Like all rechargeable batteries, laptop battery also degrades with time. It also needs proper maintenance and care. Fortunately, you can recondition a laptop battery to bring it back to life and save some bucks.
Most of the time, you should carry out simple battery calibration to reset it. Do it about once every 3 months.
I this guide, you’ll learn
- Types of laptop batteries
- How to calibrate your laptop battery to reset its charging capacity reading
- How to recondition laptop batteries by freezing
- How to recondition a laptop battery
- Benefits to recondition a laptop battery
- Mastering your battery reconditioning skills
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Types of laptop batteries
Many types of laptop batteries have been used. Some of them are already attached to the laptop construction. But many can be detached from the unit. These old laptops can be plugged into the wall.
Mainly, 3 types of batteries are used in laptops. I.e. NiCAD, NiMH, and Lithium-ion batteries. Nowadays, mostly, it is Lithium-ion batteries, because it has beneficial over the others. I am going to share some brief facts about these battery packs here.
NiCad – Nickel Cadmium Batteries
- It has the longest life cycle of about 1500 cycles.
- It contains toxic cadmium metal.
- It can operate at extreme temperatures (from −40 to 70 °C).
- It requires periodic maintenance. You can calibrate it for proper working. i.e. fully charge the battery, and then let it almost fully discharge, before charging again.
- It loses about 20% of its capacity per month at room temperature.
- Besides the above 20% capacity loss per month, it also loses about 10% capacity in 24 hours when you plug off its charger.
- It suffers from the “voltage depletion” mistakenly taken for “memory effect”. I.e. It can occur from repeated partial discharge. But reversible after a few calibrations.
NiMH – Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries
- It is a newer model of Nickel batteries, as the previous one contained toxic Cadmium metal in them.
- It has about 180-2,000 charge-discharge cycles.
- They do not contain toxic chemicals.
- It loses 30% capacity each month.
- It experiences voltage depletion or voltage depression. But can be reversed by a few battery calibrations.
- It also needs proper and periodic calibration. I.e. Charging the battery fully and discharging to almost 100% before charging again. Otherwise, you may get less of its life cycles.
- Its shelf life is very long compared to others.
Li-ion – Lithium Ions Batteries
- It has a more specific density per kilogram, i.e. 100-265 Wh/kg. Which is way more than the previous ones.
- It doesn’t suffer from any voltage depletion or memory effect.
- Its life cycle is 300-500 cycles.
- It has the least discharge rate, i.e. 5% in 24h, then 1–2% per month (plus 3% for safety circuit).
- It is sensitive to over-charging and discharging, having super high current inflow.
- The preferred choice for almost all electronic devices.
Precautions for reconditioning a laptop battery
Safety first, in every battery reconditioning process. For the laptop battery reconditioning, I have some useful tips for you to follow to avoid damaging your battery and of course you too.
- If you have NiCd OR NiMH battery, you should calibrate once every month, to reset the voltage depletion effect. Sometimes, mistakenly referred to as the memory effect.
- For Lithium-ion batteries, the calibration should be only done after 2 or 3 months, but it only gives you an accurate reading of the actual capacity. Try to avoid calibrating your li-ion battery more than once each month or 2.
- If you are living in a dusty area, you should clean the metal contacts of the battery as well as the charger with a non-abrasive cloth.
- Lithium-ion batteries tend to last longer if saved from heating. So, it is wise to get a thermal cooler pad for your laptop, as it costs less than a new laptop battery, and your laptop performance may also increase.
- If battery opening and soldering are required, it is advised to wear insulated gloves and goggles and be in focus. Otherwise, you may harm yourself.
How to Calibrate laptop battery to reset its charging capacity
Laptop battery calibration should be done every 2 or 3 months. It helps reset its overall remaining charging capacity and sometimes regains its capacity.
It is also worth noting that battery calibration doesn’t restore your laptop battery, instead, it is purely about an accurate reading of battery life. It does not improve battery life. If you want to regain your battery capacity, you need to check below the laptop battery reconditioning steps.
Insert the battery into your laptop and fully charge it, i.e. 100%. Then turn off your laptop, and let it cool down for about 5 minutes.
Now, start the computer. Make sure it is plugged into AC. Usually, a laptop turns off when its battery level drops. You need to change those levels to the minimum it can be.
In window 10, Go to the “Power Options” settings page. You can get there by right-clicking on the battery icon beside the date & time, and choosing “Power Options”. OR you can go to Settings > System > Power & Sleep > Additional power settings (from right sidebar).
Now click on “Change plan settings” beside the active power plan.
Then click on “Change advanced power settings”
Now Select “battery > Critical battery level”, and set it down to minimum. I believe it won’t go down 3%, but you can try.
Always take a note what you are changing, so you can reset to the previous settings easily.
Unplug the AC charger, and let your laptop drains the battery to a minimum. You can work like normal on your laptop during this time. But let it discharge the battery.
After the laptop fully discharged and shuts down by itself, let it cool down for another 5 to 10 minutes. Then, plug in the AC charger, and fully charge it again.
You can now reset the Power settings that you have changed for the battery calibration.
If you notice that your laptop shuts down, without shutting down the Windows. I.e. Like you are working on a laptop without a battery and you pull off the AC plug. It means, your battery has issues, and its end life is near. If it is new, you should ask for a replacement. OR, check the next how to recondition a laptop battery section.
How to recondition a laptop battery by freezing?
Sometimes, by freezing your laptop battery, it can be revived. By freezing your laptop battery, the ions are slowed down due to low temperature. Here are the steps to follow to revive your dead laptop battery by freezing it.
