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Will charging my laptop via inverter eventually fry the laptop battery?


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Might be a silly question but I can't seem to get a clear answer from google.

 

I have solar (1 x 260W, 2 x 230W panels), 3 decent batteries and a Victron pure sinewave inverter Phoenix 12/800. I work from home, so use my macbook laptop all day. It charges fine via the 240V plug, but someone once mentioned to me that over time being not on a mains system can damage the laptop battery to the point where it won't hold charge.

 

Is my current system ok to avoid this, or is there something I can do to prevent degrading the laptop?

 

For ref, laptop charger says "100-240V, ~1.5A, 50-60Hz"

 

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I can't give chapter and verse but it seems to be generally held that laptops are better if the battery is cycled and leaving them on charge for long periods s not good. This might be due to crystal growths within the cells that eventually short them out. So noting to do with using a PSW inverter (MSW may be different) but leaving them on charge for long periods. Hopefully someone will be along to explain it.

 

If you must use it plugged in how about taking the battery out.

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Discharging and charging, over discharging and over charging (in fact just using) will damage / degrade your battery. Over charging can be quite destructive.

 

The is (should be no difference) betwen the domestic mains and a PSW inverter.Your PC does not know where the supply is coming from.

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5 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

I can't give chapter and verse but it seems to be generally held that laptops are better if the battery is cycled and leaving them on charge for long periods s not good. This might be due to crystal growths within the cells that eventually short them out. So noting to do with using a PSW inverter (MSW may be different) but leaving them on charge for long periods. Hopefully someone will be along to explain it.

 

If you must use it plugged in how about taking the battery out.

Ok, so let it fully drain before plugging it back in to charge up again?

Apple laptops not that easy to remove the batteries on a regular basis unfortunately..

 

 

5 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Discharging and charging, over discharging and over charging (in fact just using) will damage / degrade your battery. Over charging can be quite destructive.

 

The is (should be no difference) betwen the domestic mains and a PSW inverter.Your PC does not know where the supply is coming from.

 Overcharging is leaving it plugged in whilst it's on 100%?

Good to know that the PSW inverter is the same sort of function as mains!

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13 minutes ago, thingsweregood said:

Ok, so let it fully drain before plugging it back in to charge up again?

 

No NO NO.

Very bad practice.

 

Most (all ?) PC manufacturers recommend that you only let your battery discharge to 20% and only recharge it to 80%.

 

You can go a bit higher than 80% if you are going to be using it immediately, but the batteries don't like 'standing' at high charge levels.

 

The other guidance is not to leave your PC with the battery left on continuous charge or it will sit at 100% for hours.

 

Examples :

 

How to Care for Your Laptop's Battery and Extend Its Life | Digital Trends

 

How to Preserve Laptop Battery Life - Consumer Reports

 

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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10 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

No NO NO.

Very bad practice.

 

Most (all ?) PC manufacturers recommend that you only let your battery discharge to 20% and only recharge it to 80%.

 

You can go a bit higher than 80% if you are going to be using it immediately, but the batteries don't like 'standing' at high charge levels.

 

The other guidance is not to leave your PC with the battery left on continuous charge or it will sit at 100% for hours.

 

Examples :

 

How to Care for Your Laptop's Battery and Extend Its Life | Digital Trends

 

How to Preserve Laptop Battery Life - Consumer Reports

 

Ah ok, got it. So riding that sweet spot between 20-80% charge. Pretty sure I do this anyway, so that's good!

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34 minutes ago, thingsweregood said:

Might be a silly question but I can't seem to get a clear answer from google.

 

I have solar (1 x 260W, 2 x 230W panels), 3 decent batteries and a Victron pure sinewave inverter Phoenix 12/800. I work from home, so use my macbook laptop all day. It charges fine via the 240V plug, but someone once mentioned to me that over time being not on a mains system can damage the laptop battery to the point where it won't hold charge.

 

Is my current system ok to avoid this, or is there something I can do to prevent degrading the laptop?

 

For ref, laptop charger says "100-240V, ~1.5A, 50-60Hz"

 

 

I see no reason why your charger should not be happy with your 240V power source.

 

Laptop batteries last longest when part charged and most laptops provide the option of state of charge, 100% and some lower value. If you want longevity select the lower value. Some laptops have this accessed through BIOS, other through the operating system. Without knowing yours I don't know if you have this feature.

 

Personally I wouldn't cycle the battery as this will use up its life.

 

This link goes into the specifics of lithium based batteries and their life-time:

  https://batteryuniversity.com/index.php/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

 

It's a bit long but covers most aspects.

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I have a semi automatic system, I switch the power off before going to bed then normally forget to switch it on the next day until the computer says battery low but I never run it flat. I thought laptops were magic lithium batteries the ones you can flatten without harm that every one talks about.

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18 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I have a semi automatic system, I switch the power off before going to bed then normally forget to switch it on the next day until the computer says battery low but I never run it flat. I thought laptops were magic lithium batteries the ones you can flatten without harm that every one talks about.

 

Laptops are designed to peg out before the battery has been fully exhausted and warn you well before that. So no damage is likely in normal use.

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7 hours ago, thingsweregood said:

Ah ok, got it. So riding that sweet spot between 20-80% charge. Pretty sure I do this anyway, so that's good!

The same applies to your phone battery, especially if you use a slower/ lower current charger. I used to charge my iPhone using the 2.1 amp charger that came with the iPad, but noticed that battery health percentage was dropping quite quickly. I now only charge the phone on a 1 amp charger and the battery health percentage drops much more slowly.

