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How To Dispose Of A Bloated Puffed Up LiPO

A swollen battery can occur due to a variety of reasons. If you notice a swollen battery it is safest to stop using it and throw it away, LiPo batteries can be safely disposed of with your local battery disposal service or can even be thrown in the normal rubbish provided they are fully discharged.

Easy Method
Check the yellow pages and see if there is a local battery disposal service if so it is the easiest way to get it done.

Homemade battery disposal
The first task is to drain the battery to 0V as Lithium polymer batteries are safe if carrying no voltage then you need to ensure no more charge can build up, the following will guide you through it.

1.Grab a bucket of sand and place it outside with the battery inside.
2.Connect an led or small lamp to the battery and drain it completely, leave connected for 1 day after the led stops glowing.
3.Cut the connectors off the battery.
4.Strip the wires
5.Join the red and black wires to create a short circuit and prevent any build up of voltage.
6.LiPo Battery successfully stabilized, and you can safely put it in the regular trash.

A slow discharge produces less heat and is much safer then draining the battery fast with a motor or high load connection.

Some people shoot or nail their battery, although that is exciting and is an excellent way to learn how much power really is inside it is also very dangerous, so I will not outline how to do it. For any method of destruction you choose, be safe and always do it outside.

For a range of quality Lipo batteries for your helicopter or quadcopter check out our battery and charger section and remember to always inspect all batteries regularly and never charge when you are not at home.

Batteriestar.com sells high capacity replacement batteries for Camera,Watch, Smartphone, Tablet, Notebook and much more. We offer free worldwide shipping to everyone! We offer different types of Batteries, Lead Acid batteries, Li-ion batteries, Li-Po batteries and so on.

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Should You Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6?

Though it’s been a fully approved standard for some time, actually seeing or buying a Wi-Fi 6 router has been both rare and expensive until recently. Now that we’ve passed the mid-point of 2020, however, routers supporting Wi-Fi 6 are starting to appear en masse, which not only gives you a wider selection, it’s also driving down prices.

Wi-Fi 6, or as it’s otherwise known, 802.11ax, offers significant improvements over the current 802.11ac standard (now dubbed Wi-Fi 5 by the Wi-Fi Alliance). Faster throughput speeds, better battery life for clients, and less bandwidth congestion are some of the most obvious reasons for upgrading to the new standard, but there are some important things to consider before you run out and buy a Wi-Fi 6 router.

What Is Wi-Fi 6?
A lot has been written about Wi-Fi 6 up to this point, but here’s a brief rundown on what to expect from the newest wireless standard. (For more history, check out our explainer.) Wi-Fi 6 routers employ several new technologies that are designed to boost overall performance by offering increased throughput speeds (nearing 10Gbps, theoretically, compared with max speeds of around 3Gbps for 802.11ac).

In addition, Wi-Fi 6 aims to relieve network congestion, provide greater client capacity, and reduce client power consumption. For example, Wi-Fi 6 uses Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) modulation, which allows up to 30 clients to share a channel at the same time, thereby improving efficiency by boosting overall capacity while reducing latency. Long story short, OFDMA assigns time intervals to clients that allows them to better parse out available network channels. For example, if one person in your home is streaming a movie and another is checking social media on a phone, OFDMA allows a router to assign channels to each device based on when it needs it most.

Wi-Fi 6 also uses Target Wake Time (TWT), which allows devices to determine when they will normally wake up to begin sending and receiving data. This extends the battery life of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, as well as battery-powered smart home devices such as security cameras and video doorbells. The new standard also takes advantage of previously unused radio frequencies to provide faster 2.4GHz performance, and it uses refined bandwidth management to provide enhanced Quality of Service (QoS) options. Additionally, Wi-Fi 6 offers eight-stream uplink and downlink Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), which streams data simultaneously rather than sequentially, allowing a more equitable sharing of bandwidth among connected MU-MIMO enabled clients. Wi-Fi 5 MU-MIMO topped out at four streams.

So Should You Upgrade Now?
The short answer is likely “yes” if your current router is more than three years old. Notebooks that support Wi-Fi 6 are becoming more common, including both higher-end models, like the Editors’ Choice-winning HP Omen 15, as well as lower-priced units such as the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go. The same goes for newer tablets and smartphones, like the Amazon Fire HD 8 and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G.

Even if your devices are still operating on 802.11ac, it’s still worth the trouble to consider a Wi-Fi 6 router upgrade now. Prices are coming down on both standalone Wi-Fi 6 routers as well as Wi-Fi-6-compatible wireless mesh systems. Among mesh systems, the most recent and notable examples include the Amazon Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6. Both these platforms support Wi-Fi 6, though the Eero Pro 6 is a tri-band system that supports faster throughput and speedier Internet connections.

Both platforms also have a Zigbee smart home hub built into the core router and both are being offered at between $100 and $200 less than most of the current Wi-Fi 6 mesh competition, which almost lets them qualify as budget routers. With prices dropping this steeply 2021 id more likely to produce new Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems than third-party, Wi-Fi 6 range extenders.

Is Wi-Fi 6 Finalized?
The Wi-Fi Alliance started certifying devices in mid-September 2019, so we’re over a full year into the process, which is why devices and routers are starting to become cheaper and more common. The advanced connectivity features delivered in these devices make them significantly superior to Wi-Fi 5, so if an upgrade is in your budget, now is definitely a good time to pull the trigger.

Aside from the capabilities mentioned above, Wi-Fi 6 also offers features like beamforming, which transmits Wi-Fi signals directly to clients rather than over a broad spectrum. All Wi-Fi 6 devices can also handle WPA3 encryption, which is the newest iteration of Wi-Fi security that’ll use features like robust password protection and 256-bit encryption algorithms to make it harder for people to hack into your network. Your network will also run faster due to background networking improvements, like support for 1,024-QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), a method that allows more data to be packed into each signal for increased throughput. This can deliver up to 25 percent more capacity than the 256-QAM method used in most Wi-Fi 5 routers.

All this jargon is a lot to unpack, but rest assured that any device you get that supports the final Wi-Fi 6 standard will have all these features in place.

Upgrade One Step at a Time
If you’re panicking at the number of network and client devices you need to upgrade, relax. There’s no need to replace every Wi-Fi 5 device and network component simultaneously. Wi-Fi 6 routers will support Wi-Fi 5 devices just fine, though the latter will run at their rated 802.11ac speeds. Similarly, Wi-Fi 6 devices can still talk to a Wi-Fi 5 router, though again, their throughput will be constrained and most of the advanced features mentioned above will be disabled until they can find supporting devices. If you’re a gamer, you might start with a Wi-Fi 6 gaming router and then move on out to supporting devices. If, perhaps, work dictates certain high-performance clients, you can start there and work inward.

Bottom line: you can upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 one step at a time, which will definitely make things easier. You’ll not only save your wallet from a sudden pummeling, you’ll also be able to configure and master one device at a time instead of finding yourself frustrated with a slew of new features and documentation.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Netgear Wireless Router Batttery
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>TP-Link Wireless Router Batttery

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Different Types of Batteries and Their Applications

Batteries are basically classified into 2 types:Non-rechargeable batteries (primary batteries), Rechargeable batteries (secondary batteries).

Non-rechargeable Batteries
These are basically considered as primary batteries because they can be used only once. These batteries cannot be recharged and used again. Let’s see about the regular, daily life primary batteries that we see.

Alkaline batteries: It is basically constructed with the chemical composition of Zinc (Zn) and Manganese dioxide (MnO2), as the electrolyte used in it is potassium hydroxide which is purely an alkaline substance the battery is named as alkaline battery having he power density of 100 Wh/Kg.

Advantages:
1.Cycle life is more
2.More compatible and efficient for powering up portable devices.
3.Shelf life is more.
4.Small in size.
5.Highly efficient.
6.Low internal resistance so that discharge state in idle state is less.
7.Leakage is low.

Disadvantages:
Cost is a bit high. Except it everything is an advantage.

