Until new nano lithium technology comes in later in 2009, mobile phone batteries are still notoriously flaky. Just when you need to make an important call the battery indicator tells you the charge is all but extinct. You may have conditioned your battery in line with all of the advice and old wives tales floating around but still have to re-charge yours every day. Short of buying a spare and keeping that charged what can you do?

There are several types of battery in use at the present time and each must be treated differently. There are Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cad), Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Lithium-ion. Ni-Cad is old technology and hence only found in ancient handsets, so I will not be covering them in this article. NiMH batteries perform much better than Ni-Cad, typically giving 30% more talk time, but Lithium are thinner and give even higher performance. I will be concentrating on Lithium-ion as it is the most used modern mobile phone battery to date. Check which type of battery your phone has before following any of the following.

First of all let me dispel some battery charging myths.

o Memory effect will reduce the life of a battery. Modern Lithium-ion batteries do not suffer from memory effect, although it does occur in Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) units when charged from levels other than 0% of battery capacity. If the (NiMH) unit was fully charged when initially at say 20% capacity, the resulting available capacity would only be 80% of the factory original. Of course every time you charged the battery, the total available capacity would reduce and eventually your mobile phone would prove to be increasingly useless. Nearly all new electronic devices are now powered by Lithium batteries. You should always condition your (NiMH) battery from new.

o If you interrupt the charging process it will damage the battery. You can interrupt the charge without damaging the lithium cell.

o You can not use the phone whilst initially charging. You can use the phone whilst charging even during the initial charge with no damage to the battery.

o You need to fully charge the battery each time. In fact the battery life-cycle will be extended if only partially charged each time. The battery will be placed under stress if fully charged each time.

o You do not need to fully charge the battery first time. New or dormant batteries can have reduced capacity, so fully charge the battery initially. In fact all new batteries should be fully charged and fully discharged the first few cycles to give optimal performance – even Lithium-ion.

o The battery will over-charge if left attached to the charger. The battery stops charging automatically when full, so it will not over charge. If the battery is left on charge too long it is possible that heat will damage the battery.

o The battery will re-charge a little if placed on a hot surface, like a radiator. Never place a mobile phone battery on a hot surface! There is a significant chance of explosion with extreme heat. A modern Lithium battery becomes less efficient the warmer it gets.

So from the points I have raised above we can see that we no longer need to condition the battery in the way we did with the older Ni-MH cells. Having said all of that, you should always check your manual for battery advice and especially initial charge times.

Here are ten ways of improving your battery capacity. You do not have to implement them all, but the more you do effect the less time you will spend with your valuable mobile phone plugged into the wall.

۱٫ Using your mobile phone in 3G or Dual Mode drains the battery much quicker than just GSM mode. Somewhere in the manual for your phone will be listed the battery times separately for GSM and 3G. On modern mobile phones, the GSM only life-cycle can be up to 50% more efficient.

۲٫ Turn off all off all unnecessary sounds (key tones, alerts etc).

۳٫ Decrease your screen brightness setting to 50%.

۴٫ Turn your backlight setting down.

۵٫ Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not using them.

۶٫ Close applications when you're not using them.

۷٫ Keep your phone / battery at cool temperatures. If storing, make sure it is at 40% charge for best results.

۸٫ Do not let your battery fully discharge. If you let your battery die frequently, you are putting extra strain on the battery. Most companies recommend discharging the battery once in every 20 charges or so.

۹٫ Always charge new phone batteries for at least 16 hours for the first charge

۱۰٫ Do not use the vibrate function on your phone as it's a huge on power. I actually prefer to turn the ringtone off and have the phone on vibrate; it makes a noise on a hard surface and you can feel the buzz when in your pocket. But vibrate definitely uses more of that precious battery power. All power to you my friend.



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