Are Sealed batteries, like Mac book Pro, any better?

Today, the most of the laptops come with removable batteries. This gives you flexibility to put in a fresh one when your original battery runs out of juice. But few manufacturers, like Apple, like to ship sealed ones.

Every Lithium-ion battery (standard for mobiles, laptops) have life of few charge-discharge cycles. Ideally its 360 full charges. That means you battery can be full dsicharged 360 times before it dies, On average this results in average life span of 2 years. Earlier I posted “Secrets of Prolonging Life of Lithitum Ion battery“. In this one, Let’s discuss why are sealed batteries better.

Why Sealed Battery?

Due to the chemistry involved, sealed batteries usually have an open-circuit voltage of 13.1 to 13.2 volts, which is probably why they are so famous for eliminating ABS faults (by keeping the voltage higher during cranking). Flooded batteries are usually designed to have a voltage of about 12.6 to 12.8. You can get a flooded battery to maintain a higher voltage but it’s not really good for it and performance suffers. With higher voltages, the charging force (difference between the resting voltage and the applied voltage) is smaller and you can get into situations where the battery might not get fully charged. This is kind of complicated but the uncharged portion becomes permanently unusable over time.

A Secret about Normal Battery

But there’s a secret about removable battery in laptops owned by average consumers: Hardly anybody buys extra batteries. Research firm NPD estimates that fewer than 5% of consumers buy a spare. So, a small trend has begun in the industry: More electronic products are being designed with their rechargeable batteries sealed inside. For instance, Dell’s new high-end laptop, the Adamo, has a sealed battery, as does the excellent Flip pocket video camera.

However, The leader innovator of sealed batteries is Apple, which has often led the industry in introducing or removing components from computers. This time at WWDC, Apple unveiled two revised MacBook Pro laptops with higher-capacity, sealed-in batteries. In fact, Apple’s entire line of laptops now uses sealed batteries, except for one low-end MacBook model.

According to Apple, “This makes sense because sealing in the batteries lets the company make them larger, without adding heft to the laptops. Apple says the two models are the same size and weight as their predecessors, yet their battery capacity has grown by 33% and 46%, respectively. It has come up with some software technology that allows these sealed batteries to last up to five years in typical use. The company claims that is almost triple the industry average for removable batteries and is longer than the typical time consumers keep the computer, thus making it far less likely you’ll need to replace a dead battery. Apple says it is able to seal in bigger batteries without making the machines larger because the company can compensate by shedding the casings, internal housings and other components needed by replaceable power packs”.

Practical Tests

I’ve been testing the new Apple laptops, the 15-inch MacBook Pro, using my own harsh tests. The results? Excellent! The new Apple laptops scores among the highest battery lives between charges of any laptop I have ever tested with a battery that fits entirely inside the machine’s dimensions, without sticking out of the back or bottom and adding weight. Infact, one of my friends uses a 9Cell HP battery for extra juice. This inbuilt macbook Pro was able to beat it. He was left breathless.

Normal usage: MacBook 15″ lasted 5:14 hours which is close to Apple’s claim of around seven hours between charges, roughly a single charge in a normal full day use.

Apple claims that these sealed batteries lifecycle of  1,000 charges, and thus, last around five years. Second, if and when the sealed batteries do become unable to hold an adequate charge, the entire computer must be returned to Apple for a new battery. The company says that, if you do this at an Apple store, it’s a same-day process and, at least on the 13-inch model, the price of a new battery is the same as what Apple formerly charged for a new removable battery. But it’s still more of a hassle.

In the battery test, I turn off all power-saving features, Use the CPU to its 50% (1core full utilization) switch Wi-Fi network on, pump the screen to 100% brightness, and play music at 70% volume. That maximizes some of the biggest power hogs on a laptop. In normal use, a typical owner would likely use the power-saving features, turn the screen down a bit, have Wi-Fi off some of the time, and wouldn’t be running the hard disk constantly.

Note: These tests were on Nvidia graphics

The whole test proves that new MacBook Pros with sealed batteries can result in a very good experience for average users.

source: ATD, lesterelectrical

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