Notebook Battery Life

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Previous generation laptops or notebooks used Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cad) batteries which were not only energy inefficient but were also hazardous to the environment. Next, Nickel-Metal-Hydride (NiMH) batteries were used to power laptops, which offered better energy efficiency than Ni-Cad batteries. However today, most notebooks are powered with Lithium ion batteries which are the most energy efficient of all. These laptop batteries  have low discharge rates which results in longer life. However, the exact notebook battery lifespan is dependent upon the applications you run on your notebook while it is powered on battery. Let us find out what is the average notebook battery life and how you can improve it.

Average Notebook Battery Life

Most manufacturers claim laptop battery life to be about 5 hours. However, this is possible only when you run it in ideal conditions. Meaning, you should run it on a blank screen saver without touching it often. Practically, it is not possible to run a laptop in such conditions. Hence you can assume the life of a notebook to be anywhere between 2 to 4 hours. Even the notebook with a long battery life can rarely offer you power beyond 4 hours. Again, a lot would depend upon the kind of applications you run upon it. Games, videos quickly suck the power from your batteries whereas simple word processing applications are very light on power consumption. If you intend to travel for long hours, make sure your notebook battery is fully charged. Carry some additional batteries or better get yourself a notebook computer with a feature of add-on battery. Lithium ion batteries should never be discharged completely if you wish to run them for long. If you are not using a long life notebook battery, then you might benefit from the following tips on improving the notebook computer battery life. Implementing these tips for purchasing notebook batteries would help you in making a good buy.

How to Prolong a Notebook Battery Life

Regular Defragmentation
Performance of hard drive greatly affects the life of your notebook's battery. The faster the hard drive the lesser the demand for power. Hard drive speed can be improved with the help of regular defragmentation of the computer. This technique makes your hard drive fast and energy efficient.

Reduce Brightness
Almost every notebook comes with adjustments for brightness. Some are even equipped with facilities to modify CPU requirements and adjust cooling performance. Hence, keep the brightness of the screen to bare minimum so that you can extract as much power as available. Also, instead of keeping it on standby, keep it on hibernate mode to save energy.

Minimize Your Tasks
As far as possible, only run the programs that are important to you. Oftentimes, we keep on running certain applications in the background which are really not required. Hence, prioritize your tasks and close all the programs that can be run at other time. This way your CPU will be less stressed and hence perform more efficiently even on less power.

Remove Peripheral Devices
All external devices, including USB devices should be removed while you are running your laptop on battery power. Do not charge your iPod or other USB devices when your notebook is battery powered.

Increase RAM
Increasing RAM will enable your notebook to run on available memory rather than virtual memory. Since, virtual memory uses hard drive, it often results in more power consumption. However, adding RAM also results in considerable power consumption, hence it is a feasible option only when you intend to run large memory intensive programs.

Avoid CD/DVD
As far as possible run the programs on hard drive rather than CD/DVD. CDs and DVDs suck up lot of energy from the battery even when they are inactive. Their spinning motion is responsible for the irrational power consumption.

Take Care of Your Batteries
Lastly, taking care of your batteries goes a long way in prolonging the life of your batteries. Clean the metal terminals of the battery with a cloth as often as you can. Do not keep it unused for a long time when in fully charged state.

Hope this article on notebook battery life helps you to prolong the life of your battery. With proper care and optimum use, you can use your battery life to its fullest.

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This article was published on 2010/09/19