  • If you’re planning on using the power supply for extended periods of time (BatteryEdge.com sells power supplies as well), remove the battery and store it in the ‘fridge. Again, not the freezer.
  • If you’re storing a spare, do so at about a 40 percent charge.
  • Most professionals have at least one spare as a backup, and stores it in the refrigerator at about 40 percent. When needed, they can use it or charge it to full capacity almost immediately–plus, some batteries will provide more energy when brought up to room temperature.

Well, there they are: the 8 ways to increase the life of your laptop battery. You’re probably asking yourself, though, something along the lines of: “Well, all that’s fine, but how do I know how much capacity is in my battery?” No problemo, amigo. Most batteries have an indicator somewhere on them that shows how much charge is left. Her’s an example from my Apple MacBook Pro:

The LEDs on the left indicate a fully charged battery; the ones on the right, a depleted one.


Another option is the software that comes with almost every laptop. Here’s the Apple version:

in coming weeks, I’ll be writing some more about the pros and cons of portable computing. For now, if you have any comments, questions, or criticisms about living in an age of portable computing, send it to me, roger@batteryedge.com. And, if you’d like to know when this blog is next updated, just sign up to the RSS feed.

Thanks

Some Facts About Thinkpad Batteries

IBM Thinkpad batteries, like any other computers, tend to lose their ability over time. It becomes necessary to get a replacement battery if it cannot hold a full charge. There are many local as well as online stores where you can find a replacement battery for your Thinkpad. But before actually purchasing a new power cell, you need to understand certain basic factors.

The standby time of the Thinkpad batteries get short over time. The life of these power devices is calculated in accordance to the number of its charge cycles. The power of battery gradually reduces with the number of charge cycles. Sometimes you will also find that the running time of the batteries is not as long as marked at the description. This is because the running time is actually based on the present running watts of your laptop. In order to reduce the running watts of your Thinkpad laptop you can use the power management solution. It is better not to use any external USB devices or other similar equipment as well as close the Bluetooth and wireless LAN when you are not using them. Apart from that, avoid using CPU intensive calculation procedures so as to extend the running time of your power device.

The battery power is usually higher than the designed capacity while these new batteries are fully charged. If you stop charging before it reaches the designed capacity, the battery will show that it is not 100% charged. However, fully charged power of Thinkpad batteries will gradually decrease with number of charge cycles accumulated.

In case you are not likely to use your Thinkpad batteries for a long time, it is better to get them charged to 60% and put them a plastic bag and store in a cool place. Always remember to discharge and charge it after every six months.

You can remove Thinkpad batteries safely by following these steps:

  • First shut down your laptop and also remove the plug from the jack of your computer so as to disconnect the AC adapter. Also close the screen of your computer.
  • Turn the laptop upside down and place it on a flat surface and search for the battery compartment. It is usually located at the back of the laptop near the front edge. There will be either one sliding latch or two sliding latches on the battery cover, depending on your particular model. Remove the sliding latches.
  • Lift the battery pack gently and note down the model number printed on it so as to get an exact replacement.

Replacing A Toshiba Satellite Battery

The Toshiba Satellite is one of most popular series of laptops. They are available in a number of models with different features. The original models of this series required external parallel ports to be connected and also lacked internal floppy or CD drives. With the technological development, this series now offers high-end models. In fact, this line of personal laptops was the first to offer wireless access as standard options. You can also get both 15 and 17 inch models and some of them come with HD compatibility options. The high-end Toshiba Satellite laptops even include 1 gigabyte video cards, Blu-ray drives and hard drives of over 500 gigabytes. The life of the Satellite battery is however shorter than the usual industry standard. Thereby, you will need to replace these batteries in order to take full advantage of your laptop.

Like any other laptop battery, the batteries of your Toshiba Satellite will not last forever and will wear out with usage and over time. You may need to replace them between one and four years. This timeframe usually depend on how you use your laptop and what features you use. The replacement batteries for this series are easily available. You can either buy them from the local stores selling such electronic goods or from the online stores.

However, buying them online has certain advantages. The price is usually low and some of the online retailers also provide discounts and other similar offers. In order to be sure that you purchase the right battery, it is better to a reliable Toshiba’s laptop battery finder website and look for your particular model.

