I don't know who to trust anymore! ... so why not Super User?
Background (Super User relevance) (skip if tl;dr)
My laptop's manufacturer, HP, claimed that the "High Capacity 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery" I bought could run my laptop for up to 5.25 hours. The first time I tried it out, the thing drained in 1.5 hours.
Maybe my choice of operating system, Ubuntu 10.10, caused the quick drain. Ubuntu 11.04 started devouring more power, and a full charge would only last for 44 minutes. Eventually, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS fixed major power consumption issues, and now a full charge can go for about 1 hour 13 minutes.
Lithium ion batteries don't seem to be working very well for me, like hard drives haven't. Not only do they not last very long, my operating system, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, has always been reporting fake information since I got this specific battery. This is what
gnome-power-statistics told me today:
- Capacity is at 100%. Uh... no. This laptop is over 19 months old... It can't be 100%...
- 26% charge, and the technology is nickel-metal hydride. I removed the battery and reinserted it. 86% charge, and the technology suddenly switched to lithium ion. Huh?
Recently, I set out on a quest to learn about batteries. Some questions I tried answering for myself include the following:
- Why are lithium ion batteries so undependable?
- Are there better types of batteries?
- How long do batteries last?
Even though I was on the Internet, I was shocked to discover that there are so many contradictions to even my most basic questions about batteries.
Contradictions for Li-ion vs. NiMH
I found out about nickel-cadmium batteries and nickel-metal hydride batteries, and they seemed pretty cool.
But I don't know the true pros and cons of each battery chemistry. Webpages contradict other webpages. Examples:
- This page states that NiCd batteries discharge 10% per month, but this other page states 20% per month.
- Apps from the Apple App Store suggest discharging my iPhone's lithium-based battery every month to "optimize" the battery, but this Super User answer advises otherwise. Then I find out that Apple Inc. itself contradicts that (section "Use iPhone Regularly").
- This webpage claims that NiMH batteries have a higher density than Li-ion batteries, but this article states that the energy density of NiMH batteries approaches that of Li-ion batteries.
- People on this forum strongly agreed that Li-ion is the best, but my car uses NiMH.
There are so many more contradictions that I've lost track of them (too many tabs open... don't know what's what anymore...).
I want to set things right and end the confusion.
▒▓█ What are the advantages and disadvantages of different rechargeable battery types? █▓▒
Guiding points (relevant to Super User):
- Why do laptops usually use Li-ion, even though they're more expensive and only last 500 charge cycles?
- Prioritized list for how to care for each laptop battery type
- How does battery shape factor into laptop battery life?
- Is self-discharge rate even relevant for high-drain devices like laptops?
Guiding points (general):