Why you shouldn’t always leave your laptop plugged in

Many users have the bad habit of leaving their laptop always connected to the power. A behavior that can deteriorate the useful life of the battery over time, among other undesirable effects.

The idea of ​​a laptop is that it moves and we can use it anywhere. Precisely for this reason, the laptop has a battery, which gives us the necessary energy autonomy so that the product is always available, as long as the battery has a charge. However, there are not a few users who have the habit of keeping the laptop always connected to the power, which today is not a good idea.

A custom of yesteryear

This habit of having the laptop always connected to the power has some antiquity and, back then, it also had some logic. Let’s think that old laptops had removable batteries, which we could easily remove from the body of the equipment. In these cases, it did make sense that in order to extend the life of said battery we would remove it from the computer and limit ourselves to using the equipment with the current coming from the charger.

However, if we take a look at the equipment present in any current laptop comparison, we will see how practically all current products already have integrated batteries. These cannot be removed from the equipment, so having the charger always plugged in has consequences for them.

overload and overheating

Although sometimes we have a considerable list of problems that can arise with our battery, having it plugged in, it is true that there are real problems and others not so much. Among the first we have the problems with overheating. A battery that is continuously connected tends to charge itself when it falls below 100% autonomy, which in the long run can cause it to overheat. It is true that your laptop is not going to explode or burn, but it is true that the useful life of that battery can be affected.

What does not happen, unless the product is defective, is that the battery is overcharged. Something that only happens in very, very old laptops, since all modern equipment has integrated meters, which are responsible for reading the precise charge level of the battery. At the moment in which this sensor detects that the battery is at 100% charge, the power is cut off, so it is not possible to overload it. The problem is that, as we have mentioned, the moment the energy drops below that 100%, energy will re-enter, which does affect the payload cycles.

memory effect

In this list of problems we cannot forget the memory effect that, although it is increasingly controlled, continues to be problematic in many of the current batteries for laptops. This effect implies that when complete charge and discharge cycles do not occur, some of the cells that are part of the battery crystallize. The presence of these crystals prevents the battery from being fully charged, which has the final effect of losing the battery’s capacity.

The solution for this problem is to carry out complete cycles of loading and unloading. That is, charge the battery up to 100% of its capacity and then fully deplete its capacity. Obviously, this process should not be distributed continuously, but it is enough to do it from time to time. So if we have the laptop battery continuously connected to the network, we will be performing improper cycles and causing durability problems in said battery.

Connector Suffering

Another problem with leaving the laptop continuously connected to the power is the additional suffering that we apply to the charging connector. Let us think that, even if it is not much, the computer is always going to move from the table by typing, by changing its position, by opening or closing it or by connecting a USB device, for example.

All of these small movements affect the connector and the laptop board it attaches to, which can reduce the resistance of both. The result is that, over time, that connector can break. In fact, this problem was common in certain brands and equipment, due to a weakness in the fixings of the connector to the board that, for many users, led them to think of a certain “planned obsolescence” by the manufacturers. That is why it is highly recommended to take care of that connector and not subject it to more stress than is essential.

What if I don’t use the equipment?

Although it is not usual, it is possible that you plan not to use the equipment for a long period of time. We speak of a time from one month, as a reference. If your computer is modern, you will not be able to remove the battery to maintain the life of its components. But luckily, you have an alternative with which to extend its useful life.

For this, there are two parameters that you must take into account. The first is the storage temperature of the equipment, which should be as cool as possible. However, it is not necessary to put the laptop in the fridge either, it is enough to leave it in a cool and dry place in your home. Excessive heat deteriorates the battery, so do not leave it in the sun or near other very hot objects.

The other aspect that we must take into account is the level of remaining battery charge. According to different expert studies, the recommended battery level is 40%. In case of keeping the equipment immobilized for a year with the battery at 100% charge and at a temperature of about 25 degrees, the degradation with a full charge is 20%. A percentage that is reduced to just 4% of degradation suffered by the laptop battery if it is left at that 40% charge level.

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