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View Full Version : Battery Failure/Health Disappointment - What should we do?




prominence
Feb 12, 2008, 11:24 AM
This is not a complaint about the AMOUNT of battery life. This is more so a complaint about the HEALTH of the battery within my MacBook Air.

I bought my MBA on Sunday. Started out at 98% health. Charged to full and left on power for 2-3 hours as suggested by Apple manual on first startup. Then proceeded to drain it with normal use down to 3%, then plugged it in.

It took about 5-6 hours to charge, which I hear is normal for the first time re-charge anyways.

My issue is, I just did the SMU reset last night to be safe. My battery keeps fluctuating between 2:50 and 3:40 and 4:15. Is this normal?

Also, the health dropped from 98% to 97%.

Though I am a little disappointed about the battery health and battery life (my old 15 inch 1.8duo 2gig Vista Dell laptop got 6 hours last year and still gets around 4.5-5 now), I just want a healthy battery! I don't care about "time" per say, just a healthy battery!

What all do you think I should do? It takes 2 hours or so to even get to speak with a Genius at the apple store around here, and I don't want to wait that long to hear him do an SMU reset then say "hold tight, apple has a solution coming in the future."

I know I accepted this issue as an early adopter, but it's still frustrating.



ob81
Feb 12, 2008, 11:36 AM
If it gets dramatic, you can easily return it for a replacement battery. There are a lot of methods that Air users have come up with to condition their batteries on this forums as well.

foobarbaz
Feb 12, 2008, 11:40 AM
First of all, avoid draining your battery. Every time you completely drain it, it has a small but permanent impact on battery life. So always charge at the earliest convenience.

But 98% or 97% is within tolerance for a brand-new battery. The software doesn't know your battery's original capacity, it just uses an average.

And the fluctuation of battery life is absolutely normal as well. What you do on your computer directly influences power consumption, and thus longevity.

Wait a few weeks. If your battery shows unusual wear by then, you should be able to get it replaced for free.

dahcheet
Feb 12, 2008, 11:44 AM
First of all, avoid draining your battery. Every time you completely drain it, it has a small but permanent impact on battery life. So always charge at the earliest convenience.

But 98% or 97% is within tolerance for a brand-new battery. The software doesn't know your battery's original capacity, it just uses an average.

And the fluctuation of battery life is absolutely normal as well. What you do on your computer directly influences power consumption, and thus longevity.

Wait a few weeks. If your battery shows unusual wear by then, you should be able to get it replaced for free.

When you say "completely drain" the batter do you mean taking it to under 10% when the "you're running on reserve" message appears or do you mean draining till it goes into "deep sleep"? I usually take my batter down to reserve power and then plug it back in because I have this paranoid fear of old batteries and their capacity memories. Am I hurting my battery?

prominence
Feb 12, 2008, 11:57 AM
First of all, avoid draining your battery. Every time you completely drain it, it has a small but permanent impact on battery life. So always charge at the earliest convenience.

This is completely contrary to what I've read everywhere else, where they say it is best to drain a battery to below 10% and then charge it, they say that if you plug it in whenever possible and don't drain it then you will ruin the lifespan and health of the battery.

squaremon
Feb 12, 2008, 03:40 PM
mine mba battery health started at 97%. I've only unplug and use 2 times and the health is now 95%:( Does that mean my battery has a problem?

prominence
Feb 12, 2008, 08:28 PM
mine mba battery health started at 97%. I've only unplug and use 2 times and the health is now 95%:( Does that mean my battery has a problem?

:-( I feel this will be the fate for all of us MBA users.

Cybergypsy
Feb 12, 2008, 08:36 PM
The MBP are even worse....give it time.......

NC MacGuy
Feb 12, 2008, 08:52 PM
After 19 cycles mine was down to 93% health - but the usage time is good @ 3:45 - 4:30 hrs:mins. All in all, not really disappointing but worrisome nonetheless. My Air never topped the one time health of 97%. I've tried lots of stuff, lots. I've resigned myself to using it as is and if it goes south in a year or less taking it in for repair/replacement. I'm not convinced the software is doing a good job of reading mAh or charging times/health because of the fluctuations. Example; had battery at 96% health this a.m. and after working all day & battery going dry plugged in and health stated 90%!! Now it's reading 94%.... Go figure?? Noticed too that it charges to 75% rather quickly at 2 - 2.5 hrs then goes into trickle mode and that takes just as long to go the extra 25% as it did to go to 75%. There have been battery updates before and am hoping for one for the Air. My local geniuses aren't too geniusy and I try to fix things myself before going through one of their fiasco's.

