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Exercise Your Battery

Did you know that your computer battery needs a workout every now and then to stay in tip-top shape? Read on for details.

Laptop computers these days have lithium-ion batteries, which need a little bit of special attention every now and then--but hey, who among us doesn't? No matter what you do, the battery will lose some of its charge capacity over time, but there are things you can do that will minimize the rate of loss. One of the most important is just to use it sometimes!

Here are some tips to keep yours in good condition:

  • Use that battery every once in a while Your battery will lose capacity if it doesn't get exercised every now and then. We suggest that at least once a week or so you use your computer on battery power, bringing it down to 80% or lower.
  • Don't run it into the ground every day Deep discharges are harder for the battery to recover from than shallow discharges, so try to keep it at 20% or higher most of the time. Running it down below 20% is fine on occasion, but constant stress will lessen battery life.
  • Don't overheat your battery. Heat, along with time, is a lithium-ion battery's enemy. Some exposure to heat is inevitable, since computers produce heat. Just don't exacerbate the situation any more than necessary--don't rest the computer on pillows, for instance, which may keep the computer from being able to cool itself, and don't leave it in a hot car for long periods.
  • Follow any manufacturer's instructions for battery care. Some computers come with instructions for calibrating the battery; if yours did, make sure to follow them.

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Information Technology
Harold F. Johnson Library Center
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Fax 413.559.5419

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