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Battery Advice

Message #1 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Lynn Williamson

I have been reading up on battery usage and thought I would ask for advice on here as well to help clarify matters for me. I have a new Macbook Core 2 Duo. My MacBook will be used every night for internet/email the occasional documents etc and will be on for long periods of time approx 3 hours at a time. Airport will always be on for my emails and surfing. What is the best way to use the macBook it can be plugged in (which was how I used my Toshiba laptop) but I think I read that it was better to use it off batteries and charge up when needed. My worry there is that I have read that you only get a set amount of times you can 'charge' the battery before it 'dies'. If I only get 3 hours or so using battery power I could well reach my 'charge' amount in just over a year. Am I suppose to charge and fully drain and keep doing that or doesn't that make any difference. So I suppose the question is should I just use on mains power and occasionally use on battery to drain it and recharge or use it on battery and keep topping up as necessary. I tend to 'sleep' the machine but when I go away at weekends will power off if that makes any difference. I am really grateful for any advice and help you can give. I am finding this a totally different experience from what I am so used to, I have bought a couple of books to swat up but have very often found that other users can very often explain better.
Lynn

Message #2 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Andy Hewitt

Lynn Williamson wrote:

I have been reading up on battery usage and thought I would ask for advice on here as well to help clarify matters for me. I have a new Macbook Core 2 Duo. My MacBook will be used every night for internet/email the occasional documents etc and will be on for long periods of time approx 3 hours at a time. Airport will always be on for my emails and surfing. What is the best way to use the macBook it can be plugged in (which was how I used my Toshiba laptop) but I think I read that it was better to use it off batteries and charge up when needed. My worry there is that I have read that you only get a set amount of times you can 'charge' the battery before it 'dies'. If I only get 3 hours or so using battery power I could well reach my 'charge' amount in just over a year. Am I suppose to charge and fully drain and keep doing that or doesn't that make any difference. So I suppose the question is should I just use on mains power and occasionally use on battery to drain it and recharge or use it on battery and keep topping up as necessary. I tend to 'sleep' the machine but when I go away at weekends will power off if that makes any difference. I am really grateful for any advice and help you can give. I am finding this a totally different experience from what I am so used to, I have bought a couple of books to swat up but have very often found that other users can very often explain better.
Lynn

Apple's advice is to 'use' the battery, try and use it in an 'expected' fashion I guess. There own information is here:

http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

Message #3 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Lynn Williamson

On 22/4/07 16:30, in article 1hwzce4.13nd3dhsj1dn0N%wildrover.andy@googlemail.com, Andy Hewitt wrote:

Lynn Williamson wrote:

I have been reading up on battery usage and thought I would ask for advice on here as well to help clarify matters for me. I have a new Macbook Core 2 Duo. My MacBook will be used every night for internet/email the occasional documents etc and will be on for long periods of time approx 3 hours at a time. Airport will always be on for my emails and surfing. What is the best way to use the macBook it can be plugged in (which was how I used my Toshiba laptop) but I think I read that it was better to use it off batteries and charge up when needed. My worry there is that I have read that you only get a set amount of times you can 'charge' the battery before it 'dies'. If I only get 3 hours or so using battery power I could well reach my 'charge' amount in just over a year. Am I suppose to charge and fully drain and keep doing that or doesn't that make any difference. So I suppose the question is should I just use on mains power and occasionally use on battery to drain it and recharge or use it on battery and keep topping up as necessary. I tend to 'sleep' the machine but when I go away at weekends will power off if that makes any difference. I am really grateful for any advice and help you can give. I am finding this a totally different experience from what I am so used to, I have bought a couple of books to swat up but have very often found that other users can very often explain better.
Lynn

Apple's advice is to 'use' the battery, try and use it in an 'expected' fashion I guess. There own information is here:

http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

Hi Andy
Thanks for your reply, I read that article and was thinking if the use did that every day, using it on the train and then charging up when at work they would soon reach there allotted cycles!
Lynn

Message #4 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Andy Hewitt

Lynn Williamson wrote:

Apple's advice is to 'use' the battery, try and use it in an 'expected' fashion I guess. There own information is here:

http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

Hi Andy
Thanks for your reply, I read that article and was thinking if the use did that every day, using it on the train and then charging up when at work they would soon reach there allotted cycles!
Lynn

Most Li-Ion batteries can manage perhaps 500-1000 recharge cycles. That'd be about 3 years on a daily cycle. If you run it off the mains power and let the battery run down every few days, it might last, oooh, 10 years?

