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Going Wireless and...


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... ever so slightly remote! In my quest to get rid of as many cables off my deathtrap floor 😮 , I came up with the bright idea of going wireless. The idea being that I could have my (albeit now ageing) laptop located at the particular mount/telescope I want to use with short usb cables just between the laptop and the mount. Then monitor and control everything from my remote desktop. 'Remote' being around 2-4 metres away :) My first thought was to achieve this using Windows Remote Desktop but then I found my Windows 10 Home doesn't support it :(. No matter, I thought, there are other options and, in my mind had settled on TightVNC - free and basic. But then came across this Windows 10 feature - Project and Connect. Things like that have never previously been on my radar and I only acquired a wifi card for my imaging desktop this last week. So installed that, together with a wireless access point. My old Virgin Media router supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz - but not at the same time! I should really get an upgrade from Virgin but it's so much hassle... Anyway, the TP-link access point didn't cost a fortune and the pcie wifi card only cost about £16 off Ebay. Anyway, got the access point set up in dual speed mode and talking to the laptop and desktop. The laptop, being from 2014, only supports 2.4GHz, and not at a transfer great speed, but it's always been adequate. I've ordered a cheap replacement/upgrade wifi card for it via the slow boat from China - should be here in the Spring, sometime!  So after a bit of fiddling I've been able to project the screen and controls wirelessly from the laptop to the desktop - result! I wish I'd done it before! So I can now control the laptop remotely and whatever is on the laptop screen appears on the Desktop :)  For my purposes, it's all I need. I got a bit confused because my online research suggested I needed Miracast-compatible hardware, which I apparently don't. However, everything seems to work ok via the Win10 utilities. Of course, I still have to have some cables across the floor e.g. mains psu's and cables, but no more usb spaghetti! Well, when I've sorted it all out :) .  I ought to be able to rationalise the mains cables also, with a bit of thought. 

Ooh, does anyone know if it's possible to have a laptop battery charger plugged in for long periods without it ruining the battery? My original 2014 battery has pretty much had it so needs replacing. I've had a new one sitting around for over 2 1/2 years now, lol. Hope it's still ok...

Louise

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9 minutes ago, PeterCPC said:

Re laptop batteries - https://www.howtogeek.com/124715/should-i-leave-my-laptop-plugged-in-all-the-time/

Any reductions in cables is a good thing generally.

Oh great, thanks for that, Peter! I've always been thrown by the laptop warning about it being fully charged with the charger still plugged in. But not leaving it at 100% charge when not in use makes sense! I think!

Cheers

Louise

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2 hours ago, Thalestris24 said:

Oh great, thanks for that, Peter! I've always been thrown by the laptop warning about it being fully charged with the charger still plugged in. But not leaving it at 100% charge when not in use makes sense! I think!

Cheers

Louise

It's correct that you can't over-charge them, the charging shuts off automatically. The article makes sense, it's not good for a LiPo to be kept fully charged and it also shortens their life by repeated cycling. You can't win is the correct conclusion. LiPos also deteriorate just with age, used or not. I may have this wrong but I recall some laptops may have had the means to set the charger to stop at 80% unless overridden. Such a feature would allow best battery life by not cycling it, yet still let you charge to 100% when you knew it was needed. If it ever existed, I can't find such a feature on mine. I can only assume that either the battery replacement market is too lucrative or they expect folk to buy a new laptop by the time the battery becomes unusable.

Tip: Don't buy a replacement battery well in advance of needing it, it'll be age-deteriorated when you come to fit it.

Edited by wulfrun
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1 hour ago, wulfrun said:

It's correct that you can't over-charge them, the charging shuts off automatically. The article makes sense, it's not good for a LiPo to be kept fully charged and it also shortens their life by repeated cycling. You can't win is the correct conclusion. LiPos also deteriorate just with age, used or not. I may have this wrong but I recall some laptops may have had the means to set the charger to stop at 80% unless overridden. Such a feature would allow best battery life by not cycling it, yet still let you charge to 100% when you knew it was needed. If it ever existed, I can't find such a feature on mine. I can only assume that either the battery replacement market is too lucrative or they expect folk to buy a new laptop by the time the battery becomes unusable.

Tip: Don't buy a replacement battery well in advance of needing it, it'll be age-deteriorated when you come to fit it.

Well it's actually Li-ion though I don't know if there is any real difference in charging characteristics etc.? Thinking about it, I've never tried running the laptop without a battery i.e. just plugged in the mains. Not sure if that would work or if something terrible might happen! I've been 'sitting' on the new battery for several years for fear of something going wrong if I removed the original battery! Not rational of me, I know, but it's actually my first laptop so no experience of them. It sounds like it might (probably has!) have age deteriorated, as you say. In which case - my bad. It can't be worse than the original one which discharges pretty quick in use. I'll be brave and attempt the swap tomorrow. What's the worst that could happen? The same ones cost about £45 to replace now :( 

Louise

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1 hour ago, wulfrun said:

some laptops may have had the means to set the charger to stop at 80% unless overridden

Yes, I've seen that, usually in utilities provided by the hardware manufacturer (which can appear or disappear with updates). I don't know why the article would say it ain't so.

