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What are some good practices for making sure my laptop battery serves its full life?

The battery on my ThinkPad T410 only lasted for one year. Now, when "fully charged", it will only power the computer for less than 20 minutes.

The battery is the Lenovo 55++, which is a 94 Wh, 9-cell Lithium-ion battery. I use the computer every day, almost always connected to AC power. When I am not using the computer (for instance while traveling from home to work), it is in standby mode.

I run Ubuntu linux 10.04.2.

This seems like a very short lifetime for a battery (1 year), which leads me to ask:

  1. Is this normal?
  2. Is the battery broken?
  3. Or am I doing it wrong? i.e. is there something I should be doing to prolong the battery life? Is keeping the computer plugged into AC power when available not a good thing to do? Is there a problem with Linux's power management? etc.

What is the best way to maximize total battery longevity?

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marked as duplicate by Sathya Apr 29 '11 at 19:12

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2 Answers 2

I can't give a comprehensive answer, but one thing is: do not use standby when unplugged! Standby does drain the battery (although more slowly than when the system is actually active), and Li-Ion cells have a limited number of charge cycles.

If you don't want to shut down, use hibernate instead. A properly hibernated computer will use as little current as one that is turned off.

Note: a BIOS bug on some HP laptops causes them to discharge the battery even when hibernated. This was fixed for my own laptop in a BIOS upgrade in 2007, IIRC. There may be a similar problem with your ThinkPad. Check Lenovo's site for BIOS upgrades.

For long periods of disuse, remove the battery completely.

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I have a 2 year old Lenovo T61 that has absolutely no battery capacity left in it. I had my battery replaced about a year ago as it was under a recall, although I'm having the exact issue one year later.

First, I would check out the following link to see if battery was recalled: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=BATT-LENOVO

I think the problem I was having is that I was leaving it plugged in quite literally 24/7 and it was killing my lithium-ion battery. Knowing what I know now, I would remove the battery when it is plugged in for extended periods of time and/or use the battery life and charge only when needed.

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