Why Calibrate Laptop Batteries?

Did your laptop suddenly shut down even if there’s still about 10% of the battery left in your device? Or worse, you’re absolutely sure that you still got 25% power left, and yet your laptop still died on you?

In these scenarios, your battery most probably isn’t showing the correct power level that it has. The best way to prevent these problems from surfacing is through calibration.

How do batteries work?

Before, your devices are using nickel-based batteries. However, this type is known to memorize your shallow discharges, which is simply called the “memory effect”. For instance, if you usually discharge your laptop by 25%, then your nickel-based battery will remember that. Thus, it will appear that your power level is full even though your device is only 85% charged.

Fortunately, this doesn’t happen with a lithium-based battery, which is what is used by most laptops today. However, while a shallow discharge doesn’t have any effect in lithium batteries, performing an extreme discharge however will only harm them.

An extreme discharge would entail draining most, if not, all of your battery’s juice (i.e., 0% charge) or just performing a little discharge (i.e., 95% charge). Lithium batteries exhibit the same effect as the nickel-based one at the extreme levels of discharge. As such, you should plug in your computer immediately if it is around 50% in power.

Why is there a need to calibrate it?

It is proven that no matter how your treat your power device, its capacity to hold power will still deplete over time. Also, your battery will most likely give an incorrect estimate of power level if it doesn’t get the maintenance it needs.

Through calibration, one should be able to prolong the life span of their batteries. Also, it can prevent unsafe events and other power-related problems in the near future. For these reasons, it is recommended that computer users should calibrate their batteries every now and then.

What happens in a battery calibration?

As said before, lithium-based batteries cannot handle repeated extreme discharges. As such, there is a need to calibrate it to ensure the accuracy of its power level readings. In a calibration, you simply discharge your battery from a full 100% to a flat 0%. Afterwards, you plug it again until it reaches 100%.

When should you calibrate your battery?

Since the calibration requires an extreme discharge, you cannot perform this maintenance procedure on a daily basis. Experts recommend that you do the calibration every two to three months. This can greatly help in preserving the accuracy of your power meter.

How do you do the calibration?

There are several ways on how you can proceed with the calibration. Some laptops have a feature in their BIOS setup to enable calibration. Those who do not have such feature use a software to calibrate their batteries. The last option is to do this manually, which will be described in the following steps:

1. Charge your battery until it reaches the 100% level (fully charged).

2. Keep it plugged in for at least two more hours so that it can cool down.

3. Click Start then select Control Panel.

4. In the Control Panel, open Power Options.

5. In your current power plan, click Change plan settings.

6. Open Change advanced power settings.

7. Under Battery, select the settings listed below.

Critical battery action (On battery) – Sleep

Critical battery level – 5%

8. Click OK.

9. Unplug your laptop and use it until it reaches the critical level. Don’t let your pc sleep, hibernate, or use the screensaver during the process.

10. After your computer shuts down, leave it turned off for 5 hours or more.

11. Lastly, charge your laptop again until it reaches the 100% level (fully charged).

And that concludes the calibration procedure. Since this process requires a lot of time on your part, be sure to start the process such that the 6-hour shutdown is situated around your bedtime period. Also, do not forget to turn back your power plan settings to its original state after the calibration.

Most people do away with calibrating their batteries because they aren’t really worried about the inaccurate readings. But once their batteries die down on them, that’s when they start learning about calibration. However, in this scenario a calibration may be useless as the lifespan of the device has already lessened to a great extent. Thus, it is important that you calibrate before you get these warning signs, or else it may be too late to save your battery.

This was a guest article from Jake Bollingston.

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