Battery Care for MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Sudaddy, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. Sudaddy macrumors member

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    #1
    Hello,

    I bought a new 15'' MBP last weekend. This is my first Apple laptop. One thing that got me thinking is the battery for the new MBP. My question how often should I use and charge my battery? With my old laptop, I hardly ever used the battery and as a result 2 years down the line, the battery of the laptop wouldn't last more than 5 minutes. The laptop was always plugged into some power source.

    However, I do have an iPhone and my philosophy for the iPhone has been simple - use it and charge it only when it is out of power and needs to be charged.

    Some folks that I see around who have MBP only the battery when they are travelling around, but in offices, schools and home they are connected to power source all the time.

    So what's the best strategy to follow for MBP for a longer lasting battery in terms of battery usage? Should I:
    a) Just use battery only when I need it?
    b) Use it like my iPhone - use battery often and only charge when it is running out of juice to recharge it?

    Also is there an app or software that would tell me how long I have been using the battery since it was last plugged in? For instance, the battery of my new MBP lasts about 7 hours or so (sometimes more when I am not using a lot of apps and decrease the brightness of my screen). This means, I use battery for couple hours here, then couple hours there... and I loose track for how long I have been running my computer on battery only since last time it was plugged to power source. So is there an App that can calculate the total time it has been on battery since last charge or last connected to power source?
     
  2. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #3
  3. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #4
    Deep cycling Li cells is not good for those types of batteries, it is better to top off during the day than to run them down fully and recharge. So you philosophy on the iPhone usage is actually more harmful on your battery than the short top off charging cycles (having said that I don't use the most effective charging methods with mine either;) ).
     
  4. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #5
    You need to read the FAQ as well.
     
  5. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

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    #6
  6. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #7
    I have read them (glad you assumed I didn't), but no where does it say to deep cycle them. It says about once a month to let them run down to "recalibrate" the meter, but no where does it say to deep cycle, and it doesn't even say to run them down every use. They recommend short recharge cycles as several short cycles can equal one full cycle, so Apple says this makes the battery last longer. But it depends on the article from Apple you read.
     
  7. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

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    #8

    Re-read the article on calibration, I think you might be missing how to do the calibration, it's more than letting the battery run down. Also you can do the calibration once every 2-3 months and it's fine. I just put it on my calendar as an event to remind me and that took care of it for me.

    Also exercise the battery daily, the example of a person using their battery while riding the train to work back and forth is a great example. If you let the battery get below 90% daily and then re-charge it then it's getting it's full exercise. Sometimes I run mine down to 20% before a charge and sometimes I'll let it get down to 85%, as long as it's being exercised and calibrated on a regular basis that's all you need to do.
     
  8. punchwalk macrumors regular

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    #9
    It should be noted that calibration serves mainly to help your PC provide a consistently accurate measure of your battery's full capacity & remaining charge and does NOT sustain/extend the life of the battery.
     
  9. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #10
    This is key to remember.
     
  10. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #11
    Thanks for all of the pointers, but I was trying to keep it in layman's terms and as far as the calibration goes it is mainly just running the battery down as their is no real user intervention or changes necessary (except to replug it in after the extended drain and fully recharge, there are no plist edits or anything software related changes, etc and with the newer non-removables that is al that can be done). I just performed this the other day according to the instructions, and it is nothing more than that (hence the layman's terminology).

    I use the industry term deep cycling as that is running a battery completely dead,and with Li chemical composition of the cells it actually destroys their ability to recover.
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #12
    It is neither necessary nor bad for a battery to be completely drained and recharged, except during calibration. If you need to deplete the battery because AC power isn't available, it's fine to do so. The best rule to follow is this: use the battery when you need to and plug in to AC when you can. Just make sure you're not plugged in all the time. Again, read the Battery FAQ that ECUpirate44 posted. It will answer all your battery questions.
     
