It used to be that batteries in things like digital camera, camcorders and laptops could develop what was called “battery memory”, where it would “remember” where you’d charged it up to if you charged it part way, then next time would only charge that far.
That’s not really a problem any more but that doesn’t mean you never get problems with batteries.
In fact I had one of the most common battery problems the other day – on my phone, though the same thing can happen on tablets, too.
When your battery doesn’t know it’s own self…
Know yourself, they say. Well, that’s advice my phone battery could have done with the other day…
What happened was that when I plugged my phone in to charge, it never got higher than sixty odd percent (I think it might have been 67% – but I can’t remember for sure). At least according to the indicator on screen. No matter how long I left it plugged in, it wouldn’t get higher.
Then when I used it, it wouldn’t seem to drop much – until it turned itself off as out of battery having only gone down to about 63%.
Sometimes when I plugged it in, it would show 100% but the second I unplugged it, it was down to 67% again.
I had the feeling that actually it was fully charging, it just didn’t know it, because it lasted a long time before running out of battery. But it was frustrating because I could never tell how full it was and whether I needed to charge it or not.
But turning the phone off and on again, trying to charge it and so on didn’t help.
Apparently it’s not uncommon – so in case it happens to you, here’s what to do.
First of all, I was right – it is fully charging. It’s not (usually) a problem with the battery, it’s a problem with the bit of the phone that tells how charged the battery is. Basically it’s got itself confused.
The thing to do is to let the phone run right down, so it turns itself off (otherwise you can’t tell whether it’s full, empty or half way!).
That way the bit that checks how full the battery is can learn what “empty” is.
Leave it turned off and plug it in to charge. Leave it to charge long enough that you’re certain it’s fully charged – overnight is a good plan. DOn’t turn it on again until you’re sure it’s fully charged.
After that, tap the button on the front of the phone. On most phones that lets you see how charged it is without actually turning it on. Make sure it says “100%” and now unplug the phone and turn it on.
Check what percentage it now says on the screen. With any luck it’ll be 100% and your job is done. That’s what happened for me and it’s since been absolutely fine.
If not (and it’s not say 99%, which is probably near enough) but it’s higher than it got before, then you’re making progress and you might just need to repeat the whole thing again – let it run right down and start again.
If it’s now saying 100% but it runs out of battery before it gets to near 0%, then you’ve sorted it recognising what full is but not what empty is. You can try the same process again and if that doesn’t help, you can try letting it run down and turn off, then try to turn it on. It’ll probably turn on for a second, just long enough to realise it’s out of battery and turn itself off again. Then go through the charging until it’s definitely full.
That’ll fix nearly all of this kind of problem with the battery. If it doesn’t fix it, you might actually have a physical problem with the battery, so it’s causing a problem you might want to take it to a shop to get them to look at it.
Watching TV online… on your TV
I know lots of people watch TV online – especially using BBCs iPlayer. It can be really handy to watch programmes after they’ve been on.
And sometimes it’s nice to be able to watch it in a different room, maybe on your laptop or tablet.
But most people also have a TV in the lounge with a bigger screen, which is better for watching TV. If you have a smartTV you can probably watch iPlayer and the ITV and Channel 4 equivalents directly on the TV (once you’ve got it set up!).
But even if you haven’t there are a few ways to do it.
For a start many laptops can be plugged into a modern TV, using an HDMI cable. You’ll often have one connecting a DVD player or similar to your TV so you might be able to unplug it from that to plug into your laptop, then watch your laptop screen on your TV.
Then just set the programme going on iPlayer (or whatever) and watch it on your TV.
If you haven’t got a socket like that another way to do it is to use a Chromecast – it’s a device you can buy and plug into the back of your TV that lets you send video from your laptop, tablet or phone to your TV. I’m not going to go into lots of detail about how you use it today as this’ll end up as an enormous email, but if you do fancy being able to watch iPlayer or whatever on your TV, it might be worth a look.