As it is, I think an average laptop battery might do 3-5 years on average. Of course it does depend on usage.

I tend to leave mine (an iBook G4) on power when it's in use, and battery when it's sleeping, and then about once a week I run it right down, and fully recharge it.

Message #5 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Tim Auton

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Lynn Williamson wrote:

[MacBook battery use advice]

Apple's advice is to 'use' the battery, try and use it in an 'expected' fashion I guess. There own information is here:

http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

I don't think you should interpret their 'ideal' scenario as something to emulate at all costs though. If you use the battery for hours every day it will die in a year or so (which probably is ideal - for Apple's battery sales figures!). Do the monthly full discharge/charge cycle (this keeps the 'fuel guage' properly calibrated) and the rest of the time just run it from battery for a while (an hour or two) if you notice it's only been run on the mains for a while (a week or so).

Rechargeable lithium batteries die (where 'dead' means 'substantially reduced capacity') of old age after three years or so no matter how you use them, so there's a limit to how much it's worth doing to prolong life.

Tim

Message #6 - Posted 2007/04/22 - zoara

Lynn Williamson wrote:

Hi Andy
Thanks for your reply, I read that article and was thinking if the use did that every day, using it on the train and then charging up when at work they would soon reach there allotted cycles!
Lynn

You're talking about the bit that says

"For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it's important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses her MacBook Pro on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing."

However, when they say "keep the juices flowing" they don't mean you have to have an hour's commute every day. It's just an 'ideal' situation. They go on to say:

"If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month."

So as long as you get a full cycle once a month, you'll be fine. Seeing as that's (about) three hours, that means just 6 minutes on battery every day, on average. So once a week, use it for half an hour or so on battery.

But seriously; it's not worth worrying too much about. Leave it on mains when you can, and just use it on battery once in a while, and you'll be fine. You won't get it to last forever (even if you kept a battery on a shelf it would eventually no longer hold a charge) but my girlfriend has a seven-year-old iBook which still has the original battery, has never had much fuss made over how the battery is used, and still gets an hour of life from it.

-z-

"I'm sorry, that's not a hair-related question."

Message #7 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Lynn Williamson

On 22/4/07 18:58, in article 1hwzip8.1k66f321t6lby8N%me17@privacy.net, zoara wrote:

Lynn Williamson wrote:

Hi Andy
Thanks for your reply, I read that article and was thinking if the use did that every day, using it on the train and then charging up when at work they would soon reach there allotted cycles!
Lynn

You're talking about the bit that says

"For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it's important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses her MacBook Pro on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing."

However, when they say "keep the juices flowing" they don't mean you have to have an hour's commute every day. It's just an 'ideal' situation. They go on to say:

"If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month."

So as long as you get a full cycle once a month, you'll be fine. Seeing as that's (about) three hours, that means just 6 minutes on battery every day, on average. So once a week, use it for half an hour or so on battery.
But seriously; it's not worth worrying too much about. Leave it on mains when you can, and just use it on battery once in a while, and you'll be fine. You won't get it to last forever (even if you kept a battery on a shelf it would eventually no longer hold a charge) but my girlfriend has a seven-year-old iBook which still has the original battery, has never had much fuss made over how the battery is used, and still gets an hour of life from it.

-z-

So do I take it that if I leave it plugged in to the mains for the majority of my usage and then use it on the battery for half an hour or so, it would then recharge up to 100% but being as that wasn't a full charge it wouldn't count as a 'cycle' it would only count as a cycle when I had done a complete charge? I noticed when I checked 'About this Mac' it gave me this information about the battery
Full Charge (mAh) 4980
Remaining capacity (mAh) 4977
Cycle Count 5

Lynn

Message #8 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Martin S.

Previously, Lynn Williamson wrote:

So do I take it that if I leave it plugged in to the mains for the majority of my usage and then use it on the battery for half an hour or so, it would then recharge up to 100% but being as that wasn't a full charge it wouldn't count as a 'cycle' it would only count as a cycle when I had done a complete charge?

That's how I understand it.

