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Extend Your Laptop Battery's Life

“Infinite battery life” is the Holy Grail for all laptop owners. In other words having enough power to watch DVD movies and play games, amongst other things without worrying about the laptop's battery life. The ultimate nuclear powered laptop - guaranteed to last a lifetime, sounds far-fetched, but as laptop and battery manufacturers race to develop new technologies in the search to extend contemporary battery life, this may hold true in the future. One recent development employs fuel cells however, the commercial use of fuel cells still lies some way off. Until a viable alternative is produced we are all stuck with our laptop batteries, yet all is not lost as there are several ways to extend your laptop battery life. Read the tips below to find out how to gain the most from your laptop battery:

Lower the laptop’s LCD brightness – a laptop’s LCD screen requires a lot of power and the backlight does not need to be at maximum. Lower the brightness to a level which is comfortable to view.

Close unnecessary programs – this includes running multiple programs, unused programs and background processes. If these are stopped then some of the memory (RAM) is freed and the processor doesn’t have to work as hard. Resulting in lower battery drain. Use Windows Task Manager to view the list of running processes and CPU performance.

Remove all unused devices and peripherals - modems, wireless LAN devices, USB devices and external drives. Turn off built-in Wi-Fi if you are not using it. All these devices put an unnecessary burden on the laptop battery. This is also true for CD and DVD drives. These devices can also be disabled under Device Manager and saves Windows unnecessary work. Save time by creating a Windows hardware profile, especially if you will be disabling devices regularly.

Add more memory (RAM) – this is not a myth adding more memory helps battery life. Increased memory means that Windows is less reliant on the virtual memory swap file on the hard disk. Memory requires less battery power than hard disk drives, which requires disks to be spun at high speed.

Use faster hard disk drives - hard disk drives come in a variety of speeds i.e. 4200rpm, 5400rpm. Higher speed means faster ‘seek times’ therefore the disk needs to spin for a shorter time drawing less power. Defragmenting your hard disk can also improve ‘seek times’ helping to save valuable battery power.

While on the road use an AC or Car adapter whenever possible.

Utilise power management settings - these may be present on the laptop, proprietary or Windows. Set these to maximum or aggressive level to obtain greater battery life. Also check that power management is enabled on the Bios. For certain laptops, if this is not enabled then any power management using a battery monitoring software or Windows will have no effect.

Carry a second laptop battery - some laptops have higher capacity batteries that fit into the same compartment giving a longer running time. 2-Power branded laptop batteries are rated to have a higher capacity. Some laptops can accept a second battery on one of the empty bays, further boosting the available battery power.

Check the CMOS battery inside the laptop – a dead CMOS battery can draw power from the main laptop battery. This is especially true in older laptops or if you keep setting the date and time regularly.

Disable any auto notification in Windows - this saves valuable resources

Use smaller, simpler programs whenever possible - i.e. WordPad instead of Word

Clean the battery contacts - clean contacts ensure a good connection, allowing you to get the most out of the battery. Clean regularly using rubbing alcohol.

Use the laptop on a flat surface and ensure the vents are not blocked by clothing or other obstructions – use an air duster or a vacuum to clear any vents clogged with dust. This prevents the laptop from overheating and the internal cooling fan from working overtime and drawing more power from the battery.

Avoid using the laptop in extreme temperatures - high temperature causes the battery to discharge rapidly and at low temperatures the battery will be struggling to power the laptop sufficiently.

Completely discharge the battery and recharge it again – this helps older batteries especially the older chemistries like NiCd and NiMH. Lithium-Ion batteries do not require this unless they have been well used. Sometimes the smart electronics within the battery need recalibrating and a complete discharge/charge helps solve the problem.

Use the Hibernate or suspend modes rather than shutting the system off and restarting.

Finally possibly the hardest thing to do is minimize playing movies and games, both use the DVD and CD drives.

Using an AC adapter or a Car adapter whilst on the move is perfectly acceptable, but is it necessary to carry a separate case with all your laptop accessories? Quite simply no. It can be used on different models and brands of laptops and there are a number of different tips which enable this. This means game playing, DVD viewing and listening to CDs on that long boring plane journey no longer needs to be missed. Plug into the nearest power source available (usually an in-seat socket) and watch those hours fly away.

About the Author: A Universal Laptop Battery is another unique product. The two different types, which differ slightly in the chemistry of the battery, are Lithium Polymer and the standard Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion). Lithium Ploymer batteries are much lighter in weight and due to their high power to weight ratio, produce enough electricity to power a laptop. In comparison the larger and heavier standard Li-Ion battery, produces more power due to its physical size. Mobility is not an issue as both batteries are low profile, un-obtrusive and easily fit into laptop carry cases. As with the Universal Car Air Adapter these batteries work with a variety of laptop models. Finally, bear in mind that universal laptop batteries are designed to be used alongside the standard laptop battery, rather than act as replacements.

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