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New iBook Battery - How NOT to destroy it?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by maddav, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502


    Well I'm just about to do it, just about to order a new battery for my 18 month old iBook G4, why? you ask, well it seems I haven't been as careful as I should've been with my iBook's battery. :rolleyes:

    Because now, my Battery has just under a third of it's battery capacity from a full charge i.e. < 2 hours, rather than the 6 I used to get. I'm using it for a further 5 months, and then giving it to my parents, as I intend (after changing my mind several times :D ) to get a PB, and I can't give them a crippled battery.

    I know this has been asked before, but several solutions have been given for the same questions, so basically:

    -What do I need to do when I first get it.
    Charge 100% then Discharge to Sleep. OR Charge 100% then Discharge to Sleep then boot up Single User Mode to completely drain battery.

    -In the first week are there any particular cycles/calibrations that I should do after the initial one (above)?
    I've heard a couple of full discharge cycles in the first week are good.

    -What % should I let my iBook drop to before I really should charge it?
    I like sitting on the couch using it wirelessly, but most times I can just charge it whenever.

    -Is a monthly discharge to sleep really necessary for good battery life, or just the battery meter?

  2. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

  3. macrumors 6502


    Yes and Yes. Though I WAS asking about; whether you should drain the battery completely (not just to sleep), plus some people here have recommended monthly deep discharging, and also some have recommended many discharges in the first week.

    Unfortunately these apple help files are good, but not particularly specific.
  4. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Good stuff.

    Okay, when someone tells you to drain the battery they mean run it past the warning (reserve battery) and into sleep. Potentially you could drain it further by just leaving it for a week or so but this is not recommended. It is bad for these batteries to be treated like this, plus you'd have a non-functioning computer for a week.

    Now, use your laptop on the power when possible or convenient. If given a choice, plug it in. Discharge it once a month or so and fully charge it back up to calibrate it though. This has two benefits. It gets the juices flowing in the cell as well as telling the machine what a full charge is and how to avoid overcharging. You really shouldn't need to do this more than once in the first week. Multiple sequential calibrations have no benefit.

    When you first get the machine, plug it in and when it stops charging unplug it and don't plug it back in until it's fallen asleep due to a lack of charge. Don't do it the other way around. Don't use the battery first and then plug it in.

    Plug the machine into the wall whenever convenient, irrespective of charge status. :)
  5. macrumors 6502a


    This makes me wonder something. Is it at all beneficial to remove the battery when not needed, and charge/discharge one a month just to stop it going stale? Would this lengthen the lifespan of a battery compared to that of one which has been left in the machine at all times? :confused:

    It seems to me that a Li-ion battery won't last much beyond 2 years regardless of how heavily it is used.
  6. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew


    Theoretically I suppose it'd be slightly beneficial but you've gotta remember that these batteries need to be used a little bit to keep the little electrons moving. I'd almost argue it's just safer and easier to keep the battery in place.

    Mine's two years old and it still give 4.5 hours so I expect another two or three years more before I start worrying about upgrading or replacing. I look after it pretty well though. My usage is pretty similar to Apple's train ride example.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Five years? I take it all back, if it's still good after two you really can't complain. Admittedly, I don't have an Apple laptop but my Dell battery went pear-shaped very rapidly. Maybe five years is optimistic but I'll be well impressed if it manages that. :cool:
  8. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Yeah, they're really very competent batteries. A lot can be said for good maintenance though.
  9. macrumors regular


    Can you actually take out the battery from the ibook and use it plugged in, without the batteries present? Im worried about my battery's condition because i use it primarily as a desktop, so i am constantly charging till 100% then discharging till the battery icon shows a red bar and sometimes even letting it discharge 'fully' that it falls in sleep mode.....

    So this constant usage of the battery seems a tad risky to me. I was thinking of fully charging the battery, taking it out, then use my ibook plugged in, and after a week, resume using my battery till it drains, then recharging it again till 100%.
  10. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    lpshean, I've only ever been told that you can remove the battery from an iBook however I've never been game enough to try because I also read somewhere that you can't. I suppose if I wasn't so lazy I could shut the thing down and see if it starts after I've removed the battery. Irrespective, I wouldn't remove the battery because it increases the chances of getting dirty connectors, losing the battery, short circuiting logic board, damaging the battery etc.

    For you, I'd recommend just keep the thing plugged in when possible. The full discharge is only really necessary once a month or so.

    Just to save confusion, when the bar goes red that's not a discharge per se. You have discharged it to a point but when people tell you to discharge the battery they usually mean until it falls asleep, not until the bar goes red and not until the warning comes up.
  11. macrumors regular


    Makes perfect sense to say that the connections etc might get dirty and stuff. Alright then, ill take ur word for it.

    Wonder what this forum would be without you dude... u seem to have like all the answers to every mac-related question. Some mac demi-god.
  12. macrumors 6502


    Thanks for the top tips, I'll get it soon and take good care of it :)
  13. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    No problems. :)
  14. macrumors 6502


    Sorry, forgot to clarify, it's perfectly fine to keep the iBook plugged in all the time, and just let it run down once a month.
  15. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Perfectly fine. :)
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Except... (and sorry to labour the point)

    Who knows! :D Unless Apple means never discharging your battery is bad. I guess by doing the charge/discharge cycle, you are effectively using it.
  17. TMA
    macrumors 6502a


    My understanding of current (Lithium) batteries is that you should never let them run completely flat.

    It's ok to run a device to the point that it switches off once due to batteries being low, but after this point do not force it to try to run or leave it a long time before charging it. If you let it run down completely or leave it discharged for a long period of time, the battery will damage itself.

    It is said somewhere on Apples site that it's better to charge a battery more often and for less amounts than to wait for it to drain completely. 'Topping off' seems to be the right way to go about it.
  18. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew


    Nail well and truly hit on the head there. Exactly right. :)

    It's fine to literally leave it plugged in for a month and then do a complete discharge.

    And right again. Not so much of a problem with Apple products because they won't let you completely discharge their batteries. :)

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