Life is such a drain.
December 30, 2007 7:12 PM   Subscribe

My laptop battery drains even when the computer is turned off.

So, I went ahead and bought this computer. But now I seem to have some odd behavior. The battery will lose charge even when the laptop is completely shut down. (I don't have wake-on-lan enabled.)

I have read in other forums that this is typical behavior for a Toshiba. So I some questions.

1) Is this typical behavior for a Toshiba or other brand of laptop? (My dell didn't do this.)

2) Short of removing the battery is there anything I can do to stop the drain? (Will leaving the battery out help it to drain less severely?)

3) Will this seriously erode the life of the battery (or does Toshiba provide batteries that take the behavior into account)?
posted by oddman to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Can't answer the other questions but in regards to question one my HP work laptop drains from full charge to nothing in about 3-5 days while completely turned off.
posted by Octoparrot at 7:26 PM on December 30, 2007

1) dumb question: are you sure it isn't entering standby mode? To test this theory: after you turn it off, remove and put the battery back in. See if it drains charge. If so, you really have a weird problem. If not, your computer is trying to run something in standby.

2) remove the battery. if you look up "Lithium Ion battery" on wikipedia, it will give you a general primer of the how to's of your battery. Basically, Li-Ion batteries encounter a general erosion of 3% of charge per month, so it isn't the battery, most likely.

3) No, this will not, as Li-Ion batteries are resistant to memory effects caused by full draining, unlike Ni-Hydride or NiCad batteries of the past. If anything, heat will kill your battery fastest. Once again, wikipedia can give you a general idea of what you are up against.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 8:01 PM on December 30, 2007

There's a difference between "standby" and "hibernate".

In "standby", the CPU and display shut down, but the RAM continues to draw power from the battery. This permits the system to come back on essentially instantly, but it also means it draws power until then.

In "hibernate", when you shut down the system writes a memory image out to HD. Then it shuts down entirely. When it gets turned back on again, it has to reload memory, which takes anything up to ten seconds on most computers. However, while it's off, it isn't draining anything from the battery.

In the control panel, select "power options" and change everything that says "standby" to "hibernate".
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:29 PM on December 30, 2007

Also, when you've selected "hibernate" it can take up to a minute for your computer to shut down. Be patient.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:33 PM on December 30, 2007

Two things:

One, the power button on the start menu in Vista doesn't seem to turn the computer off in most default configurations that I've seen. It took me the longest time to figure out, so definitely check out what SCDB is talking about.

Also, the battery light on my Toshiba M35X will blink on and off after I shutdown (it's not it standby, it's off), and I have to physically take out the battery to make it stop. When the light is blinking, the battery will drain in about 15 hours, and I can hear a high-pitched transistor sound, sometimes without the light. I'm assuming this is caused some power-dohicky that I then had replaced after a recall as this started right about the time my laptop was fixed, so it might just be a Toshiba thing.
posted by niles at 10:21 PM on December 30, 2007

Well. I had actually gone into the Power Options menu and switched everything from "Stand By" to "Shut Down." I had even changed the default behavior of the "Power" icon in the Vista start menu.

The stupid thing still drained. I supposed I'll just have to remove the battery. On that note, can anyone tell me if there is such a thing as a cover plate for the battery slot for times that the battery is not inserted?
posted by oddman at 6:50 AM on December 31, 2007

I suspect you have a bad battery.

Try charging it up then remove it from the computer and leave it out for 24 hours. Then plug it back in and see if it has a charge. I bet it won't.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:33 PM on December 31, 2007

heh, SCDB sounds like he has a pretty good experiment you should try.

As for your question about a cover plate, i'd cut up a plastic ruler or something to fit. Even a plastic coin of some kind, just to prevent contact, as a spacer of some kind that won't shatter or melt.

Just no tape. I had a friend try that one, who was convinced that charge recharge cycles were shortening his battery life. Once, he left his taped battery in and ran the laptop off ac power, melting the adhesive to the back of the battery.......

I hate posting my experiences as some kind of useful information, but my toshiba laptop (1 yr old) has no issues of this kind.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 9:56 PM on January 1, 2008

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