How to use (charge/discharge) a battery to maximize its life?

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How to use (charge/discharge) a battery to maximize its life?

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Hi,

I noticed that the expression 'maximize battery life' has at least a couple of completely different meanings - In this post I would like to know:

How to use my battery to keep it healthy for a long time and to avoid its sooner replacement.

There is a lot of information both at that forum and in the internet on that topic. However the information I found is very often contradictory, in both cases posted by technical people, which made me really confused.

For instance: 

- Should the battery be formatted at the beginning or I can start using it in normal way just as it was delivered?

- Is it better for a battery to be fully discharged and then loaded to 100% or it is better to avoid discharging batteries to very low levels.

- some people say that it is better for the battery if it is removed from laptop when the laptop is permanently connected to AC adapter for a long time, in some other opinions keeping a battery in laptop even though it is always fully charged is not harmful for the battery at all.

- Is it OK if the laptop is constantly connected to the power supply or it is better to disconnect it from time to time to discharge batteries (how much?)

On my  laptop I found 'Dell Extended Battery Life options' and 'Dell mode battery charge'.

It is not clear for me what the options do and what are best settings to keep my battery healthy for a long time.

In this post I would like to ask Dell engineers to answer the questions.

I use Inspiron 15R SE (7520 base) and the laptop for most of the time is connected to power supply. 

Thanks.

Verified Answer
  • Hi,

    Initially, calibrating the battery helps. It is recommended to charge the battery to 100%, let it discharge completely and then charge it to 100%. 
    When the battery is fully charged, disconnect the AC Adapter. Although the battery does not overcharge, but it improves the battery performance.
    Here is an article http://dell.to/TbEMsf and battery FAQ http://dell.to/TbESQw that you may find helpful.
    Here are some tips to help maximize run time with your laptop:

    • Utilize QuickSet power schemes to customize your power consumption
    • Turn off Presentation Mode by using QuickSet
    • Turn off wireless by using the Fn+F2 keys or QuickSet
    • Reduce screen brightness by using Fn+ the up and down arrows
    • Remove external peripherals such as PC cards and USB devices when not in use
    • Perform high power tasks such as gaming, DVD playing and data analysis, while connected to AC power source.

    Dell Extended Battery life has one of the pre-configured power plans, like power saver, or balanced. The pre-configured power plans automatically adjust key settings that can have a significant impact on battery life, like reducing screen brightness or dimming the display when you are not actively using your laptop.

     

    Dell Mode battery charge helps extend a laptop’s battery pack life cycle. When enabled, desktop mode monitors the charge status of the laptop battery, and if it spends most of the time at 100 percent charge while connected to the power adapter, desktop mode will automatically adjust the charge levels of the battery. The adjustments include regularly allowing the battery to discharge, even while plugged in. The benefits are this helps slow the reduction of charge capacity over time, and may even decrease the need to purchase a replacement battery during the life of your laptop.
    Note: If desktop mode is enabled, you will see battery charge vary between 50 percent to 100 percent while the power adapter is connected. To ensure battery is charged to 100 percent, disconnect and reconnect the power adapter and the battery will charge to 100 percent.



    Here is the link for the Owner's Manual for your laptop: http://dell.to/TlMg0X.

    Hope this helps.
    Please reply if you have any further questions. 

    Thanks and Regards,
    Manpreet C
    #iworkfordell
    To know more about Dell’s products, services and drivers & downloads, please go to http://dell.to/YBlak6
All Replies
  • Hi,

    Initially, calibrating the battery helps. It is recommended to charge the battery to 100%, let it discharge completely and then charge it to 100%. 
    When the battery is fully charged, disconnect the AC Adapter. Although the battery does not overcharge, but it improves the battery performance.
    Here is an article http://dell.to/TbEMsf and battery FAQ http://dell.to/TbESQw that you may find helpful.
    Here are some tips to help maximize run time with your laptop:

    • Utilize QuickSet power schemes to customize your power consumption
    • Turn off Presentation Mode by using QuickSet
    • Turn off wireless by using the Fn+F2 keys or QuickSet
    • Reduce screen brightness by using Fn+ the up and down arrows
    • Remove external peripherals such as PC cards and USB devices when not in use
    • Perform high power tasks such as gaming, DVD playing and data analysis, while connected to AC power source.

