Notebooks

If your Lenovo notebook computer has a single-piece TouchPad (note horizontal red lines with bumps in the middleTrackPoint) and you find that your cursor or mouse suddenly jumps to an unexpected location, you may want to change to Psychiatry IT recommended settings.

Note:Please contact Psychiatry IT to install the drivers for you, if your "Mouse Properties" settings don't appear as below.

TrackPoint ThinkPad 11) Choose Mouse in the Control Panel, then click on the ThinkPad tab.

TrackPoint ThinkPad classic2) Select the Pointing Option you want.   Classic TrackPoint Mode Only will work best for traditional TrackPoint users.

TrackPoint gestures3) You may also want to disable "Gestures", if you do a lot of typing.

The "Touch Pad", on some Lenovo Edge and T series notebook models (e.g. model E431 or T440) is actually a "Pen and Touch" combination.  In "Pen" mode, you can use a stylus to draw.

Some department members find they touch it by accident and get unexpected results.  You can completely disable the touch pad by;

  1. Click on Windows Start Button  windows start button
  2. Go to Control Panel
  3. Choose Mouse
  4. A pop up screen of Mouse Properties
  5. Choose UltraNav accordion
  6. Uncheck Enable TouchPad

Notebook computers are often referred to as "laptop" computers. Unfortunately, they generate enough heat to injure you, if you actually use them, on your lap. If you must use them on your lap, insulate yourself with a thick book.

Notebook computers have poor ergonomics, unless used with an external accessories. UBC HR explain it well here.

  • Generally cost about 40% more than a similarly equipped desktop computer.
  • They last about 2/3 as long as desktop computers.  After the third year, hard drive, keyboard, screen and battery failures go up dramatically.

Departmental notebook computers have the following setup:

  • Any D_Psychiatry or psychiatry.ubc.ca account holder can log-on, provided that they have logged on to the laptop at least once while connected to our network by wire.
  • Your laptop will attempt to use the fastest network connection that it has available. On campus, this will be UBC wireless, which is on the “outside” of our firewall and therefore can’t access our servers to confirm your logon or access P: or U: drives. If you have been using wireless networking, you will need to disable it (see below), then logon again, before you can properly use the wired network.
  • Lenovo models also have the following features:
    • Keyboard light = Press the Fn + PgUp keys
    • Presentation Mode (Video/monitor/LCD output switching) by holding the Windows + P key will activate presentation mode and Windows + X will bring up the Windows Mobility Centre, where you can quickly access a lot of related settings.
    • Wireless networking can be be toggled off/on by pressing Fn-F5 or click the wireless icon on the taskbar. T61 and W500 notebooks also have a slide switch, on the front left edge.
    • Scroll = Holding the blue button, between the mouse buttons, and scroll up/down with the trackpoint (mouse).
    • NumLock will come on in the last state that it was set. For example, if you had your laptop connected to an external full size keyboard, with number pad, then disconnect from the external keyboard, your laptop’s embedded numeric keyboard will remain turned on.
    • Screen magnifier = Press the Fn + space, to toggle between your regular screen resolution and a low resolution (large text) mode, if you're finding things hard to see..

Wireless Networking

This has been written for an IBM/Lenovo T60 notebook, but other models will be similar. To connect to UBC Wireless:

  1. Start your browser, answer the first time questions, close the browser.
  2. Have the wireless switch (front left edge) turned on.
  3. Left click the wireless icon (bar graph in bottom right of screen)
  4. Select UBC and click "Connect"
  5. Wait, up to 60 seconds, for your computer to be assigned an address by the UBC network. You'll know, when the hard drive light stops flashing.
  6. Open your browser, which should go directly to the UBC Wireless Network login page
  7. Click the "Autoconnect" link, then "Start" and follow the on-screen instructions.

Battery life is always quoted under ideal conditions. To increase your notebook's battery life:

  • Order a second battery and rotate its use with the original, every 2-3 weeks.
  • Condition your new battery properly and take advantage of your computer's "on battery" settings (like disabling wireless networking, if on an airplane) to consume less electricity.
  • Click the Laptop Battery FAQ accordion above for lots more battery tips.

Frequently Asked Questions about Laptop Battery


How should I care for my new laptop battery?