squaremon
Feb 12, 2008, 09:11 PM
After 19 cycles mine was down to 93% health - but the usage time is good @ 3:45 - 4:30 hrs:mins. All in all, not really disappointing but worrisome nonetheless. My Air never topped the one time health of 97%. I've tried lots of stuff, lots. I've resigned myself to using it as is and if it goes south in a year or less taking it in for repair/replacement. I'm not convinced the software is doing a good job of reading mAh or charging times/health because of the fluctuations. Example; had battery at 96% health this a.m. and after working all day & battery going dry plugged in and health stated 90%!! Now it's reading 94%.... Go figure?? Noticed too that it charges to 75% rather quickly at 2 - 2.5 hrs then goes into trickle mode and that takes just as long to go the extra 25% as it did to go to 75%. There have been battery updates before and am hoping for one for the Air. My local geniuses aren't too geniusy and I try to fix things myself before going through one of their fiasco's.

It happened to me once that istat shows my battery health at 96% but went back up 97% after charged. But still, I got this air less than a week and health drop like that. just kinda worry:(

ctt1wbw
Feb 13, 2008, 03:34 PM
It happened to me once that istat shows my battery health at 96% but went back up 97% after charged. But still, I got this air less than a week and health drop like that. just kinda worry:(

I've had mine for a week and I've done three cycles on the battery. I let it drain completely empty the other night and plugged it in the next morning. It took about 3 hours to charge, and now my battery is registering 100%. When I first got it, it was registering 97 to 98%. I have not done the smu or pmu thingy yet.

cedar
Feb 13, 2008, 03:54 PM
I've had mine for a week and I've done three cycles on the battery. I let it drain completely empty the other night and plugged it in the next morning. It took about 3 hours to charge, and now my battery is registering 100%. When I first got it, it was registering 97 to 98%. I have not done the smu or pmu thingy yet.


I did the same. Mine would only last about two and a half hours when I got it, and eight hours to charge. I used the unit off the battery until it went to sleep , zero power, then left it alone unplugged for five hours, then charged it up. It now charges fully in two hours, forty five minutes, and lasts for four and a half hours.

ctt1wbw
Feb 13, 2008, 04:11 PM
So far I'm so happy with my purchase. This is probably the nicest laptop I've ever owned. I loooove the fact that it's three pounds. That is so nice, and so easy on my shoulders.

dal20402
Feb 13, 2008, 04:22 PM
This is completely contrary to what I've read everywhere else, where they say it is best to drain a battery to below 10% and then charge it, they say that if you plug it in whenever possible and don't drain it then you will ruin the lifespan and health of the battery.

This is true for NiCd and NiMH rechargeable batteries like the ones you can buy in a store, or the ones that typically come with cheap consumer electronics.

IT IS NOT TRUE for LiIon batteries like the ones in our laptops.

LiIon batteries don't like deep discharge cycles. They'd rather be kept around half capacity. Obviously that's not practical in real world usage. The best way to treat your LiIon battery in the real world is to keep it mostly charged most of the time.

Once a month or so you should still deep discharge your battery to ensure it stays properly calibrated, but frequent and unnecessary deep discharge cycles will reduce the life of your battery.

duffyanneal
Feb 13, 2008, 04:28 PM
The battery is warranted for a year so if you notice that run time has really dropped thru the floor you can get a replacement. Right now it is really hard to tell if the battery health meter is accurate. It seems to go up and down which if you think about it does not inspire one to trust the software/hardware reporting the health status. As far as run time fluctuating that is par for the course. The battery capacity is so low on the MBA that anything that requires moderate to heavy power will really cause a significant hit on the run time. So if you are just surfing the web using relatively little CPU the battery run time will look good. But if you venture to a heavy flash site that causes the CPU to go to 50% utilization or higher your run time will take a nose dive. You don't notice it as much on say a MB or MBP, because the battery capacity is so much higher. As soon as you leave the flash heavy site the CPU utilization will go down and your battery run time will go up. It's like a really bad roller coaster.

maokh
Feb 13, 2008, 04:58 PM
Until someone can really tell me what "battery health" even means, especially the change of a few percent, i wouldnt be too quick to point any blame here. I would guess that it would be related to non-linear voltage changes during charge or discharge. I dont believe it has the accuracy to really display anything better than 10% accuracy, but i could be wrong. Like any other battery, there is an operating range of voltage from 4.2VDC to 2.6VDC, and it drops as battery capacity is used. the drop between 4.2VDC and 3.99VDC is very rapid, and again the drop off past 3.5VDC is quite significant, and it normally flatens out around 3.7 volts on a gradual decent, depending on load.

