Did you know that the laptop battery needs proper maintenance to last its entire life? Laptops these days are shipped with lithium-ion batteries which needs a little babysitting to last its estimated life. Replacing a worn-out laptop battery costs more or less $100 which is quite an expensive consumable, so it is a good practice to calibrate such batteries regularly.
When I bought my Acer Aspire 4740G laptop last year, I was not even aware that the batteries that came with the device needed regular maintenance. I was probably like other people who think that batteries need no extra attention, only to come across complaining people that their laptop batteries disappoint them. Most manufacturers also don’t bother placing instructions on how to calibrate these kinds of batteries, and I’m beginning to think that this is their ploy to get their customers to purchase brand new lithium-ion batteries in a short time.
A good battery lasts for two to three years. Various factors like excessive heat and even keeping the laptop unused for several months on a very low charge could shorten the battery life.
Why is there a need for calibration?
Lithium-ion batteries often indicate inaccurate battery wear and capacity readings over time. In effect, the laptop charge doesn’t last long and indicates low battery mode even if the battery is still in good condition.
Simple steps to calibrate your laptop battery
Battery charge should last a bit longer after each calibration. Do the calibration every 30 cycles of charging and discharging, or every month, whichever comes first! Again, most instructions apply to Windows users but there is no reason not to perform calibration on Mac and other operating systems too.
- Charge the laptop up to its maximum capacity. Leave the device plugged for two hours or more.
- Disconnect the laptop from AC power. Disable any means in the Power Options for the laptop to sleep or go into hibernation before the battery charge is depleted to. Use or leave the laptop on until the battery is depleted to 3% charge, in which the computer automatically enters hibernation.
- Leave the laptop in hibernation state for five hours or more.
- Charge the laptop again up to its maximum capacity.
Additional best practices
- Lithium-ion batteries like shallow discharge than a deep discharge. Avoid getting the battery to very low levels of deep discharge (less than 10%). This could also easily wear out the battery. The deep discharge, as illustrated through the steps above, should be performed only when calibrating the battery. 40% charge is a good level to start a recharge.
- Excessive heat from the laptop or other sources easily degrades the battery. Avoid getting the computer temperature hot. Avoid storing the laptop under heat sources such as the sun.
- Unless performing a calibration, avoid plugging the laptop for more than eight hours on AC power. Lithium-ion battery lasts longer when it is frequently charged or discharged the right way.
- When the laptop is expected to be unused for more than a week, make sure that the battery charge is partially charged to about 40%. Batteries discharge even when unused, and it is possible that a very low battery charge could go fully depleted – as a result, the battery will have difficulty picking up a charge anymore and will need immediate replacement. After storage, always fully charge the batteries before going through another cycle of discharge.
I think we would not have to wait too long when laptop battery technology goes maintenance-free and would last long even if these are subjected to heat, or goes fully depleted. For now we still have to religiously perform the calibrations to get the maximum life out of our batteries.