Having difficulties prolonging your cell phone battery life? Stop charging it!

Published: January 15, 2013
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Manufacturers do extensive research whilst designing the charger they ship with the cell phone or laptop - make use of it! PHOTO: http://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/CA-Grass-Valley-95945

How long do I have to charge my phone or laptop to prolong its battery life?

This is a very pertinent question that continuously persists in boggling the mind.

Charging a battery incorrectly actually reduces the life of the battery by 2-4% of their original capacity every 12 months.

Here are some of my tips and tricks to help you overcome your battle against batteries and increase the battery life of your cell phone and laptops. In order to understand it fully, let us start from the things that can affect the life of a battery the most.

  1. Temperature conditions
  2. Changing the voltage at which a battery is charged (charger)
  3. How frequent a battery is charged. 

Charge your battery every time the battery goes below 50%:

 Do not wait for the battery to go dead completely. It has been proved that charging the battery after 50% use increases the life of the battery. 

The smaller the depth of discharge (storing charge), the longer the battery will last.

Do not charge the battery fully to 100%: 

A battery that has been charged to 100% should be removed from its charger immediately. Unfortunately, with the busy lives we lead nowadays, it is close to impossible to sit and make sure that the gadget does not remain on charge after reaching the 100% mark. A good practice is to remove the charger once it reaches around 90%.
Although, new-age chargers have been developed in a manner to automatically disconnect themselves from the charging circuits, it may still be better to be careful than to be sorry later.

Fully discharge the battery once a month:

 Why should you do this? New batteries are smart batteries and they tell us exactly how much battery life they have left remaining and how much time they will last. Sometimes, however, with frequent charging/discharging, their intelligence diminishes and they need to be ‘reset’, which is possible only by discharging it completely.

Keep the Battery Cool

Heat is the biggest enemy of batteries. The cooler the battery the better charging capability it has. For cell phones, keeping them in a pocket for long hours is never recommended. Any temperature higher than 30°C lies in the range of higher temperature. (See table)

Battery Temperature Permanent capacity loss when stored at 40% state of charge(Recommend storage charge level) Permanent capacity loss when stored at 100% state of charge(Typical user charge level)
0oC 2% loss in 1 year, 98% remaining 6% loss in 1 year, 94% remaining
25oC 4% loss in 1 year, 80% remaining 20% loss in 1 year, 80% remaining
40oC 15% loss in 1 year, 85% remaining 35% loss in 1 year, 65% remaining
60oC 25% loss in 1 year, 75% remaining 40% loss in 3 months

Try removing your cell phone from your pocket every once or twice an hour and hold it in your hand to keep it cool.

Similarly, laptops when used in bed are mostly placed over blankets or foam mattresses; this could degrade and shorten the life of your battery much sooner than normal.

Try using the original charger:

Manufacturers do extensive research whilst designing the charger they ship with the cell phone or laptop – make use of it! Using any other charger will definitely produce some voltage differences with the original one. Higher voltage chargers are never recommended for your device. Lower voltage chargers may be recommended as they do not do as much damage as the higher voltage ones.

In conclusion:

  • Never discharge Lithium-ion battery completely; try to charge more often up to 90%.
  • A random or partial charge is fine. Lithium-ion does not need a full charge.
  • Avoid ultra-fast chargers.
  • If the charger allows, lower the charge voltage limit to prolong battery life. Keep the charger voltage as low as possible if your charger has this option.
  • Keep the battery cool. Avoid hot cars, windowsills, blanket tops.
  • High heat exposure and a permanently fully-charged batteries cause short battery life in laptops.
  • Remove the battery from a laptop when used on the power grid (though impractical).
Follow Aatif on Twitter @aatifalvi

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Aatif Khalid Alvi

Is a technology enthusiast, blogger and an electrical and energy professional.He also blogs for: www.techypod.com and www.facebook.com\technologypod and tweets @aatifalvi

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.