How can I stretch the working time on my laptop?

Thursday, October 20th, 2011 | laptops

In general, a laptop is a greener option than a desktop computer.  A laptop consumes little power and you can work on it for a long time without running up your electricity bill significantly – that is when you’re working at home or at your office where you have access to electricity.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a laptop over a desktop computer is that you can take it with you wherever you go.  Many restaurants, airports and other places cater for your needs by providing electricity outlets where you can simply plug in and work.  But when you want to work at a place where there is no such provision – such as when going on a long flight in economy class or when a teacher takes learners on a field trip – you are limited by the length of time the laptop’s battery will last.

You can do two things to ensure longer working time even before you go on the trip:

Clean your battery contacts from time to time.  Over time these contacts may become corroded or get dirty and this will interfere with effective delivery of power.  Cleaning the contacts is a simple operation: turn the laptop off, unplug it from its power source, remove the battery, use a soft cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to wipe the contacts on both the battery and the laptop, make sure the contacts are dry and then replace the battery.  If your laptop does not have a removable battery, take the laptop to your dealer for a clean.  Clean battery contacts will ensure that you get full benefit from even short periods that your laptop is plugged in.

All you need is a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol

Picture credit

Keep the battery fully charged.  Make a habit of charging the battery whenever you have access to electricity.  Modern lithium batteries can be recharged partially and repeatedly without harmful effects (with older laptops using nickel-based batteries, the situation is different and it is advisable to consult the user manual about the best way to charge the batteries).  So, when you are at an airport, find a place to plug in while you’re working – this will ensure that you board the plane with a full charge.  Or when you’re travelling and you find a place to plug in your laptop, do so.  The simple thing to remember is that a battery that is fully charged lasts longer than one that is only partially charged.  Common sense, isn’t it!

Once you are on the road you can stretch battery life considerably by the way you use your laptop.  Watch this space for a few tips on how to do this.

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3 Comments to How can I stretch the working time on my laptop?

Albie
Thursday, 20 October, 2011

I must agree with you Kobus on the battery issue – recharge as frequent as possible and don’t let your battery run down totally to “0″. I charge my laptops batteries ONCE a week even if I did not used the laptop. One advantage of the laptop is that you can remove the battery casing from the laptop itself, but my tablet + laptop ?

I got a tablet-laptop-in-one = ASUS. It is a “laptop” and “tablet” – you can seperate the screen from the keyboard. Both got batteries, but its “not on top/back/under” but “inside”. Maintenance of the build-into-the-tablet-battery cannot be removed or even opened. Although its life expectancy is longer and its working timeframe of up to 10 hours (away from a 3x point ESCOM Ppower plug)is a good feature, but maintenance of contact points ?

Maybe someone can give me advice on this one !

[...] you set off with your laptop – fully charged – you want the battery to last as long as possible.  How can you do this?  Here are a few tips: [...]

Aletta Crofton
Friday, 28 October, 2011

Thank you very much for these practical tips!

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