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Power Manager - Battery Software Question

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Callahan
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Power Manager - Battery Software Question

#1 Post by Callahan » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:01 pm

I have three TPs ... all T4x units. I talked in another thread about my T41 needing a new battery ... wasn't going to buy a new one but did so.

Over the weekend I came across this article from Jun 5, 2012 in Computerworld dealing with the lifespan of a laptop battery.

Maximizing the lifespan of a laptop battery

By Michael Horowitz, Computerworld | Jun 5, 2012

https://www.computerworld.com/article/2 ... ttery.html

He talks about a Samsung notebook and a special program to not fully charge a battery to 100% ... from the article:

"a question that popped up on the screen. The system was offering to only charge the battery up to 80% of its capacity. What's up with that?

This is a good thing, maybe even a great thing, for someone who normally keeps their laptop computer plugged into electricity. It turns out that the lifespan of Lithium Ion batteries decreases when they are constantly charged to full capacity.

As Samsung puts it:

Most battery damage occurs when the cells inside are at or near capacity. That’s because batteries get a bit hot under the collar when they max out their charge at 100 percent. This heat causes the delicate structures within to start to break down, which ultimately makes the battery less capable of holding a charge. Eventually capacity drops to the point where the battery won’t hold a charge at all and it has to be replaced.

But they have software that offers a solution:

One of the key features of PowerPlus is a simple setting you’ll find on your Samsung laptop called Battery Life Extender. ... Here you’ll find the option to either leave your battery in Normal mode (which lets the battery charge to 100 percent of its capacity) or engage the Battery Life Extender mode, which caps the charge at 80 percent. Battery Life Extender helps keep the battery from overcharging and overheating, which protects it from being damaged. The result is a battery that keeps on going for years."

Further in the article he mentions that he has an IBM ThinkPad:

" I use a Lenovo ThinkPad and this sent me digging into the settings offered by the pre-installed ThinkVantage Power Manager software. Sure enough, Lenovo offers a similar option, something I had overlooked when first configuring the machine.

The Lenovo help files offer the same advice as Samsung:

If you primarily use your computer with the AC adapter attached and only infrequently use battery power, battery deterioration may occur faster when the battery is constantly charged at 100%. Lower the charge thresholds of your battery if you use your ThinkPad computer often while on AC power.

I missed this initially for two reasons. For one, the appropriate setting is buried deep in the Power Manager (version 3.30) user interface. Then too, there are terminology issues.

One group of front and center settings in the Power Manager interface offer "Battery stretch". This has nothing to do with stretching the lifespan of the battery, instead it refers to stretching the current charge, by doing things like dimming the screen. There are also settings for "Maximum Battery Life" which, again, refers to life of current charge.

ThinkPad owners should go to the Battery Information tab and click on the Battery Maintenance... button.

Lenovo's documentation is, frankly, poor. My guess is that it was written for a different version of the Power Manager software.

By default, Automatically optimize for battery lifespan is selected. This option sets the battery charge mode automatically by monitoring battery usage. Initial mode is Maximum Runtime mode and this option charges with full charge voltage. When the battery charge mode is set Maximum Lifespan mode, it helps to increase battery lifespan by reducing charging capacity. When Maximum Lifespan mode is set, Power Manager’s battery gauge displayed on taskbar is shown with green outline. Always fully charge (Start when below 96%; stop at 100%) uses Maximum Runtime mode. This mode starts charging when the remaining capacity of the battery is below 96% and stops charging at 100%. Note, this setting may not help to increase battery lifespan.

Despite what the documentation said, my laptop had defaulted to "Always fully charge".

I changed it to "Optimize for battery lifespan," and then ran a test. With the battery drained to 70% capacity, I put the computer to sleep and left it plugged in overnight. In the morning, the battery was back to full capacity. So much for that.

For the last week or so, I've been using custom charge levels. The battery does not start charging until it is below 70% and stops charging at 80%. This has worked well and I'm sticking with it."
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I have been looking for some older Power Managers to work with XP but didn't have much luck but I came across this IBM program: ThinkPad Battery MaxiMiser and Power Management vA-1.38 ... he doesn't mention it in the article but this program allows a ThinkPad to do the same thing. It was hard to find but I stumbled into the area where the battery charging can be started or stopped well below 100%. I also think when the computer is off and still plugged in, the battery will not charge to 100% but stay in the range selected. I am not 100% sure about that but I had my computer off and the battery readings had not changed. However, I need to do this again to be sure. The battery should not charge up fully if you don't want it too.

I guess I don't need an older Power Manager version since this seems to do the same thing. I was trying to find this version for Windows XP: ThinkVantage Power Manager v1.97 ... it may have the same battery program, just wanted to try it, but Battery MaxiMiser and Power Management does seem to work OK.

ThinkPad Power Manager version for Windows XP version 1.90, 1.91, 1.91a, 1.92, 1.93, 1.94, 1.95 , 1.96, 1.97

If anyone has anything more information on this subject, would like to hear about it.

Additional: I have TP Power Management Driver v1.65.05.20 (04/27/2012) installed and as I said above ... all seems to working as I like and now the addition of Battery MaxiMiser and Power Management v1.38 seems to give me the battery control to keep the battery from charging to 100%. I mainly use my older T41 since 2010 and this may explain why I have replaced so many batteries since then. The computer always plugged in and the battery always at 100%.

I wish I had found the above article sooner and keeping the battery maybe cooler by not always being charged to 100% ... might have extended the life of a few of those batteries ... others may have gone bad anyway. I will never know for sure.

The link for people still on Windows XP and Battery MaxiMiser and Power Management:

https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/downloads/migr-44226

I am still going to find the download link for one of these versions ... hopefully v1.97 to see how that works. Searching Google ... there must be one out there somewhere.

ThinkPad Power Manager version for Windows XP version 1.90, 1.91, 1.91a, 1.92, 1.93, 1.94, 1.95 , 1.96, 1.97

Additional added 02/01/2018: I seem to have a good setup working now with Battery MaxiMiser and Power Management added and working with TP Power Management Driver v1.65.05.20. I did find a newer download for Power Management - Power Management Driver v1.67.4.05 but it only seems to be updated for newer ThinkPad models ... nothing major so I will keep using v1.65.05.20. It's worked just fine for years.

As I said earlier, I was not aware of Battery MaxiMiser but it is something I wish I had discovered sooner. I can find no fault with the program and it keeps the battery from charging up to 100%. I usually do a good Ghost backup of all three of my ThinkPads every January and I like the backups to be as close to 100% perfect as possible from the last backup ... like the 'Factory CD or DVD' that use to come in the box with a new computer many, many years back. Also, if the hard drive goes bad, it's no problem to just pop in another HD and be up and running in no time.

Callahan

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