Recondition That Battery!

Posted in Technology at 7:39 am by Jason G.

A word on battery reconditioning…  it’s a good thing.  I love my ThinkPad (a little too much sometimes) and am very pleased with the battery performance.  I can easily get 3+ hours on a single charge if I turn down the screen brightness just a bit.  Very useful for watching a movie on a plane or sitting having coffee…

But one thing does tend to happen over time, the % readout in the taskbar starts to read incorrectly.  For example, a couple of days ago I started up the laptop and ran off battery for 2:40 minutes (the screen was set the brightest it woudl go, and I disabled all shut-off timers).  Now 2:40 is no slouch, but I believe it read less than 10% for the last 40 minutes of time!  And in fact, as I was rapidly saving every 5 seconds, the battery lasted for 10 minutes between the 1% warning sound and when it actually shut off.

This happens over time as a battery ages.  The % left is calculated based on the voltage coming from the battery.  With age, the voltage tends to decrease, making it appear to the software as if the battery is running out of juice, when in reality it is simply getting older.

How do you deal with this?  You can either buy a new battery every year or two (not a bad idea anyway) or recondition your battery at least once a month.  Reconditioning consists of running the battery to absolute ZERO — not just waiting for it to go into standby or sleep when the juice gets low.  You should create a power profile that is “disable all shut-off timers” (and disable the standby and shut down triggers) and then just let the computer sit there until it  powers off.  Make sure you don’t have significant programs (Outlook, Excel, etc.) running when it gets down to 1%, but you’ll probably still have several minutes of computing before it shuts off.

That’s today’s laptop tip…  use it wisely.