While replacing your Satellite battery you will need to turn-off your laptop and unplug it from the jack. Then turn it upside down on a flat surface and locate the battery compartment that comes with latches. Generally, the size and location of this power cell will depend on the model of your laptop. It is usually located in a large area square or rectangular in shape and has one or two latches to lock it in. Once you have located the battery compartment, unlock the switches and gently slide the battery out. You will have to place the replacement Satellite battery in the same way and after placing in within the compartment lock the latches properly. Though it has nothing to do with replacing a Satellite battery, it is very important to keep an eye where you keep your old battery. Never throw them away as it can be hazardous. You can conveniently find a good battery recycling program in your locality.

Selecting the Right Laptop Charger

In recent times, laptop chargers are being easily duplicated. The selection of a good one is very important because the performance of a battery automatically depends on the charger. Hence before buying such a unit you must verify it and check with the user manual. If any of the specifications mentioned are not available then it is better no to buy it. Next you can also check with various user reviews and then decide whether or not to buy a particular unit. Another basic step is to find out that the particular unit you are buying is compatible with your battery or not.

One of the major factors that should be considered for buying these units is whether it is able to withstand extreme heat and cold conditions. Many of these are affected with moisture once they are removed from extremely cold temperature to the normal temperature. This damages the electric circuits within it. Similarly, extreme heat can also hamper the chemical composite of the unit. It must also be made sure that it is able to withstand long hours of charging, which the battery might require. Lithium ion batteries get heated up very easily; hence the chargers must be able to withstand the heat. Most of them are capable of enduring long hours of charging, but some are not.

Technology is so advanced these days that even solar chargers are available in the market; these are known as voltaic solar bags. These solar units convert the heat energy of the sun to electric energy by a process known as photovoltaic effect. With exposure to sunlight for an entire day, the generator of a voltaic solar bag can fully charge a laptop. These bags are protected by water proof panels. Although these bags are quite large and expensive they are totally eco-friendly and help in conservation of energy by using the energy from the sun. Hence, it is becoming common day by day.

These days even timer based chargers are available. The time taken to charge the batteries is noted and the time is then set in the charger. This allows the user to avoid over charging of batteries. Once the laptop is fully charged the charging automatically stops. Another important aspect is speed charging. Speed charging generates excessive amount of heat and hence such units are provided with cooling fans. Suitable batteries that can be charged by these units are NiMH cells.

Thus, there are several ways of selecting a good charger only you need to do your research before buying one.

Maintenance of HP Laptop Batteries

Founded in 1939, Hewlett Packard is a world class electronics manufacturer. Recently, HP laptop batteries came under the scanner on account of their lifespan. But even so these are the best you will find in the market. If these power units are managed properly their run time will exceed that of any other such unit in the market. There are several aspects of maintaining these units and thus enhancing their life span. Any HP laptop battery is suited to go through 200 to 500 charge cycles before they stop holding charge. A charge cycle is charging the unit to the fullest and then completely discharging it. The total number of charge cycles varies from user to user depending on the maintenance of the battery.

These power units from HP are of advanced design and as a result their maintenance requires adequate care. To ensure longer life span and run time of your battery the following points should always be kept in mind:

The power supplying units should be kept under optimum temperatures. Extreme high or low temperatures can hamper the electronic components of these units, which in turn will reduce their longevity.
Extreme low temperatures cause damage to these units. On returning to normal temperature certain amount of moisture will collect within the battery which will damage the electronic circuits.
Allow your laptop a complete charge cycle at least once in a month.
De-fragmenting the hard drive at regular intervals will reduce hard drive activity and ensure an increase in the run time.
Constantly charging the unit also reduces the lifespan. It is advisable to remove the battery while the laptop is connected to an external power supply.
If you are not using your computer notebook for a prolonged period of time then it is better to remove its battery.
Reducing the CPU load can enhance the lifespan. Hence, it is better to disable start items that puts extra load on the virtual memory.

Apart from these there are other ways of increasing the run time of your HP laptop battery. Unnecessary use of programs that can be avoided decrease the run time. Photoshop, high graphics games and DVDs can be turned off when not in use. It is advisable to switch to the hibernation mode when the laptop is not in use. Diminishing the brightness of the screen can also help. Multi-tasking should also be avoided as much as possible. Thus, you can prevent unnecessary drain of power.

