As more and more people are moving away from the desktop and moving to portable systems, the more they are using batteries and cutting the power cord. In the past there where several rules when using Nickel type batteries due to the memory and I believe most people might still be holding on to that believe with newer technology. Full discharge, full charge!
New Notebooks, Netbooks and smartphones are coming with Lithium-ion batteries and they operate much differently from there older cousins. There is no memory and once the product is fully charged, the charging stops as long as everything else is working.
The reason for this post and my research on this subject was due to my 18 month old Notebook and a dead battery. Like most of us I didn’t follow any type of process or rules and either did the rest of the family. The system was used on battery power for short and long periods of time, but not all the time. Over the summer it might have been used more on battery power as everyone wanted to work outside.
Based on the document below my battery lasted the correct amount of time – most of the time it was fully charged, installed and plugged into the wall. The issue is the heat – Notebooks run really HOT, so the temperature of the fully charged battery was HIGH all the time. For the first 6 months to a year my family was using a pillow to rise the notebook when sitting in the living room. Talk about rising the temperature of the Notebook and everything in it. I put a stop to that and they started using a board, but still the unit was too hot and the battery died.
Today I have a very nice cooling pad with a fan and the difference in temperature is huge – What this really means is the entire unit will run better and will last longer. Hopefully not a lot of damage has already taken place!
The worst condition is keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures, which is the case with running laptop batteries. If used on main power, the battery inside a laptop will only last for 12-18 months. I must hasten to explain that the pack does not die suddenly but begins with reduced run-times.
A lithium-ion battery provides 300-500 discharge/charge cycles. The battery prefers a partial rather than a full discharge. Frequent full discharges should be avoided when possible. Instead, charge the battery more often or use a larger battery. There is no concern of memory when applying unscheduled charges
If you really want to understand the technology and have sometime you can read the following as well.