Overworked & Overheated: The Dish on Drained Batteries

COLLEYVILLE, TEXAS – It’s one of life’s greatest mysteries – why do laptop batteries fizzle out so fast? We at Computer CPR understand the frustration associated with a fast dwindling battery, and would like to offer up some insight on the subject.

Don’t be deceived by the difference in appearance; Macs and PCs are powered by the same breed of battery.

“Lithium-based batteries are used for all sorts of configurations, and the guidelines to prolonging battery life are essentially the same for Macs and PCs,” says Michael Young, a computer repair expert in Colleyville and owner of Computer CPR.

In short, laptop batteries are composed of cylindrical or square lithium-ion cells that house a positive electrode, negative electrode and a separator. The cells, along with a voltage tap and temperature sensors, are cased in metal with vent holes. At the risk of causing a small fire, we don’t recommend you break apart the battery to discover more.

Laptops aren’t cheap, and the added expense of battery replacement every two years or so doesn’t sound appealing to most computer owners. Here’s the hard truth- all batteries are destined for death at some point. With that said, there are two bad habits notorious for killing healthy batteries early.

  • Overcharging. This is the main culprit in a battery’s early demise. A freshly purchased laptop typically last about 6 hours, but constant charging can quickly reduce its life span to only minutes. When the laptop is needlessly connected to power, the battery is in an endless state of charge, leaving it worn and ineffective. Allow the battery to run down prior to charging, and charge it to only 80 or 90 percent, if possible.
  • Overheating. Batteries aren’t engineered for warm weather. Store your laptop in a cool place and keep the computer’s vents uncovered. Instead of placing the computer in a backpack or carrier (which traps heat), purchase a case with slots for the vents. When the battery is overheated, it will lose life considerably faster. Also, be sure your computer, and the battery are shut off properly. Simply closing the laptop doesn’t give the battery a chance to cool down.

It’s tough to estimate how long a well maintained battery should last with each charge. It all varies on how the computer is used. For example, watching movies or streaming music will drain  the battery more rapidly than simple word processing or web browsing.

If your laptop’s battery isn’t overcharged or overheated but continues to die quickly, don’t continue to be chained to the power outlet. Give us a call, instead. Our skilled IT consultants can replace drained batteries and return your computer to optimal performance. We offer comprehensive computer service in the Grapevine and Colleyville areas, including virus removal, PC repair and Mac support.

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