While information about good battery care is generally available, a large number of misconceptions still exist, unfortunately. With the increasing trend of laptops being used in the office, I reckon it is a good time to examine a couple of battery tips that laptop users might want to adopt.
Today, I distil some of the existing knowledge into a couple of practical tips for your SMB. I hope that this will save some money and allow your business to be more environmentally conscious.
Avoid buying "spare" batteries
For an SMB that is acquiring a number of laptops, it is often tempting to purchase additional spare batteries "in case" they are needed. There are two flaws with this line of reasoning. First of all, most users will never need a second battery. Now, I do not have any empirical research data to back my assertion, but just think about it: how many of your laptop-using friends have ever purchased a second battery, and are actually making full use of it?
The second problem is more crucial, and is an established fact. While not widely known, lithium-ion batteries start deteriorating the moment they leave the factory. In fact, even if left unused at temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius, studies have shown that the maximum charge a lithium-ion battery can hold could drop by as much as 35 percent in just one year. So even if you are a heavy user and expect to wear down the original battery in a year, it would be better to buy a replacement battery only when you are ready to use it.
Yes, there will certainly be power users who do require additional batteries -- for long flights, for example. Yet it makes sense for an SMB to ensure that overeager purchasers or IT managers do not get carried away and make environmentally costly mistakes like ordering an additional battery for everyone. Similarly, staffers should be discouraged from purchasing additional batteries.
Ensure adequate ventilation for your laptop
One way to artificially shorten the lifespan of your laptop battery is by exposing it to excessive heat. As such, leaving your laptop -- and by extension, the battery -- in your parked car on a summer afternoon is a definite no-no.
Most laptops have well-designed heat ventilation, and normal usage should not threaten their lifespan. Still, it would be wise to ensure that there is proper ventilation for your laptop. For example, when switched on, make sure that the laptop is fully taken out of any casing or pouch so as to avoid any excessive heat buildup. This might seem a minor point, but users who inadvertently block the ventilation of their laptops will likely continue to do so unless told otherwise.
I hope that the above tips will help your SMB reduce the number of batteries that need to be purchased. If you have any other tips or ideas, be sure to post them here.