  12. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #13
    I am glad the Apple Battery FAQ is the definitive end all be all on correct battery usage. Do some further research (such as over at batteryuniversity.com) and you will find that continued and consistent deep cycles can deplete the overall battery capacity and shorten its life, and can actually destroy the protection circuit within the battery that allows it to be drained down to a point without causing damage to the cells. Even Apple recognizes that the constant deep cycles deplete the overall life of the battery and recommend charging at cycles that occur more frequently than complete depletion. The only recognized reason for fully depleting the batteries is to recalibrate the smart battery technology, and this should not be done on a regular basis.
     
  13. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #14
    Source?
     
  14. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #15
    The same place you quoted (you people assume that I don't read). They state that each full cycle shortens the life of the battery. Under care, they also talk about using the battery and charging to keep it running and storing at 50% charge as full charge storage depletes the capacity of the battery and lower percentage storage can cause the battery to not recover. It is all there, just read the page that you posted yourself.

    Keep in mind I am not knocking Apple but this is the recommended patterns by their engineers. Who is to say following this recommended will not kill the battery quicker causing us to have a replacement cost earlier than expected. There is a term in engineering called planned obsolescence, where the engineering is planned to insure profits for the company. Do you really need to change the oil every 3,000?(different manufacturers post different numbers so who is correct?). We can build things better than we do, but change things to make sure that people buy replacements. Early on John Deere almost went out of business as they built things that rarely would break (this was the mid 1800's) so the consumer had little need for replacement parts or replacement equipment. They realized this within the first 10 years and started changing manufacturing processes to insure the need for after warranty parts (this comes directly from the curators of the John Deere home and museum in Grand Detour, IL when you take the tour).

    Haven't you ever wondered how little seems to break under warranty with lots of things (namely cars within the first 36,000 miles of warranty)? It is the planned obsolescence at work as the engineers know the life cycle of the parts when you follow their recommended schedules. Ever had something break just outside of the warranty period???
     
  15. Miss Terri, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

    Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Well I guess I'm going to have to read up on Li-Ion batteries. I did not know that discharging them deeply was a problem (I do understand that it makes a difference with other battery technologies). I thought with Li-Ion that three 30% discharges was basically the same as one 90% discharge, and the only thing to really avoid was storing them in hot places or for long term without minding the charge status (I forget, but I think it is supposed to be half charged).

    Okay, done :) Edited to add:

    Yes, apparently it is harmful to discharge a Li-Ion battery completely. I did not find any exact recommended percentage (like you do for, say, wet cells -- 50% is the most you should discharge something like a house bank if you want to prolong the life of the batteries). I only found "don't discharge them all the way" (except when calibrating).

    Maybe the key lies here, from a post on Apple's forum, from a fellow who also recommended batteryuniversity:

    Note that you cannot, in fact, completely discharge a smart Li cell. The smart part of the cell, the charge controller electroinics, will always cut off the power with some minimal residual charge remaining. That is why the laptop shuts down and goes into hibernate mode and will NOT restart until you plug the charger back in.

    The reason is simple - truly 100% discharging of a Li cell will ruin it. For that reason, your machine gets shut down, and hibernates when the battery reaches a minimal critical charge. For practical, usage purposes, that level equals zero on your battery meter, but it is in fact not zero.

    Same thing for an iPhone, iPad, laptop, and such and the point where they auto shut down to ensure the battery is never truly, fully discharged.

    All a single full discharge/charge cycle does is recalibrate the battery meter display to properly reflect the charge state in the battery. Since the capacity of the battery declines with age and use, recalibration from time to time helps keep the battery meter information accurate.


    This makes it sound like Apple has built in some protection, so that for us as laptop users, running the battery "down to 0%" is not really discharging the battery to 0%. There is a reserve we can't see.

    I still take the point that it probably is not beneficial to run it down to, say, 3% every time.

    What really came out though is that TIME is the biggest enemy of Li-Ion batteries. So basically, it sounds like as long as you don't beat them to a pulp, or store them in very hot places (storage should be at 50% charge), or never use them (i.e. machine plugged in all the time) then time is going get them before you would kill them anyway. So we can relax, within reason.

