Guidelines for the care of your notebook battery

Before the formal discussion it should be remembered that this guide only applies to batteries Lithium Ion (Li-Ion and Lithium Polymer, which are found in virtually all notebooks of today as well as almost any gadget with internal battery (PMP, PDA, cell phones, etc.).

Lithium-based batteries are popular for their high capacity energy storage in small places (high energy density) in addition to not require the kind of maintenance of its predecessors (based on nickel) to function properly. This pair features were important for mass consumer gadgets in our world, used to be irresponsible and have little time to load gadgets or follow complex instructions.

So far Lithium-based batteries seem to be the panacea of gadgets, but as with most good things there is always a “but” in this case is that Lithium ion batteries are quite prone to “aging”, reducing its energy capacity over time.

For owners of cell phones, PMPs and other small gadgets this is not such a big problem, because the batteries enough to include such equipment for days, enough time to recharge back, but in the case of laptops this time does not pass a couple of hours that must be exploited to the full in a span of several years.

Knowing this we now have a clear objective: Prevent the aging of our batteries, but before addressing squarely the issue I would like to dispel the myths that surround them to clear any existing errors in our knowledge that may be conflicting with the ideas that will handle the guide.

Myths of Lithium Ion

  • Batteries should not be “overloaded” (e.g., keeping a notebook plugged in all night with a full charge). 

This idea probably arose from the old Nickel-based batteries, which were charged if heated excessively. This is not true for Li-ion, as they have an internal circuit able to determine when the battery is fully charged, cutting off power to this.

  • The Li-ion batteries need to be charged for several hours before first use. 

This is a half truth, inherited from the need to “prepare” Nickel batteries before its inaugural use. In the case of Li-ion full loaded is not a requirement, but is beneficial to verify the performance of the battery at its peak.

  • The Li-ion batteries should be fully charged when plugged 

I do not know the origin of this idea, but it is known that the performance of a battery is not affected if it is full charged once or “stages.”

With these considerations we can go to our central theme.

Maintenance of Lithium Ion

The batteries require very basic care to keep them healthy, the most important relate to everyday use and how to store them for long periods of time:

  • Avoid full discharges 

It is slightly harmful to the battery discharge it completely, so it is recommended to avoid falling under the 20% availability of load, keeping the habit of keeping our overloaded teams day (something that the Li-ion batteries have no problem).

Although it is understandable that we often do not stay other than juicing up our batteries, is understandable and not have to martyr for it.

  • Storage batteries for long periods 

When traveling or away in any situation that a Li-ion battery of your routine loading / unloading long recommendation is to store it in a cool place with a load level of 40% about doing this decreases the life useful device.

Attached for information purposes the following table, in which the percentage of the original battery capacity after a year is analyzed at different temperatures in both cases, the first with the recommended load level and the second at full load.

This effect is also produced when using a notebook plugged most of the time, the battery is not stressed and own equipment temperature accelerates the process; to not unnecessarily extend this section with this important aspect relegated it then.

Further explanation

The aging of a battery always, regardless of whether or not we are taking, but the rate at which this process occurs depends on how we take care of the device to which the recommendations of the previous section are followed.

To understand more about the topic and not have to blindly accept ideas, very generally can analyze a battery at some point in your life with the following diagram, in which we divide into three parts:

The sections should be quite clear: The empty area is one that does not contain energy but can be reloaded, represents full energy that can be used at the time and the dead zone is the part that simply can not be recharged and that the For batteries Li-ion represents the oxidation of the cells in the battery and in our particular case is unrecoverable, oxidation occurs (as we said) regardless of battery use, but is favored by high temperatures and to the effects of storage on a full charge.


In short, the wear (or “wear level”) is represented by the dead zone in our drawing and who does not want to progress at a pace that disable the battery. We can know the degree of “wear level” notebook with our program MobileMeter, is not the only option but it is quite simple to use.

Digital memory

The theme of “memory” was very important at the time than those based on nickel batteries, which could lose capacity or performance if stringent steps were not followed in its maintenance, which were inherited to the Lithium ions in the form of myths we belie above.

Luckily our current devices have no way of permanently damaging or memory effect, but the teams with load indicators (such as laptops) can give a similar effect, known as “digital memory”, which makes the indicator is not correctly synchronized with the actual battery charge and producing erroneous measurements due to partial discharges and charges the device, “dizzy” the sensor.

To solve this problem it is recommended to do a full cycle charge / discharge cycles every 30 partial (obviously this is only a reference value).

Real solutions for users ‘permanent’ notebooks

We have seen how the Lithium ions take bad with the heat and prolonged inactivity at full load, both cases we see with users who use their laptops as primary computers without moving much or use your batteries constantly; in these situations Two alternatives are proposed:

  • Using the notebook once a week with its own power to leave 20% load and then plug it again. 
  • Use your notebook without the battery to prevent overheating, but this does not prevent its degeneration to be kept fully charged and is susceptible to outages (plus some notebooks that look ugly without their batteries attached and are exposed dust).

 Clearly the first option seems to be the ideal, in a fairly cool room temperature the effect should not be sufficient to shorten the battery life to a remarkably active and renewed focus on efficiency in notebooks supports this idea.

We end this guide with a quick reference summary

Summary of Maintenance 

Daily use:

  • If possible, avoid the charge level falls below 20%
  • Reload at any load level: Lithium ion batteries have no memory effect permanent or harmful.
  • Reload once or “stages” has no effect on the life of the battery, if possible do to avoid falling into the first point.
  • Refer to the previous section to keep notebooks used as desktop computers permanently. 

For long periods of inactivity (holidays, etc.)

  • Store at 40% charge in a cool place 


After reading the first-ever guide to this style is easy to get a pair of something wrong conclusions about how to care for a battery, you can think that this is a daunting task that requires our constant attention, but in the end only some myths are discarded and promotes not wear the battery completely.

Another common feeling is tied to these “laws” and that if the battery is not doomed to feel satisfied, but this is too extreme then goes from not long-term considerations or “morality” to prevent future problems, missing some Sometimes these “rules” is not serious.

Finally, it is good to recognize that there are many “hidden techniques” to try to reverse the aging process of a battery, ranging from giving small strokes to freeze, personally no I promote these methods for the risks involved and the little formal information There is about them, but final decisions are your responsibility.


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