Saturday, August 22, 2009

BatteryCare helps prolong your laptop battery’s life

BatteryCare is not just a simple battery monitoring utility. It goes a step ahead by giving you detailed information about the condition of your battery and offering you various utilities and notification that helps you extend the battery life.

After you install the application you will get a small icon on the system tray that tells you the percentage of battery power remaining and an estimate of the amount of time you can operate your laptop before running out of power. The battery time remaining information is more useful than a simple battery level indicator.

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The main screen of the program gives you a concise information about the battery status, but you can switch to the detailed view where you can see the total capacity of the battery, the capacity when the battery left the factory and the actual capacity you are getting, which helps you see how the battery has degraded in performance over time.

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Like most battery monitoring utilities, BatteryCare too allows you to set different profiles for different running condition of the laptop. When the laptop is drawing power from an AC outlet, it can switch to a high performance plan and when it’s running on battery power it can switch to a power saving plan. The power saving plan will dim the screen or turn of Bluetooth or take other such power cut down actions to conserve battery power and life.

A very unique feature of BatteryCare is the monitoring of battery discharge cycles. Discharge (or charge) cycles consist of using all that battery charge but not necessarily all at once. For example, say you use the laptop until the battery capacity falls to half and then recharge it. The next day if you did the same, it would be counted as one discharge cycle and not two.

Now laptop batteries contain a capacity gauge that allows us to know the exact capacity of the battery or the amount of energy stored. However, due to the continuous charging/discharging cycles, this sensor tends to stray and becomes inaccurate. An inaccurate battery gauge will give wrong figures causing your laptop to shutdown unexpectedly.

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The capacity gauge is hence required to be recalibrated, which should be done after every 30 discharge cycles. BatteryCare keeps count of this discharge cycle and alerts you when the time for recalibration arrives. It also includes the necessary tool to recalibrate the battery gauge.

BatteryCare is an amazing battery maintenance tool, and is highly recommended for anyone using a laptop. You can also try some other tools like BattCursor or Notebook Hardware Control, but these are just battery level indicator. PowerSlave is another good tool for squeezing the last ounce of power when working on the laptop. BatteryCare’s recalibration tool is however a must have.


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