Laptop Battery FAQ

  1. Q: How long does a laptop battery last? When should I consider replacing mine?
    A: All rechargeable batteries wear out with time and usage. As time and cumulative use increase, the performance will degrade. For the typical user, noticeable reduction in run time generally will be observed after 18 to 24 months. For a power user, reduction in run time generally may be experienced prior to 18 months. We recommend buying a new Dell laptop battery when the run time does not meet your needs.

  2. Q: How should I choose between two batteries with different Watt hours (Whr) available on one system?
    A: Higher Watt hours (Whr) on the same system under the same operating conditions will generally deliver longer battery run time. For example, if you compare the same system, running the same applications, the 53Whr battery would provide approximately 65% more run time than the 32Whr battery.

  3. Q: How long am I able to use my laptop on a fully charged battery?
    A: Many factors affect the amount of time that a portable computer battery can deliver power before it must be recharged. These factors include the configuration (processor, memory, etc.), types of applications being run and display brightness.

  4. Q: How do I charge my laptop battery?
    A: The battery charges in the laptop when the laptop is connected to an AC power source via the AC adapter.

  5. Q: How long does it take for a laptop battery to fully recharge?
    A: The charge time varies depending on the system. If the system supports ExpressCharge, the battery typically will have greater than 80% charge after about an hour of charging, and fully charge in about 2 hours with the system off.

  6. Q: Should I totally discharge, then recharge my laptop battery occasionally to make it last longer?
    A: No, discharging and charging does not increase the life of a Lithium Ion technology battery.

  7. Q: Can a laptop battery be "overcharged"?
    A: No, the battery is designed to stop using the charger when it reaches full charge.

  8. Q: When docked or AC adapter is plugged into a wall outlet, am I using my battery charge?
    A: No

  9. Q: Is it easy to install a battery?
    A: Yes, very easy. First, make sure all open files are saved. Next, either attach the AC adapter directly to the laptop or set the system to "hibernate" mode or shut off. Release the latch on the current battery, and simply install the replacement battery.

  10. Q: When docked or AC adapter is plugged into a wall outlet, am I using my battery charge?
    A: No

  11. Q: If I install a modular bay battery, are my primary and modular bay batteries working at the same time to power my laptop computer?
    A: No, the modular bay battery is used first, then the system automatically switches to the primary battery. This is a deliberate design to allow the most amount of run time to remain in the primary battery in case the modular bay battery is removed and replaced with an optical drive.

  12. Q: For what use is the strip of LED lights on my battery?
    A: Most Dell batteries have an LED indicator that allows users to see how much run time and how much overall battery life are available at the touch of a button.
    To check battery charge, press the button and the number of lights that appear will tell you charge status. If all lights appear, you have a fully charged battery. Each light that appears accounts for approximately 20% charge.
    To check the battery health, press and hold the status button on the battery charge gauge for at least 3 seconds. If no lights appear, the battery is in good condition and approximately more than 80 percent of its original charge capacity remains. Each light represents incremental degradation. If five lights appear, approximately less than 60 percent of the charge capacity remains, and you should consider replacing the battery.

  13. Q: What does recommend for battery storage for a long period of time?
    A: 1) Do not store batteries for long periods plugged into or attached to any power source. This includes AC adapters and laptop security carts plugged into an outlet.
    2) Laptop batteries, including those stored in laptop systems, should maintain an Operational Storage Temperature of 0 to 35C (32 to 95F).
    3) Batteries may be stored in the laptop or outside of the laptop.
    4) Charge batteries before storing. The recommended charging time should not exceed 1 hour. Typically, this should charge the battery to between 80% and 100%. (Some discharge will take place over time. Stored batteries are expected to discharge 10-15% over a four month period, for your information.)

  14. Q: How should I choose the right battery for my new system?
    A: When choosing a battery, the main quality that you need to consider is the amount of energy that can be stored in a battery. This is measured in Watt- Hours (Wh). For longer runtime per charge, choose a battery with a greater Wh rating
    If you want. Choose.Trade off.
    Longer runtimeHigher capacity• Higher cost
    • Heavier weight
    Lighter weightLower capacityLower runtime
    Lower costLower capacityLower runtime

    Note: When used under the same conditions, a lower capacity battery will wear out faster than a higher capacity battery because it has to be charged more often.


  15. Q: What can I do to make my battery last longer?
    A: 1) Choose the right battery. Under the same use conditions, a lower capacity battery will wear out faster than a higher capacity battery because it has to be charged more often.
    2) Use the notebook's power saving controls to reduce battery use in your normal day. For example, turn the Bluetooth off if it is not needed; reduce the screen brightness when conditions permit.
    3) Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures. If the system is exposed to extreme cold or hot temperatures, allow it to warm up/cool down before use and before charging.
    4) Contrary to last decades' batteries, modern lithium ion batteries do not need to be fully discharged to maintain health. 5) All batteries wear with use and time. When you find the runtime is no longer satisfactory, it may be time to purchase a new Dell battery.

  16. Q: How do I get the most runtime for a charge?
    A: It is important to choose settings which allow you to obtain the most runtime from your notebook. Examples to consider: timeout settings for the hard drive, Bluetooth, wireless, LCD brightness, etc.

  17. Q: How long does a laptop battery last?
    A: The life span of a laptop battery depends on a number of factors and is hard to predict. All rechargeable batteries wear out with time and use. As the battery begins to reach the end of its life, you will notice a decline in the runtime of the battery.

  18. Q: How long am I able to use my laptop on a fully charged battery?
    A: Many factors affect the amount of time that a laptop battery can deliver power before it must be recharged. Personal usage (your LCD brightness setting) has a large effect on battery run time and will vary greatly between different users and systems. Other factors include the system configuration (battery size, processor type, memory, etc.), and the types of applications being run (playing DVDs or games).
    Actual battery life will vary based on configuration, operating conditions and other factors. Maximum battery capacity decreases with time and use.

  19. Q: Should I totally discharge, then recharge my laptop battery occasionally to make it last longer?
    A: No, discharging and charging does not increase the life of a lithium ion battery.