My Battery Manifesto

Discussion in 'Motorola Droid X' started by Immolate, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. Immolate
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    Immolate New Member

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    I have been beating my Droid X like a rented mule since I started work this morning, running GPS, FM Radio, bluetooth, WiFi, satellite, hotspot, you name it. Now this is a phone that I got Tuesday and I haven't had a chance to drain the battery completely. That's what I'm doing now, trying to beat it down. I'm running the .601 OTA.

    It's been ten hours and my battery meter shows 51%.

    So what? My battery meter is schizoid beyond belief. A couple of hours ago it was at 1% where it sat for at least 90 minutes. I haven't turned it on and off, just let it run.

    The battery meter in the notification bar seems a bit more accurate though. It hasn't jumped up and down, just sat there slowly giving up the pixels.

    Once I get the battery drained completely, I expect the after-market battery meter will become far more reliable. Frankly I've never seen a meter as whacked out as this one, but I can't blame the phone for that. The phone's meter has been solid. This market meter was highly recommended by folks here though, so I'm willing to stick with it until I've baselined the battery. Then it's do or die time.

    I spent a lot of time reading other people's experiences before I finally got my phone, and this is what I have concluded... I think that 90% of the battery problems are based on people believing what a meter is telling them, whether it’s the included meter (especially pre-.601) or an after market meter like the one I'm using.

    Consider this: when your phone wants to know where your battery is from a charge perspective, it asks the battery. The battery has some basic logic built in, and it provide some basic information to the phone when asked. The phone processes that information and reports back its findings to you. The battery works the same no matter what you do with the phone, so it is apparent that whatever "fix" was made in OTA .601 was fixing the way the X was interpreting the information it was getting from the battery.

    Now I'm not saying that there weren't some battery-sucking activities going on that the OTA fixed. That's possible of course. But I think the angst that so many suffered from was more a matter of perception (user's and phone's) than any real power shortage. Are there folks out there with bad batteries? No doubt.. there must be. But I don't believe there are any more sick batteries than normal.

    I've seen a lot of "magic battery" theories bandied about and I'm not buying any of them. There are the stubborn few who continue to be superstitious about memory and conditioning. That's been debunked by every reputable source over and over again, in detail and conclusively. I can't help them. But even those who aren't mired in that swamp are skeptical. I don't blame them. There are a lot of folks running around who are very sure of themselves but whose remedies contradict fact. If there was a tax for being wrong, people wouldn't do it as much. But we internet denizens learned long ago to listen to what we hear with a jaundiced ear.

    This is what I've compiled through the process of a lot of reading...

    Your Lithium Ion battery has a life span just like you and me. Its life span is measured in cycles. One cycle is a complete charge and recharge of the battery. Depending on the battery, and this changes all the time with size, quality and technology, your battery’s life span is probably somewhere between 300 and 700 cycles.

    If you wake up in the morning, pull your battery off of your charger and then proceed to use 65% of the charge that day, and then put it back on the charger that night, you’ve just completed 0.65 cycles. So for most of us, a cycle is longer than a day. For many, not so much.

    Partially discharging and then recharging your battery does not damage it. But each of these sub-cycles does have one negative, albeit minor effect: it makes the battery’s internal circuitry just a little less accurate.

    Now you’d think that a battery would know how much juice it has, but think about it. From the day you start using your battery, it begins a long, slow process of decline. It is dying a little bit each day. Sad, but the same is true of you so don’t feel too bad for it. Now… do you expect your battery to keep up with this ever-changing process of decay with pinpoint accuracy?

    It can’t, but here’s what you can do to help it stay sharp—about once every 30 days, starting with when you first get it and thereafter, drain your battery completely. This does cycle your battery, so don’t do it a lot or you’ll wind up killing it off early. Once a month is what the rocket scientists recommend. When you do drain your battery, you’re in effect recalibrating it. Now it knows exactly how much juice it has… and promptly starts slowly drifting off target again. That’s okay—good enough is good enough.

    So these monthly drains make the battery meter a little more accurate each time, and that’s good and necessary. The initial drain can have a far more dramatic effect however. Your brand new battery got a factory charge before it was shipped out to you, but it’s never been drained. It is an unqualified idiot and it can’t even count toothpicks or make unintentionally poignant witticisms. To paraphrase, a new battery is like a box of chocolates: you never know what it’s going to tell you. Draining it the first time is sending it to school.

    Remember, you’re not changing your battery’s capacity in any way. You’re simply enabling it to give you better information about its status, and that eases your mind and makes you feel better. Nobody likes buying a brand-new (and expensive) electronic marvel just to see some vital part of it’s functionality immediately crash and burn.

