For your laptop to serve you for a long time, you need to maintain it properly. Maintenance looks at many factors, including preserving its battery life. This brings us to the main topic: Is it ok to leave the laptop plugged in and charging?
The best answer to this query is that it depends on the state of the laptop. However, this is not a conclusive answer. Hang on as we look at how to prevent laptop battery degradation, with a focus on charging.
What Does Overcharging and Discharging Your Battery Mean?
When looking at how to improve battery life, you need to consider overcharging and discharging. Below is an overview of each term.
Overcharging means leaving the laptop on charge even when it is full. The good thing is that it is impossible to overcharge your battery. The control system will prevent more electricity from coming in once it reaches its limit.
The problem comes when you are using the wrong charger. It may cause internal circuit damage, making the PC prone to overcharging.
In such a case, you have to watch the battery meter and unplug the charger when the battery is full. Some signs of overcharging include a heated battery. Other times, you might feel some static or shock when you touch the laptop’s metallic surfaces.
Discharging Your Battery
Discharging the battery is the opposite of charging, which is depleting the charge. It is an essential process that helps in battery calibration.
Here, the laptop’s system will give you accurate figures on power consumption and how much charge is remaining. You will be safe from a surprise shut down due to a low charge.
The correct way of discharging the battery is by using the laptop for a lengthy period. Set the screen brightness at its highest level, run many programs, and leave the Wi-Fi on. This way, it will be a matter of few hours before it is completely drained.
For some laptops, you can access discharging tools on the BIOS setup. You can also discharge the battery without using the laptop by disconnecting the battery and connecting it to a discharger.
Optionally, you may connect it to LED lights to help drain its power. For the best results, perform this maintenance practice at least once a month.
Is there a Problem Leaving My Laptop Charging for Long Hours?
Back to the main topic, there is no problem with plugging in your laptop for long hours. Older models had the risk of battery degradation, which is not a problem with newer ones. However, leaving it charging for too long can present some issues, like the PC getting hot.
Sometimes the heat may become too much for your comfort. Additionally, the cable may restrict your movement. Experts say that even though modern PCs are robust, keeping the charger connected longer than necessary can stress the battery.
Battery degradation starts immediately when you begin using it. An original part from the manufacturer will serve you well for roughly 500 charging cycles or more. Imitations will last you for a short time before they start deteriorating.
At times, you may have a good battery, but it degrades fast. The problem might be the charger. If it is not the correct charger, it may load more voltage to the power storage, causing its dysfunction. A faulty electric system may also contribute to a fast-wearing part.
How do you slow down battery degradation? There are various solutions to this issue, starting with getting a top-grade battery. Do the same for the charger to prevent volt leakages.
It is prudent to have the laptop checked once in a while by a qualified technician. They will be able to determine if the electrical unit needs some repairs.
What If I Have a Gaming Laptop?
Gaming laptops are designed to be very powerful to support rigorous activities. A gaming laptop has a wattage of around 300-400 watts, ten times more than that of a standard laptop. The batteries are heavy-duty in order to support high performance, though they may lose power fast when gaming.
You will find that most gamers have their PC plugged in most of the time. It helps prevent sudden shutdowns, which can interfere with their activities. However, an excellent practice is to charge the PC until it is full, then unplug it.
When it reaches low levels, around 20% complete, connect it again. If you do not want to constantly check on your battery levels, install software that will alert you when the battery is low.
Get a Battery Report
A battery report shows you crucial details of this PC component, like the manufacturer, serial number, and design capacity. These details come in handy if you want to track power usage or if seeking a replacement. If your PC runs on Windows, you can get the report on Powershell by keying in a command prompt.
Go to the start menu and key in Powershell. Select ‘Yes’ on the pop-up window asking for permission to make changes on your computer.
On the command window, type this prompt, powercfg /batteryreport /output “C:\battery-report.html” then press Enter to run it. You will receive the location details of the battery report.
For macOS devices, go to the Apple menu and select system preferences, and click on battery. Then go to battery health, where you will see the state of this part.
If it indicates the battery level is normal, it means that it is in proper working order. However, if you see “Service Recommended,” it needs attention from a qualified technician.
Tips on Preserving Laptop Battery
Batteries aren’t always easy to replace, and when they are, it’s expensive. Maximize your investment by keeping it in good condition. Listed below are some tips to follow to extend your battery’s service.
- Unplug peripherals that you aren’t using, as they may drain power.
- Activate the power-saving mode on your PC. Additionally, limit the programs you are running and turn off the Wi-Fi when not in use.
- Don’t use the laptop in extreme temperatures. Too much heat or cold can affect the battery’s performance.
- Don’t plug in the PC when it’s full.
- Use OEM standard replacement parts, such as the battery and charger.
- Once in a while, discharge the battery.
- Opt for SSD, which requires far less power than hard drives.
Leaving your laptop plugged in and charging is not advisable, even for new and robust models. It may stress the battery, leading to fast degradation.
Aside from you should avoid keeping it charging longer than necessary, ensure you discharge it every month to calibrate the battery. When it has issues, consider the help of a reliable technician, instead of replacing it immediately.