    Dell Extended Battery life has one of the pre-configured power plans, like power saver, or balanced. The pre-configured power plans automatically adjust key settings that can have a significant impact on battery life, like reducing screen brightness or dimming the display when you are not actively using your laptop.

     

    Dell Mode battery charge helps extend a laptop’s battery pack life cycle. When enabled, desktop mode monitors the charge status of the laptop battery, and if it spends most of the time at 100 percent charge while connected to the power adapter, desktop mode will automatically adjust the charge levels of the battery. The adjustments include regularly allowing the battery to discharge, even while plugged in. The benefits are this helps slow the reduction of charge capacity over time, and may even decrease the need to purchase a replacement battery during the life of your laptop.
    Note: If desktop mode is enabled, you will see battery charge vary between 50 percent to 100 percent while the power adapter is connected. To ensure battery is charged to 100 percent, disconnect and reconnect the power adapter and the battery will charge to 100 percent.



    Here is the link for the Owner's Manual for your laptop: http://dell.to/TlMg0X.

    Hope this helps.
    Please reply if you have any further questions. 

    Thanks and Regards,
    Manpreet C
    #iworkfordell
    To know more about Dell’s products, services and drivers & downloads, please go to http://dell.to/YBlak6
  • Hi,

    Thanks for your answer.

    However its still not clear for me whether the "Dell Extended battery life options" actually help to keep my battery healthy or just maximize the laptop run time when working on battery - "The pre-configured power plans automatically adjust key settings that can have a significant impact on battery life, like reducing screen brightness or dimming the display when you are not actively using your laptop."

    If I disable "Dell Mode battery charge" and would like to control battery charging manually - what is the best operation mode to keep the battery healthy:

    - keep it always connected to power supply?

    - discharge the battery every week/ 2 weeks/ moth/ couple of months ??? How often?

    - discharge the battery completely/ to 20% / to 50%/ to 80%??? How much?

    Some people say that discharging the Li-Ion battery to a very low level permanently decreases its capacity - is it true?

    Is it better to avoid discharging the battery completely or it doesn't matter?

    Thanks

  • I noticed that after my battery is fully charged and I disconnect the laptop from power supply the load level of my battery immediately decreases to 95% - 90%. Is it a symptom that something wrong is with my battery? I use it for couple of weeks only...

    For how long disconnect the laptop after my battery is fully charged?

  • Thank you for the response.

    'Dell Extended battery life' increases the usage time in battery mode. If you would like to disable it, you can create a new power plan depending upon your usage. For example, reduce the screen brightness when you are not using the laptop; turn off wireless when not in use, remove external peripherals when not in use, perform high power tasks such as gaming, DVD playing and data analysis, while connected to AC power source. 

    If you want to keep the computer always connected to power supply, it is recommended to enable 'Dell Mode battery charge'. It does not make a difference if the AC Adapter is always plugged in because the battery is designed to not overcharge.

    It is not recommended to discharge the battery completely. Letting the battery discharge to 20%-50% is advised.
    There are many background processes with high CPU usage that consume battery quickly. The battery consumption also depends upon the hardware configuration. If you are watching videos, playing games or running multiple applications, they reduce the battery charge as soon as the AC Adapter is disconnected. It is the normal behavior because the power load is suddenly transferred to the battery.
    If you think that the battery discharges too soon, you can update the BIOS from this link: http://dell.to/OltULm .
    Before flashing the BIOS please check the following:
    * No external devices (except the keyboard, mouse and monitor) should be connected.
    * All other programs should be closed and documents saved.
    * The AC adapter should be connected during this process. The battery should be 10% or more than 10% charged.
    Follow these instructions to download and install the drivers:

    • Click on 'Download File' and click 'Continue'.
    • Click 'Yes' on User Account control if prompted.
    • Click 'Continue' on the Application prompt and click 'OK' on Select the folder where you want to unzip the files to (make a note of the folder location).
    • Click 'Yes' on the next prompt for folder does not exist. 
    • Click 'OK' on ‘All files were successfully unzipped’.
    • If the installation wizard does not appear, go to the folder location, select the Setup file; right-click and select 'Run as Administrator'.
    • Follow the installation wizard instructions. The laptop will reboot after this update.

