Preserving Your Device Battery Life

CityLifeStyle Apple Watch Hermès

Preserving Your Device Battery Life

Have you ever won­dered about the health of your device bat­tery and how long it will hold a charge ? If you have ever had to replace a bat­tery, the stick­er shock and time out of ser­vice, has left an indeli­ble impres­sion on your mind.

Read on with the assur­ance know­ing there are excel­lent rec­om­men­da­tions for keep­ing your device bat­tery hap­py and healthy.

The main take away is avoid drain­ing it com­plete­ly, keep a charge and it is okay to keep it plugged in. Read on…

CityLifeStyle Preserving Your Lithium Ion Battery

Keep Your Phone’s Battery Healthy

8 Essential Tips

Eric Limer — Pop­u­lar Mechan­ics

That phone in your pock­et is a mod­ern mir­a­cle. Dit­to the lap­top on your desk, the tablet in your back­pack, maybe even the watch on your wrist. And regard­less of what each is capa­ble of, they all have one cor­ner­stone com­po­nent to thank, one that you prob­a­bly ought to know how to take care of : A bat­tery.

The first step to know­ing your device’s bat­tery is to nar­row down the kind. The first kind you might think of (and the kind you prob­a­bly grew up with) are nick­el-met­al hydride, or NiMH bat­ter­ies. These, gen­er­al­ly, are the ones that look like a nor­mal dis­pos­able bat­ter­ies, except you can plug them into a wall charg­er for some extra juice when­ev­er your TV remote dies.

The bat­ter­ies in your mod­ern-day gad­gets — from iPhones to lap­tops to Blue­tooth head­phones to tablets — are a dif­fer­ent beast entire­ly. These are lithi­um-ion (aka li-ion) bat­ter­ies, and they have some pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant advan­tages over NiMH and oth­er recharge­able bat­ter­ies that came before. Lithi­um-ion bat­ter­ies are also total­ly dif­fer­ent from straight-up lithi­um bat­ter­ies, which aren’t recharge­able.

That old saw about how you always need to charge you bat­tery all the way up, and use it until it’s dead ? Mem­o­ry effect, as it’s called, affects NiMH bat­ter­ies but it doesn’t apply to your phone. In fact, you’re phone’s bat­tery hates when you do that. Sim­i­lar­ly, lithi­um-ion bat­ter­ies don’t need to be cal­i­brat­ed” with a full charge and a full dis­charge when they’re new.Li-ions can pack a lot of pow­er into a small size, and they don’t lose too much of that ener­gy to leak­age when they’re not in use. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of these fac­tors that make them great for your portable gad­gets.

How Does A Lithium-Ion Battery Work ?

All bat­ter­ies work by hav­ing two elec­trodes — an anode and a cath­ode — with a bunch of a mate­r­i­al called elec­trolyte between. When you plug a bat­tery into a com­plet­ed cir­cuit, a chem­i­cal reac­tion starts tak­ing place at the anode and elec­trons start build­ing up over there. Those elec­trons want to trav­el to the cath­ode, where it’s less crowd­ed, but the elec­trolyte between these two parts keeps the elec­trons from tak­ing the short way there. The only way through is the cir­cuit that the bat­tery is crammed into, and those elec­trons pow­er your device in the process.

Mean­while, the pos­i­tive­ly charged lithi­um ions the elec­trons leave behind trav­el through the elec­trolyte to meet the elec­trons on the cath­ode side. Once all the elec­trons have made the trip, your bat­tery is dead. Except ! If you’re using a recharge­able bat­tery like a lithi­um-ion, you can reverse the process. If you dump ener­gy into a cir­cuit using a charg­er, you can force the reac­tion to go in the oth­er direc­tion and get that elec­tron par­ty at the anode all crowd­ed again.

Once your bat­tery is recharged, it’ll most­ly stay that way until there’s some­thing for it to pow­er again, though all bat­ter­ies leak some charge over time.What deter­mines the capac­i­ty of the bat­tery — how long it can pow­er your stuff — is the num­ber of lithi­um ions that can nes­tle them­selves into the tiny, porous craters of the anode or the cath­ode.

Over time, with repeat­ed charge the anode and the cath­ode degrade, and can’t fit as many ions as they used to. As that hap­pens, the bat­tery stops hold­ing a charge as well as it once did.

How Does A Lithium-Ion Battery Recharge ?

It’s easy to think of charg­ing a bat­tery as though you’re fill­ing a tub with pow­er.” Just hook up the hose until it’s full ! From the out­side, that’s exact­ly how it works, but on the inside it’s a lit­tle more nuanced. A lithi­um-ion bat­tery typ­i­cal­ly charges in two stages.