Applications:
It can used in torches, remotes, wall clocks, small portable gadgets etc.

Coin cell batteries: The chemical composition of coil cell batteries is also alkaline in nature. Apart from alkaline composition, lithium and silver oxide chemicals will be used to manufacture these batteries which are more efficient in providing steady and stable voltage in such a small sizes. It has Power density of 270 Wh/Kg.

Advantages:
1.Light in weight
2.Small in size
3.High density
4.Low cost
5.High nominal voltage (up to 3V)
6.Easy to get high voltages by arranging serially
7.Long shelf life

Disadvantages:
1.Needs a holder
2.Low current draw capability

Applications:
Used in watches, wall clocks, miniature electronic products etc.

Rechargeable Batteries
These are generally called as secondary batteries which can be recharged and can be reused. Though the cost is high, but they can be recharged and reused and can have a huge life span when properly used and safely charged.

Lead-acid batteries
It consists of lead-acid which is very cheap and seen mostly in cars and vehicles to power the lighting systems in it. These are more preferable in the products where the size/space and weight doesn’t matter. These comes with the nominal voltage starting 2V to24V and most commonly seen as 2V, 6V, 12V and 24V batteries. It has Power density of 7 Wh/Kg.

Advantages:
1.Cheap in cost
2.Easily rechargeable
3.High power output capability

Disadvantages:
1.Very heavy
2.Occupies much space
3.Power density is very low

Applications:
Used in cars, UPS (uninterrupted Power Supply), robotics, heavy machinery etc..

Ni-Cd batteries
These batteries are made of Nickel and Cadmium chemical composition. Though these are very rarely used, these are very cheap and their discharge rate is very low when compared to NiMH batteries. These are available in all standard sizes like AA, AAA, C and rectangular shapes. The nominal voltage is 1.2V, often connected together in a set of 3 which gives 3.6V. It has Power density of 60 Wh/Kg.

Advantages:
1.Cheap in cost
2.Easy to recharge
3.Can be used in all environments
4.Comes in all standard sizes

Disadvantages:
1.Lower power density
2.Contains toxic metal
3.Needs to be charged very frequently in order to avoid growth of crystals on the battery plate.

Applications:
Used in RC toys, cordless phones, solar lights and mostly in the applications where price is important.

Ni-MH batteries
The Nickel – Metal Hydride batteries are much preferable than Ni-Cad batteries because of their lower environmental impact. Its nominal voltage is 1.25 V which is greater than Ni-Cad batteries. It has less nominal voltage than alkaline batteries and they are good replacement due to its availability and less environmental impact. The power density of Ni-MH batteries is 100 Wh/Kg.

Advantages:
1.Available in all standard sizes.
2.High power density.
3.Easy to recharge.
4.A good alternative to alkaline which has almost all similarities and also it is rechargeable.

Disadvantages:
1.Self-discharge is very high.
2.Expensive than Ni-Cad batteries.

Applications:
Used in all applications similar to the alkaline and Ni-Cad batteries.

Li-ion batteries
These are made up of Lithium metal and are latest in rechargeable technology. As these are compact in size they can be used in most of the portable applications which need high power specifications. These are the best rechargeable batteries available. These have a nominal voltage of 3.7V (most commonly we have 3.6V and 7.2V) and have various ranges of power capacity (starting from 100s of mAh to 1000s of mAh). Even the C-rating ranges from 1C to 10C and Power density of Li-ion batteries is 126 Wh/Kg.

Advantages:
1.Very light in weight.
2.High C-rating.
3.Power density is very high.
4.Cell voltage is high.

Disadvantages:
1.These are a bit expensive.
2.If the terminals are short circuited the battery might explode.
3.Battery protection circuit is needed.

Li-Po batteries
These are also called as Lithium Ion polymer rechargeable batteries because it uses high conductivity polymer gel/polymers electrolyte instead of liquid electrolyte. These come under the Li-ion technology. These are a bit costly. But the battery is very highly protected when compared to the Li-ion batteries. It has Power density of 185 Wh/Kg.

Advantages:
1.These are highly protective compared to Li-ion batteries.
2.Very light in weight
3.Thin in structure when compared to Li-ion batteries.
4.Power density, nominal voltages are comparatively very high compared to Ni-Cad and Ni-MH batteries.

Disadvantages:
1.Expensive.
2.Might explode if wrongly connected.
3.Should not be bent or exposed to high temperature which may cause to explosion.

Applications: Can be used in all the portable devices which need rechargeable advantage like drones, robotics, RC toys etc.

Batteriestar.com sells high capacity replacement batteries for Camera,Watch, Smartphone, Tablet, Notebook and much more. We offer all types of batteries, Alkaline batteries, Coin cell batteries, Lead-acid batteries, Ni-Cd batteries, Ni-MH batteries, Li-ion batteries, Li-Po batteries. We offer free worldwide shipping to everyone!

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Why Does a Computer Often Crash

You probably experienced computer crashed, which usually includes blue screen, black screen, failing to start system, screen freeze, both mouse and keyboard can’t work, .etc. That confuses those who are unfamiliar with computer. Then “why does my computer crash” becomes people’s common concern. Generally, most PC or laptop crashes are the results of overheating, hardware faulty, corrupted system or driver corruption, etc. If you don’t know the cause of the crash, keep reading to figure out what causes to a computer crash so that you can fix or avoid it.

Why does a computer crash?
1. Overheating: Motherboard, hard disk, power supply, CPU, and other components all generate heat. If computer keeps working for too long time, the components give out huge heat and become hot themselves. When the heat is not dispersed, the components will function improperly and cause a computer crash. This particularly happens to laptops. So I strongly recommend you to never put a laptop on your lap and in the quilt, use a table or laptop desk instead.

2. Dust: A dusty CPU radiator fan or cooling fan will make CPU unable to work, which will cause computer crash, even may damage CPU and motherboard. Desktop computers are more vulnerable to dust. So you are recommended to clean off dust every now and then.

3. Hardware faulty: Sometimes, the hardware is fine with nothing wrong, but it crashes when you start the computer, why? It is the motherboard capacitance broken that causes the computer crash.

4. Driver corruption: Aging or damaged hard drive can easily cause computer crash while machine is running. Crash also happens when you use your hard disk incorrectly and cause bad or damaged sectors on it. You can ask professional to check your hard drive. If it is damaged seriously, you have to replace the hard drive.

5. Corrupted software: Some pirated software or malware may carry viruses. Once you run it on the computer, it will automatically modify your system and cause computer crash while system running. Crash also happens if you illegally uninstall software. For example, when you directly delete the software installation directory, it will generate many junk files in Registry and Windows directory. Over time, it leads to system instability and causes computer crash. In addition, some software may be incompatible with your system and cause computer crash.

6. Memory conflict: Sometimes, all software is running normally, but computer inexplicably crashes. After you restart computer, all programs can run normally again. Then why does it crash? The most cause is Windows memory conflict. In this case, restarting computer can release the memory space.

Why does a computer often crash? The causes are various. While the above are the most common causes for computer crash. Knowing more about them and taking care will greatly reduce computer crash.

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What is Battery and what meaning technical terms with batteries?

Battery is the primary power source for any electronics wireless gadget, be it a smartphone, laptop, smartwatch or tablet. Can you imagine the situation without these energy sources? We wouldn’t be able to build any wireless electronic device and have to rely on wired power source only.

Cell: A cell is an energy source which can deliver only DC voltage and current which are in very small quantities. For example if we take cells that we use in smartwatch or remote controls, it can give maximum of 1.5 – 3V.

Battery: The functionality of the battery is exactly same as that of a cell but a battery is a pack of cells arranged is a series/parallel fashion so that the voltage can be raised to desired levels. The best known example for a battery is a power bank which is used to charge up smart phones. If we ever see the inside of a power bank we can find set of batteries arranged serially/parallel based on the requirement. Batteries are arranged in series to increase the voltage and in parallel to increase the current.

