How to Extend the Life of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are relative newcomers to the world of electrical devices. In fact, they were only developed for the market by Sony in the early 1990s. What made Li-ion batteries such a game-changer was all to do with the materials used in their composition. By utilizing intercalated lithium, a battery was created with a very high energy density and a low self-discharge rate. In layman’s terms, Li-ion batteries could hold more power and use it up slower.
Without Li-ion batteries, it is hard to imagine the range of portable electronics – from laptops to mobile devices, which make use of them – even existing. Becoming a staple part of nearly all electronic innovations since they were created, Li-ion batteries exist in many different products, from USB rechargeable batteries to super-long life battery packs designed to keep important electronic devices running for extended periods of time.
Yet despite their marvelous efficiency, Li-ion batteries still suffer from the great limitation that effects all batteries – the electrolytes and chemicals within them eventually become degraded, the battery life diminishes, and they no longer provide the hours of the battery life they did when new. Of course, many high-grade Li-ion batteries, such as those manufactured by Pale Blue Earth, can be recharged up to a thousand times before failure. But even with the best products, the inevitable inevitably happens.
As with any electronic product or complex device though, there are things that can be done to maximize the efficiency of Li-ion batteries and methods of care that can extend their life. None of these practices are particularly complex and extending the life of your Li-ion batteries is just a matter of working some good habits into daily use. Here are some useful tips that can potentially lead to months, and even years, of additional reliable battery life.
Use Partial Discharge Cycles
The first tip for extending the life of lithium batteries is one which many portable electronics users already do, although perhaps not to the optimal extent. Specifically, this is the habit of using only partial-discharge cycles. In other words, not running your battery completely empty before recharging. With the ubiquity today of cell phone technology, phone and laptop charging stations have become a common sight, and nearly all users will carry their charger on their person. As a result, people very rarely let their laptops and phones die before recharging and will usually recharge according to partial discharge cycles.
Yet to really preserve your lithium battery, it is advised that only 20% to 30% of the battery life should be used before recharging. This is the part that may come as a surprise to some, as few people would rush to charge a battery still at 80%. Nevertheless, if you want you Li-ion battery to last as long as possible, this is certainly one of the best ways to do it.
Avoid Charging to 100%
There are also few people who would not charge all the way to 100% if they had the time. But this is in fact another factor in the early depletion of lithium batteries. With Li-ion batteries, it is actually best to unhook them a little early.
Limit the Battery Temperature
This is a tip that also serves as a great rule of thumb for nearly all electronic products – they need to be kept at an optimal temperature. Usually, the hazard is heat (although you should keep batteries away from extreme cold too). It is always a good idea to frequently feel your electronic products to ensure the battery pack isn’t overheating.
So there you have it, a few ways of extending your Li-ion battery life.