 

Condition your new laptop computer battery for optimum performance.

A new laptop battery must be conditioned to operate at its full capacity.

Laptop batteries are shipped in a discharged state and must be fully charged when you receive your new battery. Charging your new battery overnight is sufficient to give your new battery a full charge. A new laptop battery must be partially discharged and fully charged at least five times in order to reach its full capacity.This is done simply by unplugging the laptop from the power cord and letting the battery operate the laptop for 30 min. to 1 hour. It is important not to let a brand-new battery discharge completely to empty or the battery pack may not be able to be recharged by the laptop. This can effectively destroy your brand-new battery.The conditioning process should be completed within the first month you receive your new battery. The conditioning process can be completed during the first week of receiving your new notebook battery.

How can I extend the life of my laptop battery?

 

Li-ion laptop batteries will wear out slowly over time, providing ever shorter battery run times. You can extend the life of your battery by providing some basic ongoing maintenance.

Keep your battery from wearing out prematurely due to lack of use.

Many people assume that the battery is being used when the laptop is plugged in. This is not the case.

When your laptop is plugged into the wall, your laptop runs on it's primary power source, electricity from your AC adapter cable. While plugged into the power cord, your battery is in a stand-by state. Your battery will only power your laptop once you unplug from the electrical cord.

If your laptop is plugged in for extended periods of time, your laptop battery is literally withering on the vine from lack of exercise.

It is true that the battery will loose a small portion of it's charge each day and that the AC power cord will "top-off" the battery, but this is not enough exercise to keep your computer battery in top form. Running on battery power for 30 minutes to an hour once a week is sufficient to keep your notebook battery active and in good shape.

This is perhaps the most common reason computer batteries wear out prematurely.

Don't run your laptop battery all the way to empty

The second most common reason why laptop batteries fail prematurely is that they are frequently discharged all the way to empty. Research shows that Lithium-ion batteries have the longest useful life when they have shallow discharge and recharge cycles. It does not harm the battery to only use it for 5-10 minutes and then plug it back in to the power cord.

People often confuse today's Lithium batteries with the older NiCad batteries found in power tools. With NiCad batteries, you did want to run a battery all the way to empty to avoid shortening the battery life through the "memory effect".

Try to keep your battery from discharging all the way, running your battery to a low level when you use your battery will significantly shorten the life of your battery.

Discharging your laptop battery all the way can effectively kill your battery

If a computer battery is discharged past the critical 3% level, the battery may not be able to be recharged again. This effectively kills the battery. A laptop battery needs a small amount of power in it in order for it send communication back and forth with the laptop to recharge the battery. A battery in a "weakened state" is a good candidate for this fatal mistake. When batteries are brand new or inactive for more than 2 months, they are in a weakened state and must be conditioned with 4-5 partial discharge and recharge cycles to bring them up to full capacity again.

A new battery may cause the battery power icon on your computer to indicate you have a low battery condition. We recommend that you let the battery charge overnight in your notebook computer. It may be necessary to remove and replace the battery and restart your computer with the battery installed in order for the computer's start up sequence to properly recognize your new battery.

Rechargeable batteries will self discharge when not in use over a period of time.

Is it normal for a battery to produce heat while it is being used and while charging?

 

It is normal for notebook batteries to produce heat when they are being charged and also when you are running on battery power. As energy is transferred within your battery cells, heat is a natural byproduct.

Why does my laptop battery lose power over time?

 

Over time, laptop batteries lose their ability to hold a charge. This is a normal occurrence and is common to all rechargeable laptop batteries. Most notebook batteries today are made with advanced materials that hold their charge much longer than earlier technologies used just a few years ago. Even so, the life of a laptop battery today will be approximately 500 recharges. For most users, 2- 3 years is a typical life expectancy of a laptop battery.

How can I minimize the power my laptop uses?

 

Your laptop battery life depends on the power capacity of your laptop battery and the amount of energy your computer draws. You can maximize your laptop battery life by changing the amount of power your computer draws while in battery mode. If you are a Windows user, within your Control Panel section you will find Power Options. In this section you can change power use and low power alerts. Windows users will also be able to lower the brightness of the LCD panel and extend the battery life considerably. You can also extend your battery life between charges by minimizing the use of your CD and DVD drive operation. Windows 7 is considerably more efficient that earlier versions, with it's power use, while running on batteries.