Now Why DC is preferred over AC? In most of the portable electronics, AC can’t be stored where as DC can be stored without any difficulty. Even the losses due to AC power are more when compared to the DC power. That is the reason DC is preferred for portable electronic devices.

technical terms with batteries
We can’t just keep on using voltage and current alone to explain about a battery’s functionality, there are some unique terms that defines the characteristics of a battery like Watt-hour (mAh), C-rating, nominal voltage, charging voltage, charging current, discharging current, cut off voltage, shelf life, cycle life are the few terms used to define a batteries performance.

Power capacity:
It is the energy stored in a battery which is measured in Watt-hour
Watt-hour = V * I * hours {since voltage is kept constant, so it is measured in Ah/mAh}

We generally see the battery ratings as 2500 mAh or 4000 mAh while reading the specifications of a smart phone. What does that mean?? 

Example: 2500 mAh it means that the battery has a capability to deliver 2.5A/2500mA of current to the load for 1 hour. The time that the battery works continuously depends upon the load current that it consumes. So if the load consumes only 25 mA of current then the battery can stay alive for 100 hours. How is it?

25 mA * 100 hours {so 25 mA of current for 100 hours}
Similarly 250 mA for 10 hours So on…

Though the theoretical calculations seem ideal but the battery’s duration changes based on the temperature and the current consumption etc. 

Power capability:
It means the amount of current that the battery can deliver. It is also known as C-rating.
Theoretically, it is calculated as A-h divided by 1 hour.

Example: Let’s consider a battery which has 10000 mAh of power capacity.
After dividing 10000 mA hour/1 hour gives 10000 mA = 10 A = 10 C

So, a battery with 10000 mAh of capacity will have a C rating of 10 C which means the battery has a capability of delivering 10 A of current at a constant voltage (fixed voltage/rated voltage).
If a battery has 1C rating then the battery has a capability of delivering 1A of current.

Note: Higher the C rating, more the current that can be drawn from the battery.

Nominal voltage:
While defining power capacity we have a unit called Wh which can be elaborated as V * I * hour but where did the voltage gone? As the voltage of the battery will be constant and will not be varied, it is considered as nominal voltage (fixed voltage). So since the voltage is fixed only Ampere and hour are considered as the unit (Ah/mAh).

Charging current:
It is the maximum current that can be applied to charge the battery i.e., practically maximum of 1A/2A can be applied if a battery protecting circuit is in-built but still 500 mA is the best the range for charging the battery.

Charging voltage:
It is the maximum voltage that should be applied to the battery to efficiently charge a battery. Basically 4.2 V is the best/standard charging voltage. Though we apply 5 V to the battery it accepts only 4.2 V.

Discharging current:
It is the current that can be drawn from the battery and is delivered to the load. If the current drawn by the load is greater than the rated discharging current, the battery drains very fast which causes the battery heat up quickly which also causes the battery to explode. So it is cautious to determine the amount of current drawn by the load as well as the maximum discharging current a battery can withhold.

Shelf life:
There might be a situation where the batteries are kept idle/sealed especially in the stores/shops for a long period of time. So shelf life defines the time period a battery can be stay powered up and should be able to use it for a rated time period. Shelf life is mainly considered for non-rechargeable batteries because those are of use and throw. For rechargeable batteries even if the shelf time is less, we can still recharge it.

Cut-off voltage:
It is the voltage at which the battery can be considered as fully discharged, after which if we still try to discharge from it the battery gets damaged. So beyond the cut-off voltage the battery should be disconnected from the circuit and should be charged appropriately.

Cycle life:
Let’s consider a battery is fully charged and it is discharged to 80% of its actual capacity, then the battery is said to be completed one cycle. Likewise the number of such cycles that a battery can charge and discharge defines the cycle life. The more the cycle life the better will be the battery’s quality. But if a battery is discharged to say 40% of its actual capacity considering the battery is fully charged initially, it cannot be considered as a cycle life.

Power density:
It defines power capacity of battery for a given mass of volume.

For example 100 Wh/Kg (Alkaline battery standard power density) implies that for 1 Kg of chemical composition it provides 100 Wh of power capacity.

Now, volume of a AAA alkaline battery is 11.5 grams. So if 1Kg can give 100 Wh capacity, then how much a 11.5 gram AAA batery can give?? Let’s calculate.

Wh (for 11.5 gm) = 100*11.5/1000 = 1.15 Wh

So, we know the nominal voltage of alkaline battery is 1.5V. So it provides 1.5V * (1.15/1.5)A * 1 hour gives 0.76 Ah = 760 mAh of power capacity which is almost equal to the power capacity of a standard AAA alkaline battery.

Batteriestar.com sells high capacity replacement batteries for Camera,Watch, Smartphone, Tablet, Notebook and much more. We offer free worldwide shipping to everyone!

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What to Do if Your Laptop Is Plugged In But Not Charging

When you plug in your laptop, you usually find yourself greeted with a cheerful chirp from your PC, a glowing LED indicator light, and a display that perks up and beams a bit more brightly. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Sometimes, though, you connect the AC adapter—usually because the battery is nearly drained—and you get nothing. No glowing lights, no brightened display, and no “battery charging” icon in the corner. What could be wrong?

There are numerous ways to take care of your battery, but between the wall outlet and your computer there are several steps and parts that can all fail. Some are easy to fix yourself with a software tweak or a new battery, but other problems may require a visit to a repair shop, or even a full-blown system replacement.

Knowing which is which can save you hours of frustration and hundreds of dollars in repairs. By taking an inside-out approach, you can quickly narrow down where the problem originates and find the most economical solution.

Get ready, boys and girls, it’s time to go troubleshooting.

Are You Plugged In?
It sounds silly, but you need to make sure the laptop is actually plugged in. No software tweak or hardware repair can make a disconnected laptop magically power on. So before you do anything else, ensure that the AC outlet and laptop plugs are firmly seated.

Check the AC adapter brick and verify that any removable cords are fully inserted. Next, make sure the battery is properly seated in its compartment, and that there is nothing wrong with either the battery or laptop contact points.

Finally, find out whether or not the problem even has anything to do with the laptop at all. Try plugging the power cord into a different outlet to see if you’ve got a short or a blown fuse. If it’s plugged into a surge protector or power strip, take it out and plug it directly into the wall.

At this point, if it still doesn’t work, we’ve determined that it’s not just user error causing the problem. There is a real issue with powering the laptop; now it’s simply a matter of figuring out where the problem may be. That begins with eliminating where it isn’t. We’ll start with the most common and easy-to-address issues.

Lose the Battery
First, check the integrity of the battery. If your laptop comes with a removable battery, take it out, and hold the power button down for about 15 seconds to drain any residual power from the device. Then, with the battery still removed, plug in the power cable and turn the laptop on.

If the laptop powers on properly, that means the power adapter is working properly and the problem is likely a bum battery. Though you can always re-install the battery and try again—maybe the battery was just poorly seated.

If your laptop doesn’t have a visible battery compartment on the bottom, it may be built into the laptop (like most Macs are), and you’ll either have to open it up yourself or take it to a repair specialist to test the battery.

Make Sure You’re Using the Right USB-C Port
USB-C is a popular cross-platform standard for connecting peripherals, transferring data, and charging your battery. The new standard allows for thinner devices, but might also cause some confusion. Some manufacturers have opted to make certain USB-C ports data-only, so they won’t charge your device.

For example, some devices, like the Huawei MateBook X Pro, have two USB-C ports: one that can be used for charging or data transfer, and one that is only designated for data transfer. If you run into a non-charging issue, make sure you are connected to the correct USB-C port—you may even be able to see a little icon on the side that indicates which port is meant for charging.

Is Your Charger Powerful Enough?
Similarly, just because a power adapter fits into your laptop’s charging port doesn’t mean it’s powerful enough to charge your laptop. This goes for any type of charger, but it’s an especially common problem with laptops that charge over USB-C—you can technically plug in any USB-PD charger, but some may have too low a wattage to properly charge.

