the battery based on its usage. “Under the normal usage, batteries
should be calibrated once every three months,” Wentzel said. “However,
a battery that is rarely discharged fully should be calibrated about
once a month.”
To calibrate, turn off all hibernation or suspend
modes, then charge the battery until full and unplug your notebook from
the wall. Once the battery has completely drained and the laptop has
automatically shut off, connect the AC adapter to the notebook again
and charge it completely. Turn back on your power management settings,
and the calibration will be complete.
battery-conditioning utilities. “They were really more applicable to
previous generations of battery technology,” Wentzel said.
2 Don’t Overdo It
your laptop’s battery if it’s going to remain plugged into AC power for
more than two weeks straight. It’s unnecessary to plug in while you’re
connected to the wall.
3 Dial Down the Brightness
seems obvious, but you need to turn down the display brightness while
running off of a battery,” Wentzel advised. “I’ve done tests and have
seen 15 to 30 minutes of saved battery life between a display at low
brightness and at high brightness. Airplanes are usually dim
environments, so it’s easy to keep the display brightness low.”
4 Hibernate is Better than Suspend
big thing that most people miss is using the display’s Suspend or
Hibernate modes that come with their machines. Note that Standby keeps
the notebook’s state in memory and uses some power, while Hibernate
stores the machine’s state to disk and uses almost no power.”
5 Turn Off What You’re Not Using
your machine has infrared and you don’t use it, disable it. Same thing
goes for Bluetooth. As for Wi-Fi, be sure to toggle the radio off when
you’re doing work that doesn’t require you to be online. In our tests
we’ve seen as much as an hour difference in unplugged runtime between
systems with their Wi-Fi connection turned on and off.
6 Big Downloads Equal a Big Hit on Endurance
users are constantly reminded to install Automatic Updates. These can
wait until you find an outlet. “Avoid doing big downloads and software
installs while running on a battery, if you can, and save them for
later when you are plugged in,” Wentzel suggested. This includes
e-mails with big attachments and updates to programs such as iTunes.
7 Store it Properly
your laptop exposed to high temperatures, in excess of 77 degrees, such
as in a hot car, can accelerate the deterioration of the battery.
“Store lithium-ion batteries between 68 and 77 degrees with a 30- to
8 Have a Backup Plan
conditioning will certainly help your notebook’s battery live a longer
life, it will eventually wear out. “After a certain number of
charge-discharge cycles, batteries will stop taking as much of a
charge,” Wentzel said. “You can’t revive a worn-out battery.” Consider
carrying a spare battery so that, when one wears out, you can quickly
put your notebook into Hibernate mode and make the swap.
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