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keep laptop plugged in 24/7?

DH and I are having a debate. He thinks we should keep our laptop plugged in 24/7, b/c if we let the battery run low, then recharge, the battery will eventually die for good and we'll have to buy a new one.

I think that by keeping the laptop plugged in 24/7, and moving it from coffee table to our laps, is causing the connection between the cord and the computer to deteriorate. We had this happen with our last laptop. The cord eventually became so loose within it's "socket" that it fell out if you moved the laptop the slightest. Eventually it quit charging the computer and the computer essentially died b/c we had no way to recharge. We even bought a new cord, but the connection inside the computer was just too loose and it didn't make a difference.

Our current laptop is 1.5 yrs old and I feel like we are going down the same path.

Anyone know what the right thing to do is? What is good "laptop hygiene?"

Re: keep laptop plugged in 24/7?

  • The nature of batteries is that they lose life over time.  One of the ways you can help your battery is to NOT keep it plugged in all the time.  Manufacturers recommend that you let your battery run ALL the way down, then let it fully recharge before using it again about once a month.  I've found that my colleagues who leave their laptops plugged in all the time do have a shorter battery life than I do, and I only plug mine in when I have to.  With regard to the cord, you just have to be gentle, and make sure you're using the very end of the plug to pull out, not the actual cord part. 
  • another thing to note is that when your Laptop is plugged in & fully charged it is still pulling energy from the out let (aka Vampire power) When my power cord with out I upgraded to the igo Green one that turns off after the laptop is charged & it checks ever 15 mins (I think) to see if it should turn back on. This is great as my laptop battery SUCKS & has to be plugged in if I want to use it. I have not noticed any lowering in our power bill but I like knowing that my Laptop can always be plugged in with out always charging. Here is a link to the charger I have. 


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  • I've owned laptops for over 10 years and have never experienced trouble with the power cords loosening in the sockets.  My laptops are always plugged in and always turned on (or set to auto-sleep after 2 hrs of no use).  I don't have time to fuss with unplugging and plugging in - I use my laptop for about 12 hours a day.

    Even if this internal component were to warp or get bent, you could most likely open up the laptop and replace it.  That's the last thing I would abandon a 1.5 yr old laptop for.


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  • image MerRhosyn:

    Even if this internal component were to warp or get bent, you could most likely open up the laptop and replace it.  That's the last thing I would abandon a 1.5 yr old laptop for.

    We had the solder joint between the power connector and the motherboard break, and DH opened up the laptop and re-soldered the connection.  It is definitely possible, and if it is the connector itself, it can be replaced.

    As for letting the battery run all the way down to increase battery life, you should check with your manufacturer to see if that is recommended. There are types of batteries for which this is not recommended, and it will actually decrease battery life.  (It should be fine on most batteries, but I would check if this is your big concern with your laptop.)

  • You are both kinda right. You are supposed to let the battery completely die and recharge occasionally; this is actually good for battery life. However, the batter will eventually die. Most laptop batteries won't last more than a year or two. There's no way to get around it.

    If you leave it plugged in all the time, you will wear down the cord and possibly the outlet. Both of these items can be repaired as well though; the laptop is not "dead" and there's no need to get a whole new computer if this happens.

    So basically either way you will have to make a $100-150 repair to your computer after a couple years, whether it's a new battery, a new adapter, or a new adapter outlet.

    ETA: My laptop's adapter outlet came loose as well because a little corner of it is chipped. This happened from moving my laptop around a lot while plugged in (since I actually use mine on my lap on the couch, etc.) and the cord bent the plug in such a way that it cracked a bit and came loose from the casing. I had to take all the screws off the back and open it up to fix it, but it CAN be fixed pretty easily. So make sure you are being careful with it while it's plugged in...don't let the cord bend at an extreme angle or jerk it around a lot.


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  • From most of our experiences and much of what we've read, even in the cases where it's good to let the battery run down, the difference in the battery lifetime isn't huge.  It can add a few months to the battery's life, but it's not like it's going to double the lifetime.

    The way we look at our laptop batteries is "use it or lose it."  They battery is going to die whether we use it or not, so we might as well use it and enjoy the mobility of working unplugged.

  • This isnt exactly your question, but if you do plan to keep it plugged in 24/7, you can remove the battery and preserve its life for when you actually use the computer not plugged in.
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