Check the wattage of the charger that came with your laptop—if it came with a 45W charger, you’ll probably want to stick with a 45W charger (or higher) to power it, and so on. A lower-wattage charger might keep the battery from draining while you use it, but it won’t be enough to charge it any higher. If it does manage to recharge your computer, it will do so much slower than usual. If you’re going to use a third-party USB-C charger, try to use one that’s been certified by the USB-IF.

For laptops that don’t charge over USB-C, I generally recommend sticking with the manufacturer’s official, original charger. Cheap, no-brand chargers can be low quality or even dangerous, so if you have one of those, try charging with the laptop’s official charger instead.

Breaks, Burnout, and Shorts
Feel along the length of the power cord, bending and flexing as you go, to check for any kinks or breaks. Check the ends for any broken connections, such as plugs pulling loose or spots that may have gotten chewed by a pet or caught in a vacuum cleaner.

Inspect the AC brick. Is it discolored? Are any parts warped or expanded? Give it a sniff—if it smells like burnt plastic, that’s likely where the trouble lies. You may need to replace the power connector. Contact the manufacturer and see if they’ll send you a new one under warranty. (Or, barring that, if they’ll sell you one directly.)

Check the Connector
When you plug in the laptop’s power connector, the connection should be fairly solid. If there’s dust or other buildup inside the jack, it may not be able to make a clean connection. Try cleaning out the jack with a toothpick, and plugging in again.

In more extreme cases, you may find the jack is wobbly or loose, or gives when it should stay firm. This could mean the power jack has broken inside the chassis, and you’ll need to take your computer to a repair shop (or, if you’re comfortable opening it up, doing some at-home repairs).

Beat the Heat
Batteries are susceptible to heat, so if your laptop is overheating, that could cause a problem. As the temperature rises, the battery sensor may misfire, telling the system that the battery is either fully charged or missing completely, causing the charging problems. You may even find that your system shuts down to prevent overheating a battery and causing a fire.

These problems become far more likely when dealing with older laptops, which have lower-quality cooling than more modern devices—or if you tend to use the laptop on the couch or in bed, which can block the cooling vents. Turn the system off, give it some time to cool down, and take a moment to make sure the air vents are free of dust and unobstructed by blankets.

Check Your Settings For Windows Laptops
In Windows 10, open the Start menu and search for “Power & Sleep Settings,” then click the Additional Power Settings. (On older versions of Windows, open the Control Panel and search for “Power Options.”) Click Change Plan Settings and visually check that all are properly set.

Be on the lookout for incorrect settings for the battery, display, and sleep options. For example, your battery settings may cause trouble if you set the computer to shut down when the battery level drops too low or set the low battery level at too high a percentage.

You can also assign actions like sleep and shut down when your lid is closed or the power button is pressed. If these settings have been changed, it’s easy to suspect a power malfunction even though there’s no physical problem with the battery or charging cable. The easiest way to make sure that your settings aren’t causing problems is to restore the power profile to default settings.

For Mac Laptops
In System Preferences, select the Energy Saver pane and review your preferences. Mac settings are adjusted with a slider, letting you select the amount of time the computer can sit idle until it goes to sleep. If the interval is too short, you might suspect battery issues when settings are the true culprit.

Don’t forget to check these settings for both battery power and wall power. You may want to revert back to the default settings to see if a change in settings is causing the problem.

Update Your Drivers For Windows Laptops
Open the Start menu and search for “Device Manager.” Under Batteries, you should see a few items: usually one for the charger and one listed as Microsoft ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery, though there may be others. Right-click each item and choose Update Driver.

Once the drivers are all up to date, reboot the laptop and plug it in again. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, you may want to download the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website. You can also try uninstalling Microsoft ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery completely and rebooting, which should prompt Windows to reinstall the driver from scratch.

For Mac Laptops
On a Mac, you’ll need to try resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). For laptops with removable batteries, this is as simple as shutting down power, removing the battery, disconnecting power, and pressing the power button for five seconds. Reinsert the battery, connect power, and fire up the laptop.

For newer Macs with batteries sealed into the chassis, shut down the computer, but leave the power adapter connected. With the power off, press and hold the power button while pressing the Shift-Control-Option keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard. Release the keys and power button simultaneously, then attempt to power on the laptop.

Call In Outside Assistance
If you’re still having problems, this is probably a good time to contact tech support. Your particular make and model of laptop will likely have its own unique issues, and a seasoned tech support operator will have seen all of them.

The person you talk to will likely walk you through many of the steps outlined above, but will also be aware of software and hardware issues specific to your configuration, such as what bits of hardware commonly fail.

Swap Out the Cord and Battery
If the above software tricks don’t work, and you aren’t able to fix the problem with the parts you have on hand, you may have to buy a new battery or power adapter (which one will depend on what you were able to narrow down with the above troubleshooting steps).

You may be able to find a replacement power cable or battery on Amazon, but again, make sure it’s a legitimate part from the original manufacturer. Using third-party replacements for the real thing is never recommended, especially when it comes to power.

Your best bet is to contact the manufacturer directly and order a replacement part, if you can. It will be a little more expensive, but you’ll know you’re getting a quality component.

Problems Inside
When all of your options are exhausted—you’ve tried other power cables and batteries, checked and rechecked your settings, fixed any potential software problems—the problem is likely found inside the machine.

Several internal parts can cause problems when they malfunction or fail. Common culprits include a faulty motherboard, damaged charging circuits, and malfunctioning battery sensors.

Like a sick person consulting a doctor, internal problems require a specialist. Contact your manufacturer about what repair options are covered under your warranty, or call up a local computer repair shop.

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What to Do When Your Computer Won’t Start

You sit down at your computer, push the power button just like you do every day, and…nothing happens. Maybe the computer doesn’t turn on at all, maybe it powers up but shuts right down, or maybe it blue screens. Whatever your issue, here are some troubleshooting steps to take when your computer won’t boot correctly.

Give ‘er More Power
If your computer isn’t turning on at all—no fans are running, no lights are blinking, and nothing appears on screen—you probably have a power issue.

Unplug your computer and plug it directly into a wall outlet you know is working, rather than a power strip or battery backup that may be failing. Make sure the power switch on the back of your power supply is flipped on, and if the outlet is connected to a light switch, make sure that switch is turned on too.

If you’re using a laptop, make sure your charger is plugged in properly and to the correct port—if it charges via USB-C, only some of the USB ports may actually provide power. A failing power supply can often cause boot problems, even if the fans and lights do turn on. So if the troubleshooting steps in this guide fail you, it might be time to replace your power supply.

Check Your Monitor
If the computer sounds like it’s turning on but you don’t see anything on the screen, the computer may be booting and the monitor just isn’t showing an image. Check to make sure your monitor is plugged in (again, try a wall outlet instead of a power strip), turned on, and set to the right input using the buttons on the side or bottom. You’ll also want to make sure the cable connecting your monitor to your PC hasn’t come loose.

If you’re using a laptop, this may sound silly, but make sure the brightness is turned up. I’ve had multiple people ask me for help with a computer that won’t start, only to find the brightness was turned all the way down causing a black screen.

If these fixes don’t help, try plugging your PC into another monitor if you have one—or even a TV—and see if Windows shows up there. If it does, your monitor may be dead, and you need to buy a new one.

Listen for the Message at the Beep
No, not on your answering machine. When your computer boots, it may make a beeping sound—usually a single beep means everything is A-okay. But if the computer is having trouble starting up, it may make a series of beeps (kind of like Morse code) that tell you what’s wrong.

Check the manual for your PC (or the PC’s motherboard, if you built it yourself) and figure out what the beeps mean. If you don’t have your manual, you can probably find it on the manufacturer’s website.

If your computer doesn’t beep at all, you might be out of luck—though some desktop PCs may have a header on the motherboard where you can install a cheap speaker, or might even have a digital display with a numerical code that corresponds to an error message.