How do I check laptop battery life?

 

You can check your computers' remaining battery life by clicking your battery icon or accessing the Power Options section within your computer's control panel. Your laptop battery life depends on the power capacity of your laptop battery and the amount of energy your computer draws.

How long will my laptop battery run?

 

Average run time is 1 1/2 hours to 3 1/2 hours depending on what applications you are running. Functions that require more power will deplete your laptop battery faster. Viewing a DVD or using your CD player to play and record music are power intensive functions and will consume power at a faster rate. Also different notebooks use more power than others. Most laptops have a power management control panel where power use can be reduced while on battery power, such as reducing the brightness of your LCD screen. External batteries can also be purchased to provided extended power.

What is the difference between NiCad, NiMH and Lithium-ion laptop batteries?

 

Batteries in laptops, camcorder and cell phones are typically made using one of three battery chemistries: Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery cell chemistry.

NiCad and NiMH:

NiCad (nickel Cadmium) batteries are best known as the battery type that has the memory effect. In order for these batteries to work efficiently, the battery must be completely discharged before recharging. If you recharge these batteries while there is still power stored in the cells, your battery will reset itself so that it now only holds the amount of power stored from the last recharge. Many electric tooth brushes, power tools and other consumer items still utilize NiCad battery chemistry. If you have devices with NiCad batteries, you will save yourself some aggravation and money by having a fully charged spare battery to insert while you recharge your depleted battery. NiCad batteries are the least expensive to produce, but because of the memory effect problem, these type of batteries are slowly being phased out with other improved battery materials.

NiMH batteries are less prone to develop this problem and thus require less maintenance and conditioning. In addition, NiMH batteries can store about twice as much energy as NiCad batteries without adding any additional weight. NiMH batteries are also environmentally friendlier than NiCad batteries since they do not contain heavy metals (which present serious landfill problems). Note: Not all devices can accept both NiCad and NiMH batteries.

Lithium Ion:

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) has become the new standard for poraccordionle power in consumer devices and laptop batteries. Li-Ion batteries produce the same energy as NiMH battery but weigh approximately 20%-35% less. This can make a noticeable difference in devices such as cellular phones, camcorders or notebook computers where the battery makes up a significant portion of the total weight. Another reason Li-Ion batteries have become so popular is that they do not suffer from the "memory effect" at all. They are also environmentally friendly because they don't contain toxic materials such as Cadmium or Mercury.

How can I extend my laptop battery run time?

 

Your new laptop battery will have an average run time of 1 1/2 hours to 3 1/2 hours depending on what applications you are running. Functions that require more power will deplete your battery faster. You can extend your battery run time by minimizing the main power draws on your battery - the LCD brightness levels and the use of your CD or DVD drive. Also, some notebooks simply use more power than others.

You can prolong your laptop battery life by adjusting the power management selections within your operating system software. If you are a Windows user, you can go to the control Panel and select power options. In this area you can choose when and how you can maximize your laptop battery settings.

Can you revive a dead laptop battery?

 

The question often comes up if it ís possible to recondition laptop batteries. If your laptop battery is dead, you have probably already tried is to recharge it. If you find the run time on battery power is minutes not hours, you are due for a new laptop battery. The only component that will wear out in your laptop computer is the rechargeable battery. If your laptop's battery is more than 2 years old it may have already experienced its life of 300-500 recharges. In a similar fashion, car batteries predicaccordionly wear out after the stated monthly service use. It is not possible to revive a spent rechargeable battery. The battery cells must be replaced.

Simple Connection Method

  1. Plug in USB connector from Port Replicator
  2. Plug in power to your notebook
  3. Press the power button, then close the lid of the notebook
  4. Start using your computer via the external monitor, keyboard, and mouse

Alternate Connection Method

Use this to resolve issues.

  1. Plug in USB connector from Port Replicator
  2. Plug in power to your notebook
  3. Press the power button on your notebook
  4. Press “Windows”, & “P” key together, you will see screen of options (see below)
  5. Choose the “Projector only”
  6. Start using your computer via the external monitor, keyboard, and mouse