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    This month we're bringing you the 4 Ways to Increase Your Laptop Battery Life and Charge! You may know not to keep your laptop plugged in when it's fully charged, but do your clients? It's simple, but these little pointers can go along way in demonstrating your tech authority.

    What questions do you constantly receive that you'd like to see in next month's installment of our series?



  • Not to keep your laptop plugged in? huh.. that kind of flies in the face of advice given by Steve Gibson.

    Steve addresses this to a questioner in https://www.grc.com/sn/sn-324.txt. Steve also went pretty indepth on this in episode 320 something.

    Of course he is assuming our chargers are doing their job and shutting down when the batteries don't need more charge.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Of course he is assuming our chargers are doing their job and shutting down when the batteries don't need more charge.

    They can't do that because keeping you at 100% means it is not letting the battery go all of the way down and back up ever.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Of course he is assuming our chargers are doing their job and shutting down when the batteries don't need more charge.

    They can't do that because keeping you at 100% means it is not letting the battery go all of the way down and back up ever.

    Assuming you left it plugged into the wall 100% of the time, that would be true - but come on, who does that? Also, if the charging circuits are doing their job, in the case of a laptop, those circuits should be able to disconnect the battery for a full power cycle, but I don't think that's suggested any more except unless you are trying to calibrate the computer to know how long your battery will last. With Lithium batteries, the computer more or less has to guess, it's not like the old NiCad days.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Assuming you left it plugged into the wall 100% of the time, that would be true - but come on, who does that?

    Tons and tons of people. I would, in fact, if I did not intentionally unplug it and let it run all the way down at least once per day. It's extremely common.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Also, if the charging circuits are doing their job, in the case of a laptop, those circuits should be able to disconnect the battery for a full power cycle, but I don't think that's suggested any more except unless you are trying to calibrate the computer to know how long your battery will last.

    It IS recommended by people talking about battery life. Even Apple says that it needs to be done. But the companies that most people like to quote are ones that specifically make their money from having built in batteries that cannot be replaced so have a huge incentive to downplay the important of good battery management and want to encourage you to kill the battery as quickly as possible.

    If you manage your batteries well you should notice a huge increase in battery life. If you do the "as the vendors say you can" you can watch battery life drop in DAYS. My iPhone 5S has climbed from 24 hours of life out of the box to nearly 40 hours from healthy management.



  • And by healthy management you mean allowing the battery to bottom out daily?

    Where are the scientific papers on that one?


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    And by healthy management you mean allowing the battery to bottom out daily?

    Where are the scientific papers on that one?

    Not necessarily daily, but regularly.

    Do we need scientific papers? It's extremely repeatable in tests at home. Do it just a little bit and you'll see devices change, skip it and you'll see them change in the opposite direction.

    We had tons of scientific papers on this in the past, that marketers have tried to claim that "changes in the non-battery technology are so significant that the effect is no longer a big deal" is just another way of saying "nothing has changed." There's little need, in my view, to have research to counteract marketing when we've had the scientific info all along and the marketing doesn't actually claim anything to the contrary - only that you don't "have to" do what is best or that it "isn't a big enough deal to matter."

    They carefully use soft terms to hide the fact that they are not telling you that batteries have changed.



  • Well Steve Gibson isn't shill for the Battery companies or any sales group. So what does he gain by passing along bad information.

    His claim is that Lithium batteries work best (when in daily use) when kept as charged as possible. The only gain (according to him) in running your battery to dead or near dead is calibrating the OS to guess how dead a Lithium battery is because unlike NiCads, Lithiums don't have a gradual drop off of voltage. again according to him, they pretty much stay at the nominal voltage until they just die (run out of juice).



  • My old IPhone 4S is still running strong. I only let it die a couple times. But kept it between 20% and 80% all the time. Charging it multiple times a day to keep it in that range. Someone else uses it now and has no problem keeping it in that range now and it is 5 plus years old.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Well Steve Gibson isn't shill for the Battery companies or any sales group. So what does he gain by passing along bad information.

    That happens a lot. People have their personal opinions and pass them along. For example, I don't work for battery vendors either. But I'm passing along the opposite info as Steve. One of us is passing along bad info.

    My gut feel, from reading the transcript, is that it is Steve and my reasoning is because while he mentions a lot of stuff, what he doesn't mention is the traditional and proposed healthy use case that I have espoused and tested for years. That he skips it and does not mention it suggests to me that he either is not aware of it, assumes it to be so bad that no one would want to even consider it or that he feels it is so much effort that he is avoiding it because it is better to go to a "safe fallback" than to do the best thing.

