Go Green with Your Electronics

Now that going green is no longer an option, but a necessity, we are progressively looking for new ways to preserve our environment. Although it may seem like a simple concept - it’s actually very difficult to maintain a level of environmental protection without sacrificing some convenience. Recycling does help out significantly, but there are plenty more ways to push towards a cleaner planet without much extra conscious effort.
Since electronic devices have become huge part of our modern lives, it makes this category one of the most important ways to control damage to the environment. You don’t have to live in a solar powered teepee with only an FM radio to go green; it’s a matter of smart purchasing, use, and disposal.
  • Use rechargeable batteries - Instead of purchasing disposable alkaline batteries over and over again, consider purchasing a set of rechargeable NiMH batteries to save money and help reduce land fill waste. Rechargeable NiMH batteries are a great choice. Even though they cost more up front, they’ll quickly pay for themselves the more you use them. In addition, a fully charged NiMH battery will last longer than an alkaline battery for one cycle.
  • Use solar powered batteries and solar chargers - Solar chargers utilize energy directly from the sun and turn it into usable power. Because sunlight is infinitely free to everyone, it makes for an extremely great energy source. Without the need to generate artificial energy - we preserve our valuable recources and reduce the amount of emissions that pollute the air.
  • Recycle your old batteries - Throwing out your old batteries in the trash only adds unnecessary waste to the environment. Although dead batteries may be of no use to you, recycling companies can use their components to supply manufacturers with recycled materials instead of taking from the earth’s recourses. Here are the links to our Battery Disposal Guide and Battery Recycling Program.
  • Recycle your old electronics - From computers to TVs, CD players and cell phones; general electronic equipment contains heavy metals and materials that are hazardous to the environment. Furthermore, these are actually valuable to recycling companies since they can be transformed into usable material for other appliances.
  • Eliminate Kilo Watt Guzzlers (Vampire Power) - Did you know that your electronics and applicances could be sucking up electricity even while they are turned off? This is called vampire power. As long as a power cord is plugged into an outlet, current will flow through and run your electric bill up. Although it may not be a lot of current, all the appliances can add up and possibly do some noticeable damage to your wallet. Purchasing a “smart” power strip will prevent this from happening because they sense when electronics are turned off. They can also turn off the strip when one main unit is powered down. (Note that some electronics need to be turned off via the on/off switch before cutting the power).
  • Choose energy efficient electronics - There are some electronics out there that use up more energy than others. It usually depends on whether or not they are fitted with energy saving technology.

Just like their AA, AAA, and C cell cousins, laptop batteries create an electrochemical reaction that forces a stream of electrons from one place to another. And just like household batteries, laptop batteries have a positive and negative terminal where electrons are received and sent, respectively.

Laptop batteries, however, have unique characteristics compared to household batteries
  1. They are rechargeable
  2. The laptop battery is composed of multiple internal cells
  3. They contain a small printed circuit board
  4. Their overall shape of a laptop battery and the location of their terminals vary from model to model
Rechargeable batteries are significantly more complicated to design than a non-rechargeable battery because the electrochemical reaction that provides power must be reversible. As Lawrence Berkeley Lab's staff scientist Frank McLarnon explained to Scientific American.com:

"When a battery is discharged, an electrochemical oxidation reaction proceeds at the negative electrode, and an electrochemical reduction reaction occurs at the positive electrode. When one attempts to recharge a battery by reversing the direction of electric current flow, the opposite takes place: a reduction reaction proceeds at the negative electrode, and an oxidation reaction takes place at the positive electrode.

"In the case of the rechargeable battery, the electrochemical oxidation-reduction reactions are reversible of the non-rechargeable battery, when one attempts to recharge the battery by reversing the direction of electron current flow, at least one of the electrochemical oxidation-reduction reactions is not reversible. When the battery is charged, the overall reduction reaction that proceeds at the negative electrode may not be the true reverse of the oxidation reaction that proceeded when the battery was discharged.

If the laptop battery process isn't exact, then unwanted build up can take place on either terminal over time, which can cause a dangerous short-circuit.

Also unlike a household battery, laptop batteries are composed of multiple internal cells. These cells are arranged in series and in parallel in such a way that the laptop battery has a higher voltage level than the individual cells. Laptop batteries also contain a small circuit board that controls the way the cells are recharged. Without this board, the laptop battery would not function properly.

Of course, the most obvious difference about laptop batteries is that their physical shape is different from the traditional cylindrical form of a AA, AAA or C battery. Laptop manufacturers custom design their laptop battery packs to conform with the overall functionality of the laptop model. Some laptops and their laptop batteries are engineered for their light weight and small size, others for their ability to replace the functionality of a desktop system. As a result, one size can't fit all in the world of laptop computers. This causes laptop batteries to vary across different models.

Battery care and use instructions

  • Your new battery comes in a discharged condition and must be charged before use. Upon initial use (or after prolonged storage period) the battery may require two to three charge/discharge cycles before achieving maximum capacity.
  • When charging the battery for the first time your charging device may indicate that charging is complete after just 10 or 15 minutes. This is a normal phenomenon with rechargeable batteries. Simply remove the battery from the charging device and repeat the charging procedure.
  • It is important to condition (fully discharge and then fully charge) the battery every two to three weeks. Failure to do so may significantly shorten the battery's life (this does not apply to Li-Ion batteries, which do not require conditioning). To discharge, simply run your device under the battery's power until it shuts down or until you get a low battery warning. Then recharge the battery as instructed in your user's manual.
  • If the battery will not be in use for a month or longer, it is recommended that it be removed from the device and stored in a cool, dry, clean place.
  • It is normal for a battery to become warm during charging and discharging.
  • A charged battery will eventually lose its charge if unused. It may therefore be necessary to recharge the battery after a storage period.

How to maximize and battery performance?

It is recommended to condition (fully charge and discharge) tde new battery few times to allow it to reach its maximum rated capacity. Condition tde Ni-MH and Nicd battery at least once a montd. It will reduce tde memory effect. Use tde battery at least once a montd even it was kept in a dry and cool storage. Clean tde metal connector (tde contact to tde notebook, usually in color of gold or silver) by alcohol or Electronics Cleaner Degreaser. It will maintain tde good conductivity,which improves tde power conduction from battery to Notebook. Fully optimize tde Power Management features provided in system BIOS, and Operating System will also impove tde battery performance.Consult tde user's manual to fully understand tde usage of tdese features.

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