I have had a comment on a recent post from Kathy, concerned that the HP Micro-USB charging port is not living up to it’s potential. She was concerned by the “Low-power charger” message.
I decided to redo the last group of tests, to be sure.
last night I ran my HP Chromebook 11 flat by playing the Iron-man movie continually until the battery was dead. I do NOT like or recommend ever running a battery below 18-20% as this can damage the battery. I am not an Apple fan, but they have an excellent web page on battery care for laptops and devices with Li-Ion batteries here
I plugged the charger into my basically dead Chromebook four hours ago, and rebooted when the battery reached 9%. The results, with the computer asleep and only being checked every hour where:
- Hour 1 – 33% up 24%
- Hour 2 – 56% up 23%
- Hour 3 – 78% up 22% (with the PortaPow fast power only cable)
- Hour 4 – 84% up 6% (with the computer in constant use)
smoothing out the results, this is about 24% / Hr, or four hours to pretty much full charge. The original HP charger does this in a whisker under three hours. not a bad comparison.
Interestingly, temperature is a factor for battery life, and fast chargers heat batteries up, as does fast discharging doing things like playing video at full screen and full screen brightness. As a result, I have chosen, where possible to charge all my devices as slowly as possible.
My most used option for the HP Chromebook 11, my Nexus 7, and my phone is a one meter illuminated charging cable. I have purchased three different types, and the common factor is usefulness rather than speed. They glow red when charging, and turn blue when charging stops. They charge at about half the speed of the fast PortaPow cables, but I plug all my devices in at night, and by morning, everything has been charged slowly but effectively.
When I travel, speed becomes more of an issue, and I go to the fast charging options.
The HP Chromebook 11 and the “Low-power charger” message
I have no inside information here, but I see devices described by my HP 11 as “Low-power chargers” charging at a pretty good rate (See the figures above) My feeling is that the HP charger uses a customized “hardware handshake” or unique resistors between the signal and power lines. I am sure no matter how powerful the charger, and good the cable nothing but a genuine HP charger will be considered the full powered option. It does not mean the the charger is not doing a good job. Slower? Yes, but that is not always a bad thing.
I have worked for days with a 2 amp Nexus 7 charger slowly charging ( and sometimes discharging) my HP Chromebook 11 while it is being used. When I close the lid and the computer is suspended, it charged at a pretty fast rate.
I am currently writing this on the HP 11 with Drive, Gmail and a couple of other tabs open. It has charged only 5% in the last hour. But in my experience, a Windows Laptop being used while charging can often take 8-10 hours to charge. Assuming a 20% starting point, that is 8% per hour, so the difference is noticeable, but not catastrophic.
This computer has now been charging for four hours, three in sleep mode, one in constant use, and the battery has gone from 9% to 82%. Not a bad average, given that my $1800 ASUS Zenbook takes four hours to charge from 20% while not being used.
The thing to remember is, if you use the machine constantly, the charger will keep it going. Any USB charger will bring it back up overnight, and that USB charger can also charge your phone, tablet, headphones, keyboard, mouse and more. And the slower charging rate will preserve the battery in your Chromebook.
Also worth mentioning is that the power-bank you bought to recharge your phone or tablet can also keep the HP Chromebook 11 running longer. Everything from a 2600 mAh lipstick sized charger to the 10400 mAh Soshine power bank beside me (review coming) can keep that HP Chromebook 11 running longer.
- Any USB charger can charge the HP Chromebook 11
- Any HP Chromebook 11 charger can charge a myriad of other devices
- Lower powered chargers may take longer, but they will extend battery life
- The HP Chromebook 11 & Charger is a VERY light travel solution, and can charge other devices
- pick the best cable for the job you need
If you have doubts, look at the numbers, and, does it really need to charge in three hours? What is your real usage model? In my case, a trickle feed keeping it going all day and an overnight top-up is perfect, and any charger can do that…