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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ask Engadget: how long should I first-charge a battery?

Ask Engadget how long should I firstcharge a battery

We know you've got questions, and if you're brave enough to ask the world for answers, then here's the outlet to do so. This week's Ask Engadget inquiry is from Bernard, who wants an answer to the age-old question of ensuring you get the most out of your batteries. If you're looking to ask one of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.

"It's said that you should always leave brand-new electronics plugged in for 'a few hours' after being fully charged, but how do you decide that period of time? Is there a calculation depending on the capacity of the battery, or what? Help me, please!"

Nowadays, do you even need to? While memory effect was an issue on NiCad batteries, Lithium Ion units don't suffer from the same issue. It could also be tied to the belief that most chargers only re-juice batteries up to 95 percent, but we can't find any authoritative proof on the matter. Let's turn it over to the electrical engineers and battery experts who read Engadget on a regular basis so we can sort this out, once and for all!

17 minutes ago

Charge it up as long as you like. The battery will automatically charge to 100 percent. As soon as it reaches 100 percent the battery will stop charging and until it reaches 90 percent then the charger will start charging again. this is a cycle never ending so there is no way of your charger to overcharge the battery.

What kills your batteries is depleting the charge. the longer the battery stays at 0 percent the more damage that is done to it. So please remember to always at least have a charge in your battery when you don't use in for an extended period Of time

18 minutes ago

The lithium ion charger chips I've worked with usually count a "cycle" as when the rated battery Wh have been consumed and recharged. So if you have a 100Wh battery, one cycle is 100Wh out, 100Wh in (not counting losses). So if you use the battery in 10 sessions of 10Wh and the charge that battery back to full capacity after each 10Wh session that counts as one cycle, not 10. Those same chips also keep the pack from over charging so there is no need to worry about that either

The only reason the manufacturer tells you to fully charge and hold it there is to make sure you don't return the device for not performing to spec. That's it. Not to calibrate anything, not to break in the battery chemistry, none of that garbage. It's just so you don't blame them for the thing dying hours short of what you expect and returning it.

As a note: some chemistries of lithium battery actually lose capacity after being fully discharged and kept that way for an extended period. As well as exposure temperatures below 38F. The packs we work with have heating elements installed to keep the pack above 52F at all times.
19 minutes ago

Batteries don't have a memory anymore but often your device will. Phones have chips that monitor your batteries full and empty charge, so not letting your phone die then fully charging it can cause a memory effect.

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