Unplug Unnecessary USB Devices
Before continuing, unplug anything superfluous from your computer—webcams, external hard drives, USB headsets. Try booting with just a keyboard and mouse (or even without a keyboard and mouse, if in dire straits) to see if one of your USB devices is causing a conflict.

In some circumstances, it may not even be the device itself, but the port on your computer. I’ve owned a PC that couldn’t get into Windows if something was plugged into the front USB port—once booted, the ports would work fine, but it needed to be empty during the boot process. The more variables you can eliminate, the better.

Reseat the Hardware Inside
There’s a chance a component of your computer has come loose inside the case, especially if it was recently transported somewhere or if you were working inside of it.

If you’re comfortable opening your computer up, remove the side panel and make sure the components are properly seated in their respective sockets. That includes your RAM, graphics card, motherboard cables, and the CPU heatsink. Remove them completely, then plug them back in, ensuring they click in all the way.

You might also try booting without certain hardware, like the graphics card or one of the RAM sticks, in case they’re faulty. (And if it doesn’t work with one RAM stick, try the other.)

Explore the BIOS
If your computer turns on and you see the POST screen but can’t boot into Windows, certain settings may be causing a problem. For example, if you get an error stating that your computer can’t find a bootable operating system, it’s possible your BIOS is set to boot from the wrong drive. Or maybe your overclocking settings are causing the computer to blue screen immediately.

Enter your BIOS when the POST screen appears, usually by pressing Delete, F2, or some other key to enter setup. If you’ve tweaked any of these settings in the recent past, try changing them back. Make sure your Boot Order is set to the correct hard drive, your RAM is recognized, and that your CPU isn’t overheating (if it’s above 90 degrees Celsius in the BIOS, something is definitely wrong). You might also turn off the Fast Boot feature, in case a recent Windows Update is conflicting with it.

If all else fails, try resetting your BIOS settings across the board using the Load Optimized Defaults option. Just be sure to snap a few photos of your BIOS settings so you can set them back if that doesn’t work.

Scan for Viruses Using a Live CD
It’s possible you have some nasty malware that’s preventing your computer from booting. But with a live environment like Hiren’s Boot CD, you can boot your computer from a CD or USB drive and scan your hard drive for malware without booting into Windows.

Download the ISO image from this page, and follow the instructions to “burn” it to a USB flash drive. Reboot your computer and access the Boot menu—usually by pressing F11, F12, or some other key defined at startup. Choose your USB drive from the boot menu, and it should boot into Hiren’s live environment.

From there, you can head into Utilities > Security and run a virus scan with ESET and a malware scan with Malwarebytes. If either program finds anything, it’ll let you know and attempt to fix it, which will hopefully allow you to boot into Windows once again.

Boot Into Safe Mode
If you’re getting the Blue Screen of Death at startup, it could be a result of a bad application, driver issue, or other hardware quirk causing problems on boot. If you can, Google the stop code that appears and see if it gives you any insight into what’s wrong.

Chances are, though, you’ll have to boot into Safe Mode to fix the problem. This used to be an easy process in Windows 7, because all you had to do was press F8 as you booted up. It has become much trickier in later editions of Windows, but usually if you interrupt the boot process three times—say, by pressing the reset button as Windows tries to boot—it’ll take you to the Automatic Repair screen, where you can click Advanced Options.

Alternatively, you can create a Windows installation drive using a friend’s PC and boot from that directly, choosing your language and selecting Repair Your Computer when given the option. Either of these methods should eventually get you to the Choose an Option screen, where you can click Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings and reboot the computer. (If you don’t see the Startup Settings option, you may need to click “See More Recovery Options” along the bottom.)

Your computer should then give you the option to boot into Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, or Safe Mode with Command Prompt. You can try any of these, though the most minimal Safe Mode is probably your best bet, unless you need to access the internet (in which case, choose Safe Mode with Networking). This will load Windows with only the most crucial drivers and services running.

If you installed any new hardware recently, try uninstalling its drivers from Safe Mode. If you think a new application might be to blame, get rid of that too. BlueScreenView can help you look back through your most recent Blue Screens of Death to see the file that caused the problem, or any bug check strings and codes to Google. 

You might even try running System Restore to try and get your PC back to the last known working configuration. Reboot the PC normally to see if it fixed the problem. If not, you can enter Safe Mode again, or try moving on to one of the next troubleshooting steps in this guide.

Roll Back a Problematic Windows Update
If you recently installed a Windows Update—or you think Windows may have done so in the background without you realizing—it may have caused a conflict that rendered your computer inoperable. It’s annoying, but thankfully, Windows does offer the option to roll back to the previous version, even if you can’t get into Windows itself.

Head back to the Troubleshoot > Advanced Options menu using the instructions above, then choose Uninstall Updates. Try uninstalling the latest Quality Update, or—if you recently tried to upgrade to a new major version of Windows 10—uninstall the latest Feature Update. If you’re lucky, this may get you back into Windows, at which point you can delay Windows updates until the kinks are worked out.

Check Your Hard Drive for Corruption
It’s possible some data on the drive is corrupt, preventing Windows from booting properly. Thankfully, Microsoft has a few tools that can attempt to fix the problem.

Head to the Troubleshoot > Advanced Options menu as described above and choose the Command Prompt. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter. Windows will check your drive for corruption and attempt to repair any problems.

You can also try the chkdsk C: /r command, which will do a broader search for file corruption and bad sectors. (If you have multiple drives, you may want to run wmic logicaldisk get volumename,name and replace the drive letter with the correct one from the resulting list.)

Repair a Busted Bootloader
Sometimes your Windows installation is fine, but the bootloader—the data that governs Windows’ boot process—is corrupted. This often happens if you clone your hard drive improperly, in which case you can try the cloning process again, making sure to clone the entire drive, not just the partition where Windows resides. 

It can also happen if you try to dual-boot Linux or create new drive partitions and mess something up along the way. You’ll often get a message saying “Error loading operating system,” “Invalid partition table,” “FATA: No bootable medium found! System halted,” or something similar.

If you have a good backup, you can try to repair the bootloader using Windows’ built-in tools, going to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options as described above, then choosing Startup Repair. I wouldn’t attempt these steps unless you have your files backed up, as messing with partitions can always risk the loss of data. You can also run the Command Prompt from this menu and try running one of the following commands:

bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot
bootrec /rebuildbcd

If that doesn’t work, repairing your bootloader may be more complicated due to newer EFI bootloaders—you can see instructions on doing so here—but it may be easier and faster to reinstall Windows from scratch and restore from your backup.

Test the Drive in Another PC and Pray
If all else fails and you don’t have a backup, take your hard drive out of your computer, connect it to a USB adapter, dock, or enclosure, and plug it into another known working PC. (Or, if you don’t have another PC, try booting from a Linux Live CD on your current machine.) As long as the drive is still working—a big “if”—you’ll at least be able to copy them onto an external drive for safekeeping before you reinstall Windows or send the PC in for repairs.

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How to Increase Your Laptop Battery Life

Who wants to make an urgent dash to a power outlet to rescue their laptop battery? That’s no fun, especially if you’re working a crowded convention center, tapping away at an airport gate, or even lounging on a tropical beach. Luckily, modern laptops are much more efficient than their predecessors. Nowadays, even inexpensive desktop-replacement laptops and some gaming behemoths can last for more than eight hours on a single charge. Some ultraportables can endure for 14 hours or more.

The first stop on our battery-life betterment tour is the Windows battery performance slider, a recent addition to Windows 10. It aims to group all of the settings that affect battery life into a few easy-to-understand categories. The company that made your PC determines exactly which settings the battery slider controls. But in general, keep these guidelines in mind:
> The Best Performance mode is for people willing to trade off battery runtime to gain performance and responsiveness. In this mode, Windows won’t stop apps running in the background from consuming a lot of power.
> The Better Performance setting limits resources for background apps, but it otherwise prioritizes power over efficiency.
> Better Battery mode delivers longer battery life than the default settings on previous versions of Windows. (It’s actually labeled “Recommended” on many PCs.)
> Battery Saver mode, a slider choice that will appear only when your PC is unplugged, reduces the display brightness by 30 percent, prevents Windows update downloads, stops the Mail app from syncing, and suspends most background apps.

