Thursday, May 1, 2008

Lap top computer battery charge question by 'Scared To Not Pull the Plug'

Dear Dr. Jim

I was in the Office Outpost office supply store yesterday and overheard the sales clerk talking with a customer.

He stated that the battery in the lap top computer the man was thinking of buying should be disconnected when charged and the computer was on AC power from the plug.

My husband says that is all malarkey as the new NiCad technology used in the rechargeable batteries can be left plugged in all the time.

Who is correct?

Scared To Not Pull the Plug, Tabby in Hoboken

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Dear Scared To Not Pull

You husband is almost correct this time. There was a time when lap tops used NiCad rechargeable batteries. They developed a memory as to where 'total discharge' was. Invariably this was wherever the batteries were charged from the last time.

Modern laptop batteries are Lithium Ion (LiIon) and will not be significantly overcharged and will not develop a memory if allowed to charge fully after battery operation.

They are very much subject to overcharging, but the modern lap top has electronic circuitry to carefully keep the batteries at optimum performance and prevent overcharging. LiIon's are not subject to memory characteristics to a great extent. [Reference link]

Periodically this circuitry needs to be recalibrated. Check your computer manual for the procedure on this or call the appropriate tech support line for your lap top. The above reference gives generic directions for the recalibrating effort.

You might do that store a favor by telling them and e-mailing them with this. And a copy of this Ask Dr. Jim (blog) session.

I hope this helped,

Dr. Jim

Some other battery tidbits:
°°°°Each computer is engineered for a certain battery. You should not place just any old battery that will fit into your computer. Buy what the lap top manufacturer requires.
°°°°Be sure to buy lithium ion batteries for your digital camera, most are AA cells. You should also get a charger made especially for the LiIon batteries.
°°°°[Here is
a link for you Toyota Prious owners about overcharging your battery. It won't happen.]

So, keep on keep'n on, and till then,
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Daniel Barlow said...

hi dee ho dad's friend, my dad is the putz

Anonymous said...

Technology can become bothersome having to learn how to operate it all--and safely.