What Happens If a Laptop Battery Is Overcharged?

What? Are you scared or something? Have you heard of any laptop battery explosion in recent days? Well, if I say it’s not possible, then I’ll be lying. But, you must focus on real facts rather than the reel features.

I’m not saying that Nicholas Jones belongs to the rarest species who have seen their laptop batteries blowing up in front of their eyes. And, not only in 2016, but the same thing happened before that, and it’s still happening. And these sparks made an entire bombastic myth of battery blast due to overcharging. Moreover, you would be disappointed if you expect a large blast out of a laptop. But still, it does ignite a fire and may harm the user seriously. Many companies including Dell and Apple were forced to recall disputed batches of batteries due to frequent mishaps.

No, overcharging can’t be the culprit here. Because you can’t really charge a laptop battery more than it’s needed. How? The modern built-in technology in those batteries stops overcharging to take good care of your forgetting nature.

Then, what’s wrong with these battery bombs? Actually, they are just defective ones. If they heat up for any reason, they can explode. It doesn’t matter, whether the power supply is connected or not. But, that doesn’t mean you can leave the good ones powered up all day long. Because any redundancy is always unhealthy for the long run.

Let’s sneak a peek inside the battery core.

Latest Lithium-based Battery

Since 1991, after the first commercial break in Japan, these batteries are engulfing the market of portable electronic devices in such a rapid way that they are going to leap over 100.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2025 from 30.2 in 2017. The reason behind this high jump is its 3 major turning points – Lightweight, optimum energy storage, quick recharge phenomena.

The built-in internal circuit in this technology keeps it from overheating due to excessive charging. Otherwise, overheating will surely blast them off. Hence, while charging, the Li-ion batteries can only experience thermal elevation due to this circuit malfunction. More than 60-degree Celsius of temperature can generate uncontrolled positive feedback in energy, called the ‘thermal runaway’, which can burn it inside out. If you experience unusual warmth, you must remove the charger immediately, cause these batteries are defective.

Normally, Li-ion batteries are safe, but sometimes microscopic metal particles roam inside the material causing a short circuit, even after maintaining high-end cleanliness. Also, excessive demand propelled the greed of product tampering within less reliable firms.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration of the US, at least 17 incidents of battery explosions inside the planes took place only within the first four months of 2017, though not all of them were laptops, the batteries were all of Lithium-ion category.

However, the next-gen lithium-based technology, i.e. the Lithium Polymer batteries are more secure, robust and flexible than the Li-ion architecture. Instead of liquid, Li-Po mechanism uses a dry solid, or a porous chemical, or a gel-like substance for the electrolyte. Among them, the last one is the most popular among newer laptops. But, the energy density and cost satisfaction of this lighter version falls behind the old one.

Older Nickel-based Batteries

The nickel-cadmium (NiCad), or nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are simpler than the lithium-based batteries, and hence less prone to make combustion out of it. Though long-lasting, they fail to match the footsteps of today’s rocket-speed life. The basic demand for energy storage of a battery is much less than the lithium batteries. Moreover, they are heavy and limited in size, and also lower in discharge rate. Also, they need more maintenance than the other one. In one word, less efficient than its successor. That’s why they are losing their ground so fast.

The nickel-based batteries work best if they are fully discharged before recharging completely. Also, the connected power supply after full charge won’t make much difference in battery life here too.

Batteries in Macbook Series

Apple recognizes the efficiency of lithium polymer batteries. While it’s a MacBook, Air or Pro, it is packed with safer LiPo storage with maximum life span. But, they are non-replaceable.

The four health conditions of the battery direct you to take action when needed. In the menu bar, press on the battery icon, and select the Option key to see the status messages as Normal, Replace Soon, Replace Now, and lastly, Service Battery.

Actually, after every charge cycle, the battery capacity decreases a little. The newer laptops get more charge counts than before. Apple shows 80% of the original count. Means, you get more counts than 1000, when officially it is showing 1000 counts. But, the battery life decreases towards zero with time. Also, it’s when you reach the official count, you get the Service Battery message. And, it is advisable to replace the battery with an original from Apple store, since third-party options may not serve properly.

Windows 10 Battery Saver Mechanism

Windows 10 is programmed to turn on the Battery Saver mode automatically when the storage capacity touches 20% of the lifeline. Also to optimize the battery power, the default setting diminishes the screen brightness for longer life span. Still, it’s your choice. If you need the performance over battery life, you may change the setting. Hit the menu bar, and click on the gear icon for Settings. Here, the System option will take you to Battery Saver mode, and also to the Power Plan window in Power & Sleep option. Again, a right-click on the battery option in the system tray will serve you similarly.

You may set the screen resolution during inactive periods. Also, the network connections like Wifi or Bluetooth eat up the storage supply. Therefore, a cautious step to turn off unnecessary connections may reward you with better battery performance. The Airplane mode in Network & Internet option in Settings will make it possible with only one click. The Action Center window provides you the same option here.

Take Care of the Battery: Boost up Overall Performance of the Device

Let’s not make more fuss. Still worried about your computer battery? Why not take a little more care of it? And, it will return the favor for sure.

  • Fight the urge of using a brand new laptop without charging it completely for 24 hours.
  • Check the heat production while the power adapter is connected. Do not hesitate to clear any doubt on this matter before going further.
  • Always remove the power cord after a full charge. Because, it may not harm you now, but will do in the long run.
  • Lithium-ion batteries perform best if the power storage in them stays between 80-20 percent. Complete energy discharge may affect the longevity of this technology. But, the nickel-based ones are best in opposite circumstances. Notably, the average longevity of 1000 charge cycles in nickel-based batteries is better than the lithium-based models, having 300-500 cycles for 3-4 years. But, the newer versions of LiPo batteries are taking care of that too.
  • If you are using the laptop keeping the power supply on, it is best to remove the battery and use your device as a desktop.
  • When you don’t intend to use the machine for 30 days or more, remove the battery. Or decrease the storage to 50% before keeping it aside, when removing is not an option.
  • The electrons must move through the material. O, occasional charging is necessary even when you don’t use it. Otherwise, it will affect the health of the battery.
  • Extreme temperature, whether hot or cold, hurts the overall health of a battery. So, make sure to keep the device in a decent environment.
  • Lastly, some little changes in Settings will not make a difference for you, but will surely enhance the battery health. I am talking about sleep mode settings, keyboard, and screen lighting.

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