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42 minutes ago, Thalestris24 said:

Well it's actually Li-ion though I don't know if there is any real difference in charging characteristics etc.? Thinking about it, I've never tried running the laptop without a battery i.e. just plugged in the mains. Not sure if that would work or if something terrible might happen! I've been 'sitting' on the new battery for several years for fear of something going wrong if I removed the original battery! Not rational of me, I know, but it's actually my first laptop so no experience of them. It sounds like it might (probably has!) have age deteriorated, as you say. In which case - my bad. It can't be worse than the original one which discharges pretty quick in use. I'll be brave and attempt the swap tomorrow. What's the worst that could happen? The same ones cost about £45 to replace now :( 

Louise

Lithium-Ion-Polymer aka LiPo, it's what virtually all laptops, notebooks, tablets, phones and a heap of other things use. There is also Lithium-Iron Phosphate but that tends to be found in things like electric cars and BIG batteries. As best I know, it's not used in any more mundane things, partly because it's the more expensive option. I think some power banks use it though.

My last laptop actually had an easily-removeable battery pack that slotted in. It worked fine on mains alone and I only used the battery when I needed to. No such luck with the current one, it's internal as most are.

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50 minutes ago, Zermelo said:

Yes, I've seen that, usually in utilities provided by the hardware manufacturer (which can appear or disappear with updates). I don't know why the article would say it ain't so.

Any ideas where to go hunting for such a thing? It'd be nice to activate it if it exists.

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8 minutes ago, wulfrun said:

Lithium-Ion-Polymer aka LiPo, it's what virtually all laptops, notebooks, tablets, phones and a heap of other things use. There is also Lithium-Iron Phosphate but that tends to be found in things like electric cars and BIG batteries. As best I know, it's not used in any more mundane things, partly because it's the more expensive option. I think some power banks use it though.

My last laptop actually had an easily-removeable battery pack that slotted in. It worked fine on mains alone and I only used the battery when I needed to. No such luck with the current one, it's internal as most are.

Yeah, mine just has a couple of spring-loaded latches - out with the old, in with the new! Fingers crossed!

Louise

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48 minutes ago, happy-kat said:

Removed as it didn't add anything

Oh never mind - it's the thought that counts! :) My win 10 home won't let me use the remote desktop feature but the Project/Connect lets me do the same thing over my LAN so all's good. Mind you, not tried it in anger yet. I need to sort out all these blessed cables. I would probably benefit from having some very short male to female usb cables, if I can get such things. I can use a usb hub for some things, I suppose. The laptop only has 3 usb connectors - not enough for some things.

Louise  

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19 hours ago, wulfrun said:

Any ideas where to go hunting for such a thing? It'd be nice to activate it if it exists.

There is apparently no way to do this within Windows itself. If the capability exists on a particular machine, it is provided by the manufacturer (or, if not installed by default, can be downloaded from their support website). On some machines, the manufacturer's battery utility can also be accessed from an additional link from a relevant Windows Control Panel item (e.g. Power Options, or Device Manager>Batteries).

For example, mine is a Lenovo, and you can set a max charge threshold in the Lenovo Vantage utility. ASUS have a similar Battery Health Charging function.

Another option is downloading a third-party utility such as Battery Limiter (I'm not recommending it, I just found it in a search).

 

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12 minutes ago, Zermelo said:

There is apparently no way to do this within Windows itself. If the capability exists on a particular machine, it is provided by the manufacturer (or, if not installed by default, can be downloaded from their support website). On some machines, the manufacturer's battery utility can also be accessed from an additional link from a relevant Windows Control Panel item (e.g. Power Options, or Device Manager>Batteries).

For example, mine is a Lenovo, and you can set a max charge threshold in the Lenovo Vantage utility. ASUS have a similar Battery Health Charging function.

Another option is downloading a third-party utility such as Battery Limiter (I'm not recommending it, I just found it in a search).

 

Looks like I'm out of luck on my HP, I can find nothing useful on a search online. In fact, the question has been asked on the support page and the summary of the answer was "no, it doesn't exist". The battery limiter you linked to merely provides an audible alarm, better than nothing but not preventative or automatic. I was hoping for something where I can just leave it plugged in when in use and limit charging, seems like HP didn't include such a thing. Hey ho.

I tend always to pull the plug when it reaches about 90% anyway, probably explains why the battery health app reports it's at 99% of its original capacity (actually over 99% based on the figures, it claims 5344 of 5350mAh!). It also reports 826/1000 cycles, so I assume that means it's on 826 of an expected 1000-cycle life.

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I'll have to try that 'Vantage' just to see if it's of any real use. I installed my old/new Green Cell battery earlier but it was dead, Jim 😢. My fault. Surprising that the original battery still works albeit only lasts about an hour now. I've ordered a new 4400mAh one. I'll install it straightaway this time!

Louise

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10 minutes ago, wulfrun said:

The battery limiter you linked to merely provides an audible alarm

Ah, I didn't read far enough.  Perhaps third-party software isn't able to access down to the hardware in the way that manufacturer's code can.

Another possibility for this kind of thing in previous times was to hack the BIOS.  Now we have UEFI, so things may have changed ...

But you say you have an HP - would this work on yours?

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1 hour ago, Zermelo said:

Ah, I didn't read far enough.  Perhaps third-party software isn't able to access down to the hardware in the way that manufacturer's code can.

Another possibility for this kind of thing in previous times was to hack the BIOS.  Now we have UEFI, so things may have changed ...

But you say you have an HP - would this work on yours?

Nope, that doesn't help but I appreciate your trouble. Mine's not on the list in that link. There's nothing in the BIOS and nothing online that I can find. Anyway, we've derailed this thread a bit far. I'm resigned to doing what I do already, it seems the battery is still in good health after 4 years so we'll see how it goes.

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