Use Battery Settings on macOS
Apple’s MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro laptops don’t have a battery slider, although many of the same settings described above are present in the Energy Saver preferences.

To open it, click on the Spotlight magnifying-glass icon in the upper right corner of the screen, search for Energy Saver, and then click on the Battery tab. If you want to approximate the Windows Better Battery or Battery Saver modes, make sure that the options “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” and “Slightly dim the display while on battery power” are checked, and the option “Enable Power Nap while on battery power” is unchecked. (With Power Nap enabled and your MacBook asleep, the machine will wake up now and then to check for updates. Disabling it keeps your MacBook fully asleep when it is asleep—until you choose wake it up.) On recent MacBook Pro laptops, the display brightness adjusts to 75 percent when you unplug the computer from power if you have “Slightly dim the display while on battery power” enabled.

So, if you want the best battery life, should you use Battery Saver all the time? Not exactly. Because Battery Saver mode disables some useful features, you might want to use it only when your battery is below 20 percent and a power outlet isn’t near. Likewise, turning off Power Nap can mean it will take longer to catch up on notifications you’ve missed while you’re away from your MacBook. That’s why most users should use the Better Battery setting and enable Power Nap most of the time.

Simplify Your Workflow: Closing Apps, and Using Airplane Mode
On the other hand, if you’re writing a novel or playing a local video file and don’t need to be distracted by notifications, it’s fine to enable Battery Saver. It’s a good habit to adjust your laptop use in more battery-conserving ways, such as by sticking to one app at a time and closing everything else when you’re not using it. It’s a bit like turning off the lights when a room is vacant. If you’re going back and forth between the kitchen and the pantry all the time, or between Firefox and Word, by all means keep both sets of lights and apps on and open. But if you’re just cooking or watching a YouTube video, you’ll be best served by turning off and closing everything else.

In addition to aiming to single-task, consider enabling Airplane mode in Windows, or turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in macOS if you know you’ll be editing a document with no need for web access. In addition to eliminating distractions, Airplane mode eliminates a significant source of battery drain: not only the wireless radios themselves, but also the background apps and processes that constantly use them, such as updaters and push notifications.

Close Specific Apps That Use Lots of Power
Multiple apps and processes running on your system will chew through battery life more quickly, and chances are you probably aren’t actively using everything that’s currently running on your PC. In Windows 10, the Settings App is the first step to find energy-hogging programs.

Type “see which apps are affecting your battery life” into the Windows search bar for a list of apps that are consuming the most power. If you see an app that you rarely use hogging a lot of power, make sure you close it. Often, these are apps you’ve opened in the background and forgot about, such as Spotify or Adobe Reader.

Next, type “See which processes start up automatically when you start Windows” into the search bar. This will open the Task Manager’s Startup tab, which lists every utility that runs as soon as you start your PC. Anything with a name like “Download Assistant” or “Helper” is usually safe to disable. For example, unless you frequently open Spotify playlists, tracks, or albums from links in a web browser, you can disable the Spotify Web Helper.

To perform similar app purging in macOS, search for Users & Groups, then click the Login Items tab, where you’ll find a list of apps that run in the background when you start up your Mac.

Adjust Graphics and Display Settings
You’ll want to make sure that apps aren’t using the discrete GPU (if your laptop has one) when they don’t need to.

If you have a powerful graphics processor in your laptop (in essence, anything whose name starts with “Nvidia GeForce GTX” or, much less commonly, “AMD Radeon RX”), you can ensure that only games or other graphics-intensive apps need to use it, while everything else can get by using the more efficient on-CPU silicon for graphics processing. Assuming your system makes use of Nvidia GeForce graphics, open the GeForce control panel (typically found in the Windows notification area on the right side of the taskbar), then click on the Program Settings tab to assign each app to a specific graphics-processing chip. Allocate the GeForce discrete chip to games and photo- and video-editing apps like Adobe Photoshop and Premiere, while assigning everything else to the integrated chip.

To perform a similar assignment on a MacBook, search for Energy Saver and make sure the “Automatic graphics switching” option is checked. You don’t have the same kind of fine-tuned control over each program like you do in the GeForce panel, so you’ll have to trust macOS’s judgment when it comes to which app should use which graphics accelerator.

Take Heed of Airflow
Most laptops now come with lithium-polymer batteries that require much less maintenance than batteries of a decade ago, thanks as much to software and firmware improvements as innovation in the battery technology itself. You no longer have to perform a full battery discharge on a regular basis to calibrate it, nor do you have to worry that draining the battery completely will damage your laptop.

You do have to be careful about heat, however, which will hasten a battery’s demise. The biggest problems come from physical obstruction of the ventilation ports. Dust buildup is one problem, which you can take care of by cleaning the laptop’s vents and fan. (Periodically, use a can of compressed air to blow out some of the dust.) A more frequent issue that crops up, though, is using the laptop on a pillow or blanket, which can both obstruct the ventilation fan and retain the heat coming off of the system. Avoid this by using your laptop only on firm surfaces such as a table or a desk, which won’t flex and block airflow or cooling.

Keep an Eye on Your Battery’s Health
All batteries lose charging capacity over time and will eventually need to be replaced. Taking stock of a battery’s health now and then is always a good idea.

To see if your MacBook battery is nearing the end of its lifespan, hold the Option key and click the battery icon in the menu bar to reveal the battery status. If you see a “Replace Now” or “Service Battery” message, your battery is likely functioning far below its original capacity.

You can find more detailed information on how many charging cycles your battery has endured by opening the System Information app and navigating to the Power tab. Check the cycle count value against the rated maximums in Apple’s list to know how many more cycles you’ve got left.

For an equivalent battery-health indicator in Windows 10, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and delve into world of the command prompts. First, type cmd into the Windows Search Bar in the lower left of the screen to summon the Command Prompt in Windows 10. Right-click on its search item and choose to run Command Prompt at an administrator level. Then, type powercfg /batteryreport at the prompt. Your PC will generate an HTML file whose location is displayed in the command prompt window. Open it, and check near the top for your battery’s design capacity, full charge capacity, and cycle count.

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What to Do if Your Laptop Is Plugged In But Not Charging

When you plug in your laptop, you usually find yourself greeted with a cheerful chirp from your PC, a glowing LED indicator light, and a display that perks up and beams a bit more brightly. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Sometimes, though, you connect the AC adapter—usually because the battery is nearly drained—and you get nothing. No glowing lights, no brightened display, and no “battery charging” icon in the corner. What could be wrong?

There are numerous ways to take care of your battery, but between the wall outlet and your computer there are several steps and parts that can all fail. Some are easy to fix yourself with a software tweak or a new battery, but other problems may require a visit to a repair shop, or even a full-blown system replacement.

Knowing which is which can save you hours of frustration and hundreds of dollars in repairs. By taking an inside-out approach, you can quickly narrow down where the problem originates and find the most economical solution.

Get ready, boys and girls, it’s time to go troubleshooting.

Are You Plugged In?
It sounds silly, but you need to make sure the laptop is actually plugged in. No software tweak or hardware repair can make a disconnected laptop magically power on. So before you do anything else, ensure that the AC outlet and laptop plugs are firmly seated.

Check the AC adapter brick and verify that any removable cords are fully inserted. Next, make sure the battery is properly seated in its compartment, and that there is nothing wrong with either the battery or laptop contact points.

Finally, find out whether or not the problem even has anything to do with the laptop at all. Try plugging the power cord into a different outlet to see if you’ve got a short or a blown fuse. If it’s plugged into a surge protector or power strip, take it out and plug it directly into the wall.

