Battery Facts and FAQs

Laptop Batteries Facts & FAQs

Does it really help to store batteries in the refrigerator?

Yes, but only if they can be kept dry as well. The higher the temperature, the more the free flow of ions or self-discharge from the battery. Storing primary batteries (D, C, AA, AAA, 9 volt, etc.) in a cooler environment slows down this rate of discharge that all batteries experience even when not in use, hence a longer shelf life. However, if this is done, it is important that the batteries be kept as dry as possible by keeping them in an airtight container in the driest part of the refrigerator, the door for example. Long term exposure to moisture inside the refrigerator can cause internal corrosion to the battery. When removing batteries from the refrigerator, allow them to warm up to room temperature before using them in your device.

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Three simple maintenance tips assure longer life For wet lead acid batteries:

  1. Regularly clean the battery top and terminals. Apply baking soda to any corrosion and flush entire cover with water. Be sure the vent caps are tight before cleaning to prevent water or baking soda from entering into the cells.
  2. Check your battery's water level before charging and if the level is low, add sufficient (distilled) water to cover the plates. After charging, check and add distilled water to bring level up to the bottom of the vent walls. DO NOT OVERFILL. Distilled water is best for long battery life...but if not available, use a good grade of drinking water.
  3. Recharge your battery as soon as possible after discharge; never leave it discharged for an extended period of time.

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Maximizing your battery's performance

There are several steps you can take to insure that you get maximum performance from the battery:

Break In New Batteries
New batteries come in a discharged condition and must be fully charged before use. It is recommended that you fully charge and discharge the new battery two to four times to allow it to reach its maximum rated capacity.

Prevent the Memory Effect
Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and then fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. Exceptions to the rule are Li-Ion batteries which do not suffer from the memory effect.

Keep the Batteries Clean
It's a good idea to clean dirty battery contacts with a cotton swab and alcohol. This helps maintain a good connection between the battery and the portable device.

Exercise the Battery
Do not leave the battery dormant for long periods of time. We recommend using the battery at least once every two to three weeks. If a battery has not been used for a long period of time, perform the new battery break in procedure described above.

Battery Storage
If you don't plan on using the battery for a month or more, we recommend storing it in a clean, dry, cool place away from heat and metal objects. NiCad, NiMH and Li-Ion batteries will self-discharge during storage; remember to break them in before use. Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries must be kept at full charge during storage. This is usually achieved by using special trickle chargers. If you do not have a trickle charger, do not attempt to store SLA batteries for more than three months.

For Notebook Users
To get maximum performance from the battery, fully optimize the notebooks power management features prior to use. Power management is a trade off: better power conservation in exchange for lesser computer performance. The power management system conserves battery power by setting the processor to run at a slower speed, dimming the screen, spinning down the hard drive when it's not in use and causing the machine to go into sleep mode when inactive. The notebook users guide will provide information relating to specific power management features.

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