Monday, January 24, 2011

How to increase phone battery running time (reduce the battery drain)

Spice MI 300 is a smart phone with lots of features.  Most of  you may be facing short battery life like me . How to maximise the battery life?
While it helps to have more features under one hood, enabling each additional feature will consume additional power.  Some features use more battery power than the other.  Also, the battery technology has NOT evolved as fast as other field of electronics with respect to SIZE and STORAGE CAPACITY. We need to be very cautious about, when to Enable/Disable the different features of phone given the limited battery resourse.

One of the easiest way to figure out this is by classifing the features of the phone like ESSENTIAL/REQUIRED and LUXURY with respect to Power consumption. A right balance of these will help you get a optimal battery mileage per charge.

MI 300 is powered by linux kernel and Android operating system which provides the infrastructure to use/control/enable/disable the different features of the hardware.  Use it effectively to achieve a better battery life. Most of these battery saving  tips are quite generic and applicable to Android devices in general ( Tablets / Phones ),  few are specific to Spice MI 300 and its clones.

21 tips to stretch the phone battery

1) The phone batteries have limited number of charge/discharge cycles. Always charge the battery to its  full capacity and also drain it completely before the next charge. So you go through the full charge/recharge cycle, there by utilising the full capacity of one charge cycle and also increase the battery life.

2) The phone has a big display and powering that display would take about 40% of the battery power at any given point of time. Enable autobrightness. This will automatically reduce/increase the brightnness based on the lighting.

Settings->display-> brightness->automatic brightness

3) Keep the autolock enabled with minimal screen timeout time. Two benfits. It automatically switches off display after timeout there by saving power and Avoiding  accidental usage

Settings->display->screen timeout
4)  Disable Network notification when an open network is available. This will help increase the battery life as it will not keep scanning for new wifi hotspot. This will not affect, connecting,  to an already registered wifi hotspot.

Settings->Wireless and networks->Wi-Fi Settings->Network notification

5) Turn off wifi when not in Use. Use Wifi with the phone connected to mains power(at home/office) as much as possible . :-)

6) 3G/HSDPA data uses more power and hence can drain the battery fast. Use it only when it is needed as it will cost for data usage aswell. Use 2G/GPRS is you can do with less data speed. 2G consumes comparitively less power. Opt for USB tethering over wifi tethering so that the  phone is charging while it shares the internet with PC/laptop.

7)  While multitasking helps run more apps concurrently, they also consume more power. Close the app if it is NOT required(Use task Manager). Or Run one app at a time.

8)  Less speed  =  less battery consumption.
If you have rooted your android phone, install the Ondemand CPU scaling apps, like "SetCPU", "No-Frills CPU control" which can run the CPU at the minimum possible speed  to run a given task. It runs at lowest speed while in idle state. It can scale up on demand upto the CPUs maxspeed based on the requirement. These apps are FREE for registered users of . You can also purchase some of these apps from the market.

9) There are advantages of background apps which are mainly used for monitoring/syncing/logging/scheduling/notifying purposes. By nature of it running all the time without user intervention requires that much additional power. However, of  these background apps, few of them tend to be battery killers. Identifying those background killer apps helps reducing the battery drians. One of them is "Background data sync".
Disabling background data sync can significantly(20-30%) improve the battery time. You can disable this feature under

Settings-> Accounts and sync ->Background data.

10) GPS and related apps can drain the battery pretty fast. We know that these apps are used mostly while driving. Use it caustiously, or connect it to a (car)charger while using it.

11) Disable audible sounds for notifications and keypad taps.

12) Disable haptic feedback with keypad. This also consumes battery.

13) Music is good to hear. Avoid music on Speaker on as much as possible. Use headset. This consumes less battery.

14) Turn on bluetooth only when required. Turn it off after the use.

15) When the battery charge is 30% or less, disable all the apps/feature which are not essential. ONLY critical apps must be running on the phone so that the remaining juice in the battery can be stretched as much as possible. Yes, Just it should work like a very basic phone.

16) Wallpapers.  Do not use Live wallpapers. If you can disable Wallpaper altogether, it even more better. More free memeory and saves power aswell.

17) Themes. Switch to lighter themes. Heavily animated themes consumes more  power hence drain battery faster.

18) Games. While it is good to have games.3D and animated games use more GPU/CPU power. Play the games as much as possible with charger on.

19) Carry Additional/Spare battery if possible while on the move.

20) Custom ROMs. Yes, choose the best custom ROMs available, which has tweaked , optimised kernel  and system apps for a better battery life.  As of now, Android 2.2 Froyo based  firetrapTwonights 2.2.1 from "androidpt" is very well tuned and  has the highest scoring for battery on Spice MI 300 and its clones like z71, Motorola quench xt2..
Also update your apps regularly so that bugs/issues in those apps are fixed in the later versions, they run better and hence consume less power :-)

21) Battery profiles. Set/enable different features of phone with different profiles.
a) Auto mode (default mode)

  Should  based on the battery percentage.

b) Enable all.
  This can be used while the phone has more than 80% of charge with charger connected.

c) Office/network mode.
   It can be with call/wifi enabled or just Airplane mode with wifi.

d) Music mode.
  This one is for music lovers. Options to enabe disable wifi

e) Custom mode
 User has the choice :)

 I am not sure if there is already an app in the market which has all the combined features of CPU scaling , task manager and system settings to achieve the goal of getting a best possible battery life, effectively.

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