Highlighted
sivanbh
1 Copper

XPS 9350 Battery After WD15 Dock

I have an XPS 9350, and for about a year and a half I had been getting roughly 10 hours from the battery, which is great and just about what I was expecting.

I bought a WD15 docking station almost a year ago, and most of the time the laptop is connected to it, which means it is getting power through its USB C port.

Over the past half a year or so the battery life deteriorated drastically, not standing at about 3 hours. I've also noticed the case squeaks a little when putting pressure on the area the battery sits in, leading me to think it may have swelled.

I'll take it to a technician to have a look inside soon (don't have the proper screwdriver for these weird screws), but I'm just wondering: Is it plausible the source of this sudden drop in battery life is the docking station? Is there something I should do to avoid this damage repeating itself with a new battery (some way to stop it charging the laptop needlessly, for example)? Is it possible the poor battery life is a symptom for some other damage, not in the battery itself?

Generally, if you have tips on power management which might help keep the battery healthy, I'd greatly appreciate it.

0 Kudos
8 Replies
ejn63
5 Rhenium

Re: XPS 9350 Battery After WD15 Dock

The dock should not affect battery life - though you can test by disconnecting it to see if the battery life returns to what it was. 

Remember that lithium batteries have a lifespan of 300-500 charge cycles or 18-24 months before they begin to lose capacity.   Yours is simply heading toward the end of its normal lifespan -- the decrease in capacity is completely normal.

 

0 Kudos
sivanbh
1 Copper

Re: XPS 9350 Battery After WD15 Dock

Thanks for the reply.

If we assume there really is some damage caused by the docking station, I don't see how it could be reversible, so leaving it  disconnected from the dock shouldn't really provide me with any information, should it?

What strikes me as not normal here is how drastic the deterioration is: going from 10 hours to 3 in a matter of 6 months.

0 Kudos
samos1111
3 Zinc

Re: XPS 9350 Battery After WD15 Dock

I'm afraid batteries do tend to deteriorate in a couple of years, and the deterioration may occur rapidly. Swelling is a new even more unpleasant phenomenon. 

Staying at max capacity most of the time isn't best for battery lifetime. You can set the laptop to stop charging at 90% and start charging again when it drops under 80% in BIOS settings, or on-the-fly using Dell Command | Power Manager. 

0 Kudos
sivanbh
1 Copper

Re: XPS 9350 Battery After WD15 Dock

Alright, I'll stop worrying about the dock then, and just replace the battery, thanks.

As for power management - the lower limit for charging is being ignored, although I have set it both through the Power Manager and through the BIOS.

0 Kudos
jphughan
5 Rhenium

Re: XPS 9350 Battery After WD15 Dock

Loss of battery lifespan can indeed occur over time, and it can set on rather quickly. If you frequently have your system on AC power, then limiting the max charge level and dropping the minimum charge level can delay this for a while, but it won't do anything for your current battery.  I'm not sure why your BIOS settings aren't working, though.  On my XPS 15 9530, I have my battery set to stop charging at 80% and then not start charging again until it naturally discharges to 50%.  The only inconvenience of course is if you might happen to disconnect from AC power find you only have a 50% charge.  Lenovo solved this with an application that allows you to say "Charge to 100% once", but that's not available at least for my system.

And fyi the screwdriver you'd need for your system is a Torx T5.  You can find them for a few bucks in a lot of places, or you can just get a set like this one that I have, which comes with basically every bit you'd need to work on just about any piece of consumer electronics, and a variety of non-electronic devices.  If you've never heard of iFixIt, they publish a bunch of detailed device teardown guides and videos for all kinds of devices (as well as repair guides), and the bit selection in that kit is based directly on the types of fasteners they've encountered over many years of doing that.  All of the components are nicely made, and the lid that can either stick magnetically to the underside of the base or be used as a sorting tray is a very nice touch.

0 Kudos
samos1111
3 Zinc

Re: XPS 9350 Battery After WD15 Dock

As for power management - the lower limit for charging is being ignored, although I have set it both through the Power Manager and through the BIOS.

I guess it probably isn't being ignored, the battery just isn't discharging while on AC charger so stays at the max limit. 

0 Kudos
jphughan
5 Rhenium

Re: XPS 9350 Battery After WD15 Dock

Self-discharge should take several days, but you have to make sure you change both the maximum and minimum limits. If you only change the maximum to 80% for example, the system will indeed keep the battery at 80% rather than letting it self-discharge at all. Of course self-discharge can be inconvenient for the reason I already mentioned. Basically most of the things that make batteries convenient also reduce their longevity — keeping them topped up all the time, discharging them all the way to the bottom, never allowing them to self-discharge — so you have to decide whether day to day utility is more or less important to you than longevity. You can’t have both.

0 Kudos
sivanbh
1 Copper

Re: XPS 9350 Battery After WD15 Dock

There's a checkbox I neglected to check in the BIOS, so the custom settings didn't take, but they do now.

Thanks for the tip about the screwdrivers, I'll look these up.

0 Kudos