On the Care & Feeding of a Clip

I’ve had my black 2GB Clip since early December, when my son picked it up for me at Best Buy’s Black Friday sale. I am very happy with it, and with SanDisk’s aparent willingness to listen to users’ feedback for making it even better than it already is.

Prior to the Clip, my DAP was a Sony Hi-MD MiniDisc Recorder/Player. It now occupies a place of honor on my bookshelf, having been retired in favor of the Clip.

Hoping to get the most out of my Clip, I’ve done some research on how to extend its life as much as possible. To me, the component of the Clip that’s most likely to fail first is its battery, so I’ve focused my research on Clip’s lithium/polymer battery.

The Battery

As mentioned in an earlier thread on this forum, Battery University has an excellent series of articles here:

http://batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm

and here:

http://batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-36.htm

There’s some techno-speak in these articles, but the key points that I took away were the Simple Guidelines:

  1. Avoid frequent full discharges because this puts additional strain on the battery. Several partial discharges with frequent recharges are better for lithium-ion than one deep one. Recharging a partially charged lithium-ion does not cause harm because there is no memory. (In this respect, lithium-ion differs from nickel-based batteries.) Short battery life in a laptop is mainly caused by heat rather than charge / discharge patterns.
  2. Batteries with fuel gauge (laptops) [also the Clip] should be calibrated by applying a deliberate full discharge once every 30 charges. Running the pack down in the equipment does this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate and in some cases cut off the device prematurely.
  3. Keep the lithium-ion battery cool. Avoid a hot car. For prolonged storage, keep the battery at a 40% charge level.
  4. Consider removing the battery from a laptop when running on fixed power. (Some laptop manufacturers are concerned about dust and moisture accumulating inside the battery casing.) [obviously not possible with the Clip]
  5. Avoid purchasing spare lithium-ion batteries for later use. Observe manufacturing dates. Do not buy old stock, even if sold at clearance prices.
  6. If you have a spare lithium-ion battery, use one to the fullest and keep the other cool by placing it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze the battery. For best results, store the battery at 40% state-of-charge.

Following the first guideline, I’ve gotten into the habit of charging my Clip overnight every couple of days using an AC wall charger.

Following the second guideline, I’m now letting my Clip run all the way down for the first time. Once it does, I’ll continue recharging it every couple of days. I’ve had my Clip for a couple of months, so I guess it’s at about 30 charges, more or less. Fortunately, my Clip hasn’t exhibited the rapid self-discharge problem that seems to be quite common.

The Display

Another area of concern mentioned on this forum has been the life of the Clip’s OLED display. There’s a good article on OLED displays on Wikipedia here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oled

Some posters on the forum have suggested that the Clip’s battery will give up the ghost before the display. The Wikipedia article states that blue OLEDs have a lifetime of about 5,000 hours. If I use my display for 3 hours every single day, that translates to a lifetime of 1,667 days, or over 4.5 years. Three hours a day, every day, seems like a lot of display usage to me. That may proove to be true, but I prefer to do as much as I can to keep both the battery and the display as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

As we know, whenever the Clip is connected to a computer via the USB port, the Clip’s display is activated, and stays on, even if the only reason for having the Clip connected to the computer is to charge it. I prefer to charge my Clip with an A/C adapter plugged into a wall outlet, and only connect the Clip to my computer to transfer music. When charging the Clip with an AC wall adapter (or a car charger), the display goes blank after the time-out period defined by the user in Settings (Settings > Display > Backlight).

I’ve defined my display Settings with an eye toward preserving the display’s life:

Backlight: set to go off after 15 seconds

Brightness: set at about one-third of full brightness

Happy Toons!

Thanks for the collection of information.  I agree that estimating 3 hours of display time a day likely is high (if you charge via AC), if you have the display to turn off in a non-long length of time.  Also, the frequency of charging depends on usage–no need to charge if you haven’t used the player and it already is charged.

So much obsession for a $35 device …
Get a life, enjoy your Clip:smiley:

Some people enjoy that part of technology as well …

Thank you for that wise advice Dr. y360. But here at this dump of a nursing home my lousy kids keep me in, this is about the only fun I get to have. Well, except for my nightly visits from Nurse Alicia.

You’re right, of course. I should spend my kids’ inheritance on overpriced crap like iPods and iPhones. At least then, I’ll have more reason to obsess over them than this cheap little Clip.

Again, thanks for helping me see the light. Have a great day.