I try to run down my laptop's battery at least once a month until the Mac goes to sleep, then fully recharge it. It's fairly easy and you can adjust your energy saver's settings, so it won't put the display, disk and the Mac to sleep quite as soon as the default setting for battery usage would.

Cheers Martin

Message #9 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Andy Hewitt

Lynn Williamson wrote:

So do I take it that if I leave it plugged in to the mains for the majority of my usage and then use it on the battery for half an hour or so, it would then recharge up to 100% but being as that wasn't a full charge it wouldn't count as a 'cycle' it would only count as a cycle when I had done a complete charge? I noticed when I checked 'About this Mac' it gave me this information about the battery
Full Charge (mAh) 4980
Remaining capacity (mAh) 4977
Cycle Count 5

You'll probably soon see it only reading 99%.

Mine is about 7 months old now (iBook G4), and the battery reads 4975, 4970 and 55 cycles.

Message #10 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Lynn Williamson

On 22/4/07 22:33, in article 1hwzr2q.1d1gfyg1nyjs8mN%wildrover.andy@googlemail.com, Andy Hewitt wrote:

Lynn Williamson wrote:

So do I take it that if I leave it plugged in to the mains for the majority of my usage and then use it on the battery for half an hour or so, it would then recharge up to 100% but being as that wasn't a full charge it wouldn't count as a 'cycle' it would only count as a cycle when I had done a complete charge? I noticed when I checked 'About this Mac' it gave me this information about the battery
Full Charge (mAh) 4980
Remaining capacity (mAh) 4977
Cycle Count 5

You'll probably soon see it only reading 99%.

Mine is about 7 months old now (iBook G4), and the battery reads 4975, 4970 and 55 cycles.

Thanks Andy the information provided is helping me to understand the workings of the macs. Whole new ball game :-)
Lynn

Message #11 - Posted 2007/04/22 - Andy Hewitt

Lynn Williamson wrote:

You'll probably soon see it only reading 99%.

Mine is about 7 months old now (iBook G4), and the battery reads 4975, 4970 and 55 cycles.

Thanks Andy the information provided is helping me to understand the workings of the macs. Whole new ball game :-)
Lynn

That's Ok, sometimes it's easier to get some comparative data.

It must obviously calculate partial cycles too, as I know I've not taken it down to lowest charge 55 times since I got it, probably a dozen.

Message #12 - Posted 2007/04/23 - Mike Pitt

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Lynn Williamson wrote:

You'll probably soon see it only reading 99%.

Mine is about 7 months old now (iBook G4), and the battery reads 4975, 4970 and 55 cycles.

Thanks Andy the information provided is helping me to understand the workings of the macs. Whole new ball game :-)
Lynn

That's Ok, sometimes it's easier to get some comparative data.

It must obviously calculate partial cycles too, as I know I've not taken it down to lowest charge 55 times since I got it, probably a dozen.

After 16 months of use my iBook G4 reads at 99% max charge. It is used daily on my desk at work on mains power and at night on batteries. After all that time it still gives well over three hours on battery and has only used 155 cycles. You must be right about the partial cycles cos this machine has never really run down to the point where it sleeps. Close a couple of times, but never there.

At this rate, by the time my battery is shot I will be ready for a new Mac.

Mike Pitt
You won't make it into Who's Who
but you will make it into Whats That?
(T-Shirt slogan)

Message #13 - Posted 2007/04/23 - Andy Hewitt

Mike Pitt wrote:

That's Ok, sometimes it's easier to get some comparative data.

It must obviously calculate partial cycles too, as I know I've not taken it down to lowest charge 55 times since I got it, probably a dozen.

After 16 months of use my iBook G4 reads at 99% max charge. It is used daily on my desk at work on mains power and at night on batteries. After all that time it still gives well over three hours on battery and has only used 155 cycles. You must be right about the partial cycles cos this machine has never really run down to the point where it sleeps. Close a couple of times, but never there.

At this rate, by the time my battery is shot I will be ready for a new Mac.

That's my plan too ;-)

Message #14 - Posted 2007/04/23 - Tim Auton

Mike Pitt <moshCUTpitt@utvhereinternet.ie> wrote: [snip]

After 16 months of use my iBook G4 reads at 99% max charge. It is used daily on my desk at work on mains power and at night on batteries. After all that time it still gives well over three hours on battery and has only used 155 cycles. You must be right about the partial cycles cos this machine has never really run down to the point where it sleeps. Close a couple of times, but never there.

