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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Make your battery last forever & ever

To keep your cell, laptop and MP3 player from dying on you, stick to these easy rules

 Let's face it. We are surrounded by energy monsters. On an average, most urbanites carry at least two power-hungry gadgets on them. Phones, laptops, iPods, digital cameras all want more power to run on. And as Murphy would have it, all of these love to run out on us just when we need them the most. Laptops that give up when you are about to send an important email, digicams that die when you spot something you wanted to capture. It happens to the best of us. While there might be no way of feeding these power-hungry devices enough, there are a few tricks that will definitely help you squeeze more juice out of your gadget's battery. Here are a few that could help. 

Keep it cool 
Remember those fancy cases you get for devices? Well, innocent as they might look, they are number one enemies of your devices. It's bad enough having to battle the heat outside and the extra warmth of your pocket or purse. But add to that a leather case and your devices stand no chance. Heat kills battery mainly because batteries generate power due to a chemical reaction within. And extreme temperatures make battery work extra hard to generate the same amount of power, chewing off large bits of battery life. So, remember — cooler your devices, the longer your battery will last. 
Turn off features you aren't using 
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, backlights — all 
these are great features for your devices, but they are also massive battery hogs. Firstly, simply switch off features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi that aren't currently in use. This will save your device a precious amount of power. Secondly, most of your devices such as phones, iPods that have screens will have a light to power them. This light burdens your battery too, so it's a good idea to either disable or turn down the intensity of the light. This should give you more power to run your device longer. Apart from reducing the screen intensity for laptops, also try and remove devices you aren't using, especially things such as a USB flash drive or a DVD. 
    Same goes for your digicam. Simply turn off the LCD and look through the viewfinder of your camera. This will give you a few more photos in the same battery. Another idea, especially when you hear your camera beep low battery and you really need to keep it going, is to turn off the flash. These bulbs really put a strain on your camera's battery and switching them as often as you can will easily give you dozens of extra photos. 
Make fewer trips to the hard disk 
MP3 players, especially iPods that come with hard disks (not the Nano or Shuffle), drain battery if you make visits to the hard drive often. You can avoid this by not using the rewind/ 
forward or previous/ next buttons often. Because each time you do this, the device uses extra power to find and open the song from the hard drive. Same goes for the shuffle mode which makes extra trips to the hard drive to shuffle your list. So using set playlists is a good idea if your device is running out of battery. Laptops will also run longer if you try and cut back on the concurrently running programs that access the hard drive. All media players or desktop gadgets can be shut down if you want to conserve battery. 
Avoid turning devices on-off constantly 
Another common mistake that can cost you a chunk of your battery life is restarting your devices often. This is basically because devices consume the most power when they are starting up. So make sure you only switch off when you know you have exhausted all other options. Your phone, for example, will have an 'airplane' mode. Use that instead of turning the phone off and turning it back on when you need contact details or notes. This will save you a good amount of battery life because it won't try to catch cell signal and since you won't get any calls it will be similar to switching the phone off. 
    For laptops, use the 'hibernate' mode instead of shutting it down, especially if you intend to use it soon enough. Same goes for your camera, try not to keep switching off your camera between snaps. Instead, just turn off the LCD screen on the back, and leave the camera on if you know you are going to be taking pictures.


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