Edited by Eeyore
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I would be wary of removing the battery. I did this after similar advice a few years ago and the laptop failed.  I believe that if there's a spike in power the battery can help absorb it. If there's no battery then a surge will go straight through the circuitry. 

Maybe laptops are more advanced now but something to think about nontheless 

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Your 240 volt from the inverter is converted by the laptop charger to the dc voltage needed so there is no reason for there to be any difference between home mains and inverter mains. When traveling my iPad charger has worked on my barge from the inverter, in the USA at 110 volts .

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I use a laptop for work. The laptop spends almost 100% of it's time on a docking station or plugged into a power cable. I expect the majority of my colleagues do the same. No one at our IT department has suggested this is bad .

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4 hours ago, MartynG said:

I use a laptop for work. The laptop spends almost 100% of it's time on a docking station or plugged into a power cable. I expect the majority of my colleagues do the same. No one at our IT department has suggested this is bad .

It shortens the battery life by quite a lot (certainly with older laptops) as they just sit continuously at 100% charged, but as they are company owned it doesn’t matter 

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35 minutes ago, Chewbacka said:

It shortens the battery life by quite a lot (certainly with older laptops) as they just sit continuously at 100% charged, but as they are company owned it doesn’t matter 

My MacBook, when connected to the mains, limits its battery charge to 80% of capacity unless that setting is manually overridden. 

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2 hours ago, Idle Days said:

My MacBook, when connected to the mains, limits its battery charge to 80% of capacity unless that setting is manually overridden. 

That’s because it’s a posh (aka expensive) Apple laptop.  Whilst not cheap, Apple designers do think.  My old Asus and before that Toshiba laptops both sat at 100%

Edited by Chewbacka
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According to an article in one of the computer magazines a few years ago, it is in the nature of laptop batteries that they start deteriorating from the day they are made. That is why you are not advised to buy a spare laptop battery with a view to using it when the original wears out, as you will find that your spare has worn out as well. The chemistry that provides such a lot of energy in such a small volume is somewhat unstable.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My Samsung Ion laptop has an integrated battery so therefore cannot be removed. The main reason I chose this one was because the battery lasts between 9 and 11 hours depending upon the type of usage. I was sceptical about these claims until I read the Which? Magazine tests. Having now had the laptop for 4 months I'm very happy to find that those claims were indeed true. 

 

I charge it up in the daytime when there is solar or we're on the move, and it easily lasts until the following day. Far less hassle than having to keep spare batteries and swapping them over every couple of hours like I used to have to do.

 

My only concern reading the above comments is that when the charger is initially plugged in it fast charges up to 50% in the first half hour, which based on what's been said here it may shorten its life? Samsung actually promote it as being a good feature!

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2 minutes ago, Grassman said:

My Samsung Ion laptop has an integrated battery so therefore cannot be removed. The main reason I chose this one was because the battery lasts between 9 and 11 hours depending upon the type of usage. I was sceptical about these claims until I read the Which? Magazine tests. Having now had the laptop for 4 months I'm very happy to find that those claims were indeed true. 

 

I charge it up in the daytime when there is solar or we're on the move, and it easily lasts until the following day. Far less hassle than having to keep spare batteries and swapping them over every couple of hours like I used to have to do.

 

My only concern reading the above comments is that when the charger is initially plugged in it fast charges up to 50% in the first half hour, which based on what's been said here it may shorten its life? Samsung actually promote it as being a good feature!

 

Well, they would, wouldn't they!

 

Seriously now. If we can extrapolate from what Dr Bob and others have taught us about lithium boat batteries to laptop batteries then it may be OK, but I am far from sure we can because I suspect the chemistry is different.

 

The important thing with boat batteries is to stop charging at a certain state of charge (Dr Bob called it the knee) and it occurs at very high states of charge so fast charging to 50% should not do any damage. However, I suspect Samsung tells it the wrong way round.  We know lithiums seem to be able to absorb as much charge as you can throw at them so I suspect Samsung go to 50% with a normal charge and then reduce the current the charging circuits can produce to minimise damage to the battery. As long as the charger recognises the "knee" and shuts down It should not reduce the battery life but cost is everything so the question is does the charging circuit do that. To reiterate, if we can extrapolate from boat style lithiums.

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7 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

Well, they would, wouldn't they!

 

Seriously now. If we can extrapolate from what Dr Bob and others have taught us about lithium boat batteries to laptop batteries then it may be OK, but I am far from sure we can because I suspect the chemistry is different.

 

The important thing with boat batteries is to stop charging at a certain state of charge (Dr Bob called it the knee) and it occurs at very high states of charge so fast charging to 50% should not do any damage. However, I suspect Samsung tells it the wrong way round.  We know lithiums seem to be able to absorb as much charge as you can throw at them so I suspect Samsung go to 50% with a normal charge and then reduce the current the charging circuits can produce to minimise damage to the battery. As long as the charger recognises the "knee" and shuts down It should not reduce the battery life but cost is everything so the question is does the charging circuit do that. To reiterate, if we can extrapolate from boat style lithiums.

But surly all this and earlier posts would also happen at home or in the office so a good on board inverter should be no worse.

 

Edited by ditchcrawler
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46 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

But surly all this and earlier posts would also happen at home or in the office so a good on board inverter should be no worse.

 

 

Of course it won't. The inverter bit was really a red herring as long as the inverter is a good quality pure sine wave one. In fact a good quality inverter may provide a better wave form, frequency and voltage stability than the mains at home.

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