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Apple's battery recall for G4 portables

Message #1 - Posted 2006/08/25 - Martin Trautmann

After Dell had announced a battery recall recently (probably cells built by Sony), now Apple announced a recall.

Here's the serial numbers of the batteries:

iBook G4 12": A1061 ZZ338* - ZZ427*
3K429* - 3K611*
6C519* - 6C552*

PB G4 12": A1079 ZZ411* - ZZ427*
3K428* - 3K611*

PB G4 15": A1078 3K425* - 3K611*
& A1148 6N530* - 6N551*
6N601*

If you got one of those, ask for a new one at

https://support.apple.com/ibook_powerbook/batteryexchange/index.html

- Martin

Message #2 - Posted 2006/08/25 - cjcampbell

Martin Trautmann wrote:

After Dell had announced a battery recall recently (probably cells built by Sony), now Apple announced a recall.

Lucky for me I have a PB G4 17." I don't return to the US until November and my nearest Apple reseller might as well be on Mars.

Message #3 - Posted 2006/08/25 - Garner Miller

Previously, Martin Trautmann wrote:

After Dell had announced a battery recall recently (probably cells built by Sony), now Apple announced a recall.

Yep, made with the same bad Sony cells that were used in the Dell batteries. Between this, the rootkit CDs, and the general in-the-toilet quality, I don't believe I'll be deliberately purchasing any Sony products in the near future.

Our iBook G4's battery falls within the recall range, so I filled the form out on the website to get a new battery on the way. It wouldn't accept the battery's serial number (a ZZ343xxxxxx serial), so I had to call Apple support up.

The menu option for the Battery Recall (option 5) first gave me a message telling me I could do this on the web site, then forwarded me to support. A few seconds later, I get a fast busy signal.

So I try it a few minutes later, and this time, another recording comes on, saying something to the effect of, "As of August 1, 2005, support by telephone is no longer available. Support must be done through chat. Go to [something].info.apple.com and click the 'Contact an Agent' link."

Hmm.... I haven't heard a .info.apple.com address in a long time. And, of course, the link they gave was a dead one. Grrr. So I hang up and try one more time, this time just going to the regular iBook support people. They must have been *swamped* -- it took literally half an hour before someone picked up. He was able to help me, though, manually putting my serial number into the system. All told, I was on the phone for about 50 minutes. My support agent said it was the busiest evening he's ever seen.

I mentioned to him that the voice menu options for the battery recall were all dead ends, and the web site was blocking valid serial numbers from the recall. I suggested he might want to contact someone to check that out, as it would lighten their call load. (Of course, that's job security for him, so....)

Anyway, I got the battery ordered, but it sure would have been easier if the web form had just worked properly in the first place.

Message #4 - Posted 2006/08/25 - Ilgaz ?cal

On 2006-08-25 16:37:43 +0300, Garner Miller said:

Yep, made with the same bad Sony cells that were used in the Dell batteries. Between this, the rootkit CDs, and the general in-the-toilet quality, I don't believe I'll be deliberately purchasing any Sony products in the near future.

First of all this has nothing to do with Sony entertainment division (they are indeed stupid) and secondly you may be surprised that Lithium battery risks were always talked about in recent years. Not just about Sony or any brand, it is a common problem for lithium technology.

Rootkit surprised nobody as that stupid division tried to SUE the Sony electronics division for producing CD-R recorders for computers. BTW It was a rumor in entertainment industry having very valid people talking about it.

I bet there are many old timer electronic users (like me) thinking laptop/cell phone batteries should be used completely before charging, like Ni Cad batteries. Interestingly, they should be charged before they are completely empty which will prolong their lives.

It is interesting read for those interested, it even speaks about keeping unused batteries in refrigerator:
http://www.answers.com/topic/lithium-ion-battery (it is basically wiki based commercial site giving more info from other sites)

Look what it says:
"Li-ion batteries do not suffer from the memory effect, but they are not as durable as nickel metal hydride or nickel-cadmium designs and can be extremely dangerous if mistreated."

I understand the Sony technology used in those batteries makes them more powerful/durable but more risky same time. Well we can't move to anything else, nobody would dare to ship NiCad batteries for consumers who got used to charging their batteries whenever it comes to their minds.

Also Cadmium is still an amazing risk for environment.

Sony can no longer produce top quality stuff since they almost went out of business because those amazing quality products having excellent technology were too expensive. I am using a FH-717R deck based mini audio system for 11 years now. I sure remember it was really expensive compared to other stuff.

Ilgaz

Message #5 - Posted 2006/08/25 - Martin Trautmann

On Fri, 25 Aug 2006 18:17:52 +0300, Ilgaz ÷cal wrote:

I bet there are many old timer electronic users (like me) thinking laptop/cell phone batteries should be used completely before charging, like Ni Cad batteries.

