Run on Battery or not?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by plutnicki, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. plutnicki macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2003
    #1
    Hi folk.

    New guy question... Laptops... At work, I have the option of running it plugged in or running it off battery, same thing at home. So far, I've only been plugging it in when the battery runs below 15% or so and then generall unplugging it when it is fully charged.

    I'm a little nervous, since I don't NEED to run it from the battery, if I'm just setting my self up to run the battery out earlier in its life by using it constantly. Would it be better to run it off AC at work and then just run the battery down once a week. At my useage rates, I'm charging it every other day for the most part (i.e. not a super power user).

    Is there a FAQ somewhere on the web about how to maximize the useful lifespan of these batteries? (i.e. how to get 3/4 years out of it).

    Also, in 3/4 years, how likely is it that I'll be able to find a replacement battery? Would it be wise to buy one now and store it somehow? What is the shelf life? I do have applecare, so I presume I'm good for at least the next 3 years.

    Thx,

    ...Jim
     
  2. Foucault macrumors 6502

    Foucault

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #2
    I've had my Powerbook for over a year, and I've had no problems with the battery, even though I rarely turn my Powerbook off (its in sleep mode when I'm not using it). I do try to give it enough juice. I also invested in a spare battery that I use in case of emergency. But if you look at Apple product history, third-party manufacturers still carry batteries for the g3 and Wallstreet Powerbooks, and that's over 3 years old, so I would assume that batteries for the Titanium Powerbooks would be availabe in the future but probably will be made by third party vendors.
     
  3. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    #3
    Your current strategy is doing your battery a grave disservice.

    Run it off AC whenever you can, except once a week. Once a week, run your computer off battery until it goes to sleep for lack of juice.

    Of course, that's not to say you can NEVER use it off battery except for that one time each week, but if you do use the computer off battery and it's NOT the day you run it down all the way, plug it into AC power when you can.
     
  4. mrjamin macrumors 65816

    mrjamin

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2003
    Location:
    Strongbadia
    #4
    Hmm, not entirely true from what i understand. Apple changed their batteries/charging circuitry when the TiBooks were introduced. This change also affected iBok G3 700 and upwards. This next gen range of batteries don't lose their zero level (the point when the battery 'thinks' its flat - the zero level on older batteries gets scewed by charging when the battery's not completely flat, so your battery life drops and the battery's ability to hold charge gets stuffed), so its safe to plug them in whenever. Having said that, one thing that will screw your battery is leaving it plugged in for prolonged peroids of time. In scenarios where your iBook/TiBook will be plugged in for a while, i'd suggest taking out the battery (obviously not while its on) - it'll work just fine without a battery and won't damage your mac or its battery.

    I think i'm right in this - recycling info from another thread a while ago which i now can't find. If i'm wrong, someone please interject and set me + everyone else straight.
     
  5. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    #5
    mrjamin, I'm afraid you are the weakest link. ;)

    I'm speaking from personal experience with my iBook that's supposed to not have that "memory effect" and it does if you're not careful. Doing what I described prevents that from happening.

    When I first got it, I normally used it on AC, but a few times a week might use it for maybe 20 minutes on battery. Guess what? One time I needed to use it for more than 20 minutes on battery. It shut down after 20 minutes (91% charge).

    After I got my new battery, the guy told me to run it down once a week. No problems since then.

    Discharging the battery until it goes to sleep (which is called "emergency power") resets the power manager on a deeper level than the standard command-shift-p-r or whatever it is.
     
  6. plutnicki thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2003
    #6
    Ok so....

    I actually do the full discharge thing once a week or so. Most times I only start charging below 20%, once a week I let it go all the way down.

    But, you would suggest that aside from that once a week, if A/C power is convenient, that I should use it, even if the battery is only 50% (let's say) and recharge the battery?

    Work is pretty much the only time that A/C is that convenient during my use, but that means I'll be doing a lot of recharging from 80% or so.

    Thanks!

    ...Jim
     
  7. mrjamin macrumors 65816

    mrjamin

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2003
    Location:
    Strongbadia
    #7
    had a G3 800 iBook and got a G3 900 iBook and the battery life hasn't changed at all; i don't do any of this don't charge until its flat, discharge it once a week malarchy. Granted, the 900 is only 3 months old, but i had the 800 for over 6 months.
     
  8. KBFinFan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    #8
    My girlfriend just got a 900Mhz 12" iBook and loves it, as do I. However, I was under the impression that you should always run off the battery to get the best life.

    So what you are saying is that you should always have the computer plugged in, and then once a week unplug it and run it off the battery until it goes to sleep?


    Or do you just plug the computer into the wall w/o a battery? Is that even possible?

    Looking for long life of her iBook (Macswell :) )...
     
  9. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #9
    Actually, all Apple says is that when you recharge it, do so with the battery run down as much as possible. Nothing about how often to do it.

    The only thing I've seen with PowerBooks is that they will occasionally say they are fully charged, but only be at 95%, or something similar. No memory effects in evidence.
     
  10. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    #10
    Rower-

    I suggested once a week because that's what the guy at the reseller/repair shop told me to try. It seems to work well.

    As for the 95% thing... if a lithium-polymer battery is overcharged, it can burst into flames. To prevent accidental overcharging, the battery stops recieving power when it's at 100%, and will not recieve power until it's below 95% again.
     
  11. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #11
    memory effect or not, every battery has a limit to how many times it can be charged/discharged. the less you use it (to a point), the longer the battery will last.

    pnw
     

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