I use my laptop throughout the day for various work. My usage starts sometime after breakfast and continuous into night, till about 9 pm, then breaks for dinner and continues for another hour or two. During this entire while, my laptop obviously gets discharge a couple of times. What I currently do is, I plug it in whenever the battery drops below 25% and keep it plugged till it goes back to full. This repeats in cycles. I usually encounter about 3 such cycles.

Of late, I have grown more conscious about this, and each time I plug it for charging I get worried that I am actually damaging my device instead of preserving it, given that I am constantly sitting next to the AC power supply but yet making my battery work hard throughout the day.

Is there any way I can optimize my usage, to achieve the end goal of extending the general durability and endurance of my battery device?

TL;DR: I frequently charge my laptop and I sit near the AC supply all day. Any way to optimize my battery life in this specific situation?

migrated from askubuntu.com May 17 '17 at 17:40

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Batteries have a finite life, there are a lot of different aspect involved in a battery life; however the one we concern about here is "Cycle life".

The cycle life is the number of complete charge/discharge cycles that the battery is able to support before that its capacity falls under 80% of it's original capacity. [1]

In an other words:

In general, number of cycles for a rechargeable battery indicates how many times it can undergo the process of complete charging and discharging until failure or it starting to lose capacity [2]

What you are doing is repeating this cycle over and over and thus decreasing your battery's life.

Remember that you shouldn't let your battery to be charged to 100% of its capacity over and over and also reach to the 0%.

So the best thing to do is controlling the charging process.

Based on your laptop there might be different tools available to you. For example if you have a "Lenovo ThinkPad" you can use tlp to easily manage this process.

It got a bunch of configuration items which makes us able to control battery's charge thresholds:

START_CHARGE_THRESH_BAT0=75
STOP_CHARGE_THRESH_BAT0=80 

Charging starts upon connecting AC power, but only if the remaining capacity is below the value of START_CHARGE_TRESH (start threshold). Charging stops when reaching the STOP_CHARGE_TRESH (stop threshold) value. If, however when you connect the AC adapter, charge is above the start threshold, then it will not charge. [3]

So we can keep our AC plugged-in all the time while we are controlling the charge process. Something between 60% to 65% while you always using AC is a safe number to go with.

  • Thanks for the answer. I do use a thinkpad so I'll try that out. However, you mentioned that battery life reduced with each charging dischargimg cycle. By keeping it within 60-70%, we have to charge/discharge it several times, and wouldn't that itself damage the battery, or am I understanding the functioning of Li ion batteries wrong? – Aalok May 17 '17 at 17:56
  • I meant keeping it between those numbers with a intelligent program like tlp not by charging and discharging it ourself. e.g I let my battery charge drop to 60٪ and let's say my thresholds has been set between 45 and 65, then I connect my AC adapter; Now my laptop charges stays at 60% as long as AC adapter is connected and laptop intelligently knows that it shouldn't charge the battery cause it's above the threshold, thus it's like charging the battery to 60% and removing it from laptop. – Ravexina May 17 '17 at 18:06
  • And what if the notebook is not a Thinkpad and doesn't support charging thresholds and also doesn't have a removable battery? – Byte Commander May 17 '17 at 20:02
  • In that particular situation I don't have any idea, however there should be a logic behind that design which protects the battery's life I guess. – Ravexina May 17 '17 at 20:14
  • @Ravexina Nope, more like "your battery's toast? Pay $$$ for a new one!" – muru May 18 '17 at 1:01

Best way to avoid worrying about your battery: make sure your laptop is (at least relatively) stationary and remove its battery while keeping it always plugged in. In that case, fill the batter to 100% and store it somewhere without light and with temps of around 20-25 degrees.

This should work wonders, unless you're a businessman/ presenter and have to move your laptop from place to place and do presentation/ etc.

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