You own a laptop for a couple of years now and you noticed that your battery doesn’t hold charge as well as before. Or, you see some other problems. For example, your laptop shuts down for no reason, or it won’t charging a battery, or even it shuts off and won’t turn on again. You might be thinking that this are all signs, to replace a laptop battery.
Here’s the deal:
All of this signs and many more are not necessary a battery problems, it can be anything else but the battery. In fact, your battery might be good as new,but your laptop can still have a symptom that battery need to be replaced.
If you’re a proud owner of a laptop and you thinking that you might have battery problem, this are 14 things you must know now before replace a laptop battery:
1. Main reason of a laptop battery failure
Laptop batteries are mainly made out of 18650 Lithium Ion cells. So, Li-Ion are new technology that really stands out in terms of how much they can last, if they properly use.
Only small portion of people actually know how to use a laptop, to last a long time. I’m talking about years of use, and yet, their laptop batteries are like new one. They can hold a charge as they were new, from a factory.
I want to reveal to you what is going on here.
Over time, in most laptops, batteries will hold less and less charge, because of improper usage. Let me ask you something. Are you a gamer? Or, do you use video rendering apps?
This is what’s going on:
Heat is a main cause of laptop battery failure, period. If you expose it to an intense heat, your battery will gradually decrease in capacity, and eventually fail.
But wait, you might think that you never leave your laptop battery to an extreme source of heat, right? Well, you’re right to a certain extent. Did you know, that your laptop is a source of that heat too? And it will damage your battery, if you’re not using it correctly.
If they constructed laptop like that, what can you do to extend battery life then? Let’s talk about it:
2. How to extend your laptop battery life right now?
We’re discussed that main cause of a laptop battery failure is heat. And it will be nice to use this methods right from the beginning, when your laptop is brand new, or if you’re already replaced your battery, so it is in beginning stage.
This days we have laptops that battery can’t be replaced, because they are built inside of a laptop. So, you can do here something as well.
I asked you before are you a gamer or do you use rendering apps. Both games and apps will produces tremendous amount of heat. So, you must do something about it, if you want to extend your battery life.
When you play games your GPU kicks in and produces heat, and when you use rendering apps, laptop CPU do most, if not all of the work, and also produce too much heat.
Cooling system just cool a cpu and gpu through copper heat pipes, and battery receives that unnecessary heat because it’s inside in tight area of a laptop.
When you play games and use rendering apps, you can actually remove battery from a laptop. By removing your battery you will extend its life, because they will not overheat.
There’s also laptops that don’t have removable battery, and you can’t use method above. You can buy one of those laptop cooling stands.
You just plug its usb into laptop and fan, or fans, depending on model, cool your laptop from below. This is not as efficient like by removing a battery, but it will help to prolong your laptop battery life.
3. How long does a laptop battery last?
It depends. Let’s say that you’re average user. And with a habit that you’re developed overtime, you might get a 3 – 4 years of a good use. This may not be the case for everyone, because everybody’s different.
I already discussed about heat, and it depends on a what type of user you are. Your laptop battery my last 1 year, or my last 10 years. If you overheating laptop all day long, every day, you battery will fail in less than 6 months.
But, in the other hand, if you took good care of your laptop battery it may last a long time, 10+ years.
By overheating a laptop Lithium Ion battery, it will form crystals. This crystals buildup will prevent a laptop battery to hold its charge.
And with more of this buildup battery will hold less and less charge over time, depending on a use habit of a laptop. It may form quick and slower. To the point that laptop battery not charging anymore. To see how to prevent this crystals formation read my tips above on how to prevent overheating of a laptop battery.
4. When it’s time to replace a laptop battery?
After a couple of years of owning a laptop, most of people will wonder this question. You maybe noticed that your laptop battery won’t hold charge as much and you think that is time to replace it.
Well, with slightly older laptops, where batteries hold 2h max. People usually leave their laptop to charge all the time. They pull plug off only when they leave somewhere, and they need to move laptop too.
And leaving laptop on charge all the time doesn’t damage a battery. All laptops has built in overcharging protection, so battery won’t explode.
Nowadays we have laptops which battery will hold as much as 12h when fully charged. With this kind of batteries your laptop is truly mobile device. Just fully charge it, unplug it from charger and forget it, literally.
I mention older laptop batteries and newer ones, the difference here is in capacity. The more capacity your laptop battery has, the more it will last in long run. Battery with more capacity will decrease slower than with a less capacity.
And there’s a type of battery. Most common ones are made out of Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), and newer ones which are made out of Lithium Polymer (Li-Po). Li-Ion is still used today to manufacture a laptop batteries, they are less expensive to made.
In the other hand, Li-Po is newer technology and more expensive than Li-Ion technology. In Li-Po batteries, Lithium is still primary component, but they use all kinds of polymers to make better batteries. So it will last a lot longer.
Obvious answer is that it depends. It depends on type and capacity of a laptop battery, but the most important, it depends on your habits of using a laptop, because heat is the most factor of laptop battery health and life, so you might replace it if you think that your laptop doesn’t hold charge as you needed.
5. Can I charge a laptop with a power bank?
If a laptop has standard DC jack power input, the answer is yes, you can. But, you’re limited to use only certain power banks that has dc output connector.
This power banks will charge your laptop battery, and if you remove battery your laptop will still running out of power bank. So, you can be mobile even with a bad battery, which won’t hold as much charge, but with a power bank you can charge that.
If a laptop has usb type C for charging, then you can use newer power banks to charge your laptop. This newer laptops has built in battery and it has larger capacity too.
