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Safety! 17" MacBook Pro (Apr2006) develops battery bulge :-(

Message #1 - Posted 2006/12/24 - Marc Heusser

Not again were my first thoughts:

The battery of my 17" MacBook Pro (April 2006) develops the battery bulge problem!

Model A1189 (Assembled in China)
Serial number of the battery: 6N61927BUS0A

This is after 204 charging cycles, the aluminium part is bent outwards 2mm estimated (when in the computer), the stainless steel part is bulging inwards estimated 3 mm - you can feel it easily between thumb and index finger, about one third of the length of the battery, the left third containing the connector.

My computer previously showed random shutdowns (not many), difficulty waking up, and most noteably shutdowns (crashes rather) with indicated battery capacity of still 5, later 20 minutes left.

Whom can I contact at Apple as it is 24 Dec now? (e-mail - phone?) It most certainly looks like another manufacturing problem of the battery supplier (who? Sony again?)

TIA

Marc

PS: Until further notice (and only after strong evidence against) I assume further use of the battery to be dangerous (fire risk), especially charging based on my experience with model flight lithium polymer batteries.

Switzerland/Europe
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Message #2 - Posted 2006/12/24 - Marc Heusser

Previously, Marc Heusser wrote:

Not again were my first thoughts:

The battery of my 17" MacBook Pro (April 2006) develops the battery bulge problem!

Reading up on the previous problems it seems that most every time this problem also affected the trackpad's functioning and one should insist on getting that fixes as well.

Still waiting for contact info for this safety problem - please post or e-mail me.

TIA

Marc

Switzerland/Europe
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Message #3 - Posted 2006/12/24 - Marc Heusser

Previously, Marc Heusser wrote:

Still waiting for contact info for this safety problem - please post or e-mail me.

Was not easy to find on Apple's website but here it is: product-security@apple.com

Waiting for an answer ...

Marc

Switzerland/Europe
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Message #4 - Posted 2006/12/24 - Mark Conrad

Previously, Marc Heusser wrote:

The battery of my 17" MacBook Pro (April 2006) develops the battery bulge problem!

That is disheartening.

Batteries have always been a weak link in computers, and other gear for that matter.

I had a TrippLite UPS actually catch on fire years ago, due to a defective battery.

I have been lucky over the years, no bad batteries.

Many other laptop users have had battery problems however, both with Macs and Windows computers.

Apple has several ways they might go to fix your battery problem:

1) Replace the battery only.

2) Tell you their warrantee does not include the battery.
( hope this does not happen)

3) Replace battery and look diligently for other damage.

As regards any trackpad problems, they are almost certain to treat that as a separate problem, not related to the battery.

I know, it might be related, but it also might not.

I had a trackpad problem with a 17" PPC powerbook a few years ago.

Cursor froze when I booted up holding option key down, to get boot screen.

Sent it to Apple under warrantee several times, nothing they did or suggested worked, problem still occurred.

Apple even replaced the entire trackpad assembly, no luck.

Finally I gave up, and merely used the tab key to select my boot partition, instead of using the trackpad. Very inconvenient, but it works.

MANY other Mac users did not have my problem at all.

On the good side, Apple sends you an empty shipping box, pays all the shipping costs, and usually will fix the problem eventually, if it is possible to fix.

I consider trackpads another weak link in Apple's hardware.

I had a bad Apple powerbook 6 years ago, hard freeze intermittently.

Took Apple 3 turnarounds over a 3 month period to fix it, with me yelling in their ear that it was likely a bad memory-manager chip.

They totally ignored my suggestion.

They even replaced the entire mother board, freezes still occurred.

FINALLY, they took my suggestion and replaced the memory-manager chip, which was on the CPU board. (not on the motherboard)

That fixed the freeze problem.

Keep us informed how Apple treats the battery problem.

I have been considering buying the same model Mac as you have, if it has problems, I do not intend to buy it.

Mark-

Message #5 - Posted 2006/12/24 - Marc Heusser

Previously, Mark Conrad wrote:

Previously, Marc Heusser wrote:

The battery of my 17" MacBook Pro (April 2006) develops the battery bulge problem!

That is disheartening.

Keep us informed how Apple treats the battery problem.

I have been considering buying the same model Mac as you have, if it has problems, I do not intend to buy it.

I do not think this will be a general problem, rather a quality problem at the battery manufacturer.

I did get a very polite call (unfortunately on my voice mail) and an e-mail from Mark Bentford at Apple Corporate Executive Relations, so I take it they are treating it with high priority and are worried about it themselves. I'll try to contact him at the indicated phone number again tomorrow, as he asked to handle that in a phone conversation, which is fair enough.

I'll let you know when I know more.

Marc

Switzerland/Europe
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Message #6 - Posted 2006/12/24 - Marc Heusser

Previously, Marc Heusser wrote:

I did get a very polite call (unfortunately on my voice mail) and an e-mail from Mark Bentford at Apple Corporate Executive Relations...

