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A new way to extend your laptop battery life

Technical Reviews

There was a time when mobile workstations (so called laptops) were not so mobile. They were large and heavy and battery would give you one to two hours work at most. Things has changed a lot over the last few years as more energy saving CPUs and Video cards were introduced. Replacing the laptop HDD with SSD also brought some more time on top of the larger batteries. Making it through a whole working day on battery with a Laptop is no longer a dream. That however is a luxury, which just a small list of expensive notebooks can achieve.

What if I tell you that you can actually turn almost any laptop into a full day mobile office just for about $150? Yes, and you do not need to replace your laptop with a new and expensive one. Typically, you would pay at least $1000 extra for a laptop, which could get you up to 8 hours on battery. That is not a price, which many can afford.

There is a way to bring some more power with you in the park or at your favorite fishing place. Wherever you prefer to get some work done without being stuck in your home or in work cubicle. The secret hides in the new powerful power banks. You may have seen them already but they usually have one big limitation. Most of them require your laptop to be capable of charging using USB-C or it should have USB-C in the first place. That is still not a standard for laptops and in fact, that is something available mainly in the most expensive models.

So how do we bring both worlds together? Using your current mobile PC and one of those new laptop power banks would really be nice. The solution is the PD to DC Adapter. It has the capability to connect on one side with the USB-C PD protocol, request appropriate power from your power bank, and deliver that to the standard DC charging port on your laptop.

This may sound easy but you have make some considerations before diving into this.

  1. You must consider the power, which your laptop model requires. The safest way to do that is to check the wattage listed on your standard power supply. If your laptop has 60W power supply for example, you will have to use power bank, which delivers 60W or more at USB-C. Very often laptops come with much larger power supply or in other cases, they often do not use even 50% of the power with normal usage. However, I would still recommend you to use same or larger power source, which will avoid risks for getting constant power on and off.
  2. You must consider using PD to DC adapter rated for sufficient power output. There is typically three types of PD to DC adapters – 100W (with integrated e-marker chip), 60W (without e-marker chip), and female USB-C to PD adapters (which power depends on the USB-C cable you are using).
  3. Powering laptops, which require 100W+ power. There are certain ways, which might help you get away with it and using only 100W power bank and PD to DC adapter for a higher power laptop. For instance if you connect your power bank when you are at full battery that will make sure you only draw power to run the system and not to charge the battery. Some laptops might actually consume bigger portion of the power to recharge their own battery, which means that they use much less power while their battery is full.
  4. You also have to consider the battery capacity. Have in mind that more powerful power banks are also less efficient as a lot of the power is lost in the power conversion process. Usually a large 99Wh (26800mAh) power bank will deliver enough power to charge an 80Wh laptop battery and that is true if the laptop is not heavily utilized. So depending on your workload and your battery capacity, you might need to get larger power bank or even a second one. There is so many scenarios so it is best to test your actual configuration and your typical workload.

So bottom line is that truly mobile office is no longer a myth. I would encourage you to try it out as it could be very productive. Such enjoyable environment may easily turn to a holiday-like experience - excellent way for achieving better harmony we all have forgotten during the last two years of lockdown.