First comes the process called con­stant cur­rent charg­ing. This is the part that real­ly is pret­ty sim­ple. The charg­er for your phone or tablet will apply a steady cur­rent of elec­tric­i­ty to the bat­tery to get all those elec­trons back to the anode. Dur­ing this stage, the charg­er just decides how much pow­er is com­ing out of the fire hose and starts spray­ing. The high­er that con­stant cur­rent, the faster the bat­tery can charge. High-volt­age quick charg­ers — like the ones that are start­ing to come with a lot of new phones — take advan­tage of this first stage to cram in the juice as quick­ly as pos­si­ble (at the cost of a bit of extra stress on the bat­tery). When the bat­tery is 70 per­cent recharged, the pro­ce­dure changes and flips over to con­stant volt­age charg­ing.

Dur­ing this sec­ond stage, the charg­er makes sure that the volt­age — that is, the dif­fer­ence in cur­rent between the bat­tery and the charg­er — stays the same rather than keep­ing the cur­rent con­stant. Prac­ti­cal­ly, this means that as the bat­tery gets clos­er to full, the cur­rent the charg­er sends into it decreas­es. As the bat­tery gets full, the rate at which it charges slows down.

Once you reach 100 per­cent, the charge sim­ply trick­les in, just enough to account for the tiny, tiny bit of charge your bat­tery los­es nat­u­ral­ly over time​.So what about over charg­ing ? Is that some­thing you need to wor­ry about ? No. I talked to Andrew Gold­berg, a tech­ni­cal writer for iFix­it, who explained why :

All mod­ern Li-Ion recharge­able devices have some sort of pow­er man­age­ment IC, designed to pre­vent over­charg­ing the bat­tery. They’ll keep your phone bat­tery topped off and ready to go through­out the night with a trick­le charge at most.

USB C To Lightning CableA Thousand Ways To Die

No mat­ter how many times you bring it back to life, your bat­tery will die some­day, or at least degrade into a shad­ow of its for­mer self. That’s unavoid­able. Most lithi­um-ion bat­ter­ies have a rat­ed life­time of some­where between 500 and 1,500 charge cycles​.One cycle is just one bout of dis­charg­ing, but how much ener­gy you dis­charge in one go — a mea­sure referred to as depth of dis­charge (DoD) — mat­ters big­time. Lithi­um-ions real­ly hate a deep depth of dis­charge. Accord­ing to Bat­tery Uni­ver­si­ty, a stag­ger­ing­ly exhaus­tive resource on the top­ic, a li-ion that goes through 100 per­cent DoD (the user runs it down all the way to zero before recharg­ing) can degrade to 70 per­cent of its orig­i­nal capac­i­ty in 300 – 500 cycles.

With a DoD of 25 per­cent, where the user plugs it in as soon as it gets to 75 per­cent remain, that same bat­tery could be charged up to 2,500 times before it starts to seri­ous­ly degrade.What’s far more dan­ger­ous to a battery’s well-being is heat. Lithi­um-ion bat­ter­ies despise heat. A li-ion bat­tery that’s been exposed to tem­per­a­tures of around 100 degrees Fahren­heit for a year will lose about 40 per­cent of its over­all charge capac­i­ty. At 75 degrees, it’ll lose only about 20 per­cent. Some­thing that’s not an issue is over­charg­ing.

Con­trary to what you might think (or have been told), leav­ing your phone or lap­top plugged in all the time is not bad for its bat­tery. That’s because your gad­gets, the bat­ter­ies in them, and the charg­ers you attach them to are actu­al­ly pret­ty smart about the way they do busi­ness.

Trick­le charge — what your bat­tery gets when it’s con­nect­ed and full — is way less detri­men­tal to the battery’s health than a larg­er dis­charge would be.

leav­ing your phone or lap­top plugged in all the time is not bad for its bat­tery

Mean­while, a dan­ger you might not be aware of is total dis­charge. When your bat­tery stops pow­er­ing your phone, it doesn’t mean it’s actu­al­ly emp­ty. It’s not ! Lithi­um-ion bat­ter­ies only dis­charge most of the way, main­ly because when they dis­charge all the way they can get wild­ly unsta­ble. If a bat­tery comes close to that dan­ger zone, a pro­tec­tion cir­cuit in the bat­tery will trip and kill the bat­tery for­ev­er and for real, func­tion­al­ly destroy­ing the bat­tery before it can dis­charge to a lev­el where it’s in dan­ger of explod­ing.

CityLifeStyle Lithium Ion Laptop Battery

How Do I Take Care Of My Precious Lithium-Ion Battery ?

Now that you know the basics about the lit­tle chunk of pow­er that keeps your phone going, here are some bite-sized prac­ti­cal tips to keep it healthy with­out dri­ving your­self insane.

1. Yes, you can leave your phone plugged in overnight.

It is not the end of the world if you don’t unplug your phone the sec­ond that it is charged. That charg­er is smarter than you give it cred­it for. Leav­ing your phone on the charg­er all night (or all day) is far bet­ter for your bat­tery than run­ning it down and charg­ing it up.

