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Laptop Battery FAQs

How should I care for my new laptop battery?
Condition your new laptop computer battery for optimum performance.
A new laptop battery must be conditioned to operate at its full capacity.
New replacement laptop batteries from are shipped in a discharged state and must be fully charged when you receive your new battery. Charging your new battery overnight is sufficient to give your new battery a full charge. A new laptop battery must be partially discharged and fully charged at least five times in order to reach its full capacity.

This is done simply by unplugging the laptop from the power cord and letting the battery operate the laptop for 30 min. to 1 hour. It is important not to let a brand-new battery discharge completely to empty or the battery pack may not be able to be recharged by the laptop. This can effectively destroy your brand-new battery.

The conditioning process should be completed within the first month you receive your new battery. The conditioning process can be completed during the first week of receiving your new notebook battery.
How can I extend the life of my laptop battery?
Li-ion laptop batteries longer laptop battery life tips videowill wear out slowly over time, providing ever shorter battery run times.

You can extend the life of your battery by providing some basic ongoing maintenance listed below.

Longer Battery Life Tips Video

run time - 2:45

Keep your battery from wearing out prematurely due to lack of use.
Many people assume that the battery is being used when the laptop is plugged in. This is not the case.

When your laptop is plugged into the wall, your laptop runs on it's primary power source, electricity from your AC adapter cable. While plugged into the power cord, your battery is in a stand-by state. Your battery will only power your laptop once you unplug from the electrical cord.

If your laptop is plugged in for extended periods of time, your laptop battery is literally withering on the vine from lack of exercise.

It is true that the battery will loose a small portion of it's charge each day and that the AC power cord will "top-off" the battery, but this is not enough exercise to keep your computer battery in top form. Running on battery power for 30 minutes to an hour once a week is sufficient to keep your notebook battery active and in good shape.

This is perhaps the most common reason computer batteries wear out prematurely.
Don't run your laptop battery all the way to empty
The second most common reason why laptop batteries fail prematurely is that they are frequently discharged all the way to empty. Research shows that Lithium-ion batteries have the longest useful life when they have shallow discharge and recharge cycles. It does not harm the battery to only use it for 5-10 minutes and then plug it back in to the power cord.

People often confuse today's Lithium batteries with the older NiCad batteries found in power tools. With NiCad batteries, you did want to run a battery all the way to empty to avoid shortening the battery life through the "memory effect".

Try to keep your battery from discharging all the way, running your battery to a low level when you use your battery will significantly shorten the life of your battery.
Discharging your laptop battery all the way can effectively kill your battery
If a computer battery is discharged past the critical 3% level, the battery may not be able to be recharged again. This effectively kills the battery. A laptop battery needs a small amount of power in it in order for it send communication back and forth with the laptop to recharge the battery. A battery in a "weakened state" is a good candidate for this fatal mistake. When batteries are brand new or inactive for more than 2 months, they are in a weakened state and must be conditioned with 4-5 partial discharge and recharge cycles to bring them up to full capacity again.
A new battery may cause the battery power icon on your computer to indicate you have a low battery condition. We recommend that you let the battery charge overnight in your notebook computer. It may be necessary to remove and replace the battery and restart your computer with the battery installed in order for the computer's start up sequence to properly recognize your new battery.
Rechargeable batteries will self discharge when not in use over a period of time.

This might seem obvious but don't burn, disassemble, mutilate or short circuit batteries.

Is it normal for a battery to produce heat while it is being used and while charging?
It is normal for notebook batteries to produce heat when they are being charged and also when you are running on battery power. As energy is transferred within your battery cells, heat is a natural byproduct.

Why does my laptop battery lose power over time?
Over time, laptop batteries lose their ability to hold a charge. This is a normal occurrence and is common to all rechargeable laptop batteries. Most notebook batteries today are made with advanced materials that hold their charge much longer than earlier technologies used just a few years ago. Even so, the life of a laptop battery today will be approximately 500 recharges. For most users, 2- 3 years is a typical life expectancy of a laptop battery.

