Jeff Stubbers (Mr. Customer Service)

Traverse Pro Battery Maintenance

Written on December 28, 2015 by Jeff Stubbers
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The batteries in our Puget Traverse Pro are lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

Throw out everything that you thought you knew about battery charging.  Lithium-ion batteries are a completely different animal from how other types of batteries work and are charged, maintained, and stored.  

Many of us are familiar with the ubiquitous nickel-cadmium (NiCd) rechargeable batteries, which have been available to the public for many years. NiCd batteries, and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries can build up a "memory", which leads to loss of charge capacity.  If these batteries are left in a semi-charged state, or repeatedly not given proper time to fully charge, they can build up a memory of these half-charged cycles.  As a result when you go to "fully" charge them again, they will think that the 50% - 60%, etc., charge is a full 100% charge, and will only charge up to that 50%-60%, no matter how long you charge them.  So with these types of batteries it is a good idea to "cycle" them from time to time, whereby you fully discharge them, then fully charge them a time or two.  This helps these types of batteries forget the partial charge memory so that they can utilize full battery charge capability again.  Lithium-ion batteries do not have this issue, so cycling the battery is not necessary.  Simply charge as necessary.

Battery Charging
 

When charging nickel based batteries it is best to do this in moderate temperature, and to make sure you complete a full charge cycle.  When charging the lithium-ion battery in our Traverse Pro, it is recommended to do so at moderate temperature as well.  You do not want to charge below freezing temperatures, and you do not want to expose the battery to excessive heat. Lithium-ion batteries do not need to be fully charged, and a partial charge is actually better for long-term storage purposes. It is advisable to discontinue charging and using a lithium-ion battery if it gets excessively warm, so please pay attention to the temperature of your battery throughout the use of your Puget Traverse Pro so you can notice when it is getting warmer than it should in typical use.

Battery Storage

Nickel based batteries can be stored in a completely discharged state without any apparent negative side effects.  However, this is not the case with lithium based batteries like those in the Puget Traverse Pro.  With lithium based batteries it is best to store at a 40%-50% charge state, if you plan to store the lithium-ion battery for an extended period of time.  It is also best to store the lithium-ion batteries in a dry location, at a cool room temperature.  So in a way you can think of storing batteries like storing wine.  Try to keep them around 55F, avoid light, and avoid temperature fluctuation.  Avoid freezing, and as with both wine and batteries - heat kills.  The higher the temperature the battery is stored, the sooner permanent capacity loss will occur.  Under ideal conditions, lithium batteries can be stored for up to 10 years with only moderate capacity loss.

It's important to note that all batteries degrade over time, so the maximum charge capability will decrease, and all rechargeable batteries do have a limited number of charge cycles before they will no longer take another charge.  Each battery is going to react a bit differently.  Batteries, like children, have a mind of their own.  While you may have seemingly "identical" batteries, it does not guarantee they will behave the same way.  There is no silver bullet answer that will always work for a given battery type.  Internal corrosion and other degrading effects play a part in batteries losing charge capacity over time.

Following these tips for battery care will help give you optimal performance from your Puget Traverse Pro lithium-ion battery.

Tags: Traverse, Battery, Laptop, Li-ion
XCLN

Thanks for all the interesting tidbits of tech you share here, much appreciated. Re Li-ion batteries, this is an puzzling piece of information - I was under the impression that Li-ion batteries *did* need some sort of maintenance. For example on all Lenovo Thinkpad systems there is an explicit battery life stretching mode, and a gauge reset option. My understanding was that if you kept the battery charged at near 100% all the time, that battery would get used somewhat more in that area of the battery, so that using it at other levels (80%, 40% etc) would even out the wear. Maybe it has to do with battery electronics technology..

PS Unrelated, but possibly indicating these guys are keen on these issues - the latest Lenovo laptops I set up have TWO batteries, one internal (not user removable) and a standard external one - makes it possible to hot switch batteries..and making it easy to cycle the external battery(ies). For my cell phones, I also prefer to let the battery run out completely, and then use an external USB charger to recharge it.

Posted on 2016-01-18 10:27:11
Jeff Q. Stubbers

Hi XCNL,

Thank you for your input. I suspect this battery stretching mode has more to do with how Lenovo has their laptops set up, and any add-on electronics / software they may be using internally for battery usage, rather than the characteristics of a Li-ion battery itself. It is also possible they may be using have a blended Li-ion battery which would act differently. Pure Li-ion batteries differ from other composed batteries in that they don't suffer from "battery memory" of a partial charge. In fact, it is best to have a Li-ion battery charged at 40%-50 charge for long term storage. However, in every day use, I personally would have the battery charged to 100% so that I could use it for longer periods on battery-only power.

Posted on 2016-01-18 23:12:07