Extend lithium-ion battery life with these five tips

In today’s mobile world, battery life is precious. If you don’t believe me, go to an airport and watch the road warriors jockey for position around the available power outlets.

And once you start traveling, it doesn’t take long to learn what helps preserve the current charge on your batteries. What many don’t know however, is how to actually care for the battery itself, which is just as important.

A little research was done and came up with five tips for extending the life of lithium-ion batteries.

First, keep your batteries at room temperature whenever possible.

That means between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius or about 65 to 75 degree Fahrenheit. The worst thing that can happen to a lithium-ion battery is to have a full charge and be subjected to elevated temperatures. So don’t leave or charge your mobile device’s battery in your car if it’s hot out. Heat is by far the largest factor when it comes to reducing lithium-ion battery life.

Second, think about getting a high-capacity lithium-ion battery, rather than carrying a spare.

Batteries deteriorate over time, whether they’re being used or not. So a spare battery won’t last much longer than the one in use. Also try to buy batteries with the most recent manufacturing date.

Third, allow partial discharges (usually).

Unlike NiCad batteries, lithium-ion batteries do not have a charge memory. That means deep-discharge cycles are not required. In fact, it’s actually better for the battery to use partial-discharge cycles — with one exception.

Battery experts suggest that after 30 charges, you should allow lithium-ion batteries to almost completely discharge. Continuous partial discharges create a condition called digital memory, decreasing the accuracy of the device’s power gauge. So let the battery discharge to the cut-off point and then recharge. The power gauge will be recalibrated.

The fourth, avoid totally discharging lithium-ion batteries.

If a lithium-ion battery is discharged below 2.5 volts per cell, a safety circuit built into the battery opens and the battery appears to be dead. Unfortunately, in this situation, the device’s original charger will likely not be able to recharge the battery. Only battery analyzers with the boost function can do the job.

Also, for safety reasons, do not recharge deeply discharged lithium-ion batteries if they have been stored in that condition for several months.

Fifth, and lastly, for extended storage, discharge a lithium-ion battery to about 40 percent and store it in a cool place that is not exposed to moisture.

The refrigerator is okay. The freezer is not.

Lithium-ion batteries are a huge improvement over previous types of batteries. Getting 500 charge/discharge cycles from a lithium-ion battery is not impossible, but does require a little attention to the battery’s well being.

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