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Thread: Battery Life... You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers!

  1. Bang Bang
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    #1

    Battery Life... You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers!

    Hello fellow Droid Lovers! I decided to try to consolidate all the information floating around about the battery performance for our beloved Droid X. Before we begin let me just point out the obvious... The majority of users having battery issues, are not having issues, they simply do everything possible to rape the life out of the phone. In comparison to other smart phones, the X has great, yes great, battery life. So with that said let’s continue on.

    *** But Juice... My phone dies in 4 hours, wtf m8? Why is this happening? ***

    The main culprits for bad battery life are as follows (in no particular order)

    1. The User (more on this later)
    2. GPS / Wi-Fi / Signal / Sync
    3. Screen Brightness
    4. Rogue Apps
    5. Task killers (big no-no, especially with Froyo)
    6. Faulty Battery (it happens, rarely, but it happens)


    So, with these 6 or so items Ill break each down into detail, if this isn’t your first time around the block, you can skip this information.

    1. The User - STOP, put the phone down; pull your Ostrich like head out of the sand, and stop being naive about things. I have seen so many non-tech people argue with informed users on this site that it’s getting disgusting. We are here to help each other, take the advice if it’s good.

    2. GPS / Wi-Fi / Signal / Sync - These four bad boys will chew up battery if you don't keep them inline. GPS and Wi-Fi can stay off 24/7 unless you need them. They don't have to, but it does eliminate a big threat to the life of your battery. Turning off WiFi should only be done when NOT around a WiFi signal. Otherwise you want WiFi on over 3G. WiFi uses less power by at least 30% to 40%. And you should setup WiFi to never go to sleep if the phone is in Sleep/Standby. Because auto-sync data will occur during Sleep/Standby which will drain your battery more than if you had it connected to WiFi. Poor Signal is by far the biggest battery drain (at least for me). If you have crappy coverage at home/work/school, expect your phones battery life to suffer. At home my phone will die in less then 10 hours sitting idle due to loss of service. Also, make sure your PRL list is up to date (dial *228 opt 2) Lastly, Sync... It requires a service to run in order to Sync, that service takes up resources that require power, it also requires a data connection which chews up even more power. Following me? Turn your sync settings down to something that works for you, most of us don't need Twitter to sync every 15 minutes, although a lot of you do it anyways, and then in turn complain. (See #1)

    3. Screen Brightness – Set it to auto, or turn it down to the lowest visible setting. Even though with the X the screen is not that big of a battery drain in comparison to other devices (doesn’t make much sense given its size, but the benchmarks have been done and it really isn’t that bad)

    4. Rogue Apps – Keep an eye on your apps. Spend more then 2 seconds reading comments before installing apps, most of the comments will help you make a decision on whether the app works on your device or not. If you see 10 people commenting about how it’s been destroying the battery and forcing GPS on, maybe wait for an update to install it? No? (See #1)

    5. Task Killers – Let me break it down sweet and simple. Your Droid X is NOT a Windows PC. Apps may show as “running” but I promise you, 99% of the time, they’re in a suspended state, not doing anything. Get over the Windows mentality and you’ll be fine. Task killers are constantly running services (see sync above) that require power to run. Every time you “close” unwanted apps, you’re wasting battery life. I tested this on both my D1 and DX and trust me; you can squeeze an extra 2+ hours out of your battery by NOT using a Task killer. If you think I’m lying… (See #1)

    6. If you take the advice in this article and follow some of the steps below, you’ll be able to tell if the battery is bad. Bad batteries normally have other issues besides not lasting long. If the only issue you have is not getting 10 hours out of your phone (be happy with 10 hours) it’s probably not a bad battery and falls into the other 5 items.


    *** Wow Juice, thanks for a bunch of stuff to read that didn’t tell me what to do! ***

    Alright now for some useful things you can do to maximize battery life.

    1. Set screen brightness to Auto or the lowest visible brightness setting. This is done via Settings > Display > Brightness
    2. Adjust sync settings to the longest duration. Changing sync settings is a bit weird on the X, most apps can be set in there native settings.
    3. Turn off GPS when not in use. Turn WiFi off when out of range. Easy way is to use the Power Control Widget.
    4. Do NOT use a task killer.
    5. If you run an alt home launcher (LauncherPro, ADW, etc) Try running 1 home screen with as few widgets as possible.
    6. Use Battery Manager and create a custom profile. Change the timeout for peak and off-peak hours to whatever you desire.
    7. Stay away from most apps designed to give you better battery life (Juice defender, Power Settings, etc) sometimes they work, but when they don’t…
    8. Buy an Extended Battery. Worth every penny IMO, mines shipping today


    That’s all I have at this time for Non-Root users. For those of us with root, we can all do everything listed above, however; we can also do everything listed below.

    1. Edit your Build.Prop file. Click here for more info.
    2. Remove Bloat. Click here for more info.
    3. Use Set CPU to manage your processor state and max/min speeds. Market app, worth every penny.
    4. Themes.
    5. Custom ROMs. Click here for more info.


    That’s all I have right now. As more information or tweaks become available I will update this thread. This is also my first “Guide” so be gentle. It’s very rough and I’m sure there are tons of grammatical errors. If anyone has anything additional to add please post it up, I’ll try to keep this updated. Feel free to link back to this article, and thanks for taking the time to read it, hope it helps!
    Last edited by Juicemane; 10-26-2010 at 09:33 AM.