    Other things to know…

    Heat kills your battery. Don’t leave your phone in a hot car or inside a nuclear reactor.

    Time kills your battery. If you buy one and leave it lying around, it’ll die lying there.

    Inactivity kills your battery. If you do buy a spare, swap it in occasionally.

    An inactive Lithium Ion battery will last longest if stored in the refrigerator at 40% charge.

    Lithium Ion batteries can be made to explode, but they are not a suitable substitute for C4.

    You can’t overcharge your Lithium Ion battery. The internal circuitry prevents it.

    The Droid X has one of the beefiest stock Lithium Ion batteries you can buy in a mobile phone… and it needs it. Take care of your battery and it will take care of you. Not because it likes you though. It’s just a piece of lithium with some ions sprinkled on top.

    Battery University
    Apple on Batteries
    Blackberry FAQ
    Power Electronics
  2. Firehazard
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    Firehazard New Member

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    Very well written. I have a lot of experience with NiMH and NiCD batterys from R/c cars. It was always best to completely drain the batteries as close to 0% as possible for a charge. This is a habit that I have kept with me today with most of my phones. Lithium Ion batteries, are thought to have no "memory" which means that it is not supposed to remember what level it was at when you start to charge it. It cant hurt to always drain your battery before charging if you can.

    I always thought that Verizon shipped their batteries half charged as a plot to eventually get more sales in batteries from people who screw them up by charging them instantly when they get them.
  3. Lightninrod
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    Lightninrod New Member

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    So, if I understand both posts, when I get my X in a week or so, I should just start using it, taking it down to 'flat' instead of putting it on the charger immediately after getting it? Doing that will give it its first cycle allowing it to be more accurate in its charge level.
  4. GoGoSmarty
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    GoGoSmarty New Member

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    My battery is guaranteed to die within a day. and I dont iuse it alot.. just texting, the occasional surf and maybe a call or two. 3G forget about it, its a killer
  5. Firehazard
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    Firehazard New Member

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    Yes, That is exactly what you should do. It should not take very long if you just start downloading apps right when you get it. Also leave the brightness at 100%.
  6. Firehazard
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    Firehazard New Member

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    What did you expect from a smart phone with a 4.3" screen? Put your phone on battery saver mode. Turn the brightness all the way down. Also make sure that your GPS (both of them) and Wifi are set to off. Get rid of all the widgets on the home screens, as they use data which drains battery. If you have a task killer uninstall it. I get a solid day out of mine with decent usage.
  7. stryguy
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    stryguy New Member

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  8. rickreno
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    rickreno New Member

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    I just got a new battery for mine, I put it in the phone (60%) and in 90 mins it's down to 50% with no use. Everything is off, screen brightness is set to minimum, no app killer installed.

    Can anyone recommend a good battery metering tool to get from the marketplace?

    I'm planning on following the suggestions above and running it down to nothing before charging it.

    thks...
  9. wsbsteven
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    wsbsteven New Member

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    I found that I have to watch my cpu usage using osmonitor as it seems there are many apps that like to get stuck running at 100%. I had problems with the Twit app, the SMB module for Astro, and the File App which is part of blur all have killed my battery in a couple hours. With osmonitor on the notification bar, I know if something is wrong before my battery tells me.
  10. Backnblack
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    Backnblack Premium Member Premium Member

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    Got Cliff Notes on that?
  11. laokai
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    laokai New Member

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    Great post---and very nicely written...
  12. stryguy
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    stryguy New Member

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    Yes.. I would like to know what battery meter the OP is talking about that shows 51%. Every meter I find shows 10 or 5% increments.

    I'm just going to have to call BS on this entire post since the phone shuts itself off before reaching 1% battery. Unfortunately too many things about this post doesn't add up. If this is a battery meter you downloaded and added and it jumps from 1% battery to 50% battery all wonky like.. well then I would say you downloaded an app that doesn't work.
  13. KevinWP
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    KevinWP New Member

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    Actually I saw zero percent today for about 2 seconds as my phone shut down....

    But I have never seen anything other than
    0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100.
  14. Immolate
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    Immolate New Member

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    Nothing to hide here. It's Battery Left and it came highly recommended as I believe I mentioned before. Right now it's showing 3:30 left at 41%, but it's still wacky and incorrect compared to my notification bar battery meter which does not seem to jump around at all. I'm going to remove Battery Left and reinstall it as it is supposed to "learn" your battery. Whatever it's learned from mine, it needs to unlearn.

