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Laptop battery management and power state alerts


Ishayin
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Hi folks,

 

Something that has always been a little weird with my Clevo (P751ZM) is the battery management. I basically always use it plugged in, and so the battery is basically just there as an backup power supply. The power connection at the back is not the most robust, and occasionally becomes disconnected when I move the laptop back and forth a little on the desk. However, I never notice when this happens, nor do I get any alert when the battery is running low (which happens rather quickly on this machine). So typically, the first I know about it is when it suddenly goes dead. And yes, I mean dead. It usually doesn't even go into hibernation, just runs all the way down to 0% and then dies. However, it did happen again last night, but for once it seemed to recover from having successfully hibernated, and then showed there was still 47% battery remaining... which was a bit of an odd one off.

 

Any comments on suggestions that might help with this are welcome, and in particular I'm wondering if there are any recommendations for utilities that:

 

1) Provide a warning when power has been disconnected.
2) Provide any other sort of battery management capabilities such as keeping it in the ~40–80% region for longevity.

 

I know there are some more recent laptops that have options for the latter (I think on some Macs?), though possibly it is a bit late to help with my old battery.

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For (1), I don't know of any software, but on my laptop that has a similar issue with it being easy to accidentally disconnect the power, one trick that I've used to make it more likely I notice is setting the screen brightness to different levels when it's plugged in versus when it's unplugged.  Only works if you're using the built-in monitor though, rather than an external one.

 

Steam will also provide a warning if you are in-game and the battery hits the low power state (I assume this is the one you set in Windows, which defaults to 10%, but haven't verified it isn't just always 10% in Steam).  But that requires being in-game in Steam.  It's saved my bacon a couple times though.

 

For (2), I know such technology exists, IBM/Lenovo used to ship utilities that let you do that.  But I don't know of a general-purpose one off the top of my head.

 

I wonder, you mention it's an old battery and it said "47%" afterwards one time.  To me that suggests that it's likely a few of the cells in the battery have already croaked.  When I've had old batteries, it's not uncommon for the estimates to become inaccurate, and it will go straight from "perfectly okay, 35% remaining" to "critical battery state, must hibernate now and might not have enough power to finish that", even though Windows estimates the low power (not critical) state should be at 10% or 12% (you can adjust this somewhere in the power settings IIRC, so you probably could set it artificially high to something like 90% so Windows gives you the "low battery" warning very soon after it gets unplugged.  Would check where, but I'm on my desktop).

 

Linux Mint (and probably other Linux variants) will tell you the battery health in their battery bar, in terms of current maximum capacity versus designed maximum capacity.  These might work in a virtual machine, I'm not sure, but it could also be worth firing up a live CD/USB and seeing what it says about your battery.  If it says something like designed 66 MWHr, current max 38 MWHr, they your battery has lost significant capacity and it's probably why Windows is not doing the world's best job of estimating remaining battery life.

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Desktop: Core i5 2500k "Sandy Bridge" | RX 480 8 GB | 32 GB DDR3 | 850 Evo + HDDs | Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W | 8.1 Pro

Laptop: MSI Alpha 15 | Ryzen 5800H | Radeon 6600M | 16 GB DDR4 | 512 GB SSD | 10 Home

Laptop history: MSI GL63 (2018) | HP EliteBook 8740w (acq. 2014) | Dell Inspiron 1520 (2007)

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Both of my 7th gen Clevos have FlexiCharger available in the BIOS settings, which allows you to set minimum and maximum percentages for charging as you mentioned for (2). I looked up the manual for the P751ZM and couldn't find anything related to that; I have to assume FlexiCharger isn't available for older gen Clevos, but it might be worth a look.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you @Sandy Bridge and @a.Techie for both of your helpful replies. I've found the relevant options in the power settings now and have changed my on battery low power level setting from 10% to 80%. Hopefully the notification might appear in good time now (I've never seen it come up before). I've also changed the on battery critical level from 5% to 10%, and the critical battery action from hibernate to sleep. Hopefully that will help with a quicker turnaround at least if I do still miss the notification..

 

Actually, can anyone confirm what form the low battery notification is supposed to take in Windows 8.1 or even 10? I don't have any kind of program related notifications (I probably disabled them if they exist in 8.1), but I would have assumed a low battery notification would be something more fundamental associated with the battery indicator in the system tray.

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On 4/3/2022 at 8:15 AM, Ishatix said:

Thank you @Sandy Bridge and @a.Techie for both of your helpful replies. I've found the relevant options in the power settings now and have changed my on battery low power level setting from 10% to 80%. Hopefully the notification might appear in good time now (I've never seen it come up before). I've also changed the on battery critical level from 5% to 10%, and the critical battery action from hibernate to sleep. Hopefully that will help with a quicker turnaround at least if I do still miss the notification..

