The lithium ion battery market is literally powering the behemoth smartphone and laptop industries. This article will discuss what the lithium ion battery is, how it works and how you can get more life out of your devices until better power efficiency is commonplace!
Lithium ion batteries are the batteries that are found in the fast majority of your tech. That includes your laptops, your smartphones, your smart watches and more. Anything that you can use away from mains power is likely to use a lithium ion battery in that case and the better this battery is, the longer you’ll be able to use your device. This is measured in milliamp hours or milliwatt hours.
There is great demand for better lithium ion batteries right now, making this a large market and one that is only likely to grow as our dependence on technology grows. With more and more powerful and feature-packed devices, we need bigger and more efficient batteries. And the general consensus in the smartphone and laptop markets is not that we need more processing power but rather that we need better batteries and more milliamp hours. Most people don’t need more 3D graphics on their phones – they need to be able to take their phones on business trips with the confidence that they won’t die on them.
In the meantime, there are many ways to treat lithium ion batteries a little better and get more life out of them.
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When you use your laptop, your phone or even your camera it's hard to think of this as having any real impact on the environment. The problem here is that it's just too far removed from the energy it's using; when you use a laptop it's not plugged in, so it's hard to think of it as wasting energy or creating carbon emissions.
Of course, though it's not that simple, and the point is that the more you use your phone or laptop now, the more energy you will use charging it later on. At the same time, you also need to think about how you charge your devices because depending on the way you charge your devices you can use more or less energy. Here we will look at how to make sure you are more efficient when you charge and when you use your devices. Not only is this kinder to the environment, but it will also help your device to last longer before needing a replacement battery!
Bearing in mind my point regarding the impact that your laptop energy usage will have on your energy bill later, it's incredibly important of course to make sure that you don't use more energy than necessary.
There are many ways you can do this, but as a general rule the two biggest drains on your battery will normally be your screen and your internet connection. Make sure that your screen then is no brighter than necessary, and that you are only connected to the internet if you need to be. If you're sitting in a cafÃ© writing articles or updating spreadsheets then just turn the Wifi off and you'll save a huge amount of energy. Watching videos can also drain the battery faster, as can downloading large files. Keep this in mind when you’re on the go.
Likewise, there are many other strategies you can use to conserve energy this way – by downloading apps designed to reduce your energy usage for instance, and by making sure to close background running apps and software. Finally make sure that your devices are off when you're not using them.
Most modern phones these days have ‘battery saver’ modes and you can also activate these when you don’t need the advanced features of your device. Some phones will even let you turn the resolution of the screen down from say 4K to 1080p and this can likewise save a lot of power.
When considering which phone to buy, look not only at the milliamp hours but also at the energy-saving features included.
One of the biggest ways that a lot of us waste energy on a daily basis is by charging our phones when we don't need to and by leaving the charger plugged in when nothing is even charging. For instance, charging your phone overnight will waste energy and a much better strategy would be to wake up early and charge it in the morning for an hour or two while you get ready. Turn your phone off overnight, and then unplug the charger when you remove the phone or else it will continue to use energy. Of course, the potential downside of this is that you won't be able to use your alarm on your phone, but it's much more energy efficient here to just use an old-fashioned alarm clock with an AA battery.
That said, many more modern devices these days can actually register when they are completely charged and that way, avoid charging when unnecessary. This also protects the battery longer and helps it to last longer. Do a little research when thinking about how to power your devices and make sure you’re using the best strategy for each product.
As mentioned, the battery in your phone has the ability to detect when its fully charged and the same goes for your laptop. This is what allows it to show you an indicator of how much is left in the tank too.
But over time, this number can get confused and this affects both the accuracy of the battery indicator and the efficiency during charging. A good idea then is to reconfigure your battery by ‘resetting’ it. To do this, allow your battery to drain completely and then allow it to charge back up.
The rest of the time, it is actually better not to allow your device to drain completely.
If you want to go one step further and save even more energy then you can even consider switching to solar power to keep your phone battery full. These work using solar voltaic panels that provide enough power to charge most smaller devices, and if you live somewhere sunny or are having a good summer then you can use this strategy to save a fair bit of energy on a daily basis. There are other alternative solutions too, such as the inventive ‘crank case’ for iPhone that lets users charge their batteries by turning a handle.
Of course if your only concern is having lots of juice on the go, then a more suitable solution will be to get a power bank. These are simple lithium ion batteries that can be charged and then brought on the road, often allowing multiple charges of your device on the move.