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  3. Master Droid
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    #2
    As a side note. Turning off WiFi should only be done when NOT around a WiFi signal. Otherwise you want WiFi on over 3G. WiFi uses less power by at least 30% to 40%. And you should setup WiFi to never go to sleep if the phone is in Sleep/Standby. Because auto-sync data will occur during Sleep/Standby which will drain your battery more than if you had it connected to WiFi.

    Keep up the good work and data collection.
    Facts are the very first casuality of bad information.
  4. Android Addict
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    #3
    The only point that you make that I would question is that of using a dark theme. Depending on the type of screen, most LCD's use a backlight. Basically on most, displaying a white pixel lets the backlight show through the pixel, using almost no energy for the pixel. However, to display black, the pixel has to actually block the backlight, which in many tests actually used more power than showing a color or white.

    Now, I'm not completely sure which method the DX uses for displaying black vs. white pixels, but if it is a backlit LCD, it may acutally use a tiny bit more to display black. Just wanted to mention this, but again, I may be off base on this concerning the DX.

    Still a nice guide though!
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  5. Bang Bang
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    #4
    Ill add that to the guide, thanks Skull!

    Quote Originally Posted by ViciousCircle View Post
    The only point that you make that I would question is that of using a dark theme. Depending on the type of screen, most LCD's use a backlight. Basically on most, displaying a white pixel lets the backlight show through the pixel, using almost no energy for the pixel. However, to display black, the pixel has to actually block the backlight, which in many tests actually used more power than showing a color or white.

    Now, I'm not completely sure which method the DX uses for displaying black vs. white pixels, but if it is a backlit LCD, it may acutally use a tiny bit more to display black. Just wanted to mention this, but again, I may be off base on this concerning the DX.

    Still a nice guide though!
    Thanks for the info, I based it on the tests they did with dark colored wall papers. Its all assumption about dark themes, but also, most themes have modified framework which requires deodexing. Deodexing has been shown to increase performance and lessen the resources for the framework which in theory should save some battery life. However; its a 2 way street, poorly modified themes can actually cause bad battery life. Kind of a toss up I guess.

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  6. Senior Droid
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Skull One View Post
    As a side note. Turning off WiFi should only be done when NOT around a WiFi signal. Otherwise you want WiFi on over 3G. WiFi uses less power by at least 30% to 40%. And you should setup WiFi to never go to sleep if the phone is in Sleep/Standby. Because auto-sync data will occur during Sleep/Standby which will drain your battery more than if you had it connected to WiFi.

    Keep up the good work and data collection.
    What if you have it set so that the data turns off after 15 minutes of not being in use? Is it still better to turn wifi sleep to never? (Thats in advanced settings under manage networks right?)
  7. Master Droid
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ColinZack View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Skull One View Post
    As a side note. Turning off WiFi should only be done when NOT around a WiFi signal. Otherwise you want WiFi on over 3G. WiFi uses less power by at least 30% to 40%. And you should setup WiFi to never go to sleep if the phone is in Sleep/Standby. Because auto-sync data will occur during Sleep/Standby which will drain your battery more than if you had it connected to WiFi.

    Keep up the good work and data collection.
    What if you have it set so that the data turns off after 15 minutes of not being in use? Is it still better to turn wifi sleep to never? (Thats in advanced settings under manage networks right?)
    My wife's Droid X is constantly getting emails, so I have never tried the "Data off after 15" feature. I'll see if she will let me borrow her phone for a bit to test that, but she may not give it up till this weekend.
    Facts are the very first casuality of bad information.
  8. Senior Droid
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    #7
    Great read! Here's a general question. I'm a chronic charger. My phone will be on 100% charged while I'm at work, but I'll still have it hooked up for the majority of my work day. Is this OK to do or is it unhealthy for the battery? Will it cause any problems?
  9. Master Droid
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by B.Wallace85 View Post
    Great read! Here's a general question. I'm a chronic charger. My phone will be on 100% charged while I'm at work, but I'll still have it hooked up for the majority of my work day. Is this OK to do or is it unhealthy for the battery? Will it cause any problems?
    That is a very nasty little question. Here is why: Trickle charging.

    We would have to know if the DX still has a slight trickle charge being applied once at 100%. If so, technically yes, it can be bad for the battery over its entire life time. But, and there always has to be a but, you will probably get rid of the phone before the 2.5 year mark where the battery might go bad from it.

    My hope is that the DX circuitry is properly setup and this is a "non-issue". But research is required to be 100% sure.
    Facts are the very first casuality of bad information.
  10. Bang Bang
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Skull One View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by B.Wallace85 View Post
    Great read! Here's a general question. I'm a chronic charger. My phone will be on 100% charged while I'm at work, but I'll still have it hooked up for the majority of my work day. Is this OK to do or is it unhealthy for the battery? Will it cause any problems?
    That is a very nasty little question. Here is why: Trickle charging.

    We would have to know if the DX still has a slight trickle charge being applied once at 100%. If so, technically yes, it can be bad for the battery over its entire life time. But, and there always has to be a but, you will probably get rid of the phone before the 2.5 year mark where the battery might go bad from it.

    My hope is that the DX circuitry is properly setup and this is a "non-issue". But research is required to be 100% sure.
    qft ^

    Replacement batteries are cheap, I wouldn't worry about it. The device itself should be fine, if anything, it could cause some minor cell damage to the battery.

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  11. Senior Droid
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    Thanks guys!
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