5 Tools to Ensure Your Laptop Battery is Ready for the Road

If you’re a trader who loves to travel, like I do, you know how critical your laptop battery can be to the success of your trading while on the road. If your battery is low on power and there isn’t a power outlet in sight, you could be taking a huge risk to hold or enter a position. If you’ve ever run out of battery power unexpectedly, it won’t surprise you to hear that battery indicators on laptops aren’t always reliable. Sometimes their discharge estimates are way off. Fortunately, there are more reliable tools available to help you get a better understanding of the battery health of your trading laptop.

Benefits of Battery Monitoring Software or Tools

Battery monitoring software or tools can help you in multiple ways:
  • You’ll have better estimates of how long your battery can last.
  • You can take better care of your trading laptop through proper charging, and increase the lifetime of the battery.
  • You can log your power usage information, then optimize your daily application usage to save power and make your battery last longer.
Here are some useful tools:

1. Powercfg Command

Laptop batteries degrade over time. By periodically checking on the health of your battery, you’ll know what to expect in terms of current capacity, as well as knowing when it’s time to purchase a new battery. Powercfg is a free Windows command line tool that will generate reports of battery health and energy consumption. To get a battery health report:
  • In the Windows 10 search bar, enter cmd. Right-click on Command Prompt > Run as Administrator.
  • To generate the report, type in this command: powercfg /batteryreport. Press Enter.
  • To view the report, press Windows+R (or right-click Start > Run). Then enter the report location (or copy/paste from the command window): C:\WINDOWS\system32\energy-report.html. Click Okay. The report file will open in your browser.
The report will give you various information about your trading laptop’s battery that can help you determine if you are getting optimal performance. It will also show how your charge time has degraded since installation. To get an energy consumption report:
  • Start from cmd as before. (Don’t forget to run as administrator.)
  • Type in this command: powercfg /energy. Wait 60 seconds for the report to generate.
  • To view the report, press Windows+R and enter the location: C:\WINDOWS\system32\energy-report.html.
This report shows what apps are using an excessive amount of power. You may find some apps that are running in the background (and draining power) unnecessarily. Now that you know about them, you can take steps to keep them from running.

2. BatteryInfoView

BatteryInfoView is a free tool you can download from NirSoft. It’s a self-contained executable, so you don’t have to install it. You can just download the executable file and run it on your trading computer. On the Battery Information page, you’ll get key information like battery name, manufacturer name, power state (charging/discharging), current capacity, fully charged capacity, discharge rate, and more. On the Battery Log page, you’ll see the parameters of the battery over time. It tracks your trading laptop’s power usage every 30 seconds (or other time interval you choose). This utility offers a super-helpful measure of battery health, making it easy to see how much your battery performance has degraded. (A new battery starts at close to 100%.) It also reports remaining battery time for the current activity and estimated time for charging. This information can be super helpful when you’re making decisions about whether and when to take action on a trade.

3. Smarter Battery

Smarter Battery is another free tool, offering a more comprehensive solution for monitoring your trading laptop’s battery life. It comes with more bells and whistles. This application has alarms that go off when the battery capacity reaches a critically low state. You can also see the power usage of your trading laptop in a graphical interface. The interface makes it easier to see patterns of inefficiencies.

4. BatteryCat

BatteryCat is a simple program that lets you check your charge, capacity, and other info about your laptop battery. It has nice little indicator bars that helps you visualize remaining current battery charge and percent of original capacity (indicating battery health). You can use this tool to save the collected data which can be useful to track your trading computer’s power usage over time. Not many traders run on Linux, but if you do, this app will work for you there as well as on Windows.

5. Battery Care

BatteryCare is a free, but relatively sophisticated application that can provide additional information not found in the more basic apps. This includes discharge cycle monitoring for laptops, CPU and HDD temperature readings, and automatic power plan switching. Even if you don’t download this app, you might want to check out its helpful guide on how to get the most out of your battery. This includes information such as when/why you might want to remove the battery if your laptop is plugged in and how/why/when to re-calibrate the battery gauge.

Conclusion

Battery monitoring tools can improve your laptop’s performance and help it last longer. If you trade on a laptop, try out these apps and stay on top of this key element to your success as a traveling trader.
There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyers guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250. Photo by Matt Wildbore on Unsplash.