    Please also read the battery FAQ http://dell.to/TbESQw

    Hope this helps.
    Please revert for any further queries. 

    Thanks and Regards,
    Manpreet C
    #iworkfordell
    To know more about Dell’s products, services and drivers & downloads, please go to http://dell.to/YBlak6
  • So I understand that it is not recommended to discharge the battery completely and the battery is designed to not overcharge if the AC Adapter is always plugged in - thank you for clear information.

    To ensure max battery health the best option is to enable 'Dell Mode battery charge'.

    With enabled  'Dell Mode battery charge' I have never noticed that the battery level is less than 100% when the laptop is connected to power supply (unless I discharged the battery before). Is something is broken?

    Would you please explain in more details how the mechanism works?

    I updated the BIOS about week ago, so probably it is still up to date (A04)

  • Thank you for the response.

    When the battery is fully charged and the laptop is connected to the AC Adapter, the battery shows 100 % because there is no power drawn from the battery. When the AC Adapter is connected, it supplies power to the system and also charges the battery. It is the normal behavior. Does the battery discharge while connected to AC Adapter with 'Dell Mode Battery Charge' disabled? 

    Please revert for any further queries.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Manpreet C
    #iworkfordell
    To know more about Dell’s products, services and drivers & downloads, please go to http://dell.to/YBlak6
  • Hi,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I would like to know what the expected behavior is with 'Desktop Mode Battery Charge' enabled when the laptop is always connected to the AC adapter. How the mechanism works? What should I observe on the loading battery control?

    Thanks.

  • Thank you for the response.

    Earlier, when the laptop was plugged into AC power with the battery charged 100 percent all the time, contributed to accelerating the reduction of charge capacity and shorten the battery life cycle.

    The Desktop mode battery charge helps extend a laptop’s battery pack life cycle. When enabled, desktop mode monitors the charge status of the laptop battery and if it spends most of the time at 100 percent charge while connected to the power adapter, desktop mode will automatically adjust the charge levels of the battery. The adjustments include regularly allowing the battery to discharge, even while plugged in. The benefits are; this helps slow down the reduction of charge capacity over time, and may even decrease the need to purchase a replacement battery during the life of your laptop. If the battery charge does not discharge when AC Adapter is continuously connected, you can disable 'Desktop Mode', disconnect the AC Adapter; reconnect the AC Adapter and enable 'Desktop Mode'. You may see the battery charge vary between 50 and 100 percent when this mode is enabled.

    Hope this helps.
    Please revert for any further queries.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Manpreet C
    #iworkfordell
    To know more about Dell’s products, services and drivers & downloads, please go to http://dell.to/YBlak6
  • Hi

    Thank you both for your discussion in this open thread - I had many of the same questions.

    The one question of x-zen was unanswered though, and also something I was wondering about -- when I unplug my laptop (Dell Vostro 3360) from the charger, the battery immediately drops to 92%.  I think this has often happened when I've left the battery charging while OFF for a little while, and then turn it back on.

    Please advise?

  • I too have a Vostro 3360 with the same battery drop to 92%.  Very weird.  I found somewhere online that a slightly older version of the Vostro models had a similar issue.  I'm guessing it's just something with this model.  Otherwise, any input from others or Dell would be nice.  Thanks!

  • mbruyns: Here is what I did to resolve the issue.  I just tested this within the last couple days.  I let th battery get drained until about the 15-18%, then booted into the Bios/Setup menu to let the battery drain until it shut off.  I felt (as a computer tech and to calibrate the battery without getting shutdown while in Windows) this was the best option to calibrate the battery.  Low and behold it doesn't do the 92% anymore.  Normally I tend to use this as a main work laptop, so I can I usually always have it plugged in since it can be at a table or desk most times.  With that said, it sounds like once in a while if it happens again this might be the route to take to resolve the issue.

  • hi, just want to know, 

    if i format the laptop with other installation can i get back battery meter?