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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger bmeacham's Avatar
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    I just got a new laptop running Win 7 Pro. The battery meter is giving erratic results. It said 1 hour 32 minutes (70%) remaining, Then a few minutes later it said 3 hours 18 minutes (68%). Now it says 2 hours 58 minutes (65%). I'd like to believe the higher numbers, but how did it calculate that 1 hour 32 minutes? How does it determine what to display?
    Bill Meacham
    bmeacham98 AT yahoo.com

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
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    How new?
    Some batteries take a while to be fully charged the first time?

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    The times reported are only rough estimates and are not precise. The reported battery life remaining is dependent upon the current work or activity. If there is intense drive activity or heavy processing the battery meter will report less time remaining. In other words, it is like a snapshot of battery life - if the current activity causing the meter to report 1 hour 32 minutes remaining were to remain constant until the battery is discharged, then you would likely end up with approximately 1 hour 32 minutes of useable power. When laptop is running at idle, the reported time tends to increase.

    Do you see the kind of changes you described when your laptop is just idling or does the reported time fluctuate in cycles of heavy and light activity? Also the cpu is commonly set for variable speed in order to more efficiently manage battery power. The cpu will throttle up or down depending on the demand placed on it for differing tasks. This will effect the reported time remaining.

    Observe your laptop for increased drive activity when it is apparently idle. Some processes such as indexing will work the system intensely for a time, causing a rapid change in the reported time remaining.

    If you see rapid and drastic changes when there is no apparent cause for them then check the vendor's support site to see if there is a bios update available. I realize your laptop is new, but if the bios has known issues there may be an update available for it.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  4. #4
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Power Management appears to be the least well programmed component of Windows operating systems, and many people have a frustrating time trying to get standby and hibernate and power management schemes to work as advertised, on laptops and especially on PCs. Laptop battery management seems even worse, and little of what is presented in the way of statistics can be believed.

    Certainly the battery life before requiring a recharge is critically dependent on how hard the various components which draw power are working, hence the amusingly-large variation in projected lifetimes. Certainly you should check whether there are any BIOS or other updates outstanding for the power management area, but in my view "that's just the way it is", unfortunately...
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    The measurement of State of Charge and remaining capacity of a battery is easily and accurately implemented with today's electronics, and the 'meter' should give a realistic indication of the remaining charge.

    In my view, the mistake is in giving a 'remaining time' which, as explained by the others who have replied, is entirely dependent on usage. You would be better off monitoring the percentage figure as you use the laptop and calculate your own expected 'remaining time' from your own experience.

    The mobile (cell) 'phone industry seems to have grasped the idea - certainly with the handsets I have had over the last few years the 'precise' information has been reduced from a percentage figure to half a dozen bars. Nominal 'standby' and 'talk' times are given, but I know from my own use that the battery will last twice as long at work than it does at home, simply because reception is better and less power is needed to stay connected.

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Try this utility:

    http://batterycare.bkspot.com/en/index.html

    I am using it to replace the built in Windows battery meter (have that hidden by using Control Panel/Notification Area Icons, then for the Power icon, select "Hide Icon and Notifications")

    This utility has a number of functions, so read all the FAQ's and the Guides and explore the Settings menu of the program.

    The CPU temperature function does not work on AMD CPU's, so if you have one of those in your laptop, you don't have to worry about running it in an "Elevated Privilages" mode.

    I find a font color of yellow works best to see the % of power and time remaining in the system tray area for my 'theme' colors.

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