Battery life can be changed dramatically in the way a battery is charged. There are many different types of batteries, and each type will require it’s own unique way in which it should be charged. These battery charging tips will help you to prolong the life or your battery.
Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most popular type of batteries used in electronics. You will find these in portable electronics such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
Lithium-ion batteries like to be charged regularly – as apposed to a full discharge / full recharge approach. As a rule you should let the battery drain to somewhere between 30% and 70% before charging the battery full. Most devices have a percentage meter to allow you to do this easily. Once a month let the battery discharge and give a full recharge.
Lithium-ion batteries do not like to be overcharged. Regularly over charging a lithium-ion battery or regularly letting the battery discharge completely will lower the expected battery life and may cause the battery to short circuit and potentially cause a fire.
As a safety precaution some battery chargers and devices will stop charging once it reaches 100% and then let the battery discharge. Not all devices offer this – To extend the life of your battery try to disconnect the charger once you notice the battery has reached 100%.
Lithium-ion batteries are marked Li-ion.
Nickel-metal Hydride batteries were often used in laptops. These batteries would suffer from ‘memory effect’ if a full discharge of the battery was not done regularly. Because people are used to this cycle they often apply it to Li-ion batteries as well, which as we know from the section above, can shorten the battery life.
Most newer electronics will now use Li-ion, but you will still find Nickel-metal Hydride batteries in power tools, portable home phones, or as rechargeable batteries for use in clocks, lights, remotes, hobby radio control, and toys.
These batteries are marked NiMH.
Nickel-cadmium batteries have mostly been replaced by NiHM or Li-ion batteries for most applications. Again they are used in power tools, portable home phones, or as rechargeable batteries for use in clocks, lights, remotes, hobby radio control, and toys.
These batteries also suffer from ‘memory effect’ – The best way to recharge is to allow the battery to discharge completely on a regular schedule and then recharge fully.
The batteries are marked NiCd.
Battery Memory Effect
Battery memory effect is caused when a NiCd or NiHM is not fully charged or discharged on a regular basis. The battery forms a memory believing the battery is fully discharged when it may still contain charge.
Battery memory effect can often be repaired by fully charging and discharging the said battery – but for some users this may not be possible. i.e. a single battery in a battery pack that is not user serviceable.
To increase the life of your NiCd and NiHM batteries let them get completely flat more often. i.e. Let the cordless drill get flat before charging the battery or let the home phone sit on the bench rather then the charging cradle every so often.