... but for a very different reason.

Interestingly, they should be charged before they are completely empty which will prolong their lives.

Which ones now, Li-Ion or NiCd?

"In contrast to nickel-based batteries that require full discharges to keep the battery healthy, lithium ion batteries are better with frequent, shallow discharges before charging again."

I don't think that this is right. I read claims that only a certain limit of charge cycles is applicable for Li-Ion - and even a partial charge cycle will count (almost) as a full charge cycle.

Look what it says:
"Li-ion batteries do not suffer from the memory effect, but they are not as durable as nickel metal hydride or nickel-cadmium designs and can be extremely dangerous if mistreated."

Different reasons - they degrade just by age. After two years, about 80 % are left, and there's not much to do after five years, even without usage.

That's completely different than Lithium throw away cells which have a very high reputation for long time storage.

The charge and discharge logic for thos batteries is pretty simple. You may charge up to a certain level fast, while the final charge should be done with smaller currents. There's a certain voltage limit per cell which never must be exceeded. There's a certain deep discharge level which will damage the cell. Batteries don't like high temperatures. But while these limits have to be maintained per cell, which is why there's lots of charge and discharge control within the battery pack, it seems to be pretty easy.

For iBooks 10.8 V you have 3 * 3.6 V in series - and every one has to be ok.

For NiCd you had e.g. 14.4 V, which is 12 * 1.2 V cells in series. NiCd may be discharged down to 1 V per cell - thus 12 V here for the full pack are still ok. It's not even bad when you discharge the cell completely down to 0 V. But at this moment, when other cells in this series are still stronger, it may occur that the cell voltage of the weakest cell is reverted - and this will damage the cell significantly. It won't do much harm, other than a little bit of heat. But you'll never again be able to obtain the full capacity, since this single, damaged cell will loose its capacity very fast again when discharging.

So a deep discharge of the NiCd is more or less ok. But for Li-Ion you have to take care that both charge and discharge of each cell is within the limits.

However, what went wrong here: As far as I know there's some unwanted impurities within these Sony cells - some kind of unwanted metal which came in within the production process. This is the claimed reason why the cells here failed that dramatically (cpsc named 9 cases for Apple, while there's a video of the burning Dell laptop which happened within a conference).

LiIon offers higher capacity than NiMH - and this one has higher capacity than NiCd, which again is superior to Lead Acid, just to name the most common. It's almost the inverse order, concerning ease of use and price.

LiIon is good for current Laptops. It's bad when you won't obtain spare batteries after the next 5 years. And it's bad when you can't exchange the battery at all (e.g. iPods, even worse for the iPod Nano).

LiIon had some heavy accidents e.g. within mobile phones (sometimes claimed due to 3rd party batteries). So LiIon per se is not critical. However, when the battery itself is faulty, you can't do much against it. You can't even trust so called quality labels, such as Sony here. But what's your alternative?

I don't see any for laptops. There's not much for mobile phones. There's not much for higher level mp3 players. I see most choice e.g. for digital cameras, which can be driven either by Li-Ion or standard AA cells (NiMH most of the times now).

Also Cadmium is still an amazing risk for environment.

'amazing' may be the wrong term - I'd say it's frightening. Fortunately, mercury is gone by now from most of the batteries. Nickle Metal Hydride is better than Nickle *Cadmimum*. But still Nickle is bad enough - batteries should be collected and returned. Is this the common standard in the US, too, to return them within every shop?

- Martin

Message #6 - Posted 2006/08/25 - Garner Miller

Previously, Ilgaz ÷cal wrote:

Yep, made with the same bad Sony cells that were used in the Dell batteries. Between this, the rootkit CDs, and the general in-the-toilet quality, I don't believe I'll be deliberately purchasing any Sony products in the near future.

First of all this has nothing to do with Sony entertainment division (they are indeed stupid)....

I'm fully aware of that. Their hardware (both computer and home-entertainment equipment) has turned to utter crap over the past couple of years, which has kept me away from it. The rootkit fiasco has kept me from their entertainment division. What's left?

I bet there are many old timer electronic users (like me) thinking laptop/cell phone batteries should be used completely before charging, like Ni Cad batteries. Interestingly, they should be charged before they are completely empty which will prolong their lives.

Correct. Deep-discharging a lithium battery will shorten its life more than multiple partial-discharges. The complete opposite of the old nickel-based batteries.

Battery University's page on lithium is also excellent: http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm

Message #7 - Posted 2006/08/25 - Garner Miller

Previously, Martin Trautmann wrote:

"In contrast to nickel-based batteries that require full discharges to keep the battery healthy, lithium ion batteries are better with frequent, shallow discharges before charging again."

I don't think that this is right.

