Thursday, February 13, 2014

Electronics Battery Life

Battery life with laptops has always been a pain to me.  The battery either only last for a few hours new or doesn't function at all because it has not been charged and discharged in a healthy way.  Usually it didn't impact me much, since I usually had access to a power outlet, but it usually meant that I used the battery for nothing more than changing locations and then plugged it back in again.  This behavior on a new battery, in a relatively short time, led to a battery that would hold less and less of a charge.

You'd think they could come up with a battery technology, either with electronics or in the battery media itself, that could keep a battery from being destroyed that way and that could hold more power without being cost prohibitive.

This has become more of an issue with ultra portable devices like tablets, media players, and cell phones that one does not tether all day long.  Tethering often limits functionality of the device as the cord is in the way.  Also, the way it is used doesn't lend to always having external power when it is being used.

We are finding that if we get a device that can run for eight hours in relatively heavy use we are ecstatic.  This means that in 24 hours of incidental use it is dead.  If an app goes rogue and starts eating battery and you don't know it, you are quickly without a device.  If you rely on that device to make calls or give you directions to where you need to be or tell you that you need to be in a certain place at a certain time then this can be a huge problem.

I need a device that will do 24 hours of solid use and half a week to a week of incidental use.  Then I won't have to do the drain the battery/fill the battery dance every day and beat up my battery.  This would also allow laptops to be more useful and not have to be underpowered when compared to desktops.

Where this has become an issue for me lately is in using my phone as an alarm clock.  I was in a place where I had no alarm clock, but I was scared to death to rely on my phone to do the job, even though it was over half charged when I went to bed.

I had a more than half charge, so I did not want to plug it in.  I have heard you should drain it most of the way before charging and then charge it all the way up.  Yet, I still did not trust it.

The week before I had gone to bed with a mostly full charge a couple of different nights, only to find my battery completely dead by morning, because Google Plus had gone rogue and was drawing more power than my display when it is on.

I still do not know exactly what Google Plus's problem was, but I shut down all of the features I could and it went back to decent battery life.  I am pretty sure that at that point any functionality that was of use to me from Google Plus was disabled and was running for no reason.

If I had a 24 hour battery I would feel more secure.  If an app went rogue like that I would know that the device would still make it through the night and the alarm would reliably wake me at the time I absolutely needed to be up.  This without needing to plug it in as a backup.

The electronics we have are amazing and even the battery technology compared to a hundred years ago is phenomenal.  None the less I am almost certain way more than we have is possible with today's technology.  I feel like battery technology (and don't get me started on lagging implementations of solar technology) is not keeping pace with the other technologies that use it, from my humble perspective.