Troubleshooting Problems in Thinkpad AC Adapters

If your Thinkpad AC adapter is not charging your laptop or is doing so intermittently, it is time to get it replaced. Some common problems that occur in AC power adapters of all brands are:

  • Smoke emission
  • Sparks when plugged
  • Noise when plugged
  • Sporadic charging
  • Pin at DC end gets detached or bent

Thinkpad AC Adapters: Troubleshooting Problems
Here are some simple strategies to solve the problems that commonly occur in Thinkpad AC adapters. The initial two stages include:

  • Verifying that the power outlet is working properly.
  • Using appropriate power adapter for your Thinkpad notebook.

This is followed by:

Identifying line noise problems – Unplug the AC adapter from the electrical outlet. Then, plug it back after a minute. If you hear some noise, you may reset the adapter occasionally by providing it a minute’s rest. An AC adapter generally turns off when the ‘over-voltage protection’ feature in the device senses ground noise. Such noise may occur when the adapter is plugged on to the same electrical circuit as that of a refrigerator or other appliances. This problem will cease to occur if you plug the adapter on to a fresh electrical circuit.

Evaluating the reason behind laptop not charging – A Thinkpad AC adapter ceases to charge the notebook for two reasons:

  • Power adapter becomes warm during normal use. Placing the adapter on the floor while charging the laptop is a good idea. If you use the adapter in a poorly-ventilated room or cover it with an insulation of some kind, the adapter may automatically turn off to prevent getting damaged.
  • Sometimes the pin in the DC barrel gets bent. This leads to intermittent charging. It is recommended that adapters with bent DC pin be promptly discarded and immediate replacement sought.

Checking for strain relief – Strain relief is a condition wherein the DC cable attached to the power adapter disconnects from the device. The insulation on the power adapter also separates. This condition can be verified in two ways:

  • The DC cable gets discolored and the rubber molding becomes deformed.
  • While shaking the cable near the adapter to and fro, notice whether the LED indicator flashes on and off with every move.

If you notice these, replacing the cable with another is the only option. To purchase top-quality replacement laptop batteries, adapters and other laptop accessories at competitive prices, visit www.batteryedge.com. The company also offers exciting money-back guarantee and product warranty offers for enhanced customer convenience.

More on Notebook Adapters

Notebook adapters are essential computer accessories for frequent travelers. A laptop battery, however powerful, cannot last more than a given time. It is then that these adapters come in handy. However, users must refrain from sustained charging of their laptops with these adapters, since it will adversely affect the life of the laptop battery.

The AC or alternating current adapters provide low voltage DC (Direct Current) to notebooks through a DC jack. The notebook adapter’s main function is to convert voltage to match the power requirements of a laptop. This allows the user to continue their work, despite complete discharge of the battery or absence of a rechargeable battery.

AC Notebook Adapters: Types
The two types of AC notebook adapters are:

  • Single voltage adapters that provide a fixed voltage output.
  • Multi-voltage adapters with a switch that allow you to choose from among several output voltages.

Laptops are usually powered by the former type. Notebook adapters are also categorized under the following:

  • Brand or model-specific adapters – Such adapters are manufactured for specific laptop brands and models and hence, are not compatible with other models.
  • Universal AC adapters – Such adapters are compatible with various brands and models. Most universal AC adapters have interchangeable plugs for ensuring size compatibility with all plugs. They are available at cheaper rates than the brand-specific adapters.
  • Multi-device adapters – These adapters can be used to charge various devices, such as laptops, iPods and radios.

You can choose to buy adapters from the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) or general retail stores. Most people prefer buying replacement AC adapters from online stores, since they are compatible with the original and are available at much reduced prices. However, before purchasing from an online retail store, check the AC adapter’s specifications to determine power requisites.

AC Notebook Adapters: Purchasing Tips

Here are some important factors to consider while choosing AC notebook adapters:

  • Voltage – The voltage output from the AC adapter supplies DC to the laptop. If the output does not match the input requisites, your laptop will not perform properly.
  • Tip polarity – A power tip has an inner and outer conductor. Based on the positive or negative polarity on the inner conductor, you will have to select an adapter. If the connection goes wrong, the laptop may get damaged.
  • Tip size – The tip size of the adapter will determine whether you can plug it to your laptop.

For completely new and compatible laptop accessories for all brands, visit the online retailer www.batteryedge.com today.