LiPoly is probably the most forgiving battery technologies, you can practically do whatever you want to it, without damage to its over all capacity. Anything you could potentially do to damage it is limited in hardware.

What will damage a Li+/LiPo:

1) discharge rates above specification (LiPo is usually limited to 2C discharge unless its a specialty battery. 2C = 2x total capacity discharge rate, which would be almost 10 amps!)

2) overcharge above 4.2VDC volts or undercharge of 2.5VDC per cell (i think the MBA has two cells, divide the voltage). Apple seems to have their numbers down, as the low voltage cut off is about 3.4 volts per cell (this is where voltage drops off so rapidly that its almost unusable at that point).

3) physical puncture (aka, boom!)

4) overly excessive temperature (usually over 80C in temp)

The type of charge cycle does not matter. A cycle is one complete discharge, or an aggregate of discharge. (aka, two discharges to two 50%'s, four to 25%)

Leaving the battery on the charger forever and not discharging it fully every blue moon can effect the chemistry of the battery over time. It can never overcharge it, but the chemistry will become static. you really want to keep those electrons flowing.

NC MacGuy
Feb 13, 2008, 05:30 PM
Until someone can really tell me what "battery health" even means, especially the change of a few percent, i wouldnt be too quick to point any blame here. I would guess that it would be related to non-linear voltage changes during charge or discharge. I dont believe it has the accuracy to really display anything better than 10% accuracy, but i could be wrong. Like any other battery, there is an operating range of voltage from 4.2VDC to 2.6VDC, and it drops as battery capacity is used. the drop between 4.2VDC and 3.99VDC is very rapid, and again the drop off past 3.5VDC is quite significant, and it normally flatens out around 3.7 volts on a gradual decent, depending on load.

In short, battery health is the amount of mAh's the battery will charge related to its 'new condition'. If a battery is rated at say 5000mAh and its health is 90% it would mean the battery can only recharge to 4500mAh's. The health declines over time and cycles.

ddk121
Feb 14, 2008, 06:33 AM
My MBA battery health was at 96% yesterday, and today it is at 95%. Should I condition it? If so, how would I do the 'condition'?

dahcheet
Feb 14, 2008, 07:01 AM
My MBA battery health was at 96% yesterday, and today it is at 95%. Should I condition it? If so, how would I do the 'condition'?

To condition your battery all you have to do is run it until it is out of juice. When the battery gets to 10% you'll get a warning saying you're on "reserve" power. Keep going until the computer puts itself into "deep sleep" (I think it's around 3% or less). Let the computer sit in "deep sleep" mode for 5 hours (as recommended by Apple). Best bet is to do this before you go to bed, obviously, so you don't need it while it's discharging those last electrons of power. After that, plug it in and let it charge.

Of note, when doing this make sure that nothing important is open before it goes into "deep sleep". Your computer will make a backup of what was open and on the screen before it goes into "deep sleep" and SHOULD startup to that when you turn it back on, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

I did half of this process and but forgot to let it sit for 5 hours so I'm going to try this again tonight or this weekend. My current battery health is 96% after 11 cycles per iStat.

ddk121
Feb 14, 2008, 07:06 AM
Cool, thanks for the reply. Should conditioning solve my problem?

dahcheet
Feb 14, 2008, 07:09 AM
Cool, thanks for the reply. Should conditioning solve my problem?

That's unknown. There have been a lot of "solutions" posted but nothing that solves specific things or works 100% of the time. It's really a case by case solution. Just give it a look when you've done the conditioning and see what the health looks like and go from there.

NC MacGuy
Feb 14, 2008, 08:29 AM
Just keep using it and cycle through standard charge cycles. I think that resetting PMU is being done way too much. Mines on 21 cycles now and I went crazy resetting, conditioning, obsessing for about 13 cycles. Finally just gave up and used it like normal and battery has been up to 97% for past 3 cycles and seems to keep getting a wee bit better as I use it.

rapps
Feb 14, 2008, 10:27 AM
I'm at 4832 for a max charge. Not great but not horrible, I suppose. The thing that bothers me is that I can't seem to get more than 3 hours of battery life. Sure, dimming it to 20% and not using it will get me 4 or 5 hours.

However, normal websurfing, no music, no video, no bluetooth...and I'm struggling to get get 3 hours. What gives?!

ViperrepiV
Feb 14, 2008, 10:35 AM
where does one check this "battery life health"?

ROB2246
Feb 14, 2008, 10:51 AM
ViperrepiV,

I dowloaded a widget called Istat Pro. This widget will give you all sorts of info about your Mac including battery health.