    I've got a lot of very old devices going through once or twice a day full recharge cycles that are outlasting the same devices used by others following Steve's advice. It's still anecdotal but follows what I was taught by EEs about how this works and has been tested on a lot of devices for a very long time and the results are predictable and demonstrable and I can show a single device changing in either direction over time.

    I believe Steve has completely missed the use cases I recommend and all of his information is correct based on the assumption that the case I propose is excluded.



  • @Minion-Queen said:

    My old IPhone 4S is still running strong. I only let it die a couple times. But kept it between 20% and 80% all the time. Charging it multiple times a day to keep it in that range. Someone else uses it now and has no problem keeping it in that range now and it is 5 plus years old.

    Steve actually mentions that too. If possible, you should never allow your Lithium devices to go below 20% going below actually causes damage to them.. doing it on occasion the damage is probably pretty light, but doing that a lot, well, I've killed batteries doing that :(



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    I believe Steve has completely missed the use cases I recommend and all of his information is correct based on the assumption that the case I propose is excluded.

    Would you please post a single post that is what your proposal is and the specific use case?


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Steve actually mentions that too. If possible, you should never allow your Lithium devices to go below 20% going below actually causes damage to them.. doing it on occasion the damage is probably pretty light, but doing that a lot, well, I've killed batteries doing that :(

    In what way did it kill them? I do this on at least ten batteries daily and have daily for half a decade at least and I have the best battery lives of anyone that I know on all of those devices. Anecdotal, I realize, but it is a LOT of discharge cycles.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Would you please post a single post that is what your proposal is and the specific use case?

    Full charge and discharge, same as has always been the standard for these types of batteries going back decades. Always charge to 100%, never stop part way, and run down as low as you can before plugging in. Apple recommends this too but says it is only necessary about once a month - I say more often is better, trickle charging and little bits here and there cause noticeable drops in battery life in as little as several days of doing so, from what I've seen.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Steve actually mentions that too. If possible, you should never allow your Lithium devices to go below 20% going below actually causes damage to them.. doing it on occasion the damage is probably pretty light, but doing that a lot, well, I've killed batteries doing that :(

    In what way did it kill them? I do this on at least ten batteries daily and have daily for half a decade at least and I have the best battery lives of anyone that I know on all of those devices. Anecdotal, I realize, but it is a LOT of discharge cycles.

    When I went to Europe a few years ago, my batteries would get hot from high usage and also drain to 1% or less daily. By the end the trip, that batter would only hold about a 4 hour charge before it was dead.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    When I went to Europe a few years ago, my batteries would get hot from high usage and also drain to 1% or less daily. By the end the trip, that batter would only hold about a 4 hour charge before it was dead.

    How can you tell that the discharge was the factor rather than getting too hot? I've had them die from heat before too, that's normal.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    When I went to Europe a few years ago, my batteries would get hot from high usage and also drain to 1% or less daily. By the end the trip, that batter would only hold about a 4 hour charge before it was dead.

    How can you tell that the discharge was the factor rather than getting too hot? I've had them die from heat before too, that's normal.

    Great question - I can't.

    You allow your batteries to go to 1-2% or even less near daily without issues? interesting.


  • Vendor

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Would you please post a single post that is what your proposal is and the specific use case?

    Full charge and discharge, same as has always been the standard for these types of batteries going back decades. Always charge to 100%, never stop part way, and run down as low as you can before plugging in. Apple recommends this too but says it is only necessary about once a month - I say more often is better, trickle charging and little bits here and there cause noticeable drops in battery life in as little as several days of doing so, from what I've seen.

    I claim no expertise, but pretty much everything I've read says the best way to maximize a battery's life expectancy is not to fully charge it and not to fully discharge it either.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    You allow your batteries to go to 1-2% or even less near daily without issues? interesting.

    Every day, every device. Till they power off. Phones, iPads, laptops, etc. Four users in the house doing it with all devices. The success rate is 100%. All of our batteries just last and last.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    How can you tell that the discharge was the factor rather than getting too hot? I've had them die from heat before too, that's normal.

    Great question - I can't.

    I am careful about keeping things out of the sun, not insulating them, cooling them down when necessary and just generally being very conscious about the temperature of the devices. I've been known to toss a phone into the freezer to keep it cool and in the car I often keep my phone in an AC vent so that it is cold.


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