With modern batteries, it is far less important than it used to be to fully charge and fully discharge a battery with each use. However, there ARE some tips that are important to follow.
How to break in a new battery or laptop*:
- When you purchase a new laptop battery, it is recommended that you fully charge the battery before first use. With the laptop turned off and unplugged, install the new battery. Then connect the charger and let it charge at least 5-7 hours or until it indicates it is charged, whichever is LONGER.
- Once fully charged, unplug it and turn on the laptop. Use the laptop until the battery is fully discharged before recharging. This means use the laptop on battery power until it shuts itself down. A good way to do this is to play music CDs or DVDs. This conditions the battery and “trains” it to accept a full charge to a point, but more importantly it calibrates the battery to your computer so the “Amount Remaining” indicator is more accurate.
- Fully charge the battery again. After this, you can use the computer however you wish, plugged or unplugged, half charged or fully charged.
Proper care and use batteries:
- Most computers and chargers are built with “smart chargers” now, so you can basically plug and unplug the laptop at will without doing much damage. However, Lithium Ion batteries have a longer life when they are kept at around 80-90% capacity. Smart chargers know this, and will fully charge your battery and then allow it to drop to about 90%, before trickle charging it back up to about 95% and back and forth. So you may unplug it and find it drops to 90% really fast…this is normal, as it is just adjusting to the actual charge of the battery (which, by the way, is true for cell phones too).
- If you are going to remove or store your battery, fully charge it, then discharge it to 80% before removing it from the laptop. Then store it in a cool, dry place until needed again. However, this is unnecessary for shorter periods of time, like less than 30 days.
- Lithium Ion batteries do not like being fully discharged (except when “conditioning” it above). So not only is it ok to plug it in before it is fully dead, it is recommended and will extend the life of the battery.
- Finally, all batteries, Lithium Ion or otherwise, eventually lose their charging capacity. Lithium based batteries usually last about 500 charge and discharge cycles on average before failing to hold an acceptable charge, which translates to about a year or two of use.
*If you purchased a laptop and/or related set-up services from Reboot Technology Services, we have already performed this conditioning for you. You can proceed with normal use worry free!