 

Actually, can anyone confirm what form the low battery notification is supposed to take in Windows 8.1 or even 10? I don't have any kind of program related notifications (I probably disabled them if they exist in 8.1), but I would have assumed a low battery notification would be something more fundamental associated with the battery indicator in the system tray.

I'm 98% sure it's still a toast notification above the system tray in 10.  Only 98% sure because I almost always can find an outlet when I have it plugged in at a coffee shop, so I haven't seen many lately.

 

The battery icon on the tray should also change to a low-battery one, but the toast ought to be more noticeable.

Desktop: Core i5 2500k "Sandy Bridge" | RX 480 8 GB | 32 GB DDR3 | 850 Evo + HDDs | Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W | 8.1 Pro

Laptop: MSI Alpha 15 | Ryzen 5800H | Radeon 6600M | 16 GB DDR4 | 512 GB SSD | 10 Home

Laptop history: MSI GL63 (2018) | HP EliteBook 8740w (acq. 2014) | Dell Inspiron 1520 (2007)

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On 4/3/2022 at 8:15 AM, Ishatix said:

Thank you @Sandy Bridge and @a.Techie for both of your helpful replies. I've found the relevant options in the power settings now and have changed my on battery low power level setting from 10% to 80%. Hopefully the notification might appear in good time now (I've never seen it come up before). I've also changed the on battery critical level from 5% to 10%, and the critical battery action from hibernate to sleep. Hopefully that will help with a quicker turnaround at least if I do still miss the notification..

 

Actually, can anyone confirm what form the low battery notification is supposed to take in Windows 8.1 or even 10? I don't have any kind of program related notifications (I probably disabled them if they exist in 8.1), but I would have assumed a low battery notification would be something more fundamental associated with the battery indicator in the system tray.

I intentionally let my battery run down today, turns out that in 10, it's a full-screen fade-out (similar to the shut down menu in XP), with a large notice in the middle alerting your power is low.  You could miss it in XP or 7, but there's no way you could miss it in 10 (not sure about 8.1).  It looks like this: windows-10-low-battery-notification.jpg

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Desktop: Core i5 2500k "Sandy Bridge" | RX 480 8 GB | 32 GB DDR3 | 850 Evo + HDDs | Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W | 8.1 Pro

Laptop: MSI Alpha 15 | Ryzen 5800H | Radeon 6600M | 16 GB DDR4 | 512 GB SSD | 10 Home

Laptop history: MSI GL63 (2018) | HP EliteBook 8740w (acq. 2014) | Dell Inspiron 1520 (2007)

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/4/2022 at 11:27 PM, Sandy Bridge said:

I intentionally let my battery run down today, turns out that in 10, it's a full-screen fade-out (similar to the shut down menu in XP), with a large notice in the middle alerting your power is low.  You could miss it in XP or 7, but there's no way you could miss it in 10 (not sure about 8.1).  It looks like this...

 

Thanks! I've just done some poking around and have got some mixed signals back on whether this is or can also be the case on 8.1.  But I did find two interesting titbits along the way, namely that that message appears to be connected with a particular device in device manager:
https://www.tenforums.com/general-support/103697-how-do-i-completely-disable-windows-low-battery-warning.html

And also that since Windows 7, you can get the system to generate a full power and battery report with "powercfg -energy" in command prompt:

http://www.helpwithwindows.com/Windows7/Check-your-laptop-battery-health-in-Windows-7.html

 

Mine has come back saying:

Design Capacity 79920
Last Full Charge 80334

 

So it's reporting to be in perfect health which I'm a little suspicious off given its age. I mean, I never use the battery, but I thought that keeping them at 100% was supposed to be bad for Li-ion batteries. So after 7 years of that I would have expected some deterioration...

 

I also discovered that in the taskbar Sounds settings there are particular entries you can set for low and critical battery level sound alerts. I had my sound scheme set to "No sounds", but even when I switch it back to "Windows Defautl" it seems that none of my Windows sounds will play when I try to test them. Can't say I'm too unhappy about that though 😂

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On 4/28/2022 at 5:54 PM, Ishatix said:
   
   

So it's reporting to be in perfect health which I'm a little suspicious off given its age. I mean, I never use the battery, but I thought that keeping them at 100% was supposed to be bad for Li-ion batteries. So after 7 years of that I would have expected some deterioration...

 

Much will depend on how the charging behaves if the battery is at or near 100%. A very low trickle charge may not cause significant wear and the computer may let the charge level drop a few % before doing a slow top up. Recent computers tend to behave more intelligently as the battery fills and some may report 100% when the battery is not completely full (I've seen the same with phones).

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