Toshiba Laptop Battery Problems
By Shannon Burton
Toshiba has come a long way when it comes to the battery life in their laptops, but that does not make them immune to the occasional hiccup. Poor charging practices can cause issues with battery life, and power-sucking settings can deplete a charged battery, especially an older one, at a surprising rate. For many Toshiba laptops, even temperature can affect whether and how your battery charges and discharges.
Charging New Batteries
If your laptop is brand new, you have an opportunity to maximize your battery's health from the get-go. CNET authors Asher Moses and Brian Nadel state that long-term battery vitality can be ensured if "when first using your notebook on battery power, [you] let the battery completely drain before you recharge it. Don't recharge when the battery is only half drained. Do that for at least the first two sessions." If you continue to do this every time you use your laptop battery, you will extend the length of time your laptop can run on battery power.
One of the main reasons battery life is so short on many laptops is because of the power settings. You can access the power settings on a Toshiba either by right-clicking the battery tray icon in the lower-right corner of your screen and click "Power Options", or by going to Control Panel > Power Options. Here, you can select the settings your computer will use when it is running on battery power, adjust when the display turns off, choose when the computer will go to sleep, and decide how bright your display is. The default "Power Saver" settings adjust the display brightness to about 40%, turn off the display after 3 minutes of inactivity and put the computer to sleep after 15 minutes. Think about which settings make the most sense for you, and adjust your computer accordingly to save power.
Extreme temperatures can negatively affect your laptop's battery. According to Moses and Nadel, you should not expose your battery to extreme heat or cold. Heat causes batteries to lose their charge very quickly and cold batteries don't perform as well. In addition, some Toshiba laptop batteries can detect when they have heated up too much, and will not charge even when the AC power is plugged in. The computer will display "AC power plugged in; battery not charging," in this case. If this happens, you can charge the battery by shutting down your computer and letting the battery charge while the computer is off.
Laptop batteries generally last for 2 to 3 years. If your battery is not holding a charge and it is older than 3 years, consider purchasing a new battery. Remember to fully deplete and fully charge the new battery the first few times you use it.
Still Not Charging
If you have considered all of these possible battery problems and find that they are not the reason for the problem, try taking the battery out and gently cleaning the contacts on the battery and in the laptop's battery compartment with a dry, lint-free cloth. If there is no improvement, you may need to look into updating the computer's BIOS or using the recovery CD that came with the laptop to clear any internal problems that may be affecting your battery.
Shannon Burton is a high school teacher. She has been writing articles about fitness, health, technology and education since 2007 and has been published on many websites. Burton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the Virgin Islands.