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Everything you need to know about caring for your precious batteries


The other day I realised that a lot of the world is now almost completely reliant on battery technology for just about every part of our lives. We compute using batteries, call people, listen to music, take photos, follow navigation, some of us even use batteries for car and bicycle transport. It’s pervasive, and yet most of us know very little about how they work, how to look after them or indeed what to do if they fail us.

Here, then is a round up of some useful notes on the technology, as well as tips on care and maintenance so you get the most out of your battery powered devices.

  • Why lithium-ion batteries die so young is an interesting article which looks at the chemistry inside the most popular battery type of the moment. Apparently it’s all down to the graphene and ion flows between the cathode and anode. Fascinating stuff.
  • How to prolong lithium based batteries is another detailed look at the physics, but this time focused on preventative measures. Apparently heat is a big killer.
  • How to make your cell-phone battery last longer offers up some down to earth tips, some of which you’ll know (dim the display as much as possible) and some you probably won’t.
  • Notebook Battery Guide is a great series of forum posts detailing measures to take to preserve your notebook battery. The one I didn’t know about was to calibrate it every 30 or so cycles. Makes sense.
  • Eight Tips to Extend Battery Life of Your Electric Car is clearly designed for those lucky enough to have enough money not to really care. But still, the tips are valid, including the advice on how to make best use of timers to optimize the charge/range ratio.
  • How to awaken a sleeping Li-ion Battery offers a brief bit of advice on one way to restore apparently dead batteries. The secret lies in giving it a boost, but you’ll need a special charger and it may not work.

Finally, here’s a video from security guru Steve Gibson talking about how to look after your lithium-ion battery. Plug it in, baby.


Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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