If it's not recently been run down to the point at which it sleeps you can't know the true state of the battery (unless you dismantle the pack and test the cells separately). The fuel guage in the battery can only recalibrate itself to the actual state of the battery with a full discharge / charge cycle.

I doubt you have lost much capacity yet though. Mine was >90% till about 300 cycles (in about 2 years). There was then a fairly rapid decline to where it is now, about 55% capacity at 324 cycles.

Tim

Message #15 - Posted 2007/04/23 - Lynn Williamson

On 23/4/07 18:14, in article 1hx0tpt.ou2y0v3jx5i6N%moshCUTpitt@utvHEREinternet.ie, Mike Pitt wrote:

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Lynn Williamson wrote:

You'll probably soon see it only reading 99%.

Mine is about 7 months old now (iBook G4), and the battery reads 4975, 4970 and 55 cycles.

Thanks Andy the information provided is helping me to understand the workings of the macs. Whole new ball game :-)
Lynn

That's Ok, sometimes it's easier to get some comparative data.

It must obviously calculate partial cycles too, as I know I've not taken it down to lowest charge 55 times since I got it, probably a dozen.

After 16 months of use my iBook G4 reads at 99% max charge. It is used daily on my desk at work on mains power and at night on batteries. After all that time it still gives well over three hours on battery and has only used 155 cycles. You must be right about the partial cycles cos this machine has never really run down to the point where it sleeps. Close a couple of times, but never there.

At this rate, by the time my battery is shot I will be ready for a new Mac.

According to the Apple website if you charge the battery 25% on 4 days that then equals 100% which will be 1 cycle. Whether it really works that way or not I don't know. Hope that helps, thanks everyone for their input. Lynn

Message #16 - Posted 2007/04/24 - Roger Merriman

Lynn Williamson wrote:

On 23/4/07 18:14, in article 1hx0tpt.ou2y0v3jx5i6N%moshCUTpitt@utvHEREinternet.ie, Mike Pitt wrote:

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Lynn Williamson wrote:

You'll probably soon see it only reading 99%.

Mine is about 7 months old now (iBook G4), and the battery reads 4975, 4970 and 55 cycles.

Thanks Andy the information provided is helping me to understand the workings of the macs. Whole new ball game :-)
Lynn

That's Ok, sometimes it's easier to get some comparative data.

It must obviously calculate partial cycles too, as I know I've not taken it down to lowest charge 55 times since I got it, probably a dozen.

After 16 months of use my iBook G4 reads at 99% max charge. It is used daily on my desk at work on mains power and at night on batteries. After all that time it still gives well over three hours on battery and has only used 155 cycles. You must be right about the partial cycles cos this machine has never really run down to the point where it sleeps. Close a couple of times, but never there.

At this rate, by the time my battery is shot I will be ready for a new Mac.

According to the Apple website if you charge the battery 25% on 4 days that then equals 100% which will be 1 cycle. Whether it really works that way or not I don't know. Hope that helps, thanks everyone for their input. Lynn

to the best of my knowledge loadcycles adds up partial cycles.

i tend to flit between battery and cable.

which may have resulted in the fact my powerbook which is 4 years old is down to 75% capasity and 1,400 load cycles.

then again it's a well looked powerbook, no dents or dings, etc. so this is probably a best case cenario.

roger

Message #17 - Posted 2007/04/25 - Daniel Cohen

Breaking into this thread with anothr question that still falls undeer a "battery advice" topic, my friend has bought a second-hand Titanium G4, which of course is fairly old. Not surprisingly, the PRAM battery is dead.

It seems mdly expensive to replace, both the cost of the battery and the fact that it does need to be done professionally (yes, I've seen instructions for replacing, and they are not beyond a skilled amateur, but certainly more than she or I would wish.

She is only using it on mains - infact, the only reasoon she has a laptop is that she had to move the computer from England to California.

Soare there any real nasties in running it without the PRAM battery? I know that when it is taken away from the mains for some time, the date and time reset.

Also, this is one of the models where the battery doesn't fit properly. I think this was a known issue, solved on later models. Is there any simple way of solving this problem on this machine?

http://www.decohen.com Send e-mail to the Reply-To address;
mail to the From address is never read

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