Good luck
Rob

ddk121
Feb 14, 2008, 12:28 PM
After the 5 hours, does it matter if the sleep light hasn't gone off, and is still flashing?

dahcheet
Feb 14, 2008, 12:40 PM
After the 5 hours, does it matter if the sleep light hasn't gone off, and is still flashing?

Hmmm, that I don't know about. I might wait a little longer just so you get as much power out of the battery as possible.

cedar
Feb 14, 2008, 01:26 PM
After the 5 hours, does it matter if the sleep light hasn't gone off, and is still flashing?

Didn't affect mine.

ddk121
Feb 14, 2008, 04:06 PM
After following the steps, my MBA is now showing 7:30 hours to charge!! What shall I do now?

Edit : It has now gone down to 2:05 :confused:

MazingerZ
Feb 14, 2008, 04:13 PM
After following the steps, my MBA is now showing 7:30 hours to charge!! What shall I do now?

Edit : It has now gone down to 2:05 :confused:

Keep using it and let us know in a week.

ddk121
Feb 14, 2008, 06:17 PM
Guys in need of some help. Macbook is on 82% charge, and is saying '1:40 until full". Surely it can't take that long! Is there anything I can do?

ddk121
Feb 14, 2008, 06:17 PM
Guys in need of some help. Macbook is on 82% charge, and is saying '1:40 until full". Surely it can't take that long! Is there anything I can do?

ROB2246
Feb 14, 2008, 06:26 PM
That's about right ddk121. These batteries charge pretty rapidly to about 80% capacity and then do a trickle charge for the last 20 % that could last several hours.

Rob

ccwilli3
Feb 14, 2008, 06:30 PM
probably has a bit to do with the 45watt adapter...

anyone try hanging their mba off the side of a desk and plug in a mb pro adapter? I'd be willing to bet it'd charge a bit quicker, anyone able to try?

ddk121
Feb 14, 2008, 06:39 PM
That's about right ddk121. These batteries charge pretty rapidly to about 80% capacity and then do a trickle charge for the last 20 % that could last several hours.

Rob

Pheww, I thought it was just me :) So does everyone's MBA take around this long to go from 80% > 100%?

ddk121
Feb 14, 2008, 06:52 PM
Sorry to be a pain,:rolleyes: but is it ok to leave my MBA charging overnight?
Also, I am albeit worried about my MBA. The battery health is at 94% already, and I fear about the charging times it is taking to charge...

NC MacGuy
Feb 14, 2008, 08:40 PM
Just keep using it and cycle through standard charge cycles. I think that resetting PMU is being done way too much. Mines on 21 cycles now and I went crazy resetting, conditioning, obsessing for about 13 cycles. Finally just gave up and used it like normal and battery has been up to 97% for past 3 cycles and seems to keep getting a wee bit better as I use it.

Woohoo! 98% cycle 22. BTW, it didn't start getting better until after 10.5.2 update. I'm lovin' the extra 4-5%.

cedar
Feb 14, 2008, 08:59 PM
Pheww, I thought it was just me :) So does everyone's MBA take around this long to go from 80% > 100%?

Mine's at 89% right now with 57 minutes to charge.

ROB2246
Feb 14, 2008, 09:25 PM
Sorry to be a pain,:rolleyes: but is it ok to leave my MBA charging overnight?
Also, I am albeit worried about my MBA. The battery health is at 94% already, and I fear about the charging times it is taking to charge...

Yes it is fine to leave it plugged in overnight. It will not hurt the battery or computer to leave it plugged in.

PDE
Feb 15, 2008, 04:21 AM
I got my mba yesterday and it charges in just a few hours. However, there is something going on with the battery. From being fully charged at 100% it drops amazingly quickly to 90-95% in just a minute of use. It starts by showing around 3.45 of time left, then drops to just over an hour, then jumps up again to around 3.30. There's something wrong, but what I don't know. Let's hope Apple releases a software/firmware update for these battery issues.

Jiddick ExRex
Feb 15, 2008, 05:47 AM
This thread is so full of utterly misconceived and wrong statements about LiIon batteries that I will let this link explain the true nature of how to use your battery properly:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86284


Please read it

MacRumorUser
Feb 16, 2008, 07:03 AM
MY BATTERY IS FIXED!!!

Sorted itself out eventually after a few conditionings. Now takes around 3 hours to charge from empty.

That was my only disappointment with the MBA. Now it's seemingly ok I'm delighted again.

Very quiet, no fan noise, no HDD click, more than enough power for my laptop needs, great even screen with no dead pixels, cool as a cucumber temperature wise..

I'm in laptop heaven at last :D