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HP Notebook PCs - How to Improve the Performance of the Battery

This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows 7 and Vista.

Notebook PCs operate on two kinds of power: A/C power (the kind of power that you get from plugging a power adapter into a wall outlet) and D/C power (the kind of power that you get from a battery). Get the most out of your notebook's battery life cycle by following these suggestions.

How long will the battery last?

Users often ask how long should their battery last between charges, or why does one model of computer get better battery performance than another. There is no simple answer. Battery life will vary depending on the product configuration, product model, operating system, applications loaded on the product, power management setting of the product, and the product features used by the customer. For all batteries used in an electronic device, the maximum capacity of the battery will decrease with time and usage.

Power plans

A power plan is a collection of hardware and system settings that manages how your computer uses power. Power plans can help you save energy, maximize system performance, or achieve a balance between the two. Learn more about power plans by clicking HP Notebook PCs - Power Management for Vista or HP Notebook PCs - Power Management for Windows 7 .

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Maximizing the capacity and life span of the battery

It is important to be aware of ways that you can care for the battery in your notebook PC. There are conditions that may reduce battery run time and life span.

Factors that contribute to loss of battery capacity

  • Li-Ion battery cells suffer gradual, irreversible capacity loss with each discharge-charge cycle. Such aging occurs more rapidly as temperature and discharge loads increase.

  • The self-discharge rate of a Li-Ion battery is higher if the battery is left in an unpowered notebook.

  • During prolonged storage or non-use, the battery charge will decrease below its recommended low-voltage level.

  • Leaving the battery in a depleted condition for an extended period accelerates the decrease in full charge capacity. Leaving the battery at a high level of charge in a high-temperature environment for extended periods (for example, running a notebook computer in a docking station under a heavy load) also accelerates the loss of capacity.

  • Running high-end applications using the battery accelerates the loss of capacity. For example, playing 3D games lowers full charge capacity faster than using word processing applications.

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Recommended battery care practices

Recommendations for battery usage and storage are covered in the HP User Guides for each model.

Additional battery care practices are as follows:

  • Store Li-Ion batteries between 20°C and 25°C (68°F and 77°F) with 30% to 50% charge.

  • Do not disassemble, crush, or puncture a battery; do not short the external contacts on a battery; and, do not dispose of a battery in fire or water.

  • Do not leave batteries exposed to high temperatures for extended periods. Prolonged exposure to heat (for example, inside a hot car) accelerates the deterioration of Li-Ion cells.

  • Remove the battery if the notebook will be stored (turned off and not plugged into AC power) for more than 2 weeks.

  • Remove the battery from the notebook if the notebook will be plugged into AC power continuously (via a wall adapter or docking station) for more than 2 weeks.

  • Use the type of battery with the highest capacity (Ah) rating if the notebook will run high-end applications on battery power.

  • Calibrate the battery based on the usage model. Under normal usage, batteries should be calibrated a minimum of once every 2 - 3 months; however, a battery that is rarely discharged fully should be calibrated about once a month.

  • Keep the battery away from children.

  • Use only the battery provided with the computer, a replacement battery provided by HP, or a compatible battery purchased as an accessory.

  • Run the Battery Check in the HP Support Assistant once a month to maintain the battery.

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Tips for conserving battery power

You can manually change the power consumption of your notebook PC and conserve battery power.

  • Reduce the number of open applications . Every application uses memory, and therefore power, even when the application widow is minimized. Exit any application the is not being used.

  • Reduce the brightness of the screen to the minimum readable level. Use the Fn and F7 or F8 keys to adjust the brightness.

  • Remove peripherals when not in use. External hard drives, CD-ROMs, Zip drives, PC cards, and other peripheral devices can draw power from your battery even when they are not in active use. Disconnect them when you are finished using them.

  • Reduce the speed of your processor. The faster your computer works, the more quickly it uses up the supply of power. You can extend the charge of your battery by slowing down your processor's speed. Methods to reduce processor speed vary from model to model, and your manual should provide instructions for doing so.

  • Turn off the Wireless On-Off button when it is not in use. If your notebook has one, press the Wireless On-Off button so that the light turns off.

  • Change the power option setting from High performance to either HP Recommended or Power saver to conserve battery power.

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