Laptop Battery Power Ratings and Power Consumption 101
Every laptop battery
is given a power rating in order to show you, the consumer, about how
long your battery should last before it needs to be recharged. These
electrical specifications are given using volts (V) and milliAmps (mAh).
For example, you may see your battery is given a rating of: 10.8V,
Volts and milliAmp
hours are used because they measure the amount of energy used by a
laptop battery. A volt (V) is a measurement used for the amount of
pressure the positive and negative electrodes produce in a battery
during the process of discharging energy. Amps (A) measure the amount of
resistance the energy in your battery produces in order to power a
Think of volts and
amps in terms of a shower. When a shower is turned on half way, the
water that goes through the pipe produces a certain amount of pressure.
When you turn it on to its full amount, the water produces more pressure
in the pipe. This pressure, or power, is similar to the volts a battery
uses. If a laptop is running simple programs, little power is needed to
discharge energy into a laptop. However, if a laptop is running a DVD
movie or other high energy consumption applications, more power will be
needed to discharge the necessary amount of energy to run the DVD movie.
You may also notice
that increasing the size of the pipe and shower head without having to
open the faucet all the way will produce similar results. This is an
example of the amount of resistance in the flow of energy. Measuring
this resistance is measured in terms of amps. In terms of a battery, the
amount of resistance is dependant on the size of the battery and the
amount of energy inside.
life: A Few Things to Consider
Laptop ratings are
given in terms of amp hours (Ah). Amp hours measure the length of time a
battery will discharge energy before it needs charging. In order to
adequately measure battery life, manufacturers use milliAmp hours (mAh).
This means that every 1000mAh is equal to 1Ah. What does this mean for
your new battery? If your original battery is measured at 2500mAh and
your replacement battery is measured at 5000mAh, then your battery run
time will double.
Keep in mind that
technology constantly changes. Your old battery may be rated at a lower
run time than a newer one because of technological advancements that
have produced longer lasting batteries.
battery's run time depends on the programs you use. Some programs
require more energy to run than others. Examples are: the screen
(particularly if set at the brigh
setting), hard drives, CD and DVD drives, and wireless network cards.
Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to the question, how long
exactly will my laptop battery last? The key factor is how and what you
use your laptop for.
One way of conserving
power is to go to your Power Management settings icon in the Control
Panel. You can shut off settings or programs you do not use. Also
consider dimming your screen and shutting off your wireless card when
you don't need it.