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I got a laptop, which I brought a year ago, which has a battery that can last for 3 hours.

6 months ago, the battery's life dropped down to roughly 15 minutes (Windows says its supposed to last for 30 minutes).

When I tested it this week, its down to 5 minutes.

I have a feeling that my battery has lost its charge but surfing the net gives varying (and most of the times, conflicting) tips on getting the charge back.

I can't afford new batteries but I would buy one if its necessary. Right now, my laptop is always connected to the power supply.

Is there any way to recover the strength of my battery?

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P.s. I've already tried deep charging via the BIOS and it didn't help. As a matter of fact, the battery life progressively got worse everytime I deep charge so I stopped doing so. –  MrValdez May 15 '09 at 3:47

4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Unfotunately, it seems that your battery has reached the end of it's life.

See this article for guidelines on how to maintain lithium based batteries.

Four main points from the article:

  1. Avoid frequent full discharges because this puts additional strain on the battery. Several partial discharges with frequent recharges are better for lithium-ion than one deep one. Recharging a partially charged lithium-ion does not cause harm because there is no memory. (In this respect, lithium-ion differs from nickel-based batteries.) Short battery life in a laptop is mainly cause by heat rather than charge / discharge patterns.

  2. Batteries with fuel gauge (laptops) should be calibrated by applying a deliberate full discharge once every 30 charges. Running the pack down in the equipment does this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate and in some cases cut off the device prematurely.

  3. Keep the lithium-ion battery cool. Avoid a hot car. For prolonged storage, keep the battery at a 40% charge level.

  4. Consider removing the battery from a laptop when running on fixed power. (Some laptop manufacturers are concerned about dust and moisture accumulating inside the battery casing.)

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I'd forgotten about batteryuniversity.com. Excellent information. –  Simurr May 15 '09 at 16:08
    
+1 - deep discharging is specifc to NiCd and NiMH batteries. Lithium batteries behave differently. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells May 15 '09 at 17:02

A few things here:

1) Batteries last 2 years under the absolutely ideal conditions (a user who never leaves the computer plugged in for days on end, and who regularly fully discharges and recharges the battery).

2) No user has ever used a battery under ideal conditions. In my experience doing laptop repair and working with laptops, the batteries last 18 months in good cases, and as little as a year in bad ones.

There are a few "tricks" you can use. For example, there are "battery recalibration" programs from both dell and HP for certain models of laptop. Google your model + battery calibration to see if one has been released for yours. Sometimes they help, often they don't.

Otherwise, the only thing you can do is a standard battery recalibration yourself. Charge the computer fully, then discharge fully 2-3 times, this will recalibrate your battery to its maximum available life. However, at the age yours is, I imagine the battery is simply old and dead.

I know you say you can't afford a new one, so the trick there is to hit up ebay and get yourself a nice cheap Chinese battery. They are not as good as those you get from the manufacturer, but they work well for awhile, and if you're looking to save money, it's the best way to go.

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battery recalibration? Please erase that nonsense. Heres a quote from a manufacturer found on google "The battery needs to be recalibrated from time to time to keep the onscreen battery time and percent display accurate." This has nothing to do with the changing the battery life. –  Ian Kelling May 15 '09 at 4:51
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Except that the user specifically stated that he had a problem with windows saying the battery will last 30 minutes, when, in fact, it only lasts 15 minutes. A recalibration will help fix that problem. Thank you for your suggestion. –  Happy Hamster May 15 '09 at 5:31

Current battery technology requires regular "exercise" to maintain full functionality for the life of the battery (2-3 years tops). I have found that if you fully discharge (run on battery until the laptop shuts itself off) then recharge about once every week or two that will do the trick.

Another option is to remove the battery and run off AC only if you're laptop is being utilized more like a desktop. However, you still need to exercise the battery at least once a month. Also, some laptops don't run properly without the battery installed, so do some homework on your model before trying this.

Your current situation sounds like the battery will need to be replaced. There are several options for purchasing a replacement battery besides the manufacturer. I have had good luck with batteries from Kahlon.

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You can't. End of story.

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protected by Mark Henderson Oct 17 '11 at 8:05

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