Charge the battery if possible, then remove it from your laptop and place it in a ziploc or some other plastic container to avoid moisture contacts in your fridge.
Now place your battery in a fridge freezing area and keep it there for up to 24 hours.
Take it out, and let it reset to the room temperature. It can take up to 8 hours, depending on your room hotness.
Put it back into your laptop and charge it to 100% before using it. You can charge in your laptop without turning it on.
Hopefully, your battery will be revived. Otherwise, check the other methods.
How to recondition laptop batteries?
Reconditioning a laptop battery means, refurbishing/replacing its individual dead battery cells. Often time, when a cell is damaged inside a laptop battery, the whole battery performance is pulled to null.
But before starting out, keep in mind this is a technical guide, and it requires you to take your basic electronic and battery safety precautions. I.e. You’ll need to open your laptop battery and replace new battery cells, so you should know how to work with them safely (although it is pretty much safe).
Tools you’ll need for laptop battery reconditioning
- A Multimeter (cheap and useful)
- A Charger, around 4-5 V will work
- Small cutter, and a screwdriver, to help pop opening your laptop battery
Remove the battery from your laptop, and pop open it with the help of a cutter and screwdriver. Different laptop batteries open differently. For some of them, you may need to remove the paper on it while for most of them you’ll need to pop open the pack lid.
If you have a 6 cells battery, you’ll see them in 3 pairs series. Measure the voltage of each cell. It will have to be around 3.7 Volts that equals 11.1 Volts for all of them. You need to find the cell that is less than others’ cell voltage.
You can charge this cell with an external 4-5 volts charger for about 1 minute, and wait for some seconds to take a cell voltage reading. Repeat this charging for some time.
If the cell is damaged, you’ll need to replace it with a new one by removing the old ones and replacing them with new ones. But most of the time, simple charging will work.
Now put the cells back into the battery box, and fit it just like before. Install this battery into your laptop again, and start charging it to 100%. Hopefully, if you followed the steps, you’ll get a reconditioned laptop battery.
You may also need to repeat the steps in the future, if you need to recondition other laptop batteries.
Check the video for replacing/revolving laptop battery cells
Benefits of reconditioning laptop batteries
- The first benefit is obvious, which is, saving some bucks. Because new laptop battery can cost around $40 to $150 depending on your laptop model and battery cells.
- If you have some entrepreneurial skills, you can turn this into a part-time or full-time income stream as well, by selling refurbished laptop batteries OR repairing batteries for others charging fees for your work.
- Another benefit to recondition laptop batteries is making our beloved earth hazardous-free. Because batteries contain hazardous elements, which need to be properly recycled instead of throwing in a dustbin.
- And lastly, it is fun to do new things or revive them make them work again.
Learn more about batteries reconditioning
To learn more about battery reconditioning at home, you can take this course. It’ll teach you a step-by-step video tutorial from basic to advance to carry out any type of battery reconditioning at home.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is my laptop plugged in and not charging?
If your laptop is plugged in and still not charging, while it can turns on properly, then it is obviously your laptop battery culprit. Because the power adapter is working properly and your laptop turns on, but only your battery isn’t charging.
In this situation, recondition your laptop battery, or replace it. The freezing method may work for this. But you may need to jumpstart your battery outside of the laptop.
What makes laptop battery drain so fast?
There are a number of factors that may drain your laptop battery so fast. Some of them are below.
* Your screen brightness might be higher.
* A lot of running programs.
* Incompatible battery with laptop’s operating system
* High-resolution graphics are being used.
* Might be mismatch power plan issue.
* Your battery might be the culprit.
What is the average life of a laptop battery?
The life of a battery depends on its specifications, type, and quality. Normal Lithium-ion batteries have a life cycle of about 300 to 500 cycles. Life cycle means, charge and discharge cycle. So it can last from 1 year to 2 years. OR sometimes, more if you are using it less.
What is the average lifespan of a laptop?
1 to 3 years is the lifespan of a laptop battery. But it depends on the laptop using hours, brand, specifications, quality, and type of battery. This life span is for normally used lithium-ion batteries. It also worth noting, that your environment temperature also affect your battery lifespan. In hotter temperature, battery lifespan tends to lower.
Is it fine to leave your laptop plugged into the wall for gaming?
Yes, it is totally fine. But if you are living in a cold environment or it is a cold season. Otherwise, you should remove your battery, and use your laptop on AC power. Because, as you’ll playing a game, your laptop will heat up, and your battery will also be heating up.
There was one other issue, which is not overcharging your laptop battery. But that doesn’t apply anymore because of the intelligent charge controller inside your battery. It protects your battery from overcharging and over-discharging.
How can I revive my laptop battery?
Yes, absolutely, but you need to do a little work, and give some time. I’ve mentioned the most useful methods above, please have a look, and you’ll be able to revive any dead laptop battery.
Can you revive a lithium laptop battery?
Yes, lithium-ion batteries can also be reconditioned. Just follow the above steps in “how to recondition a laptop battery” section, and you’ll be able to revive your lithium laptop battery at home.
I have mentioned the most useful ways to recondition laptop batteries. Especially the last method, i.e. reconditioning your batteries by pop opening and then finding and replacing damaged cells themselves.
If you want to learn in-depth about reconditioning batteries at home, I’d recommend you check this course. It’ll teach you to step by step to recondition any type of battery, including lead-acid, lithium, car, truck, golf, laptop batteries, etc.
If you know any method, that I missed in this post, and is valuable, please let me know in the comment below.