Laptops have become important part of our daily life and are now completely inseparable from us. It can be carried around easily and a workplace can be created anywhere unlike desktop computers which are bulky and requires mains power all the time. The only factor which determines the flexibility of moving around with laptop is the laptop battery life. Hence, battery life is very important and knowing the ways of getting more work done in the available charge left in the battery matters.
Things to be done immediately after buying new laptop
The laptop starts to learn the optimal capacity of the battery when the user logins and activates the operating system for the first time. Hence, it is vital to help the part of the operating system, which manages the laptop battery, to calibrate a few parameters in it so that it can monitor the battery in the future reliably. It is suggested to fully charge the laptop battery before experiencing the comfort of cordless laptop operation. Laptop should be connected to mains supply and the battery should charge for at least 6 to 8 hours. This is the optimal charge that the battery can hold and will be recorded by the battery management system in the laptop. Once fully charged, the full charged battery should be allowed to drain completely. This can be done by removing the power cord and continuing to use the laptop in battery mode. A normal battery would lose all its charge in 3 to 4 hours. When battery is critically low, Laptop will issue a warning to save all unsaved work. This is the least possible battery voltage level a battery can reach and still provide the sufficient charge. This level of voltage is again captured by the battery management system. This is one complete charge discharge cycle.
Best Work Practice to Ensure Longer battery Life
Battery chemistry is such that it will perform well only at moderate ambient temperature. The laptop batteries should never be subjected either extreme hot or extreme cold temperatures. If the Laptop is being left unused for prolonged duration, the battery can be safely stored outside in a static free cover.
It is said that laptop battery should never be charged more than 80% of its maximum capacity and should not be allowed to drain below 20% of the maximum capacity. There are no software yet which can take care of this but the user himself/herself has to keep an eye on it. When battery has to be stored for weeks together, it is recommended to charge the battery fully and then store it. Leaving battery with low charge for long duration does some irreversible chemical reaction which results in reduced charge holding capacity of the battery.
It is also recommended to disable all wireless adapters (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) when not in use. Laptops will normally have shortcuts to turn this OFF and back ON. If the Laptop itself provides ECO mode of Battery saver mode, opt for it. The battery consumption can be further reduced by disabling the unused USB ports, Wi-Fi and LAN adapters at driver level. This will further reduce the number of hardware modules active and hence further brings down the power consumption. Even bringing down the resolution of the display until it doesn’t hurt for working on thesis or browsing will reduce the burden on graphical processor and hence reduces the power consumption again. Even the background apps which are not necessary can be stopped or uninstalled.
If the size of RAM is increased, the Paging will be reduced increasing the battery life. If there is a CD to be played often to watch video tutorials or to play games, rather than directly reading from physical CD/DVDs the ISO images can be saved and one of the available Virtual CD/DVD software can be used. Also, display can be brought down to a lower readable level.
To summarize, both hardware and software play a vital role in consuming and conserving Battery power. Though some of the techniques mentioned above reduce the battery charge consumption by a small amount, everything matters.