Does a laptop’s permanent power outage damage its battery?

A battery without a laptop is better than a laptop without a battery. Maybe this sentence is not as beautiful as the famous sentence in the movie “About Ellie”; But there is an important fact: a laptop with a broken battery is no longer a laptop and is at best a desktop computer.

If you spend more time at home these days due to the Corona outbreak, you are probably using your laptop as a desktop computer before the broken battery leaves you with no choice. When you plug it in to charge, you forget to unplug the charger cable from your device, so your laptop is plugged in while you’re at work.

Talking about batteries is not as exciting as new gadgets and software, and when it comes to laptops, everyone is talking about RAM and GPU, and the battery is being abused; But many of us are still wondering: Is there a problem if the laptop is constantly powered on? Do I have to let the battery drain completely before charging the laptop? The fact is that the answer to the question is not simply yes or no; But understanding the mechanism of the battery will help us reach the answer.

battery

The battery cannot be overcharged

Most laptops use lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries. The advantage of these batteries is that they can be charged many times and without the slightest damage to the battery capacity. Another advantage of these batteries is that they can not be overcharged; That is, whenever they reach 100% charge, the internal circuit of the lithium batteries stops the charging process, and from here on, the electricity that reaches the laptop via the cable is routed directly to the power supply instead of through the battery.

This is a very good thing; Because if the battery is overcharged, it will fail in the safest possible way and in the scariest scenario, it will turn into a time bomb. So rest easy! Constantly connecting the laptop to the power supply does not carry the risk of battery explosion and fire, and although your life is safe in this situation, battery life is still at risk.

100% battery charge

Do not charge the battery 100%

In order to maximize the life of your lithium battery, it is recommended that you disconnect the laptop from the power supply before it reaches 100% charge. This recommendation has been confirmed by the CEO of Cadex Electronics, which specializes in extending battery life and sponsors the Battery Reference Website Battery University Is.

به‌گفت‌ی Isidore Buchman, The CEO of the company and one of the authors of the Battery University website, the best way to increase the life of a laptop battery (even up to four times) is to charge it to 80% and then let it drain to 40%. This is because each lithium battery cell is charged to its voltage level. The higher the charge percentage, the higher the voltage level, and the higher the voltage inside the cell, the more pressure is applied to the battery, and this pressure decreases the number of charge cycles.

According to the Battery University website, if the battery is charged to 100%, it will only have 300 to 500 charge cycles; But if it is charged to 70%, its charging cycle may reach 1,200 to 2,000.

Effect of charge rate on cell voltage and battery life
Charging level (volts per cell) Charging discharge cycle Available stored energy
[۴/۳۰] [۱۵۰ تا ۲۵۰] [۱۱۰ تا ۱۱۵ درصد ]
4/20 300 to 500 100%
4/10 600 to 1000 85 to 90%
4/00 1,200 to 2,000 70 to 75%
3/90 2,400 to 4,000 60 to 65%

If the battery is up to 70% charged, it can have 1,200 to 2,000 charge cycles

According to the table above, if the voltage of each cell decreases by 0.1 volts each time it is charged, the number of battery charge cycles is doubled, until it reaches the desired level. At 90.3 volts per cell, the number of battery charge cycles increases from 2,400 to 4,000.

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The only problem is that this level of voltage for the battery, ie only 60% charge and a little over half the time of a fully charged battery, can keep your laptop on. Another problem is that most of the time when we are busy working with a laptop, we can not constantly concentrate on the percentage of battery charge. It would be better if the battery itself always charged up to 80%, and if we were going to go where we needed to charge more, there was a button that would fully charge the battery.

However, batteries do not have this feature, and since no app has yet been designed to warn the user about 80% charge and 40% discharge, the only solution is to measure the time it takes for your laptop to reach 80% charge and 40% charge and then Set a timer yourself. He may be in a lot of trouble; But believe me, your laptop battery is worth the attention.

Laptop overheating

Laptop burning; Battery life

You may be surprised to learn that heat is the most important factor in reducing the battery life of a laptop. If you remember, we said that lithium batteries can not be overcharged, and this is a good feature to protect against the risk of explosion; But when the battery is 100% charged, it bypasses the battery and goes directly to the power supply. This will increase the temperature of the device.

At temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, battery life is at risk of serious damage; So if you are in the habit of putting your laptop in the car on hot summer days, if it survives the risk of theft, its battery life will be greatly reduced due to the high heat.

At temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, battery life is at risk of serious damage

Only when high temperature pressures hit the battery at the same time with higher voltage pressures, pleasant events are definitely not waiting for your laptop battery. In this regard, Battery University Study It shows that if the battery is kept at 40 ° C with 40% charge, its capacity will be reduced to 85% after one year.

Estimated capacity of lithium batteries when stored for one year at different temperatures
Temperature 40% charge 100% charge
0 degrees Celsius 98% (after one year) 94% (after one year)
25 degrees Celsius 96% (after one year) 80% (after one year)
40 degrees Celsius 85% (after one year) 65% (after one year)
60 degrees Celsius 75% (after one year) 60% (after three months)

In the same situation, if the battery is charged up to 100%, its capacity will be reduced by up to 65%. The capacity of a fully charged battery at 60 degrees Celsius reaches 60% after only three months. Based on this evidence, the constant connection of the laptop to the power supply will damage the battery life. Now, even if the battery is exposed to high temperatures, its life will be greatly shortened.

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Of course, keep in mind that high temperatures are not just about the environment. If you run heavy applications such as games or video editors, the temperature of the laptop will increase, and if you put the laptop on a pillow or in an improper cover, the heat generated will be wasted and the battery will be further damaged.

An image of the laptop battery detached and placed on the laptop

Is it a good idea to remove the battery from the laptop?

Now that we know that heat is the lifeblood of a battery, the question may arise: Is it better to take the battery out of the laptop altogether and use electricity directly? Unfortunately, many new laptops do not have the ability to remove the battery, and laptops with replaceable batteries have different manufacturers. For example, Acer says that if you want to use direct power, you do not need to remove the battery; But if you do not want to use the laptop for several days, it is better to remove the battery. When Apple was making laptops with replaceable batteries, it recommended that you never remove the battery from the device.

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To take care of the battery, charge it between 40 and 80% and keep it at room temperature

However, whether or not to remove the battery from the laptop depends on your device’s power management settings. On some devices, removing the battery, such as when the battery charge decreases, reduces energy and slows down the laptop. If you decide to remove the battery, be sure to keep it in a safe place. The best way to take care of the battery is to keep it between 40 and 80% charged and at room temperature.

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Tips to increase battery life

First of all, you have to face the undeniable fact that the battery, like any man-made device and even man himself, has a limited life, and with each charge and discharge, the number of charge cycles decreases, to the point where it no longer works. However, there are ways to increase battery life. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Lithium batteries have a longer life if charged between 40 and 80%.
  • Avoid placing the laptop on a pillow or blanket or soft surface that will dissipate heat.
  • If you do not plan to use your laptop for a few weeks, remove the battery if possible.
  • If the battery is not replaceable, charge it less than 50% before storing the laptop. In this case, the battery starts to discharge. If the battery is not charged for a long time, it will be damaged.
  • If the storage time of the laptop is long, take the laptop out of the storage and charge it from time to time.
  • Avoid placing the laptop in very hot or very cold temperatures.
  • To increase battery life and reduce charge cycle times, reduce the keypad brightness and the slip settings and screen brightness. Additionally, if you are not using WiFi, turn it off.
  • If the laptop is hot, do not play with it.
  • Instead of standby, turn off the laptop or put it into Hibernate mode.
  • Close your browser’s extra tabs to avoid overcharging.
  • Disconnect external devices from laptops, such as flash drives, DVDs, and hard drives if you do not need them.
  • Copy the information you need to your laptop or flash drive. Optical drives use a lot of energy to read a CD or DVD.
  • Clean your table. It may seem like a strange piece of advice; But dust on the table can easily get into the holes of the laptop cooling fan and increase the temperature of the device. It is best to clean your desk at least once a week.

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Conclusion

Permanent connection of the laptop to the power supply will not damage the battery in the short term, and because lithium batteries can not be overcharged, you will not be at risk of explosion or fire. However, if the laptop is constantly plugged in, after a year you will notice that its battery capacity has drastically decreased. In addition, constant use of the battery charge consumes faster charge cycles, which reduces battery life.

The best solution in this case is to strike a balance between the two modes: use the battery charge on some days and power it on other days. Whatever you do, just remember that the most dangerous enemy of your laptop battery is heat; So do not let the temperature of the laptop rise too much.

Factors that reduce battery life:

  • Charging or discharging cycles: Any battery, no matter how advanced, can be charged and discharged in limited numbers, and when this number is exhausted, the battery life is extended.
  • Voltage level: The higher the charge level, the higher the voltage level of each battery cell. High voltage reduces battery life; So do not charge the battery 100%.
  • Temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius: Heat is the most dangerous factor in reducing battery life; So always keep the temperature below 30 degrees.

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