The laptop battery. We all rely upon them and they are often the part that fail first – normally just outside the manufacturer’s warranty period! I’ve come across lots of secondhand laptops where the battery, nominally fully charged, barely lasts through the initial boot up of the machine before giving up the ghost and dying with no warning.
Here are five top tips for getting the most out of your battery.
- Switch off the wireless card on your laptop if you aren’t using the internet or have access via a wired ethernet connection. Wireless is a hungry user of power. If you have a Mac, the AirPort function can be turned off via the wireless icon on the toolbar at the top of the screen. Many Windows laptops have a physical switch somewhere on the front of the case to turn the wireless facility on and off.
- Close applications you are not using. The ability to have lots of windows running different tasks open at any one time is great, but the additional hit on memory and disk accesses this entails, uses up additional power. If you don’t need it, close it. Learn to single task!
- Turn off bluetooth if you aren’t using it. It’s another very hungry user of battery power.
- Avoid extreme temperatures. Batteries work at their optimum at normal room temperatures. Try to avoid prolonged use of your laptop when it is lying on a soft surface that will heat up quickly, like a blanket or cushion, and where the circulation of air around the base is restricted. If you don’t, the resultant strain on your cooling fan will lead to rapid battery drainage.
- Unplug external usb devices such as a mouse, memory stick or external drive if you aren’t using them!
- Finally, get into the habit of running your laptop on battery only, without the a/c adaptor plugged in, until it is completely discharged at least once every two or three weeks. This helps to prevent charging “memory” issues and ensure your battery retains a useful level of charge throughout its working life.