Monday, September 29, 2003

More tips on iBook batteries, and Lithium batteries in general

UPDATE 10/5/03: I think OS X 10.2.8 has improved the readout on the battery. Also the first thing I tried (see "First" below) seems to have worked. I only get about 1.5 hours from the battery, but it no longer dies with "30 minutes left". I think the estimate of power remaining is more accurate. The battery is clearly hurting and will need to be replaced ...
Six Log: iBook Battery Issues
First, with the machine open and running (running off the battery), leave it until the battery has reached 0%, and it forces itself into sleep.

Now, with the machine in forced sleep, close the lid, and attach the power. Leave for a few hours (make _really_ sure it's fully charged, by leaving it longer than normal).

Open the lid, and off you go!
You'll need to do this 1 or 2 times a month, after you've had the machine for 8 months or so, you'll need to increased that to 3 or 4.
But don't worry - you can continue to use the machine until you have to close the lid and leave it to recharge.
Already, after doing this 3 times, the battery has gone from 1hr 50 minutes after a full recharge, to a grand 3hrs 11 minutes!

I could explain the technical reasons; but bascially the Lithium Ion batteries that Apple uses, are super-advanced. The benefit is the longer life, and greater storage; but the downfall is the neccesity to 'refresh' the battery a few times a month.

I think battery problems with the iBook are a mixture of hardware/software problems and inherent issues with Lithium batteries. The iBook is probably about as bad as most computer/battery combinations. See also my earlier posts (one and two)

The above sounds only partly true, I had to follow a similar procedure with a Palm m515 that had a non-responding battery. The fix was somewhat similar, but first I had to drain the m515 LiIon batter, then reset the power management unit, then recharge.

I think what I'll try is:

1. Run the system until it powers off (battery 0%).
2. Follow Apple's PMU reset instructions (pull battery, reset button, insert power cord, etc).
3. Charge overnight

Second (if #1 fails)
1. Run the system until it powers off (battery 0%).
2. Follow the OpenFirmware reset directions per other posts.
3. Charge overnight

1. Go to Apple Store with iBook and receipt, see if I can get a return or a credit on a new battery..

1. See if my credit card extended warrantee will help!

PS. I did some experimenting with OS 9. Battery handling much better there! The lifespan is reduced, but the meter smoothly declines to 0%. I'm going to try charging it while it runs OS 9 overnight.

Apple Discussions has a pretty active and irate discussion on these issues. It does seem that a lot of iBook batteries go bad at about 18 months age ... same age as mine ...

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