He finally reached me on my cellular:
He seemed concerned, confirmed the battery bulge, and then went on to ask about other problems the MacBook Pro had.

(It did: the random shutdowns, quite likely related to the battery, the trackpad button developed mechanical problems resulting in double clicks instead of single ones, and a problem with the GPU, noticeable when running the Mac under Windows, and running 3D simulations, more pronounced after a while, so probably thermally related.) Then he told me they'd take good care of that, whether it was ok for me if they arranged pick-up of the MacBook Pro as well as the battery via Europe, and that it will be like Thursday or Friday because of the holidays, and that I should contact him (direct e-mail and phone number) if there would be any questions.

Up to now a very professional response, as far as I can tell. Also quick, on a Sunday 24 December - I got the first call after 9 hours.

As unhappy as I am to having make do without my MBP for a week, this is good service from Apple.

Marc

Switzerland/Europe
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Message #7 - Posted 2006/12/25 - Mark Conrad

Previously, Marc Heusser wrote:

I did get a very polite call (unfortunately on my voice mail) and an e-mail from Mark Bentford at Apple Corporate Executive Relations...

Wow! - from Apple Corporate Executive Relations no less, you must know what buttons to press. :)

Every time I tried dealing with Apple Corporate, I got no response, even when I tried dangling my ACM, AAAI, IEEE assoc' & computer business credentials under their nose, trying to get _some_ response from them.<g>

Apple tech' support always gave me good service, although they tend to ignore troubleshooting data from customers, depending on exactly who you get to work on YOUR particular issue.

...random shutdowns, quite likely related to the battery...

Could be, could also be ram problem, as per my powerbook issue. Not necessarily the ram itself, but the many circuits associated with ram, such as the memory manager chip, which took Apple 3 months to find in my case.

If the random shutdown problem persists after Apple replaces the battery, try eliminating the ram modules themselves as the problem, by removing just one module at a time then observe if the random shutdowns disappear.

Random shutdown problems are VERY hard to troubleshoot, could be many possible causes.

Also, I do not know if the memory manager chip is still on a separate CPU board, as it was with old G3 powerbooks.

Apple likes to switch main motherboards, but they sometimes stick the original CPU board right back on the new motherboard, which is bad if the problem chip is on the CPU board.

...the trackpad button developed mechanical problems resulting in double clicks instead of single ones...

I had just the opposite effect, 3 clicks necessary to open an app', in my case it was "application related".

Think I was running BootCamp at the time - - - believe it was some sort of timing issue with the app' I was trying to run.

...and a problem with the GPU, noticeable when running the Mac under Windows, and running 3D simulations, more pronounced after a while, so probably thermally related.

Graphics Processing Unit... What sort of problem?

Does TechTool Pro reveal any problems with its graphics tests when your MacBook is hot?

As unhappy as I am to having make do without my MBP for a week...

I like your optimism.<g> You may have to do without your MacBook Pro for much longer than that. :-\

In any case, will not cost you anything except phone calls, and a fair amount of frustration.

Message #8 - Posted 2006/12/24 - larwe

Marc Heusser wrote:

He seemed concerned, confirmed the battery bulge, and then went on to ask about other problems the MacBook Pro had.

I find myself wondering idly... your machine will have to go by air for fast service. What happens if the battery finally decides to let go while it's in transit?

Sooner or later, this is going to happen.

Message #9 - Posted 2006/12/25 - Marc Heusser

Previously, Mark Conrad wrote:

Wow! - from Apple Corporate Executive Relations no less, you must know what buttons to press. :)

All I did was a polite e-mail to product-security@apple.com, with the subject "Safety! 17" MacBook Pro (Apr2006) develops battery bulge :-( - fire risk" and asking how to proceed.
I did include the serial numbers, the System Profiler report and let them know I am an MSEE, MSIE and medical student.
Maybe the key was the reference to the article I had posted here on the usenet :-) (Meaning covering up was not going to work ;-)

Anyway, it is likely that they just take the risk seriously, and that is very good.

After all it is not really their problem, but their battery suppliers'.

Marc

Switzerland/Europe
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Message #10 - Posted 2006/12/25 - Marc Heusser

Previously, larwe wrote:

Marc Heusser wrote:

He seemed concerned, confirmed the battery bulge, and then went on to ask about other problems the MacBook Pro had.

I find myself wondering idly... your machine will have to go by air for fast service. What happens if the battery finally decides to let go while it's in transit?

Sooner or later, this is going to happen.

As far as I know (based on experiments done at the local model flight club here) Lithium-Polymer batteries blast (ejecting a fire jet) only when charging (a defective battery, with too much current, and especially not switching off at the right voltage).

It is most likely not going to happen when discharging in the computer, or when storing the battery.

I did a discharge in the computer (just let it run until it switched off) under supervision (just in case). (This is what Apple recommends too.)

I am not worried by the discharged battery, neither at home nor during transit.