With addition of a good power bank you can double, or triple the amount of battery capacity. How it’s progressing, we will have larger and more reliable laptop batteries. And time will tell how much better.
6. Why does laptop battery capacity decrease over time?
As I mentioned earlier, heat is the main cause of battery failure. Also, there’s a two types of batteries, Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer. The second ones are better, so it will last more. But mostly it depends on how you’re using your laptop.
Lithium reacts with a heat in a way that forms crystals inside of a battery. This crystals will block battery from storing an energy, so it will slowly lose its capacity. Laptop battery capacity will decrease over time due to crystals buildup.
This can be easily prevent if you remove your battery from laptop when you use games or rendering apps, which will produce a lots of heat. And this heat will damage your laptop battery over time, if you not removing it from laptop.
7. Does charging your laptop while using it ruin the battery?
I heard this question a lot. And I will tell you right away. No, it doesn’t. What happens is that your charger will charging a battery to a full charge and then will stop charging it. And after that your laptop will use power from charger and not from a battery. Only when you unplug your charger, your laptop will use battery power.
If you using your laptop for light stuffs like web browsing, listening a music, watching a movies, when its charging, your laptop battery will stay with its optimal temperature and it will be fine.
But if you start gaming or rendering apps when charging, your laptop will produce extra heat that battery can’t handle, and it will has negative effect on it.
So, charging alone while using a laptop for a light use will not hurt a battery. But, if you put some extra heat by using games and rendering apps, it will ruin laptop battery.
8. Will charging a laptop overnight kill the battery?
You have heard of a term overcharging, right? So, you are afraid to leave your laptop to charge overnight because you will kill your battery. This is not the case.
Laptop charger will charge battery to a 100%, and then will stop charging it. Because it has built in overcharging protection. It sensate when battery is full, and then stop charging it more.
You can be very confident leaving your laptop on a charger overnight. Nothing bad can happen, and after all you will have full laptop battery in the morning.
9. Is it bad to leave your laptop plugged in all the time?
Different question have different meanings. All of the questions I answered in this article are strongly related, and basically answers the same question, more or less.
Leaving your laptop plugged in all the time will not negatively affect your battery. In fact, you will have your battery fully charged once you unplug it from a charger.
You can plug your charger to a laptop and forget it. Both laptop and charger work in conjunction with one to another, and they has built in overcharging protection.
Everyone of us don’t unplug their charger just when battery reach 100% or full charge. We often forget to unplug it. So, imagine if laptops don’t have overcharging protection, all laptop batteries would explode from overcharging.
10. Is it OK to charge a laptop while it is off?
When you don’t use your laptop you often turn it off. If your laptop battery is discharged when you turn it off, it will fully charge it if you leave charger plugged in.
Your laptop battery will charge faster if your laptop is off, because operating system isn’t working so they will not use power at all.
This method is preferred to charge your laptop, because it will charge faster, and not only that, laptop battery will not get any unnecessary heat from cpu and gpu while laptop is off. This way your battery will have longer life.
11. Is it okay to use laptop without battery?
I already talked about it. This is one way to save and prolong your battery life. When you remove it, but still use your laptop, your battery will not get hurt from a heat that your laptop produces.
Just make sure before you remove your battery to fully charge it, because battery needs to be stored fully charged.
The worse what could happened is that power can go down and your laptop will turn off. This is very important to know, because if you’re doing some important work it’s better not to remove your battery out of laptop.
If your battery is out of laptop and you’re doing some important work, and you didn’t save it before power goes down, you will be one step behind from finishing your project.
12. Does overcharging reduce battery life?
It does reduce battery life. But, it’s not just reduce it, battery will actually overcharge to the point that will explode. And this is not good. Your laptop could catch a fire and worse things can happen.
This days, not only laptops, but phones and tablets too, has something called overcharging protection. This will prevent charger to go beyond 100% of a battery charge, and overcharge it.
Everything is smart this days, so it know when to stop charging battery. But, if overcharging in small amounts it will reduce battery life overtime. It’s like a balloon, if it’s overcharging it will build pressure inside of a battery and will explode.
13. How to calibrate a laptop battery?
If you notice that your laptop battery won’t hold charge as much as before, you should try to re-calibrate it. This is very simple procedure and doesn’t require any additional tools, you laptop and charger is all you need.
Although laptop batteries, or Lithium Ion batteries don’t suffer from memory effect, it is known that over time Li-Ion batteries will for crystals which will slowly decrease its capacity.
People who already tried this method says that their laptops regain some of their capacity back. So, why don’t you try too?
First charge your laptop battery to a 100%, or till its fully charged. Next use your laptop, or leave it turned on till completely shuts down. Again fully charged it. And that’s it.
It is really simple process and you should try it. You can’t lose anything, but you will gain back some of laptop battery capacity back. And more battery capacity you have it’s better for you.
14. New laptop battery first use?
This is very much like how to calibrate a laptop battery from above. In most case you should be fine if you buy a new laptop battery and replace it with a bad one and just use it. No problem there.
But, best practice is to calibrate right away, before actually start using it. To see how to calibrate your new laptop battery check previous title from above of this article.
If you in a purchase of buying a new laptop battery, and you want to know how to buy a replacement laptop battery, you should always buy original one, because your laptop will get exactly what it needs.
But, if you just can’t find original one you should pick a battery from another brand, or even no name brand, but must pay close attention to the voltage and amps that battery can output to your laptop.
Voltage must be exactly like your previous battery, and amps should be the same as previous or greater. With greater amps rating you will get more capacity.