Computer Lithium-Ion battery care in general

I have been noticing that the Lithium-Ion battery in my various laptop computers, mobile phones and cameras can’t maintain its charge well after 2 or more years of use.  The genuine manufacturer’s battery replacements could cost from $25 to $150 or more.  I have the general idea of caring for the Lithium-Ion battery for a longer battery life span; but I am not really sure about the difference that people’s suggestions on battery maintenance, like I will quote in the following, will make.  I really hope that device manufacturers like Apple, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Samsung, Sony, Garmin, Nikon, Canon and others will automate the battery maintenance process in their devices so their users don’t really need to be involved with the battery maintenance process.

I find the following suggestions, by SpeedStep on June 24, 2011, on Lithium-Ion battery user maintenance informative.  I quote the entire context in the following.  The entire discussion is on this web page http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/t/19385586.

Short quote:

Simple Guidelines

Avoid frequent full discharges because this puts additional strain on the battery. Several partial discharges with frequent recharges are better for lithium-ion than one deep one. Recharging a partially charged lithium-ion does not cause harm because there is no memory. (In this respect, lithium-ion differs from nickel-based batteries.) Short battery life in a laptop is mainly cause by heat rather than charge / discharge patterns.

Batteries with fuel gauge (laptops) should be calibrated by applying a deliberate full discharge once every 30 charges. Running the pack down in the equipment does this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate and in some cases cut off the device prematurely.

Keep the lithium-ion battery cool. Avoid a hot car. For prolonged storage, keep the battery at a 40% charge level.

You must always feed it something or it will get weak and die.

Consider removing the battery from a laptop when running on fixed power. (Some laptop manufacturers are concerned about dust and moisture accumulating inside the battery casing.)

Avoid purchasing spare lithium-ion batteries for later use. Observe manufacturing dates. Do not buy old stock, even if sold at clearance prices.

If you have a spare lithium-ion battery, use one to the fullest and keep the other cool by placing it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze the battery. For best results, store the battery at 40% state-of-charge outside the laptop in a cool dry place.

Additional quote:

Whether used or not Batteries need to be at least 40% CHARGED for Several HOURS every month.

Batteries are not warrantied for more than 1 year.

Batteries last between 300 to 500 cycles or 1 year on the shelf.

If you do not charge them over a year they will die.

This is not covered under warranty.

A lithium-ion battery provides 300-500 discharge/charge cycles. The battery prefers a partial rather than a full discharge. Frequent full discharges should be avoided when possible. Instead, charge the battery more often or use a larger battery. There is no concern of memory when applying unscheduled charges.

Although lithium-ion is memory-free in terms of performance deterioration, batteries with fuel gauges exhibit what engineers refer to as “digital memory”. Here is the reason: Short discharges with subsequent recharges do not provide the periodic calibration needed to synchronize the fuel gauge with the battery’s state-of-charge. A deliberate full discharge and recharge every 30 charges corrects this problem. Letting the battery run down to the cut-off point in the equipment will do this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate.

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