    And just to properly set expectations, I don't expect anyone to take my word for anything. That's why I linked to some of my better sources... so you can go out and learn for yourself and maybe contradict something I've written, or maybe just write it better. My objective is to snuff out bad information. If you find something incorrect in my advise, please tell me and I'll change it. We all need good information.
  15. stryguy
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    stryguy New Member

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    Sorry I accused you of being untruthful.

    Simply enough the battery in these phones have a full charge when they reach 4200 mV. 50% charge is at 3800 mV. Short of shorting out the battery you cannot have it drop to 3100 mV and then back up to 3800 or 4000mV. It's just not possible due to the physics of the battery.

    Your phone's battery meter is based on the mV reported by the Lithium Ion circuitry.

    This program you were running is probably doing some math based on your current discharge rate and the mV reported by the battery. Obviously I don't know what this program is doing but a Lithium Ion battery cannot safely be discharged at a rate greater than 1C if C was the discharge rate that would drain the battery in 1 hour. That said you cannot take this battery from 50% to 1% or from 1% to 50% in less than 37 mins without exceeding 1C in charging or discharging which would destroy the battery and you'd smell it. 194 degrees F and the battery stops discharging.
    Like I said, it's likely trying to make some assumptions based on incorrect data.

    Having listened to all the speculative talk on these boards about these batteries I just feel the need to pipe in. Hopefully I don't sound like a jerk.

    #1 You cannot discharge these batteries to the point of damaging them unless you short them out or leave them on the shelf for 20 years. The phone stops discharging the battery at 2700 mV. Should that fail the battery itself has programming to stop active discharge at 2500 mV. At that point only it's rate of natural discharge of 10% a month or damage to the battery circuitry will allow for the battery to discharge further. At 1500 mV the batteries cannot be recharged as shorts actually occur naturally in the structure of the battery cell itself.

    #2 You cannot "prime" or "condition" these batteries. However you can reset the "smart" circuitry of the battery by discharging it to 2700 mV and recharging to 4200 mV. This smart circuitry helps control the charger. In the case of our Droid X the charger is the phone not the wall charger as the phone contains the programming to receive information from the battery. A Lithium Ion battery has 3 stages of charging and properly handling these 3 stages is important to a long lasting charge. As stated before, the phone does not act as a voltmeter and solely relies on the information reported from the battery. If this information is wrong the charging stages are wrong.

    #3 Lithium Ion batteries can and do have faulty circuitry. To know if you have a problem you should stick a voltmeter on the battery when the PHONE is reporting 50% charge and 30 degrees Centigrade as reported by your phone. Set the volt meter to Millivolts and check the battery. 3800 mV (give or take 75mV is your target. If you're way off the battery is obviously reporting the wrong information to the phone. If the temperature is higher than 30C then expect the voltage to be slightly lower. The opposite is true for a lower temperature, it will produce a higher voltage readout.

    #4 The WORST thing you can do to this battery is keep it on the charger for prolonged periods of time after it's fully charged. At 4200 mV significant corrosion occurs within the battery. To add to this many phones (I don't know for certain about the Droid X) will continue to accept the incoming current from the micro usb port and waste that current by producing heat. That heat additionally damages the Lithium Ion cells.

    When you measure the voltage you'll see 4 copper contacts. The positive and negative contacts are clearly labeled. Do not attempt to use any of the other contacts.
  16. Immolate
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    Immolate New Member

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    No problem stryguy. I expect people to assume I'm just another advocacy fanboy or self-appointed stuffed shirt authority, because that's often what you encounter. But I don't offend easily and I really do want to help people get better informed. I think that you last post was fantastic! You really helped me to understand some things from a technical perspective that I was taking on faith. I like to know how things work, and take much pleasure in the knowing.

    Added commentary in no way related to stryguy [after reading comments at engadget about an article on how Droid X suffers similar problems to iPhone4]...

    I understand being emotionally attached to a piece of tech as a lot of us are to our Droids and iPhones. I also understand that this is a bug, not a feature of the human psyche when it comes to forming a larger community. If you want to be tribal, join little league (or coach it). Everyone enjoys a little spirited debate, but keep it to the realm of truth and everyone benefits, even the loser.

    People hammer people on the internet because there is almost no chance of negative consequence. It's unfortunate, but a useful reminder that in a world without laws, many people behave lawlessly. Protected by this philosophical armor, you'll be mentally prepared when the zombies come... and they are coming.

    [edit] Oh and stryguy, you seem to know a great deal about the subject. If anything I wrote in my OP is misleading, incorrect or requires additional information, please let me know and I'll update it to avoid providing poor advise.
  17. The White Weapon
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    The White Weapon New Member

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    teamwork makes the dream work!!!!!!!! dancedroid
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