At this point, if it still doesn’t work, we’ve determined that it’s not just user error causing the problem. There is a real issue with powering the laptop; now it’s simply a matter of figuring out where the problem may be. That begins with eliminating where it isn’t. We’ll start with the most common and easy-to-address issues.

Lose the Battery
First, check the integrity of the battery. If your laptop comes with a removable battery, take it out, and hold the power button down for about 15 seconds to drain any residual power from the device. Then, with the battery still removed, plug in the power cable and turn the laptop on.

If the laptop powers on properly, that means the power adapter is working properly and the problem is likely a bum battery. Though you can always re-install the battery and try again—maybe the battery was just poorly seated.

If your laptop doesn’t have a visible battery compartment on the bottom, it may be built into the laptop (like most Macs are), and you’ll either have to open it up yourself or take it to a repair specialist to test the battery.

Make Sure You’re Using the Right USB-C Port
USB-C is a popular cross-platform standard for connecting peripherals, transferring data, and charging your battery. The new standard allows for thinner devices, but might also cause some confusion. Some manufacturers have opted to make certain USB-C ports data-only, so they won’t charge your device.

For example, some devices, like the Huawei MateBook X Pro, have two USB-C ports: one that can be used for charging or data transfer, and one that is only designated for data transfer. If you run into a non-charging issue, make sure you are connected to the correct USB-C port—you may even be able to see a little icon on the side that indicates which port is meant for charging.

Is Your Charger Powerful Enough?
Similarly, just because a power adapter fits into your laptop’s charging port doesn’t mean it’s powerful enough to charge your laptop. This goes for any type of charger, but it’s an especially common problem with laptops that charge over USB-C—you can technically plug in any USB-PD charger, but some may have too low a wattage to properly charge.

Check the wattage of the charger that came with your laptop—if it came with a 45W charger, you’ll probably want to stick with a 45W charger (or higher) to power it, and so on. A lower-wattage charger might keep the battery from draining while you use it, but it won’t be enough to charge it any higher. If it does manage to recharge your computer, it will do so much slower than usual. If you’re going to use a third-party USB-C charger, try to use one that’s been certified by the USB-IF.

For laptops that don’t charge over USB-C, I generally recommend sticking with the manufacturer’s official, original charger. Cheap, no-brand chargers can be low quality or even dangerous, so if you have one of those, try charging with the laptop’s official charger instead.

Breaks, Burnout, and Shorts
Feel along the length of the power cord, bending and flexing as you go, to check for any kinks or breaks. Check the ends for any broken connections, such as plugs pulling loose or spots that may have gotten chewed by a pet or caught in a vacuum cleaner.

Inspect the AC brick. Is it discolored? Are any parts warped or expanded? Give it a sniff—if it smells like burnt plastic, that’s likely where the trouble lies. You may need to replace the power connector. Contact the manufacturer and see if they’ll send you a new one under warranty. (Or, barring that, if they’ll sell you one directly.)

Check the Connector
When you plug in the laptop’s power connector, the connection should be fairly solid. If there’s dust or other buildup inside the jack, it may not be able to make a clean connection. Try cleaning out the jack with a toothpick, and plugging in again.

In more extreme cases, you may find the jack is wobbly or loose, or gives when it should stay firm. This could mean the power jack has broken inside the chassis, and you’ll need to take your computer to a repair shop (or, if you’re comfortable opening it up, doing some at-home repairs).

Beat the Heat
Batteries are susceptible to heat, so if your laptop is overheating, that could cause a problem. As the temperature rises, the battery sensor may misfire, telling the system that the battery is either fully charged or missing completely, causing the charging problems. You may even find that your system shuts down to prevent overheating a battery and causing a fire.

These problems become far more likely when dealing with older laptops, which have lower-quality cooling than more modern devices—or if you tend to use the laptop on the couch or in bed, which can block the cooling vents. Turn the system off, give it some time to cool down, and take a moment to make sure the air vents are free of dust and unobstructed by blankets.

Check Your Settings
For Windows Laptops
In Windows 10, open the Start menu and search for “Power & Sleep Settings,” then click the Additional Power Settings. (On older versions of Windows, open the Control Panel and search for “Power Options.”) Click Change Plan Settings and visually check that all are properly set.

Be on the lookout for incorrect settings for the battery, display, and sleep options. For example, your battery settings may cause trouble if you set the computer to shut down when the battery level drops too low or set the low battery level at too high a percentage.

You can also assign actions like sleep and shut down when your lid is closed or the power button is pressed. If these settings have been changed, it’s easy to suspect a power malfunction even though there’s no physical problem with the battery or charging cable. The easiest way to make sure that your settings aren’t causing problems is to restore the power profile to default settings.

For Mac Laptops
In System Preferences, select the Energy Saver pane and review your preferences. Mac settings are adjusted with a slider, letting you select the amount of time the computer can sit idle until it goes to sleep. If the interval is too short, you might suspect battery issues when settings are the true culprit.

Don’t forget to check these settings for both battery power and wall power. You may want to revert back to the default settings to see if a change in settings is causing the problem.

Update Your Drivers
For Windows Laptops
Open the Start menu and search for “Device Manager.” Under Batteries, you should see a few items: usually one for the charger and one listed as Microsoft ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery, though there may be others. Right-click each item and choose Update Driver.

Once the drivers are all up to date, reboot the laptop and plug it in again. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, you may want to download the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website. You can also try uninstalling Microsoft ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery completely and rebooting, which should prompt Windows to reinstall the driver from scratch.

For Mac Laptops
On a Mac, you’ll need to try resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). For laptops with removable batteries, this is as simple as shutting down power, removing the battery, disconnecting power, and pressing the power button for five seconds. Reinsert the battery, connect power, and fire up the laptop.

For newer Macs with batteries sealed into the chassis, shut down the computer, but leave the power adapter connected. With the power off, press and hold the power button while pressing the Shift-Control-Option keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard. Release the keys and power button simultaneously, then attempt to power on the laptop.

Call In Outside Assistance
If you’re still having problems, this is probably a good time to contact tech support. Your particular make and model of laptop will likely have its own unique issues, and a seasoned tech support operator will have seen all of them.

The person you talk to will likely walk you through many of the steps outlined above, but will also be aware of software and hardware issues specific to your configuration, such as what bits of hardware commonly fail.

Swap Out the Cord and Battery
If the above software tricks don’t work, and you aren’t able to fix the problem with the parts you have on hand, you may have to buy a new battery or power adapter (which one will depend on what you were able to narrow down with the above troubleshooting steps).

You may be able to find a replacement power cable or battery on batteriestar.com, but again, make sure it’s a legitimate part from the original manufacturer. 

Your best bet is to contact the manufacturer directly and order a replacement part, if you can. It will be a little more expensive, but you’ll know you’re getting a quality component.

Problems Inside
When all of your options are exhausted—you’ve tried other power cables and batteries, checked and rechecked your settings, fixed any potential software problems—the problem is likely found inside the machine.

Several internal parts can cause problems when they malfunction or fail. Common culprits include a faulty motherboard, damaged charging circuits, and malfunctioning battery sensors.

Like a sick person consulting a doctor, internal problems require a specialist. Contact your manufacturer about what repair options are covered under your warranty, or call up a local computer repair shop.

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13 Tips to Extend the Lifespan of Your Smartphone Battery

It’s harder to replace your phone’s lithium ion battery than it is to treat it right in the first place. Many smartphones don’t provide easy user access to their batteries. That includes all iPhones and many flagship Android phones from brands such as Samsung. Official battery replacements can be expensive or inconvenient (try getting an official battery replacement at an Apple Store this year). There are also environmental concerns. Smartphones are, frankly, an environmental disaster and extending the lifespan of your Smartphone Battery helps mitigate that.

Here are some things you can do to preserve and extend the lifespan of your Smartphone Battery. By battery lifespan I mean how many years and months your battery will last before it needs to be replaced. In contrast, battery life refers to how many hours or days your phone will last on a single charge.

