Automation policy spotlight: monitoring battery capacity

One challenge many of our MSPs face is predicting when their customers’ laptop or laptop batteries will need replacing. As laptop batteries age, their life decreases. This is because as the battery cycles up and down while charging and discharging, it reduces its overall capacity. So a laptop that used to work for three hours may now only work for one.

The fully charged capacity of most batteries is measured in milliwatt-hours, and this is reported to Windows. In order to plan for and schedule replacements, it’s helpful for MSPs to know which of their customer’s laptops are dealing with degraded battery life. For example, if a laptop is ‘’rated’’ for 73 watt-hours, but it is now only charging to 60 watt-hours, it’s working at about 83% capacity.

In order to help with this issue, we found a script on reddit that captures this information from WMI. We took it, modified it, and made it into a monitoring script that will work within both RMM and N-central®. This script also handles laptops/devices with multiple batteries, and if any are below a desired threshold, it will alert you.

Once alerted, what should you do? Well it really depends. If the laptop is at 83%—like mine is—it’s usually not a big deal. However, if it gets down to 65% or 70%, this can be problematic and cause issues to normal operations—especially if the user is on the road a lot, or frequently works on battery. At that point, you should have a quick chat with the customer, and recommend they replace that device to provide a better experience. In most laptops, the battery reaches that percentage around three to four years, which means it’s likely approaching an age where it may be due for upgrade.

If you are interested to get this script, you can get it at the following links:

If you use N-able RMM : https://success.n-able.com/kb/nable_rmm/Battery-Capacity-Monitoring-RMM

If you use N-central : https://success.n-able.com/kb/nable_n-central/Battery-Capacity-Monitoring-NC

Also, don’t forget to check out our Automation Cookbook at success.n-able.com/cookbook. You can also click the Upload a Script button and submit your own automations. Even if you think it’s not good enough, it’s always good to collaborate with partners and take what you created, update it if needed, and share it back with the community.

If you have suggestions on future topics, feel free to reach out to me by email at [email protected]

Marc-Andre Tanguay is Head Automation Nerd at N-able. You can follow him on Twitter at @automation_nerd.