2. Charge a little bit whenever you can.

Lithi­um-ion bat­ter­ies don’t respond well to being charged all the way up and then run all the way down. They take much bet­ter to lit­tle bits of charge here and there.

3. Yes, you can leave your laptop plugged in all the time.

Don’t wor­ry about over­charg­ing the bat­ter­ies in your gad­gets, and espe­cial­ly don’t wor­ry about over­charg­ing your lap­top. What we just said about phones applies here, too. And on and on top of that, many lap­tops (most, in fact) are smart enough to cut the bat­tery out of the charg­ing equa­tion entire­ly once it’s full. The bat­tery just sits there patient­ly until you need it or until it needs anoth­er lit­tle shock to top it off.

4. But maybe pop out your laptop battery while it’s on the charger, if you can.

The biggest dan­ger to your lap­top bat­tery — and your phone bat­tery and your tablet bat­tery — isn’t over­charg­ing, but heat. And with that in mind, it might be wise to pop out your lap­top bat­tery while you’re plugged into the wall, if you can. As Andrew from iFix­it explains :

If you’re using your lap­top as a desk­top and gen­er­at­ing a lot of heat, it’s def­i­nite­ly worth it to pop out a remov­able bat­tery to keep it from over­heat­ing and dete­ri­o­rat­ing. I’ve seen a notice­able decrease in bat­tery capac­i­ty in my lap­top over the last year that I attribute to Pho­to­shop­ping at my desk.

The catch is that if you use the com­put­er with­out the bat­tery, you run the risk of a shut­down in the case of a pow­er out­age or clum­si­ness with the pow­er adapter. Weigh your priorities.If you can’t or don’t want to remove your lap­top bat­tery, at least make sure you’ve got good air­flow. Don’t block cool­ing vents. Maybe even pick up a fan with a stand.

5. Keep your batteries cool.

Speak­ing of tem­per­a­ture, make sure you don’t leave your phone in a hot car all day. Or place it on top of your gam­ing PC. Or use it in a sauna. Try to avoid wire­less charg­ing if you can, because the waste-heat those charg­ers gen­er­ate will also bake your bat­tery. Also, beware of quick charg­ers. While your phone and charg­er are gen­er­al­ly smart enough to min­i­mize dam­age from high-volt­age charg­ers, a lot of pow­er super fast can gen­er­ate extra heat. And if you have to store a gad­get or its bat­tery for a while, do it in a cool dry place.

6. Store batteries with a little bit of charge.

If you’re stor­ing bat­ter­ies, you give them about a half a charge first. They’ll slow­ly lose their charge over time, and if it drops into the true-zero dan­ger zone, your bat­tery will auto­mat­i­cal­ly trip its safe­ty cir­cuit and kill itself for real before it can become unsta­ble.

7. Maybe go replaceable if you can.

If you’re bor­der­line insane about your bat­tery life, con­sid­er opt­ing for gad­gets that have remov­able bat­ter­ies when you can. For one thing, there’s no faster way to charge” a gad­get than by swap­ping in a ful­ly charged bat­tery. And if you can’t avoid these bad bat­tery prac­tices, at least you can start fresh by buy­ing a fresh bat­tery. As Andrew from iFix­it points out :

For devices with an inac­ces­si­ble bat­tery, that puts a def­i­nite end-date on the device’s use­ful life. For some­thing that lasts around 500 charge cycles and is recharged every day, you’re look­ing at less than 2 years before you start to see a notice­able decline in bat­tery life.

8. Don’t let your battery rule your life.

If you fol­low the most basic rules of thumb — don’t go all the way from full to emp­ty if you can avoid it and min­i­mize the expo­sure to heat as best you can — you’ll be fine. It’s easy to obsess over bat­tery care, to let charg­ing super­sti­tions metas­ta­size into obses­sive rit­u­al.

CityLifeStyle Mobile Watch IPhone Use

But just remember two things :

1. Your gad­gets and their bat­ter­ies are designed to keep you from ruin­ing them.

Lithi­um-ion bat­ter­ies today are bet­ter, smarter, and more resilient than the nick­el-met­al hydrides of yes­ter­year.

2. Your bat­ter­ies are going to die.

No amount of obses­sive care will save you from hav­ing to deal with a less capa­ble bat­tery a few years from now. Invari­ably, we’re all des­tined for the annoy­ing endgame that comes when a bat­tery degrades, and you’re either teth­ered to a charg­er, buy­ing a replace­ment bat­tery, or buy­ing a new gad­get alto­geth­er. We’ve all been there before, and we’ll be there again. So long as you fol­low the most basic of guide­lines, you can max­i­mize your dis­tance from here to there.


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