We’re fanatical about mobile device batteries here and for the advent of mobile technologies in general it’s always been a personal passion of mine to see how the the precarious balance of battery capability is constantly being tipped by new technology features glugging away at it’s reserves.  It seems that one minute we’re all heralding the latest in battery technology, usually ending all our battery life woes only to see that blow up into a cloud of smoke as the latest features blow battery usage out of the water… and the cycle continues.

There’s no doubt about it though , new technology pushes on the limits of batteries, but at the same time new advances in battery technology only fuel amazing new technologies that ultimately eat away at it in ever more ferocious ways so the problem of how long will that battery last probably won’t leave us for a few years yet.  To get the best out of any mobile device the battery needs to be in tip top condition and this blog tries to impart some advice that we’ve gained over the years on how to ensure your smartphone battery is always delivering to it’s full potential.

Battery Conditioning

It all starts off from a new battery and conditioning it properly will ensure that it not only gets set up correctly but the maximum capacity will be ready to use.  Raptor batteries come pre-charged and conditioned but it’s also worth nothing that Li-ION batteries do often take a few charges to get to their full potential.  To make sure you get the best from your battery make sure they’re charged as frequently as possible for the day you start using it

Charging correctly

The way you charge a battery can also affect it’s discharge behaviour.  Cheap chargers that have dirty signals will charge a battery in a way that means it will run down more quickly.  This is also true of vehicle charging where the general current being supplied is simply less nourishing that a wall socket one.  If you rely on vehicle charging throughout the day, then try and see if you can get a decent full charge the night before for a wall socket power with a good charger as the difference this makes can be amazing.

Using the wrong current or voltage will also damage your battery over time.  Charging too quickly can actually have a very poor effect on the battery as the chemicals find it hard to keep up with the demand in change required.  Ensuring you have a decent charger that will deliver a constant rate of charge will help to keep things fresh for longer.

Discharging

It’s not just about how you charge a battery up, but also how it is discharged too.  If a battery is loaded up too high and discharges too quickly then the chemicals inside the battery can’t keep pace with the change too and adverse reactions can occur that corrode or damage the battery.  Always check to see what your device is up to and if you can switch off some of the features if they’re using the battery up too quickly.

Charging cycles

Batteries get weaker the more they’re  charged.  The more cycles of charging they go through, the weaker they ultimately become and this is why we always recommend getting a device with a larger battery.  The bigger the battery you have will not only mean you physically have more capacity to play with, but it’ll also mean you need to charge the battery a lot less often too so you get a double whammy on capacity and the depreciation of your battery too..

It’s always better to keep a Li-ION battery topped up than to let it run down.  Li-ION batteries don;t have battery memory like the older NiCAd ones had.  Keeping them constantly topped up all the time will give them the best chance of survival over the years.

 

Heat and Cold

Heat and cold also play a huge part in battery performance.  Batteries hate the cold and for every degree under their optimum battery temperature they’ll lose valuable capacity.  A small amount of heat in a cold country will actually improve battery life, however go too hot, above the optimum operating temperature limits and you can not only diminish your battery capacity temporarily but also permanently too.  Even in the UK the difference in the Summer and Winter temperatures can have a significant effect on your battery performance, by as much as 60%.  You can keep your device warm by keeping in a holster or your pocket or even inside if possible, all will improve battery life.  However I once saw a customer who used pocket hand warmers inside a holster which solved all their issues in colder times!!

Age Vs Performance

Just like everything else, batteries age and as they get older they suffer from a few things that will simply age the battery.  Batteries are essentially a chemical reaction and as such they can become corroded, giving less area for reaction to occur upon and the chemical reaction will also become less powerful over time as chemicals change over time.

What can you do?

Often a li-ION battery will corrode or create deposits on it’s anodes and this is what diminishes it’s capacity.  However this is often reversible, especially if after a period of inactivity or over charging and a few cycles of controlled charging and discharging will remedy the situation.  You can do this yourself or you can take your batteries for a full and proper re-condition that will often give them a new lease of life.

Batteries do age though.  I’ve seen customers who got 3 years out of their estate of devices before seeing issues and iv’e seen clients who were pleased to get 6 months out of theirs!  The key is to treat them well during their life and to identify any issues quickly.  Ultimately though youre going to have to replace your batteries but if you do this as part of the normal cycle of things then your users will always have the best performing battery they can in their mobile devices.

 

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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