How to use TPM to prolong your battery life?

The Thinkvantage Power Manager (TPM) is a very useful tool for prolonging the battery life expectancy of your ThinkPad battery, by reducing the number of small top up charge cycles. By using this software, you would not only save money in the long run, but you would also save our planet from more eWaste.

You can prevent top up charging by setting the charge threshold within the battery maintenance section of  the Thinkvantage Power Manager (look into the appendix for the instruction). How you set the charge threshold depends on how often you use the laptop on battery, and how long you use the battery power between each charge. This concept maybe new to some people, as this charge threshold feature is not available in other laptop brand, as such i would give you an example to illustrate how to use the charge threshold feature on your ThinkPad laptop.

Example

In my ThinkPad X61 with the 8 cells battery, i can get around 6 hours on the battery, and i usually use about 1.5 hours between charges (the average length of my meetings), which equate to using around 25% of the battery capacity (with 70% remaining capacity). If i do not set any battery threshold setting in the TPM, every time i replug back the AC adapter, the laptop would automatically fully recharge the battery back to 100% (or about). If you do this day in and day out, you cause a lot of irreversibilities and degradations within the battery cell chemistry, in terms of anode/cathode/electrolyte. These irreversibilities and degradation would shorten the expected lifespan of these rechargeable batteries, which would lead to premature failure and wasting your money.

In the ThinkPad X61 that i got, i set the TPM to start charging the battery only when the battery charge level drops below 50% and stops at 95 or 97% (to prevent overcharging). By doing this i could effectively use the battery for two 1.5 hours meeting, before the laptop would recharge the battery back to the 95% maximum charge level that i set in the TPM. The reason that i had 50% set for the minimum charge level before recharging was due to the fact that some of my meetings were 2.5 hrs in length. As such i should have at all time have enough battery power to last through a 2.5 hrs meeting, so the 50% charge level nicely covers these prolonged meeting sessions.

Obviously, if you did not have these special needs, you could set the minimum charge threshold to around 10% (or what other level that would cater to your needs), but remember NEVER set the charge threshold to below 5% (to prevent over-discharging). Also, as a way to maintain my battery, i always do a battery recalibration every 50 charge cycles or 3 months, in order to refresh my computers and prevent any irreversibilities from building up in my battery.

Appendix (How to set the charge threshold in TPM)

1. Double click on the Green Battery icon on the taskbar.

2. Click on ‘Advanced’ button in the TPM windows.

3. Click on the ‘Battery’ Tab and then click on the ‘Battery Maintenance’ button.

4. Enter the ‘Start charging when below’ value and the ‘Stop charging at’ value. I use 50% and 95% value respectively (you select the value that you think is appropriate for your usage pattern).

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