How can I minimize the power my laptop uses?
Your laptop battery life depends on the power capacity of your laptop battery and the amount of energy your computer draws. You can maximize your laptop battery life by changing the amount of power your computer draws while in battery mode. If you are a Windows user, within your Control Panel section you will find Power Options. In this section you can change power use and low power alerts. Windows users will also be able to lower the brightness of the LCD panel and extend the battery life considerably. You can also extend your battery life between charges by minimizing the use of your CD and DVD drive operation.

How to check laptop battery life
You can check your computers' remaining battery life by clicking your battery icon or accessing the Power Options section within your computer's control panel. Your laptop battery life depends on the power capacity of your laptop battery and the amount of energy your computer draws.

How long will my laptop battery run?
Average run time is 1 1/2 hours to 3 1/2 hours depending on what applications you are running. Functions that require more power will deplete your laptop battery faster. Viewing a DVD or using your CD player to play and record music are power intensive functions and will consume power at a faster rate. Also different notebooks use more power than others. Most laptops have a power management control panel where power use can be reduced while on battery power, such as reducing the brightness of your LCD screen. External batteries can also be purchased to provided extended power.

What is the difference between NiCad, NiMH and Lithium-ion laptop batteries?
Batteries in laptops, camcorder and cell phones are typically made using one of three battery chemistries: Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery cell chemistry.

NiCad and NiMH:
NiCad (nickel Cadmium) batteries are best known as the battery type that has the memory effect. In order for these batteries to work efficiently, the battery must be completely discharged before recharging. If you recharge these batteries while there is still power stored in the cells, your battery will reset itself so that it now only holds the amount of power stored from the last recharge. Many electric tooth brushes, power tools and other consumer items still utilize NiCad battery chemistry. If you have devices with NiCad batteries, you will save yourself some aggravation and money by having a fully charged spare battery to insert while you recharge your depleted battery. NiCad batteries are the least expensive to produce, but because of the memory effect problem, these type of batteries are slowly being phased out with other improved battery materials.

NiMH batteries are less prone to develop this problem and thus require less maintenance and conditioning. In addition, NiMH batteries can store about twice as much energy as NiCad batteries without adding any additional weight. NiMH batteries are also environmentally friendlier than NiCad batteries since they do not contain heavy metals (which present serious landfill problems). Note: Not all devices can accept both NiCad and NiMH batteries.

Lithium Ion:
Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) has become the new standard for portable power in consumer devices and laptop batteries. Li-Ion batteries produce the same energy as NiMH battery but weigh approximately 20%-35% less. This can make a noticeable difference in devices such as cellular phones, camcorders or notebook computers where the battery makes up a significant portion of the total weight. Another reason Li-Ion batteries have become so popular is that they do not suffer from the "memory effect" at all. They are also environmentally friendly because they don't contain toxic materials such as Cadmium or Mercury.

What do the power ratings mean - mAh, Volts, and Watts?
MAh (Milliamperes) represents the amount of stored energy in your battery. 1000 Milliamperes = 1 Ampere. The more mAh capacity - the longer your battery will last. Several batteries from have higher mAh ratings than your original battery brand. This does not mean that the battery is not the correct replacement, but rather it is a longer lasting battery. Voltage in a battery refers to the volume of electricity that is delivered to your computer. The amount of energy that comes from your wall outlet is far in excess of what you need to operate the tiny circuits of a computer. Hence your power adapter contains a brick or bar like box that decreases the energy to a much lower voltage rating. Each computer manufacturer designs their computers for the appropriate voltage requirement. Your battery pack will then be engineered to match the voltage of the power AC adapter. Laptop battery packs are composed of several battery cells that are wired together in series. By combining the cells in this fashion, higher volumes of energy can be delivered to your laptop computer. For laptop computers, each battery cell has a voltage rating of 3.6 - 3.7 volts. (3.6V & 3.7V are used interchangeably and refer to the same amount of voltage.)The difference is due to rounding the fractions of a volt up or rounding down.

