Rechargeable Battery Care

Lately it has come to my attention that people are still treating their modern rechargeable batteries just like their old-fashioned NiCd cousins.  If you have a laptop, cell phone, iPod or other modern rechargeable device, it probably has a Lithium-ion battery in it.  The rules governing how these batteries should be handled are vastly different than the old NiCd ones.

Here are some great guidlines for how to handle your Lithium batteries:

  • Avoid frequent full discharges because this puts additional strain on the battery. Several partial discharges with frequent recharges are better for lithium-ion than one deep one. Recharging a partially charged lithium-ion does not cause harm because there is no memory. (In this respect, lithium-ion differs from nickel-based batteries.) Short battery life in a laptop is mainly cause by heat rather than charge / discharge patterns.
  • Batteries with fuel gauge (laptops) should be calibrated by applying a deliberate full discharge once every 30 charges. Running the pack down in the equipment does this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate and in some cases cut off the device prematurely.
  • Keep the lithium-ion battery cool. Avoid a hot car. For prolonged storage, keep the battery at a 40% charge level, NOT a full charge.
  • Consider removing the battery from a laptop when running on fixed power. (Some laptop manufacturers are concerned about dust and moisture accumulating inside the battery casing.)
  • Avoid purchasing spare lithium-ion batteries for later use. Observe manufacturing dates. Do not buy old stock, even if sold at clearance prices.
  • If you have a spare lithium-ion battery, use one to the fullest and keep the other cool by placing it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze the battery. For best results, store the battery at 40% state-of-charge.

One of the biggest things to remember is that lithium batteries do NOT have a memory.  You can do all the partial charges you want because the life expectency is based on “cycles”.  A full cycle is a 100% drain of the battery.  So if you discharge it 20% every day and recharge every day, you’ll go through one cycle every 5 days.  The typical battery will handle 300 – 500 cycles.

To read the full article where this information came from, you can visit this link: http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm

This article is a reprint from my corporate Facebook page which can be found at http://www.facebook.com/gartlandtechnologies

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