Well, it is.

I read claims that only a certain
limit of charge cycles is applicable for Li-Ion - and even a partial charge cycle will count (almost) as a full charge cycle.

No, that's not the case at all. A typical lithium-ion battery will handle 300-500 *full* discharge/charge cycles. Two half-discharges would equal a full one; probably even less, as a deep-discharge is very rough on a lithium-ion battery.

Take a look at the link I posted earlier in this thread, which explains it better than I can:
http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm

Message #8 - Posted 2006/08/25 - Martin Trautmann

On Fri, 25 Aug 2006 16:39:04 GMT, Garner Miller wrote:

Previously, Martin Trautmann wrote:

"In contrast to nickel-based batteries that require full discharges to keep the battery healthy, lithium ion batteries are better with frequent, shallow discharges before charging again."

I don't think that this is right.

Well, it is.

I read claims that only a certain
limit of charge cycles is applicable for Li-Ion - and even a partial charge cycle will count (almost) as a full charge cycle.

No, that's not the case at all. A typical lithium-ion battery will handle 300-500 *full* discharge/charge cycles. Two half-discharges would equal a full one; probably even less, as a deep-discharge is very rough on a lithium-ion battery.

Ah, thanks for clarification. I must have learned it wrong somewhere.

Even http://www.apple.com/batteries/ claims:

"A charge cycle means using all of the battery?s power, but that doesn?t necessarily mean a single charge. For instance, you could listen to your iPod for a few hours one day, using half its power, and then recharge it fully. If you did the same thing the next day, it would count as one charge cycle, not two, so you may take several days to complete a cycle. Each time you complete a charge cycle, it diminishes battery capacity slightly, but you can put both notebook and iPod batteries through many charge cycles before they will only hold 80% of original battery capacity."

I remembered, it was a BAD advice to plug in the notebook after every discharge. Now I learn that this is the recommended behavior, while it's bad to discharge the battery below 40 %.

- Martin

Message #9 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Ilgaz ?cal

On 2006-08-25 19:13:57 +0300, Martin Trautmann said:

But still Nickle is bad enough -
batteries should be collected and returned. Is this the common standard in the US, too, to return them within every shop?

- Martin

By Standard, they should be -of course- returned to some organisation, whole Earth has that standard.

The problem is there people not aware about how dangerous Cadmium is or doesn't have a clue about underground water etc. Believe or not, some simply doesn't care. The "real life" unfortunately.

Ilgaz

Message #10 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Ilgaz ?cal

On 2006-08-25 19:39:04 +0300, Garner Miller said:

I read claims that only a certain
limit of charge cycles is applicable for Li-Ion - and even a partial charge cycle will count (almost) as a full charge cycle.

No, that's not the case at all. A typical lithium-ion battery will handle 300-500 *full* discharge/charge cycles. Two half-discharges would equal a full one; probably even less, as a deep-discharge is very rough on a lithium-ion battery.

Take a look at the link I posted earlier in this thread, which explains it better than I can:
http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm

I should really take a look at those pages/site before PowerBook battery recall or Dell recall made me read those Wiki etc entries.

Can't believe how much time I spent needlessly using batteries until they are empty. :)

Ilgaz

Message #11 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Julia

Previously, Garner Miller wrote:

Our iBook G4's battery falls within the recall range, so I filled the form out on the website to get a new battery on the way. It wouldn't accept the battery's serial number (a ZZ343xxxxxx serial), so I had to call Apple support up.

My iBook G4 battery's serial number also falls within the recall range, and when I tried to fill out the online form, like you I got a "not valid" error message. But when I called the tech support number listed on the page, it worked, and after a 25-minute hold, I was told that even though the serial number fell within the recall range, Apple had determined that some of those batteries were not in fact made by Sony, and so are not part of the recall.

I accepted the explanation, but now I'm wondering who was right -- my support tech or yours? (One possible point in my favor -- I was able to get through using the specific battery recall option on the phone menu rather than the general support number.)

Message #12 - Posted 2006/08/25 - Barry Margolin

Previously, Martin Trautmann wrote:

After Dell had announced a battery recall recently (probably cells built by Sony), now Apple announced a recall.

Here's the serial numbers of the batteries:

iBook G4 12": A1061 ZZ338* - ZZ427*
3K429* - 3K611*
6C519* - 6C552*

PB G4 12": A1079 ZZ411* - ZZ427*
3K428* - 3K611*

PB G4 15": A1078 3K425* - 3K611*
& A1148 6N530* - 6N551*
6N601*

Can the battery be removed while the Mac is running, as long as the power adapter is plugged in? Or must I shut down in order to check the battery serial number?

Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me *** *** PLEASE don't copy me on replies, I'll read them in the group ***

Message #13 - Posted 2006/08/25 - Mr. Uh Clem

Martin Trautmann wrote:

After Dell had announced a battery recall recently (probably cells built by Sony), now Apple announced a recall.

Here's the serial numbers of the batteries:

iBook G4 12": A1061 ZZ338* - ZZ427*
3K429* - 3K611*

Got a replacement battery for my G3 iBook last December. Back it goes. Too bad it's not the original pack instead. :-/

Clem
"If you push something hard enough, it will fall over." - Fudd's first law of opposition

Message #14 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Blackjack Joe

Previously, Barry Margolin wrote:

Previously, Martin Trautmann wrote:

After Dell had announced a battery recall recently (probably cells built by Sony), now Apple announced a recall.

Here's the serial numbers of the batteries:

iBook G4 12": A1061 ZZ338* - ZZ427*
3K429* - 3K611*
6C519* - 6C552*

PB G4 12": A1079 ZZ411* - ZZ427*
3K428* - 3K611*

PB G4 15": A1078 3K425* - 3K611*
& A1148 6N530* - 6N551*
6N601*

Can the battery be removed while the Mac is running, as long as the power adapter is plugged in? Or must I shut down in order to check the battery serial number?

I removed my battery on my PB-G4 Al while running with no problems, but it might be easier to do while the PB is sleeping

Address in header is dead, please use:

netuse2 <at> jkonton <dot> best <dot> vwh <dot> net

Please excuse the munging, but after receiving thousands of emails with the swen virus due to usenet email harvesting...

Message #15 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Martin Trautmann

On Fri, 25 Aug 2006 21:34:36 -0400, Barry Margolin wrote:

Can the battery be removed while the Mac is running, as long as the power adapter is plugged in? Or must I shut down in order to check the battery serial number?

yes, you can - but on your own risk.

The computer may run without. But pulling around on parts such as the battery may cause interrupts on the power plug by accident - and there's no buffer left.

Apart from that, you'll have to check for the serial number of the Mac anyhow. You could lift the keyboard while running. But again, on your own risk...

- Martin

Message #16 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Marc Heusser

Previously, Barry Margolin wrote:

Can the battery be removed while the Mac is running, as long as the power adapter is plugged in? Or must I shut down in order to check the battery serial number?

It can certainly be removed - just be careful not to unplug it - even though the journalled file system usually starts up with any hickups even after power failure.
You'd have to run it without battery anyway if you want to be safe until the new one arrives :-(

Marc

Switzerland/Europe
<http://www.heusser.com> remove CHEERS and from MERCIAL to get valid e-mail

Message #17 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Lara

Martin Trautmann wrote:

[removing battery to check its serial number while running]

Apart from that, you'll have to check for the serial number of the Mac anyhow.

The Apple System Profiler takes care of that here. Under Hardware Overview.

Lara

Message #18 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Richard Chang

Previously, Julia wrote:

My iBook G4 battery's serial number also falls within the recall range, and when I tried to fill out the online form, like you I got a "not valid" error message. But when I called the tech support number listed on the page, it worked, and after a 25-minute hold, I was told that even though the serial number fell within the recall range, Apple had determined that some of those batteries were not in fact made by Sony, and so are not part of the recall.

Apple updated their web pages. Nows some of the serial numbers have additional qualifications. For the A1061 model for the 12" iBook B4, it says: "6C519 - 6C552 ending with S9WA, S9WC or S9WD". My serial number falls within the range but ends with S9YD, so I guess we are not subject to the recall.

-R.

Message #19 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Garner Miller

Previously, {nospam}@waawa.cx (Lara) wrote:

Martin Trautmann wrote:

[removing battery to check its serial number while running]

Apart from that, you'll have to check for the serial number of the Mac anyhow.

The Apple System Profiler takes care of that here. Under Hardware Overview.

Or "About this Mac," and click on the OS X version number twice.

Message #20 - Posted 2006/08/26 - Julia

Previously, Richard Chang wrote:

Previously, Julia wrote:

My iBook G4 battery's serial number also falls within the recall range, and when I tried to fill out the online form, like you I got a "not valid" error message. But when I called the tech support number listed on the page, it worked, and after a 25-minute hold, I was told that even though the serial number fell within the recall range, Apple had determined that some of those batteries were not in fact made by Sony, and so are not part of the recall.

Apple updated their web pages. Nows some of the serial numbers have additional qualifications. For the A1061 model for the 12" iBook B4, it says: "6C519 - 6C552 ending with S9WA, S9WC or S9WD". My serial number falls within the range but ends with S9YD, so I guess we are not subject to the recall.

-R.

Ahh, thanks for that! They must have just updated that page -- I did all this Friday evening. I myself am an S9ZD, so apparently really and truly out of the woods. So good to know!

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