Extending the life of your laptop battery largely depends on us following well-known maintenance tips. But what if the things that we were told to follow were wrong? It turns out that might be the case with your laptop battery. Let’s debunk 7 of the most persistent myths surrounding the batteries on our laptop computers in the hopes that we can better care for them.
Myth #1: Using the laptop while it’s charging can shorten the battery’s lifespan.
One of the most popular myths that even your friendly neighborhood IT guy will tell you. This one has long been tagged as the primary culprit why computer batteries barely last a few years.
The Truth: Keeping your equipment plugged in while you’re busy at work doesn’t damage the battery. What actually harms it? Heat. Although you can argue that plugging in can heat up the battery faster, it’s actually a high-workload use that causes the heat. An overworked processor is the main reason that your device becomes unbearably hot at times.
Myth #2: “Over-charging” your laptop battery will turn it into a desktop computer.
You’ve probably seen a notebook or two unable to turn on when it’s not plugged in. Does this mean that they have essentially become a desktop computer?
The Truth: The answer is an absolute NO. Contrary to popular belief, your laptop battery neither follows a charging/discharging pattern nor does it get “addicted” to AC power. Today’s laptop batteries have been designed to stop charging once the battery is full so even “over-charging” is a misnomer, as there’s no such thing.
Myth #3: You will damage the battery if you don’t disconnect it after a full charge.
Do a quick Google search and you’ll find countless news clips associating fire incidents to “overcharged” computers and smartphones. So this argument holds water, right?
The Truth: This is just another technological fallacy that has long been circulating. What you should know about today’s computer (and smartphone) batteries is that they’re designed with internal circuits that stop the charging process the second it’s full. These systems prevent the battery from overcharging, which may have caused burning and overheating in past electronic devices. Nowadays, the only way for batteries to overheat is when the charging system itself is dysfunctional.
Myth #4: Replacing malfunctioning batteries is easy.
Major laptop companies all sell replacement batteries for their devices on their website. Before you order these replacements as a backup once your current one dies, you should you should know one thing.
The Truth: Changing your device’s power source isn’t as easy as it looks. You could easily order the wrong model if you’re not well-versed with technical aspects of the battery. It gets even more complicated if you own an Apple laptop. They come with built-in batteries so you’re not able to replace them yourself unless you’re a licensed IT professional. If the manufacturer encourages end-users like you to send back your equipment to be fitted with new batteries, you’ll have to check if your device is still within your warranty or you may be charged.
Myth #5: Charge the laptop battery to full power right out of the box.
If you own devices that run on the older, nickel-based battery of the early 2000’s, this myth probably still applies. However, we’re talking about notebook batteries today so you shouldn’t expect it to abide by the same rules.
The Truth: If your equipment’s manual says that it has lithium-ion (LI) batteries, it isn’t necessary to follow this old word of advice. It’s important to remember that most new batteries are self-calibrating and designed so you can use the device as soon as you turn it on. Nevertheless, it’s still wise to charge the gadget beforehand to ensure proper calibration, which is a way for the system to determine how the battery should behave.
Myth #6: Wait for your laptop battery to run low before you charge it again.
Again, this one only applies to old battery technology. The most recent notebook computers often use the lithium-ion variety, which works so much better than their nickel-based predecessors.
The Truth: Treat this one as our first and only warning: LI-batteries last longer if you never let them drain fully. When you make this crucial mistake, the laptop may get confused by such extreme discharges and will subsequently show wrong estimates on how long its power source can last. Now you know why your notebook’s battery indicator has been terribly inaccurate.
Myth #7: A manufacturer’s claims about battery life are accurate.
You’ll often find manufacturers boasting that their laptop can run for almost 24 hours. That has to be proof of how superior their battery technology is than others, right? We’re not saying that they’re liars, but you’d be wise to take every sales pitch with a grain of salt.
The Truth: Based on the actual tests done on laptops by trusted critics, laptop batteries almost always run short of their manufacturer’s claims. What many are not aware of is that any claim involving a laptop’s battery are produced under specific circumstances that may not reflect the way the user uses the device. Read about MobileMark 2007—the outdated test commonly used to measure the longevity of many laptop batteries. It’s a misleading test since it keeps the laptop’s functions to a minimum. This means the laptop isn’t using Wi-Fi, the screen is kept at 20% brightness, there is no music, videos, or even websites running. That’s how they measure how long the device can stay running, and then advertise using that time.
It’s really unfortunate that when it comes to caring for our notebook’s battery, we’ve all been following “rules” that aren’t even rules, to begin with. So which of these misconceptions have you fallen victim to? We’d love it if you let us know in the comments below!