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How often should I charge my laptop's battery to prolong its lifespan?

One school of thought is that you should immediately unplug your laptop as soon as it hits 100%. In fact they say you shouldn't even let it hit 100%, you should try to keep it between 40-80% all the time. The argument is that if the lithium ion cells are charged to 100% they are under more pressure and it reduces their maximum life.

The other school of thought says the total opposite. They say you should keep your laptop plugged in as much as possible because you are avoiding discharge cycles. Most laptops now should be smart enough to bypass the battery once it hits 100% and just power the laptop directly. And if you aren't using your battery very often then you also aren't using the charge cycles. By using less charge cycles you should be prolonging the life of the battery.

I tend to agree with the second school of thought, the first one made sense a decade ago but manufacturers are smart enough to account for those old shortcomings. My recommendation is stay plugged in as often as you can so you won't be using your battery. Older battery tech also used to require you to do a full-discharge to calibrate the battery every once in a while, that's also no longer required with modern technology.

How do I increase my laptop battery capacity (not battery life)?

The laptop makes an estimate of battery capacity based on a known discharge voltage curve and measurements of how much power it is using over time.
Image source: Battery Performance Characteristics

Because it's only an estimate, it will vary. The actual capacity itself will decrease as well as the battery wears out through hundreds or thousands of charge/discharge cycles, and may vary somewhat based on the battery's temperature (see above graph).

If you want to actually increase your battery capacity, then get a bigger battery.
This example is a big battery that is designed to double as a keyboard lifter. You know, just because that big fat battery is too aesthetically displeasing, and you want your keyboard lifted up, so this hides how fat the battery is.

Can I unplug my laptop battery from my laptop for weeks?

You sure can. In fact, if you charge the battery first, then you can leave it unplugged for a year or two without worrying.

The rule of thumb for lithium batteries is that they discharge about 5 - 10% per month when in storage. In my experience it is usually actually about 2 - 3% discharge per month when in storage. They take damage when the voltage drops too low (an “empty” lithium ion cell still is usually at 2.5 to 3.0 volts, and a “full” one is 4.2 to 4.35 volts). Letting the cell voltage drop below 2.5 volts is usually very bad for the battery and will result in reduced capacity, although the battery will probably still be usable. Your laptop battery is probably 11.1 or 14.8 volts, meaning it has a chain of 3 or 4 cells in series (or 3 or 4 banks of multiple cells in series).

Basically as long as you charge the battery up to full once every one or two years, then it will be fine. You don’t need to keep it plugged-in at all times - just try to charge it every year or so.

Is it okay to replace laptop battery with another brand's battery?

Do not risk your laptop and life by buying another brand’s battery. Even if the shopkeeper manages to persuade you, do not buy it. They do it for their business i.e. they just want to sell their product by any means. In case, you yourself acheived to the decision of ‘buying another brand’s battery’ then please make sure the new battery’s details matches ditto to the battery provided by the company. I would still recommend you to buy the genuine batteries provided by your PC maker.

Here is a short incident about duplicate batteries that will convince you to never buy other batteries except the one made by your pc maker.. “In a widely reported story, someone in Ohio purchased a battery for their ThinkPad laptop from a company called Shentech rather than directly from Lenovo or IBM (in 2005, IBM sold the ThinkPad line of laptops to Lenovo). No doubt they paid less than IBM or Lenovo would have charged. When I checked today, a battery for a T40 ThinkPad that Lenovo sells for $119 is only $65 at Shentech. Was it a bargain? Not at all; the battery caught on fire.

The story made news not because of the fire but because the battery, bearing an IBM logo, was a fake (allegedly). After examining the faulty battery, IBM purchased additional batteries from Shentech, and they too were (allegedly) fakes. Needless to say, IBM sued Shentech.”

How are 6 cells connected in a laptop battery?

How are 6 cells connected in a laptop battery?

As defined elsewhere, the mechanical connection is usually spot-welded inside the battery pack.

A standard 18650* Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) or Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) cell operates at 3.6–3.7 Volts. By creating a series string of three, a total battery voltage for a laptop of 10.8–11.1 Voltage is achieved. This is as close to a 12V Standard as a modern laptop needs to have available. Indeed, with the modern architecture of most laptops, two cells would suffice, yielding 7.2–7.4 Volts, because no supply rail above 5V is strictly necessary, but aiming for 12V is still the norm.
* I strongly suspect that this size and shape is the original “A” cell, but it can’t be called that because it’s producing more than 1.5V output.

This means that those horrible little netbooks usually only have three-cell batteries. By adding a second string of three in parallel, the total current available to a laptop is doubled. For laptops with removable batteries which potentially protrude from the rear, 9-cell (three strings of three) and 12-cell (four strings of three) batteries are available.

I have an ancient Toshiba Satellite A80 which suffered a bad battery. Because there’s nothing else wrong with the machine, I purchased a 12-cell replacement, and it’s protrusion from the back of the machine is very obvious. The only problem with using a larger capacity battery like this, is that it is not accommodated by a docking station, and gets in the way. Given the purpose for which I use this machine, doubling the thickness of the battery pack so that it could carry 24 cells would present no problem for me. The battery could be doubled in thickness again, to contain 48 cells, also acting as a prop at the back to angle the laptop forward, but such density of cells invites disaster because if one flames out, it can take the rest of them with it.

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