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Save your battery: Unplug your laptop

March 5, 2010

EG-unplug

A recent article from Lawrence Berkely Laboratory suggests that readers should 'Pull the plug. Your battery will thank you.' Researcher Venkat Srinivasan writes about batteries and battery chemistry rather specifically, but without becoming overwhelmingly technical.

He explains how batteries begin to fail and suggests keeping your computer unplugged as a way of extending the life of your battery. I pulled the plug on mine as soon as I read the article, and I'm now writing this on battery power.

On the other hand, if you charge the battery and then pull the plug (so to speak), the battery discharges some, the voltage drops, and these reactions become less of a problem and your battery life goes up. So the best things you can do is to charge the laptop (or cell phone, camera, etc.) and once its charged, pull the plug. Your battery will thank you for it.

This also has relevance for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle owners, whose batteries have the same characteristics. A car sitting in a garage for hours, full charged, is going to be slowly deteriorating the battery. Manufacturers may already be incorporating measures into battery packs to address this problem, but this highlights just one of the many potential issues battery makers need to address in order to keep portable electrical devices functioning.

This week in batteries may not be on everyone's RSS feed right away. But engineers for computer companies, electric vehicle manufacturers, cell phone, and other portable device makers should be following him. While the articles run to the technical, the information is accessible for all kinds of battery geeks.

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