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How Does a Laptop Battery Work?

A laptop battery works in much the same way as batteries that go into portable CD players, remote controls, and shower radios. Just like the batteries used in these household items, laptop batteries come in different sizes based upon the size of the laptop. Laptop batteries however, contain within them complex charging circuitry that works together with a laptop's hardware.

Inside each laptop battery are internal power cells. These power cells are arranged in a series and are parallel to each other. This is done in order to maximize the voltage level for the battery as a whole. In addition these cells are controlled by a circuit board. The circuit board regulates how the cells work for both the process of discharging and recharging energy. It makes sure that your battery is not overcharged when charging, and it makes sure that each cell drains the same amount so you can have a longer run time.

Inside each battery there are also positive and negative electrodes. In order to power your laptop, a chemical reaction occurs with both the positive and negative electrodes. This reaction flows in a specific way in order to discharge energy. Plugging in your adapter reverses this process in order to recharge your battery. The process of reversing the chemical reaction occurs for both positive and negative electrodes. To make both the discharge of energy as well as recharge process work, this process must be exact. If not, then a short-circuit may occur. This process is basically the same whether your battery runs on Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), or Lithium Polymer (Li-Poly).

This process is then regulated by hardware within your laptop. The hardware in your laptop ensures that the cells are functioning to their capacity. This is what also allows you to check the life left on your laptop battery before it needs to be recharged. A battery symbol is typically displayed on the right corner of your task bar. This symbol graphically shows how much energy has been discharged as well as how much is left.

Although a laptop battery is rechargeable, it does have a limited life span. A typical battery usually lasts for about 500-700 charges before it will no longer be capable of recharging, and a replacement is necessary. The amount of charges can vary depending on the main use of your laptop. Some functions require more energy then others. Using functions such as a DVD player or using the brigh test screen setting can drain the battery quicker, thus requiring it to be charged sooner. The more often you need to charge your battery, the sooner the battery will be drained of its life span.

Manufacturers will additionally custom tailor their laptop batteries based upon the needs of each laptop model. A few things that impact the appearance of a battery are the overall size and weight of a laptop. After all, a small notebook would be difficult to carry if the battery weighed an additional two pounds. These factors account for their varying sizes. One size does not fit all in the world of laptop manufacturing. Overall functionality is the key.

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