8 ways to increase the life of your laptop battery

8 ways to increase the life of your laptop battery

If you’re like me, you have a laptop computer that you use a lot. I used mine to take notes in graduate school, and work on my thesis in the campus library until midnight. And later, when I had my own website design business, my laptop became indispensable: Not being able to afford an office I would offer to meet them at their offices or at a nearby cyber-café—their convenience, of course. Remember: On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

Your laptop: Don’t leave home without it

Of course, working remotely like that did have a few drawbacks: an overabundance of caffeine, for one; customers who expected you to buy them lunch, in addition to a $7 latte, for another; and, if meeting them at their company digs, the expectation that you had nothing better to do than to sit in their conference room, answering questions and taking suggestions from everybody from the CEO to the IT manager to the woman who ran the stockroom: “Hey, Evie. Whaddya think about the buttons on this guys navigation scheme?”

Dell 1501 Batteries

Dell 1501 Batteries

But, the biggest drawback of them all was the possibility of your laptop running out of juice in the middle of a pitch. The desperation of asking desperately looking around for an outlet to plug your computer into, and discovering that the sole unused outlet within miles is in the least convenient location possible (either right next to the espresso machine behind the counter, or in back of the executive secretary’s desk). Then, rummaging through your overstuffed laptop case, replete with bus schedules, fast-food wrappers, and, sometimes, remnants of the fast food itself.

Then, remembering: you’d left the power chord plugged back at your home office (your moms sewing room), because well, that’s why you bought a laptop in the first place, wasn’t it?

If you read my previous posts on the subject [here and here], you already know that trusting the manufacturers statistics regarding battery life is somewhat naive. So the only realistic thing you can do is to play the odds: buy a good battery, along with a good spare or two . . just in case! A terrific source for such is the outfit I work for, BatteryEdge.com, where compatible replacement laptop batteries go for as much as 70% less than the manufacturers brands. But, more about that later.

Stay . . . just a little bit longer.

It’s a sad technological fact that lithium-ion batteries begin to age the minute they are manufactured. So, in addition to suggesting that you buy one or more spare batteries, here are 8 tips on prolonging their useful lives, in addition to the life of the expensive one that came with your computer. The following information was found on Wikipedia’s great article on Lithium-ion batteries, as well as in part of Battery University’s lesson plan.

8 ways to increase the life of your Lithium-ion laptop battery

  • Charge it early and often. If you’re not planning on using it for a period of time, you should only charge it to about 40 percent of its capacity. However,
  • Every 30th charge, discharge it completely to recalibrate its internal tracking software.
  • Unless you’re performing number 3, never allow the battery’s charge to be depleted past its minimum voltage.
  • When not using it for a period of time (this also applies to any spares you might purchase), store it or them in the refrigerator. Heat kills batteries in parked cars.
  • Don’t put it in the freezer by mistake. Not good.
  • If you’re planning on using the power supply for extended periods of time (BatteryEdge.com sells power supplies as well), remove the battery and store it in the ‘fridge. Again, not the freezer.
  • If you’re storing a spare, do so at about a 40 percent charge.
  • Most professionals have at least one spare as a backup, and stores it in the refrigerator at about 40 percent. When needed, they can use it or charge it to full capacity almost immediately–plus, some batteries will provide more energy when brought up to room temperature.

Well, there they are: the 8 ways to increase the life of your laptop battery. You’re probably asking yourself, though, something along the lines of: “Well, all that’s fine, but how do I know how much capacity is in my battery?” No problemo, amigo. Most batteries have an indicator somewhere on them that shows how much charge is left. Her’s an example from my Apple MacBook Pro:

Macbook Pro 15 Battery

Macbook Pro 15 Battery

The LEDs on the left indicate a fully charged battery; the ones on the right, a depleted one.

Macbook Pro 15" & 17" Battery

Macbook Pro 15" & 17" Battery

The LEDs on the left indicate a fully charged battery; the ones on the right, a depleted one.


Another option is the software that comes with almost every laptop. Here’s the Apple version:

Apple Battery Tool

In coming weeks, I’ll be writing some more about the pros and cons of portable computing. For now, if you have any comments, questions, or criticisms about living in an age of portable computing, send it to me, roger@batteryedge.com. And, if you’d like to know when this blog is next updated, just sign up to the RSS feed.