1. Understand how your Smartphone Battery degrades.
With every charge cycle your Smartphone Battery degrades slightly. A charge cycle is a full discharge and charge of the battery, from 0% to 100%. Partial charges count as a fraction of a cycle. Charging your phone from 50% to 100%, for example, would be half a charge cycle. Do that twice and it’s a full charge cycle. Some phone owners use more than a full charge cycle a day, others use less. It depends on how much you use your phone and what you do with it.

Battery manufacturers say that after about 400 cycles a Smartphone Battery’s capacity will degrade by 20%. It will only be able to store 80% of the energy it did originally and will continue to degrade with additional charge cycles. The reality, however, is that phone batteries probably degrade faster than that. And just to be clear, the Smartphone Battery doesn’t stop degrading after 400 cycles. That 400 cycles / 20% figure is to give you an idea of the rate of decay.

If you can slow down those charge cycles — if you can extend the everyday battery life of your phone — you can extend its battery lifespan also. Basically, the less you drain and charge the battery, the longer the battery will last. The problem is, you bought your phone to use it. You have to balance saving battery life and lifespan with utility, using your phone how and when you want it. Some of my suggestions below may not work for you. On the other hand, there may be things that you can implement fairly easily that don’t cramp your style.

There are two general types of suggestions here. There are suggestions to reduce stress and strain to your battery, affecting battery lifespan directly. Avoiding extremes of heat and cold would be an example of this first type. There are also suggestions to make your phone more energy efficient, slowing battery degradation by slowing down those charge cycles. Reducing screen brightness would be an example of this second type of suggestion.

2. Avoid extremes of heat and cold. 
If your phone gets very hot or cold it can strain the battery and shorten its lifespan. Leaving it in your car would probably be the worst culprit, if it’s hot and sunny outside or below freezing in winter.

3. Avoid fast charging.
Charging your phone quickly stresses the battery. Unless you really need it, avoid using fast charging.

In fact, the slower you charge your battery the better, so if you don’t mind slow charging overnight, go for it. Charging your phone from your computer as well as certain smart plugs can limit the current going into your phone, slowing its charge rate. Some external battery packs might slow the speed of charging, but I’m not sure about that.

4. Avoid draining your Smartphone Battery all the way to 0% or charging it all the way to 100%.

Older types of rechargeable batteries had ‘battery memory’. If you didn’t charge them to full and discharge them to zero battery they ‘remembered’ and reduced their useful range. It was better for their lifespan if you always drained and charged the battery completely.

Newer phone batteries work in a different way. It stresses the battery to drain it completely or charge it completely. Phone batteries are happiest if you keep them above 20% capacity and below 90%. To be extremely precise, they’re happiest around 50% capacity

Short charges are probably fine, by the way, so if you’re the sort of person that finds yourself frequently topping up your phone for quick charges, that’s fine for your battery.

5. Charge your phone to 50% for long-term storage
The healthiest charge for a lithium ion battery seems to be about 50%. If you are going to store your phone for an extended period, charge it to 50% before turning it off and storing it. This is easier on the battery than charging it to 100% or letting it drain to 0% before storage.

The battery, by the way, continues to degrade and discharge if the phone is turned off and not being used at all. This generation of batteries was designed to be used. If you think of it, turn the phone on every several months and top the battery up to 50%.

Extending battery life
The tips above address battery lifespan directly. Battery lifespan is also affected by battery life, how long your phone lasts on a single charge. Improving battery life extends the lifespan of the battery by slowing down those charge cycles.

6. Turn down the screen brightness.
A smartphone’s screen is the component that typically uses the most battery. Turning down the screen brightness will save energy. Using Auto Brightness probably saves battery for most people by automatically reducing screen brightness when there’s less light, although it does involve more work for the light sensor.

The thing that would truly save the most battery in this area would be to manage it manually and fairly obsessively. That is, manually set it to the lowest visible level every time there’s a change in ambient lighting levels.

Both Android and iOS give you options to turn down overall screen brightness even if you’re also using auto-brightness.

7. Reduce the screen timeout (auto-lock)
If you leave your screen on without using it, it will automatically turn off after a period of time, usually one or two minutes. You can save energy by reducing the Screen Timeout time (called Auto-Lock on iPhones). By default, I believe iPhones set their Auto-Lock to 2 minutes, which might be more than you need. You may be fine with 1 minute, or even 30 seconds. 

8. Choose a dark theme.
My phone, the Galaxy S7, has an OLED screen. To display black it doesn’t block the backlight with a pixel like some iPhones and many other types of LCD screens. Instead, it doesn’t display anything at all. The pixels displaying black just don’t turn on. This makes the contrast between black and colour very sharp and beautiful. It also means that displaying black on the screen uses no energy, and darker colours use less energy than bright colours like white. Choosing a dark theme for your phone, if it has an OLED or AMOLED screen, can save energy. If your screen does not have an OLED screen — and this includes all iPhones before the iPhone X — a dark theme won’t make a difference.

9. Delete Facebook.
…or restrict its permissions and reduce its use. Facebook is a notorious resource hog, both on Android and iPhone. If you really want to use Facebook, go into settings and restrict its permissions such as video autoplay, access to your location, and notifications. Do you really want Facebook tracking your location? Autoplaying videos in Facebook (they play automatically, whether you select them or not) uses energy and data, and can be annoying and intrusive in some cases. There might be relevant settings both in the app itself and within your phone settings.

If Facebook came pre-installed on your phone (as it did on mine), it may not be possible to delete it completely because your phone considers it a system app. In that case, you can disable it in Settings if you wish.

10. Look for other apps that waste battery.
Look through your battery settings for other apps that use a disproportionate amount of energy and delete, disable, or restrict permissions where possible. For apps you want to keep using, you can restrict permissions you don’t need. There are also ‘light’ versions of some popular apps that generally take up less space, use less data, and may use less power. Facebook Messenger Light is one example.

In general, though, the apps that use the most battery will be the apps you use the most, so deleting or reducing use may not be that practical for you.

11. Learn how to turn on your phone’s energy saving / low-power modes.

Your phone has one or more energy saving modes. These limit the performance of the CPU (and other features). Consider using them. You will get lower performance but better battery life. You might not mind the trade-off.

12. Buy the premium version of ad-supported apps you use frequently
Many apps exist as both free and paid versions, and the difference is often that the free version is supported with ads. Displaying ads uses slightly more data and slightly more energy. Purchasing an app you use frequently rather than using the free ad-supported version may pay off in the long run by reducing data and battery usage. You also free up screen space by getting rid of distracting ads, usually gain more features, and support app developers.

13. Manage radios
You can turn off radios you rarely use until you need them. If you never use NFC there’s no reason to keep it on. On the other hand, radios like GPS, Bluetooth, and NFC don’t really use a lot of energy in standby mode but only if they’re actually operating. Energy savings from micromanaging radios will probably be limited.

On thing to think about in terms of radios is that the weaker your cell or WiFi signal, the more power your phone needs to access that signal. To access cellular data or WiFi your phone needs both to receive and send information. If you’re not receiving a strong signal it means your phone needs to boost its own signal to reach that distant cell tower or WiFi router, using more energy.

If your bedroom has a strong cell signal but a weak WiFi signal, it may save you energy to use cellular data instead of WiFi. Similarly, if you have a strong WiFi signal but weak cell signal, it’s better to stick to WiFi.

If you’re out of range of cell service and WiFi, turn airplane mode on. Smartphones are always on the lookout for cell and WiFi signals if they don’t have them. If no signal is available, your phone will constantly be looking for one.

Final Thoughts
Current versions of iOS will show you your battery health. There is no such feature in Android, but there are third-party apps that will perform this function.

I use AccuBattery which tracks battery health and other stats, as well as giving you a notification when your phone charges to a certain point so you may unplug it. So far, AccuBattery seems to be confirming my understanding of battery degradation. AccuBattery recommends charging to 80%. Some sources I have read suggest the healthy range extends to 90% and that is often a target I aim for as a good compromise between preserving battery in the long term and not running out of battery in the short term.