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Click Tips: Batteries

Rob Freeman
By Rob Freeman
Click tip-ster

Rob Freeman, Click's very own Mr Fixit, troubleshoots your PC problems and helps you get the most out of your computer. This week he gives us the power to get more from our batteries.

Apple iPod advert
Turn down the volume to keep your battery going for longer

We will start with the ubiquitous iPod, which has been in the headlines before because some owners claimed the batteries did not last. This led to the suggestion that Apple were selling disposable, yet expensive electronics.

I disagree. IPods are not meant to be disposable and are actually quite well engineered. However, the older the battery gets, the less power it holds, but it is replaceable, Apple can do it for you, although you can find other companies online which can do it for half the price.

Apple have some tips to help your iPod battery last longer.

Some may surprise you, for instance it is important to use your iPod regularly and charge it up at least once a month.

There is a hold switch on the iPod and other MP3 players have this function, which disconnects the keypad. When you are not using the device, switch this on. It stops you accidentally hitting a button and powering up the player.

And of course, check your headphone volume. The louder you have the music, the faster you will get through the battery. Turn it down a notch, you will get longer battery life, you will not go deaf and the people sitting around you on the bus will appreciate it too.

Interestingly if you buy music that is locked with digital rights management, maybe you subscribe to a rented music service, those files will also reduce the battery life, as the player has to use more power to unlock each file.

Laptop advice

Laptop computers are another power hungry device. I always find that mine runs out during a long journey. So here is how to get the most from your laptop so you can remain productive for longer, or maybe just give you enough time to finish the level on that game you have been playing.

Turn your laptop's screen brightness down as far as you can, whilst still being able to read it!.

Any wireless devices? Turn them off if you are not using them.

Remove any external devices, including USB devices like a mouse or additional storage.

Try and keep your laptop cool, make sure you are not blocking the vents, because the hotter a battery gets, the more inefficient it becomes.

Getting the most out of your batteries is not restricted to your MP3 player or your laptop. You can probably get any device which is run on a battery to be more efficient. A good place to start is the Green Batteries website, which is part online shop, part information centre, which advocates rechargeable batteries.

There are some useful battery tips, including, if you live in a hot climate, minimising the discharge rates of some battery types by keeping them in the fridge.

You can find more at

For hard core battery aficionados, you can go to where you will find in-depth articles about topics like the internal chemistry of batteries.

When I bought my MP3 player, I chose it for a few reasons, mostly to do with efficient power consumption.

The first is that it has flash memory and does not have a hard disc, because hard discs are mechanical and take more power to keep spinning. And with no moving parts, there is far less to go wrong.

The other thing which made up my mind to buy this device was that it runs on a standard AA size battery. Easily available, inexpensive to replace, and of course, you could also choose a rechargeable battery.

So pick the right model with expandability in mind, and it will save you money by not having to constantly buy replacements, as well as making your battery last longer.

There is no reason why my MP3 player will not still be running in 10 years time.

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