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Does the HTC EVO 4G battery need to be primed/conditioned?

Evo-li-ionSome people insist that lithium ion batteries like the one found in the HTC EVO should be primed, conditioned, and otherwise"broken in" when you first get them to maximize performance.

I'm not one of these people. I don't believe that li-ion batteries need to be conditioned or put through complete discharge/recharge cycles. But I used to. Older nickel-based batteries did need special attention when you first brought them home, so I assumed the same was true of lithium ions.

But Battery University, a trusted battery source often quoted by people in the "li-ions don't need conditioning" camp, and other places changed my mind for good.

Whether you choose to believe any of what you're about to see is up to you, but I personally think sources like these are more credible than some random person on the internet. Since I'm just a random person on the internet too, though, here are some key quotes on the matter that are worth a look.

From Battery University:

  • Do not discharge lithium-ion too deeply. Instead, charge it frequently. Lithium-ion does not have memory problems like nickel-cadmium batteries. No deep discharges are needed for conditioning. [link]
  • Lithium-ion is a very clean system and does not need priming as nickel-based batteries do. The 1st charge is no different to the 5th or the 50th charge. Stickers instructing to charge the battery for 8 hours or more for the first time may be a leftover from the nickel battery days. [link]
  • Does not need prolonged priming when new. One regular charge is all that's needed. No periodic discharge is needed; there is no memory. [link]
  • Unlike nickel and lead-based batteries, a new lithium-ion pack does not need cycling through charging and discharging. Priming will make little difference because the maximum capacity of lithium-ion is available right from the beginning. Neither does a full discharge improve the capacity of a faded pack. However, a full discharge/charge will reset the digital circuit of a 'smart' battery to improve the state-of-charge estimation. [link]

From eHow:

  • Li-ion batteries do not need to be primed before use.

From HowStuffWorks:

  • They have no memory effect, which means that you do not have to completely discharge them before recharging, as with some other battery chemistries.

From Associated Content:

  • Charge often – Older electronic devices commonly used Ni-Cd batteries which benefited from deep cycling – allowing the battery to fully drain before recharging. Li-ion batteries on the other hand benefit from being charged often and early on in a fresh cycle. What this means is that a li-ion battery should be charged well before it is fully drained.
  • The exception to the above rule about charging is that about every 30th recharge or so, you should allow the battery to be nearly drained before recharging.
  • If your li-ion battery reaches its minimum voltage, usually below 3 volts per cell, the battery is considered dead and won't recharge at all. This is why it is important to never allow your li-ion battery to fully drain; it should be plugged in from time to time.

From Apple:

  • You can also recharge a lithium-ion polymer battery whenever convenient, without the full charge or discharge cycle necessary to keep nickel-based batteries at peak performance. (Over time, crystals build up in nickel-based batteries and prevent you from charging them completely, necessitating an inconvenient full discharge.)

From Tech Republic:

  • New batteries come in a discharged condition and must be fully charged before use. NiCd and NiMH batteries should be charged for approximately 16 hours initially, and LiIon batteries should be charged for about five to six hours. For NiCd and NiMH batteries, you should run your battery through at least two to four full charge/discharge cycles before putting it into ordinary service.
  • Because the NiMH battery has negligible memory effect and the LiIon battery has no memory effect, they do not require conditioning.
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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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