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2. General information

This section describes a few technical things about laptop batteries and some general power saving tips. This information is not Linux-specific and if you are experienced with laptops, you might already know all this.

2.1 Be kind to your battery

(Please note the credits for this section.)

There are currently three types of batteries commonly used for portable computers.

Even if the battery case looks the same, you cannot just upgrade to another battery technology. The recharging process is different for the kind of battery you use.

Some manufacturers integrate the recharging circuit inside the laptop's external ac adapter, so you might just get away with buying a new power supply to upgrade. A good indication for an external recharging unit is when your ac adapter uses a proprietary connector with a lot of power lines.

Other manufacturers put the recharging unit inside the laptop case where users cannot simply replace it with a newer technology. If your ac adapter only uses two power lines to connect to the computer (just like mine), the recharging unit is probably inside the laptop.

When in doubt, ask your manufacturer if your laptop supports a more modern battery.

A battery that is not used for a long time will slowly discharge itself. And even with greatest care, a battery needs to be replaced after 500 to 1000 recharges. But still it is not recommended to run a laptop without the battery while on ac power - the battery often serves as a big capacitor to protect against voltage peaks from your ac outlet.

As the manufacturers change the shapes of their batteries every few months, you might have problems to find a new battery for your laptop in a few years from now. Buy a spare battery now - before it's out of stock.

2.2 Power saving - The obvious stuff

There are some obvious things that you can do to reduce your system's power consumption. Well, maybe not so obvious, since not very many people follow these rules...

Well, you get the idea. Most of these are restrictions that will probably stop you from doing any serious work with your Linux system. (The best way to save power while on battery is... not to do anything at all. That increases my laptop's battery uptime by almost 100 percent.)

So let's go ahead to some other, more useful measures that will save power without disturbing your work.

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