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Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/02/2007 3:12 AM

Leaving a notebook plugged into AC power all the time really shortens the life of a notebooks battery. A known fact, correct?

How hard would it be to make a battery saver: The box would consist of a timer, 2 relays and a small circuit board to read voltage from the notebook side of the box. It wouldn't even have to be a circuit board would it? Just something that reads a preset voltage and opens/closes a relay circuit. Call it the NBSC (Notebook Battery Saver/Conditioner)

Plug the cord from the NBSC into the notebook and the circuit would read the battery voltage. The circuit would have a range of values that could be chosen, and a person would choose a value just above where the manufacturer has the notebook go into standby or hybernates.

When THAT voltage was reached, it would close the relay on the AC side of the NBSC (the DC wire coming from the AC adapter - ACDCWire) and start the countdown timer which is hooked into the ACDCWire relay. The timer also would be adjustable (in maybe 15 minute increments). If it took 1 hour and 20 minutes to charge a discharged battery, the timer could be set for 1 hour and 30 minutes to make sure the battery was topped off.

At the end of 1 hour and 30 minutes the timer would open the relay on the ACDCWire side of the NBSC and voltage would again be read from the notebook side of the NBSC. It would NOT matter how long it took the battery to discharge, since the charging circuit wouldn't close until it reached the preset discharged voltage you had selected. Then the timer circuit would close and the battery would be charged again.

In fact, the NBSC could just have a receptacle matching the notebooks. You would just plug the AC adapter DC cord into the NBSC and out the other side of the NBSC would be a cord with an end on it like comes on the AC adapter, just plug that into the notebook.

Make one for $10-$15 and unplug the notebook cord, plug it into the NBSC, plug the NBSC cord into the notebook. Let the NBSC greatly extend the life of your notebook battery. Much better than being in the charge mode all the time (like I have them now).

Probably could be made with 1 voltage switch, 1 relay and 1 timer. How hard would that be to breadboard together? Wouldn't that work?

Is there one available on the market already? What kind of cost?

Thanks,

Ken

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#1

Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/02/2007 11:32 PM

wrong on several counts. NiMh batteries do not get a Memory effect like NiCd ones.

Leaving a NiMh plugged in is fine.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 1:20 AM

Both of my notebooks, under battery properties, say: LION (all CAPS). That is HP's name for their Lithium Ion battery.

No problem with them being plugged in 24/7 365 either? It will not shorten the life of the battery?

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#3

Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 1:21 AM

Yes, NiMH are not SUPPOSED to have memory. HOWEVER, in reality if you keep you laptop in all the time the battery life is SHORTENED. My wife and I have had identical laptops and cell phones with NiMH batteries and mine which are cycles frequently always last longer than hers which remain plugged in most of the time. I think it is because of HEAT built-up in the batteries..


Comments??

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 7:21 AM

What do you mean by "lasts longer"? My cell phone has a NiMH battery and I never turn it off, when I get home I just plug the charging cord into the bottom of it (Motorola Nextel i1000 plus). Next day, or whenever, I just unplug it and put it in my shirt pocket and use it as needed all day/night until I get home again. Has always had enough charge to carry me through the day. Original battery still in the phone, bought on 23 May 2001, so the battery has maybe 2,000+ charges on it and has never gone dead on me. Am I getting normal service (6+ years) for a NiMH battery? Have you found yours and your wife's last that long?

On my older notebook, (20 June 2003) I notice it will only pull up to 93% charge now, after only 4 years of being plugged in 24/7. Usually the only time the notebooks run on the battery is when I put them on standby to take them to work and when getting there I plug the AC adapter back into them and it sets there that way all day until going on standby to go back home. Last night I unplugged the AC and let it go down on the battery and see it will still run 1 1/2 hours instead of the 2 hours like when it was new.

The only time any of my computer stuff gets shut off is when they get bugy and I will shut them clear down (taking the battery out too) instead of just rebooting.

Thanks for the reply.

Ken

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#4

Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 3:49 AM

Do not mix up memory effect and over charging.....they are two seperate items....

The modern laptop batteries are difficult to charge, you need some good technology built in.

The problem for the user is to get an accurate "state of the charge" signal out of the laptop, without losing the warranty.....

I recommend removing the battery when working for long periods on mains voltage. Most just click out easily.

Store the battery with minimum charge for long periods, not fully charged....only store fully charged just before you go "on the road".

Two batteries (one spare) are better than one.....

Even modern Batteries have a finite number of recharges, long (over)charges reduce this number significantly.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 7:40 AM

Hi Andy,

The way I use my notebooks doesn't allow me to take the batteries out, since I take them with me on standby. And I never usually run them on battery along, am always around AC. (even in my pickup, I have an inverter and just plug the adapter into that if I am out shooting photos and want to use the GPS in the notebook with the map program)

I thought cycling the battery like I was wondering in my original question above would make the battery enjoy its life more, and allow me to get max battery time out of it if I were ever to be in a situation where I were running on battery only.