HTH

Marc

Switzerland/Europe
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Message #11 - Posted 2006/12/25 - Hugh Watkins

Marc Heusser wrote:

Previously, Mark Conrad wrote:

Wow! - from Apple Corporate Executive Relations no less, you must know what buttons to press. :)

All I did was a polite e-mail to product-security@apple.com, with the subject "Safety! 17" MacBook Pro (Apr2006) develops battery bulge :-( - fire risk" and asking how to proceed.
I did include the serial numbers, the System Profiler report and let them know I am an MSEE, MSIE and medical student.
Maybe the key was the reference to the article I had posted here on the usenet :-) (Meaning covering up was not going to work ;-)

Anyway, it is likely that they just take the risk seriously, and that is very good.

After all it is not really their problem, but their battery suppliers'.

I blogged an official Apple warning about Sony batteries months ago http://www.apple.com/au/pr/library/2005/may/21recall.html

newer https://support.apple.com/ibook_powerbook/batteryexchange/? National and regional resellers, catalogers, and Apple's on-line and retail stores sold the computers with the batteries from October 2003 through August 2006.<<

it stared with a Dell recall

Hugh W

--

a wonderful artist in Denmark
http://www.ingerlisekristoffersen.dk/

Beta blogger
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old blogger GENEALOGE
http://hughw36.blogspot.com/ MAIN BLOG

Message #12 - Posted 2006/12/25 - larwe

Marc Heusser wrote:

I find myself wondering idly... your machine will have to go by air for fast service. What happens if the battery finally decides to let go while it's in transit?

As far as I know (based on experiments done at the local model flight club here) Lithium-Polymer batteries blast (ejecting a fire jet) only when charging (a defective battery, with too much current, and

Ah, no. Remember in the recent Dell fiasco, one of the victims was a guy who just put his laptop down in the front seat of a truck and had it burst into flames. Probably he was just really unlucky - he put just the right shock or stress on the cells that the loose metal fragments inside lined up and shorted out one or more cells.

If you want to see an exciting explosion, just drill into a Li-Ion. No charger required.

Message #13 - Posted 2006/12/25 - Marc Heusser

Previously, Hugh Watkins wrote:

I blogged an official Apple warning about Sony batteries months ago http://www.apple.com/au/pr/library/2005/may/21recall.html

That was for G4 iBooks and PowerBooks, manufacturer LG.

newer https://support.apple.com/ibook_powerbook/batteryexchange/? National and regional resellers, catalogers, and Apple's on-line and retail stores sold the computers with the batteries from October 2003 through August 2006.<<

That was for 15" MacBooks.

There has not been any recall for 17" MacBook Pros (yet).

That is why I posted the serial number. The first 2 or 3 digits identify the manufacturer/plant, the next few the manufacturing date. If you have one near mine, watch out.

Marc

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

Message #14 - Posted 2006/12/26 - Beth

try this link.

https://depot.info.apple.com/powerbook/batteryexchange/index.html

I got a new battery, but haven't put it in yet as I don't use this often.

Marc Heusser wrote:

Not again were my first thoughts:

The battery of my 17" MacBook Pro (April 2006) develops the battery bulge problem!

Model A1189 (Assembled in China)
Serial number of the battery: 6N61927BUS0A

This is after 204 charging cycles, the aluminium part is bent outwards 2mm estimated (when in the computer), the stainless steel part is bulging inwards estimated 3 mm - you can feel it easily between thumb and index finger, about one third of the length of the battery, the left third containing the connector.

My computer previously showed random shutdowns (not many), difficulty waking up, and most noteably shutdowns (crashes rather) with indicated battery capacity of still 5, later 20 minutes left.

Whom can I contact at Apple as it is 24 Dec now? (e-mail - phone?) It most certainly looks like another manufacturing problem of the battery supplier (who? Sony again?)

TIA

Marc

PS: Until further notice (and only after strong evidence against) I assume further use of the battery to be dangerous (fire risk), especially charging based on my experience with model flight lithium polymer batteries.

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

Message #15 - Posted 2006/12/27 - Marc Heusser

Previously, Beth wrote:

https://depot.info.apple.com/powerbook/batteryexchange/index.html

Thanks - I did exchange 3 batteries for iBook G4, and PowerBook G4 previously.
The above link is for 15" MacBook Pro - mine is a 17". I do get the battery exchanged, they will check my MBP as previously posted - Apple seems to take it seriously, and the reaction was perfectly adequate and friendly. At least in this case the service is good.

Marc

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

Message #16 - Posted 2006/12/27 - Garner Miller

Previously, larwe wrote:

I find myself wondering idly... your machine will have to go by air for fast service. What happens if the battery finally decides to let go while it's in transit?

Sooner or later, this is going to happen.

That's why there's a whole list of things that cannot be carried aboard passenger aircraft, but are allowed on cargo-only aircraft. Sometimes, things DO go wrong:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06227/713653-96.stm

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