Leaving your laptop always plugged in and charging, does it ruin the battery life? Sometimes you get the message “not charging”, is it normal? Want to check how is your laptop battery life? See the answers below.
Old laptops VS new laptops
Some years ago you should have already heard that leaving your laptop with battery always plugged in for long periods of time would ruin the battery, that’s right for older battery technology. Today’s laptops use different battery technologies and some of them have the battery built-in.
Know your laptop battery type
There are two main types of batteries that are used in modern laptops, the lithium-ion and the lithium-polymer batteries.
They are different technologies but work more or less the same way.
For both these types of battery you should know:
- The battery cannot be overcharged. If you leave your battery always plugged in, as soon as it is fully charged it will stop charging and will not charge again until it reaches a minimum level.
- Fully discharging the battery will ruin it. Your battery has a finite number of charge/discharge cycles, constantly running from full to drained battery will decrease the battery capacity and life.
Heat is the worth for your laptop battery health
As you may know, heat in IT components is not good, but overheat the battery is your worst enemy regarding battery life. Leaving your laptop battery plugged in will not kill your battery, but you should pay attention if your laptop is heating a lot.
In this case you should verify what’s the problem, if it is running a heavy task, such as running a game or video editing, or if it is a hardware problem or low air ventilation, like holding your laptop over your legs or over a pillow.
Remember, high temperature, normally considered as over 30 degrees Celsius can cause irreparable damage to the battery.
Battery degradation over time
There is a study from Battery University that we can compare data for the answers that we are looking for.
If we look at Table 3 from this study, we have information about how batteries degrade over time while being stored at specific percentages and temperatures.
As you can see from the table above, if you leave the battery at 100% for over a year at 25ºC, 80% of the battery of the battery total capacity is recovered, 20% is lost.
If we check the data for 60ºC, you will see that, only 60% of the total capacity of the battery will be recovered in after just 3 months, 40% of total capacity is lost!
Battery University also says:
Exposing the battery to high temperature and dwelling in a full state-of-charge for an extended time can be more stressful than cycling.Battery University
By simple terms, they say that if you keep your battery at 100% and expose it at high temperatures, it can cause more damage to the battery than if you charge and discharge it constantly.
As we can see, the worst enemy isn’t leaving the battery always plugged in, it is leaving it, at high temperatures and near fully charged.
Battery not charging message
As said before, the battery cannot be overcharged, so in modern laptops what happens is that as soon as the battery controller detects that the battery is fully charged, the laptop will run directly from the power cable.
That’s what happens when you see a message like the image above, it doesn’t mean that your laptop or charger is broken.
Then after some days, when the battery discharges a bit, usually when it’s below 85/90% depending on the laptops brand, the charger will trigger again and charge the battery until it’s fully charged.
How to check laptop battery life
No matter what use you do to the laptop, the battery capacity will always decrease over time.
So the sooner you detect signs of wear, the better your chance of extending your battery life. That’s why it’s important to learn how to check your laptop battery health.
There are many software’s that you can use do complete this task, some are more technical than others for the average user.
Here we’ll guide how to check the battery life of your laptop the easy way.
To do this you can download the portable version of HWMonitor that you can download from here.
After you open the HWMonitor, it will look like this:
From the image above we can see that the laptop has two batteries with capacity of 23200mWh, but the current capacity of the batteries are slightly below the designed capacity.
For one battery the current capacity is 19130mWh and for the other is 18010mWh, which respectively represents a 18% and 23% wear.
Also from the image above we can see that one battery has more wear than other, but why if they are the same model?
Well, this happens because the laptop first fully drains one battery and after that, it switches to the second battery.
As we discussed before, constantly running from full to drained battery will decrease the battery capacity over time, that’s why we can see that for the same battery model one has more wear than other.
So, Should you remove your battery when you leave your laptop always plugged in?
Nowadays not all laptops come with removable batteries, some of then are built-in, so removing them isn’t easy or a viable option.
If your laptop doesn’t heat too much, you don’t need to remove the battery when your laptop is plugged in or worry about battery overcharging.
Your battery isn’t going to last forever in any case and it will have less capacity over time no matter what you do.
Even in the worst case, that’s if the battery dies, you can always use your laptop plugged in.
Can laptop be used while charging?
Some people also asked this, and the answer is of course, as explained before, the laptops are made to be used while charging. Even after fully charged it is ok to leave it plugged in with the charging adapter.
Can laptop be used without battery?
As explained before in the article, if the battery is dead, you can always use your laptop without battery. But you should take some aspects into account.
First, if the plug is loose or the electricity goes down, your system will turn off, you can lose the work that was not saved, files can be corrupted or even damage the Operating System.
Second, if you moved your laptop a lot within or house or office, you have to shutdown your laptop each time you want to move around. In this case is suggested to replace the laptop battery with a new one.
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