Make Your Laptop Battery Work Longer

batteryHow many times have you been out and about with your laptop and the battery gives out? Normally it happens at a crucial moment during a meeting, half way through a document or when you need to send out an important email.

To help you get the most out of your laptop battery, here are a few suggestions to help you wring the most out of each charge.

Flat as a pancake

If you have a laptop with either NiCD or NiMH batteries fitted, allow them to go completely flat before recharging them.

If, like many people, you use your laptop for long periods of time on mains power rather than on the battery you will be shortening its life. If you want to work from the mains, remove your battery altogether and store it in a discharged state.

Li-ion batteries are usually unaffected but if you leave your laptop on mains power without cycling them then their useful life time is reduced substantially.

Screen

Bright screens use up a lot of battery power so turning the brightness and contrast-control down as far as you can will help your battery life.

If you’re not using it, turn it off

You won’t need every component on your laptop all the time so make sure you turn off internal/external modems when not in use. Plus, leaving your PC card modem plugged in can reduce your effective battery time by up to 25%.

You should also remove PCMCIA cards when not in use.

Turn off AutoSave

This one is for the brave. It’s a bit of a risk, but if you’re careful to monitor your battery’s power level, you can avoid unnecessary disk accesses.

Say farewell to helpers, wizards & other automatic features

Your laptop has numerous software functions that automatically format text, check spelling, and recalculate your spreadsheet and they all draw down power. If you can do without them, turn them off.

Use a disk-caching utility

If you install a utility program like Norton Utilities or SmartDrive you can cut down on disk-accessing time.

Your laptop’s cache saves the most-often used or most recently used information to a special virtual memory cache. So, rather than battery-depleting hard-drive accesses, the computer uses the information in the cache instead.

Clean Leads

Here’s one you may not have thought of before.

Every month, clean your leads (silver or gold metal strips on end of battery) with rubbing alcohol to make sure your battery is making a good clean contact with the leads in your system.

These are simple things to do which can make a big different to your batteries life span. So if you want to minimise the risk of an embarrassing premature battery switch off, follow these tips.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.