Honor Student
Posts: 2
Member Since: ‎01-12-2009
Message 1 of 5 (14,189 Views)

Using the Battery for the first time

Hello- I just bought a new laptop- the HP dv4 1220us, and I just was wanting some tips on the best way to use the battery for the first time to get a good life out of it.  I've seen conflicting messages on what to do.  I've heard to charge it fully the first time, and then let it run completely down, and to do this several times in the beginning.  But I've also heard you don't need to do this, and you can just start using it normally once its fully charged the first time.  Also, I will be plugging it in at home alot- should I leave the battery in while its plugged in?  Again, I"ve gotten conflicting info on this- some say no, that it will diminish the life of the battery.  Other's say, its not a problem to keep the battery in the laptop while plugged into the wall.  Also, if I decide to use my battery most of the time- should I let it run down fully every time and then recharge, or should I recharge once it gets to a certain low point?  I just worry about these things- I heard this battery should last about 2 years or so.  I don't want to have to replace it after a year because I didn't use it correctly.  I tried calling HP customer support but honestly I couldn't understand the girl, and she didn't understand what I was talking about so I pretty much got no where. 


On a side note- I charged it fully and then had it on today with just the battery.  Once I took the plug out and ran on the battery, in like 10 minutes it went down to 89%.  And then a half an hour later it was at 68%.  Then I put it on hibernate for an hour or so, and then came back and turned it on and it was at 38%.  In about a half hour to hour, it was completely discharged and it shut my computer off.  Is this normal for using the battery for the first time?


Sorry so long!  Thanks for your help!

Posts: 38
Member Since: ‎01-11-2009
Message 2 of 5 (14,175 Views)

Re: Using the Battery for the first time

Agreed...there are a lot of conflicting opinions out there regarding how to maximize battery life.


First of all you are right...First cycle should be a full charge and a full discharge cycle, which you seem to have done already.


On the HP site if you search for "battery calibration" you'll see info regarding their suggested use for batteries.  Basically it says do a calibration cycle every 3 months (I think). The idea is windows can tend to "forget" what the real life of the battery is so the calibration helps windows measure the real capacity of the battery as it ages. 


One part that isn't in dispute is all batteries have a finite amount of charge/recharge cycles.  I always leave my battery in my laptop and use AC power in all cases when convenient.  I do feel that if I limit the amount of use on battery I will maximize the life of the battery, provided I perform a calibration cycle around every 3 months. 


I am not concerned about overcharging the battery using it plugged in as the laptop isn't applying a charge once it detects the battery to have a full charge.


I hope this helps...






Grad Student
Posts: 307
Member Since: ‎12-17-2008
Message 3 of 5 (14,144 Views)

Re: Using the Battery for the first time



Mikes got it all right. 


Even in hibernate it will draw power.  Your notebook came  from the factory with settings for at what battery percentage certain actions happen.


A batterys life can vary. I belive a year is average. I do not think the battery is covered under your factory warranty.


About HP's customer support line...1-800-474-6836

once you get past the first people you talked to who must be in some far away place, you will get a HP Notebook Tech who is in the good ole midwestern USA!!!! ( 7am - 1:00 pm central time)!!!


I've talked to some helpfull techs there !!

All of my posts reflect my opinion only and not of HP.
Posts: 11,333
Member Since: ‎11-12-2008
Message 4 of 5 (14,136 Views)

Re: Using the Battery for the first time

[ Edited ]

A couple things are clear about laptop batteries. First, I hate to contradict but the old advice to discharge it completely on the first cycle and then power cycle it completely a couple times was good advice for Ni-Cad and Ni-Mh batteries which have not been seen on laptops in years but it is terrible advice for a Li-ion battery. Do not discharge a Li-ion battery below about 15% and there is no need to "teach" it to cycle fully as it has no memory effect as the older batteries did.


Secondly, stay away from the laptop's battery calibration utility. It has killed more batteries than it has helped. Windows Vista has a very advanced power management utility built in and it is fine for working with the battery. Run it down to maybe 30% to 40% once or maybe twice and recharge it and the Windows meter will get the hang of your battery and it will be more accurate. The pattern you are telling us is pretty drop at the beginning then slow in the middle then fast again as the percentage gets lower.


As for hibernation, the laptop should use very little power in true hibernation but do not confuse hibernation with plain old suspend or sleep mode. Those leave certain processes actively running. True hibernation writes the contents of memory to the hard drive and holds it there. You can hibernate a laptop and still have 90% power 2 days later if it is working right. You have to enable hibernation; it does not just happen. 



If your laptop truly will not be used on battery, then you should remove that battery, if possible. Some laptops use the battery as part of the case and the laptop does not sit right without a battery. If you remove the battery, discharge it down to like 40% and store it in a cool dark place (not the refrigerator). Battery life is a function of time and also cycles. New batteries that have been in the box for a year or more are not nearly as good as a fresh new battery. Even when you are on AC power the laptop will still experience mini-cycles which can reduce the life but it is only by a little bit. The smart chip inside the battery counts cycles and when a certain number is reached (maybe 500-1000 cycles, they do not really tell us) the battery will just stop working even though chemically it could still work. Old Li-ion batteries become a bit of a fire hazard is why they do this.


I hope this gives you a bit more solid information. There is a lot of urban myth out there. I hear the "cycle it three times" thing a lot and it is amazing how that bit of junk has held on for all these years. Also, the manufacturers have caused consumers to have unrealistic battery life expectations. On a big entertainment laptop you will get 90 minutes. On a midsize you will get 2 to 2.5 hours and on a subcompact laptop you will get 4 to 4.5 hours. These numbers have not changed a lot (relatively) in years, although battery life has improved just a little recently. Some of the smartest minds in the world are working on Li-ion battery technology right now for the automotive industry and that is benefiting laptops, too. 

Message Edited by Huffer on 01-14-2009 08:53 AM
Message Edited by Huffer on 01-14-2009 08:59 AM
Honor Student
Posts: 2
Member Since: ‎01-12-2009
Message 5 of 5 (14,106 Views)

Re: Using the Battery for the first time

Thanks everyone! Its so much more clear coming from you all!  I did do a chat with hp help and he told me to calibrate the battery and it seems to be working now- it had gone from 100% charged to 58% immediately after unlpugging the ac adaptor..  But i did what he told me and it worked.  I think what I"ll be doing is shutting down the laptop overnight while I sleep, and then keep it plugged into my room while I write during the day, but take it out into the living room to use the internet and all on battery power.  That way I'll use it occasionally, but not run it all the way down.  Thanks so much again, everyone. 
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