I thought it was worth asking the question, but it looks like it doesn't make much difference the way I use my notebooks. It is pretty easy to just plug the CAT5, mouse and AC adapter cord into them as to mess with taking the battery out all the time.

I am glad they are finally making batteries that will hold up under abuse (plugged in 24/7/365) fairly well.

It looks like it would be a waste of time making a timer/charger box like I talked about above from what has been said here. That is not needed to be done anymore it seems. It appears batteries are being made that don't need to be treated with baby gloves. That is good!

Thanks for the reply Andy.

Ken

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 2:03 PM

I am not in a position to test, but it could be that battery life is a function of the quality of the laptop and its charging circuits......its a thought anyway.....maybe we should collect infos over CR4 with a simple questionaire....?

I just am careful with my batteries as I have to pay if one goes defective. At this time I have 3 relatively new laptops (2 x Siemens-Fujitsu, 1 x Toshiba), none has reached a year old as of this time, and no problems have been noticed....but as I said, I drop the batts out when they are not needed.....

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#8
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Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 4:29 PM

Andy,

Yes, that would be interesting info to have. Make a small database on battery life/use.

You say you are careful of them because you have to pay for them if they go defective.

Question: How many have you had go bad in the last 5 years?

I bought my first notebook in the mid 80's (a 286 equipped Toshiba) when they would have had NiCad batteries, but I never used it/them like I do now. It seems I can remember discharging/charging it so it would keep a decent charge in it. It is only since I got Cable Internet at the work address that I started packing a notebook to work. I guess those first 4 or 5 notebooks over the years were just toys for me to play with.

I'm glad they are making progress with batteries so we don't have to be such a slave to them to keep them working correctly. Maybe in the next generation of batteries the manufacturers will not even make them removable by consumers. Good for them/lower manufacturing costs, bad for us/lot's of work to install a new battery if for some reason the original does go bad.

The next 10-15 years for computers looks to be interesting, I know the first 25 years I have owned them has been interesting.

Ken

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#9
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Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 6:27 PM

The oldest laptop that I still occasionally use at it has a great PCB CAD program on it is a Toshiba 486 model with 25 Mhz, the battery is long gone, I do not remember when exactly. It was Nicad.....

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#10
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Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 7:43 PM

I guess the oldest computers I have sitting around are a couple of Sol20's with the 8" floppy drives. I need to throw that old junk away. Just takes up room and isn't worth anything.

I think they had 4K of memory. 110Baud modem, etc. Too long, can't remember. Have to look at them a little closer one of these days.

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 7:59 PM

The lithium batteries, which most notebooks/laptops use, have a long life under most circumstances. I owned a computer shop until I retired a year ago. I remember a lot of customers who had theirs plugged in almost always. The batteries seemed to last a lot longer than the ones who ran them dead frequently. Now, let me say with computers nothing is rock solid.

For instance: A lady brought in her computer with a dead power supply. We replaced it and it worked fine until she came in to pick it up. I turned it on for her to see it work and smartly said 'it"ll either work or go up in smoke". It went up in smoke! That was a real "oh shucks".

The AC adapter plugs into the computer and then goes to a charger board which charges the battery. On most machines these regulate the current to the battery which keeps them in top shape. Some machines even have a program that deep cycles the battery to keep them in top condition.

Most laptop batteries actually are made up of several smaller round ones which are wire soldered together and run through a circuit board also built into the laptop battery. Panasonic seemed to be the most popular of all the batteries built into the big name laptop batteries. (Dell, Hp ect. and aftermarket brands)

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#12
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Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/03/2007 8:26 PM

Hello Randyl,

Yes, I can't ever remember having any great problems with leaving them plugged in 24/7. It would sort of be nice to have a database on things like that, but I guess if it dies we just buy another one.

Been there, done that...with the up in smoke. Sort of what the ^&$&*# happened now time. That still happens in my machine shop once in a while. Just part of the "real" world and the way it operates. Isn't that BIG SKY COUNTRY back there? Ronan is a big town if I remember correctly, about 1,800 people.

Yes, I have used the tabbed batteries before in a couple of my 510V flash packs for some of my camera gear. Handy and easy to connect together.

Most things I can tear apart and put back together... couldn't accomplish that with an Canon EOS lens though. Pretty neat, the ring motors they have in them for focusing. It was just a cheap couple hundred $ lens. Don't think I want to tear apart one of my $2,000 lenses. LOL

Technology is great, wish I were young enough to see what the next 50 years brings and being young enough to enjoy it. Time flies when we are having fun!

Ken

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Notebook battery charging - cycling - help needed

06/04/2007 3:31 AM

Many people will ask "Why Panasonic?", when Sony is I believe the biggest mfr. of Batteries. Well the reason is that Sony have made several major mistakes and caused some laptops to acually melt or even catch fire......I believe that there is a website where you can check your Sony battery against known bad problems using the battery serial number.

It may also be on your Laptop mfr. web page.

Dell was one of the problem makes as was Toshiba - all used Sony batteries.

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Andy Germany (4); Anonymous Poster (1); LaMarTEK (1); MrChevy (6); Randyl (1)

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