CellsVoltage/Cell Formula Nominal Voltage
1 cell 3.6V or 3.7V 1 cell x 3.6 or 3.7V 3.6V or 3.7V
2 cells 3.6V or 3.7V 2 cells x 3.6V or 3.7V 7.2V or 7.4V
3 cells 3.6V or 3.7V 3 cells x 3.6V or 3.7V 10.8V or 11.1V
4 cells 3.6V or 3.7V 4 cells x 3.6V or 3.7V 14.4V or 14.8V

Computer batteries Typically double the cell count in the battery cartridge to provide longer run times. This doubling of the cell count does not increase the voltage but it will double the run time.

Many laptop makers have produced battery packs over time that have different voltage ratings. HP, Acer, Gateway, Dell & others have actually produced the same battery packs in different voltages over time as they changed the number of cells in the battery packs. On many of these batteries we carry an 11 volt version and a 14 volt version of the same battery for those who are unsure and unfamiliar with how voltage is determined in battery packs.

Many people are concerned about the voltage rating needlessly. Most batteries with a different voltage rating will still work correctly in the laptop. In no case will a different voltage rating harm your laptop. Most AC Adapters we commonly plug into our laptops are rated at 19 volts. The extra voltage provided by the ac adapter over and above the battery pack voltage is the excess voltage required to recharge the battery plus operate the laptop. Simply stated, your laptop will not be damaged at 19 volts of power when plugged into the wall socket and it will certainly not be harmed by operating on a battery voltage less than 19 volts. You can rest easy that a different voltage rating on a replacement battery will not damage your laptop.

Watts measure the amount of energy a device uses. This is a rating that will be found on your monitor and laptop PC, not your battery.

How can I extend my laptop battery run time?
Your new laptop battery will have an average run time of 1 1/2 hours to 3 1/2 hours depending on what applications you are running. Functions that require more power will deplete your battery faster. You can extend your battery run time by minimizing the main power draws on your battery - the LCD brightness levels and the use of your CD or DVD drive. Also, some notebooks simply use more power than others.

You can prolong your laptop battery life by adjusting the power management selections within your operating system software. If you are a Windows user, you can go to the control Panel and select power options. In this area you can choose when and how you can maximize your laptop battery settings

Can I specifically calculate my battery run time?
You can determine your laptops run time when you know how many watts your laptop computer uses and the total power capacity your notebook battery has. Here is how you can calculate this yourself.

Battery capacity can also be measured in Watt-Hours. Watt-Hours are calculated by multiplying Volts x Milliamperes. Here is an example:

14.8 Volts X 4060mAh (4000mAh is equal to 4.06 Amperes).
Is also equivalent to:
14.8 x 4.06 = 60.09 Watt-Hours

Watt-Hours measure the energy which powers one watt for one hour. If your laptop runs at 20 watts, your run time will be: 3.004 hours (60.09 Watt-Hours / 20.0 watts Laptop pc power use)

Will a higher milliamp (mAh) rating on my battery damage my laptop?
No. Higher mAh ratings indicate that your battery will last longer. Although the milliamps may be higher, the voltage will always remain the same. If you have received a laptop battery that has a completely different voltage than your original laptop battery, please contact us immediately.

Can you revive a dead laptop battery?
The question often comes up if it Ýs possible to recondition laptop batteries. If your laptop battery is dead, you have probably already tried is to recharge it. If you find the run time on battery power is minutes ˝ not hours, you are due for a new laptop battery. The only component that will wear out in your laptop computer is the rechargeable battery. If your laptop's battery is more than 2 years old it may have already experienced its life of 300-500 recharges. In a similar fashion, car batteries predictably wear out after the stated monthly service use. It is not possible to revive a spent rechargeable battery. The battery cells must be replaced.

What about buying a used laptop battery?
The life of a rechargeable laptop battery is about 500 charges. Once a battery has been charged and discharged this many times it is simply out of gas. A used computer laptop battery may not be any better than the non-functioning one you are currently seeking to replace. Combined with the favorable cost of a new battery, used laptop batteries are not a bargain. Substantial discounts of up to 65% can be realized at for brand new laptop batteries with 12-month warranties.

Laptop Battery Express does not sell or recommend used or refurbished laptop batteries.