How to exercise your laptop battery – the automagic way.

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So I have a 4 (?) year old Macbook. Original battery and all. Now batteries like to be used and charged and used and charged – in most cases. Now I use my macbook for 8 hours a day during work and then the rest of the night for emails, other work, facebook, blogging, you know all the other things you use your computer for. Problem is, at work I was leaving my macbook plugged in all the time – of course right? You want full power when working… Problem is, having it plugged in SO long means that the battery never gets a chance to be used, so it builds up a memory and then when you finally DO disconnect it, it lasts for 10 minutes or 30 or whatever, nowhere near the 2 or 3 hours you expect a laptop to run on a ‘full’ battery.

Now, ALL websites that I’ve ever seen suggest to simply manually unplug your laptop every so often and run on batteries. Well fine if you’re an occasional user. For me, I don’t want to have to remember to unplug it during the day for an hour or something – multiple times :/.  So, I was thinkng – there MUST be software that electronically disconnects the AC power and allows you to programmatically exercise your battery. Surely,… sounds like a standard program right? Nope, I can’t find anything of the sort. All the articles i see say ‘unplug your laptop for a few hours everyday’ 🙁 If I was really keen, I’d write a program for it but then I thought… if there isn’t one out there already, is it even possible?

Basic 3 pronged outlet timer

So, my automagic solution to automate exercising your laptop battery is:… drum roll please… use a wall timer on it. 😉 So simple yet I’ve never seen anyone suggest this method either. If yiu’re like me and the laptop is plugged in for a larger part of the day then it is unplugged and you have memory / charge issues, set a timer like this up to turn off AC power to your laptop for 4 or 5 hours a night – make sure to only let your macbook sleep so its  using some battery the whole time enough to drain it or use some of the batteries power. Make sure to schedule it to turn on an hour or two before you intend on using it / wake up.

The end result is that you’re forcing your macbook to use the battery and thereby exercising it and by the time you wake up, you’ll still have a fresh full charge (and hopefully a longer lasting charge)

This at minimum limits the manual process of unplugging. Still, its good to take it off its leash sometimes and just let it get completely drained. I try to do this every week or so in some fashion or another (like now, sitting unplugged in my living room, battery at 28%)

So next time someone googles ‘how do I exercise my laptop battery’, I’m hoping they find my blog. I wish I had thought of this earlier!

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5 thoughts on “How to exercise your laptop battery – the automagic way.

  1. Hi Micah –

    I am a digital forensics specialist, so I spend a lot of time around computer geeks – probably qualify myself – and this is the best, simple answer to battery maintenance for college students, busness people, etc.

    Thanks!

    Dan

  2. The exact thing happens to me and yep… Googling, I came up with your blog among all the others that ask you to do several tasks a day everyday to keep the battery healthy. Your solution sounds as cheap and as easy to implement as a software would be. I was hoping to find a soft, although I knew there was none out there. This time your blog was the first clic I made so I guess I’m going with it. Very clever, thank you very much.

  3. Great 🙂 Glad it was helpful. These days my battery lasts such a short time anyways, I just use it off power at night. You can’t extend their life indefinitely but it does help to exercise them anyways

  4. I have had the very same thought for years as to why there is no program out there that does this. I had never thought to use a timer. Thank you for the wonderful suggestion!

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