Slashdot has a story about a group of scientists who believe they have found the cause of lithium-ion battery degradation.
As with any such story somebody inevitably posted their magic dance for extending battery life. What do I mean by magic dance? Well it seems everybody and their grandmother have a foolproof system that extends the life of lithium-ion batteries. Some people claim you have to drain them down completely once a month, other say never go below 30% if you can help it, and others will say sacrifice of a goat during a solar eclipse will ensure your battery lasts for years. It shows we really don’t understand the cause of lithium-ion battery degradation (anytime you can ask 50 people a mechanism for doing something and get 50 different answers the true problem isn’t understood).
Well I decided to post my foolproof mechanism for extending the life of lithium-ion batteries. When your battery is showing signs of storage capacity problems buy a new one. Holy shit what a revelation!
This day and age lithium-ion batteries are no longer very expensive to replace. I found a second battery for my Evo 4G for something right around $10.00 (and it was a factory HTC battery to boot). All the time and effort spent extending the life of your battery for a year is wasted if your time is worth any amount of money. Personally I just charge the batteries in my devices when I can and discharge them when I must. I don’t concern myself with cycles, percentage of battery drain, days there will be solar eclipses, or any other such nonsense. Batteries are cheap and by the time you can no longer purchase batteries for a device it’s probably been replaced anyways.
I’m sure somebody is now going to ask what do you do with a device that has a non-removable battery. Simple, don’t buy that device. Once of the features I still look for in new purchases is the ability to easily replace the battery. Yes my unibody MacBook requires the removal of several screws to get at the battery but it’s still easily replaceable once the back cover is off.