    MT
     
  16. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #17
    No, it's simply a collection of the information that Apple provides on the batteries it provides in Apple notebooks. It is not intended as a resource for all batteries; only those batteries used in Apple notebooks.
    There's the first problem. While batteryuniversity.com is a good resource for general information and concepts related to batteries, much of what is stated there refers to lithium ion batteries and not specifically the lithium polymer batteries used in Apple notebooks. Apple is a more reliable source of information for Apple's lithium polymer batteries.
    Link please.
    It has been stated that it's not necessary to intentionally fully deplete the battery, but if access to AC power is not available, there is no reason not to do so, if the user's needs so require.
    Of course it does. Every battery begins to die when you start using it. It's designed to last only a certain number of cycles. For current Mac notebooks, that's at least 1000 cycles, so running through a cycle when needed isn't problematic.
    That's talking about storage of a battery, not regular use.
    If an Apple battery fails to maintain at least 80% of its charge capacity for 1000 cycles, Apple will replace it under warranty or AppleCare.... at no cost.
    That doesn't apply to batteries that are replaced free under warranty if they fail to last at least 1000 cycles. There's no profit to Apple if recommend a battery use that causes them to fail quicker. It would be a cost, not a profit, if they have to replace more under warranty. There have been more posts than I can count in this forum by those who followed Apple's guidelines for battery use and their batteries are still going strong, long after warranty or AppleCare expires.
    Again, batteryuniversity is talking about lithium-ion batteries, not the lithium polymer batteries that Apple uses in its notebooks.
    This is true of all batteries (and people, for that matter). They begin to die at birth. There are things that can be done to slow down the process, but they will all die eventually.
    Well said!
     
  17. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Ah, good point! I missed that detail.
     
  18. squeakr, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

    squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #19
    I am unsure why you are so for anything being posted that doesn't originate from Apple as being myth. I am just pointing out that there are other philosophies on battery usage and charging (I followed lots of these and always have batteries that last longer than most, just like the posts of others who "have theirs last for years" Here is some further info: Regarding LiOn and LiPo (which are versions of LiOn batteries actually called Li Ion Polymer), This type has technologically evolved from lithium-ion batteries. The primary difference is that the lithium-salt electrolyte is not held in an organic solvent but in a solid polymer composite such as polyethylene oxide or polyacrylonitrile. The advantages of Li-ion polymer over the lithium-ion design include potentially lower cost of manufacture, adaptability to a wide variety of packaging shapes, and ruggedness. no mention of making improvements on the cons of Lion.

    No real difference that would make it necessary for an entirely different strategy that you claim doesn't apply to these batteries.

    As for link about the other (cut and pasted directly from apple.com/batteries): Each time you complete a charge cycle, it diminishes battery capacity slightly

    Also from the current edition MBP info pages (cut and pasted again): Apple does not warrant the battery beyond Apple’s one-year Limited Warranty. The battery has a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced by an Apple Service Provider. Battery life and charge cycles vary by use and settings. I know that Apple is good about exchanging when issues arise, but they only have a time frame stated for warranty and do not insure it will make the 1000 cycles (that is average testing results) with their warranties.

    In regard to the planned obsolescence, 1095 is the cycle count for 1 full charge cycle a day everyday for the life of an extended Apple Care on a new MBP. Since they are covering the battery through a timed cycle and not guaranteed for cycle count the life of the warranty is the life of the battery, If you were to do 1 cycle a day the battery would be shot at the end of the Warranty. Knowing most people will not get 1 full cycle a day, sounds like planned obsolescence to me as they have the number just high enough to get through the warranty period??
     
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #20
    I'm sure there are, but batteryuniversity.com won't replace your battery if you follow their recommendations and your battery doesn't last as long as Apple says it should. Apple will.
    They do if you have AppleCare and the battery is defective. Read the exact quotes directly from the warranty and APP agreements in the Battery FAQ. If a battery fails to maintain at least 80% health up to 1000 cycles, Apple will replace it under warranty for up to a year, or, if AppleCare is in place, up to 3 years.
    The fact that batteries have a limited lifespan is not a product of planned obsolescence. It's true of all batteries, no matter who makes them, which is why batteries are consumable items. Your argument is like saying Ford and Chrysler have built planned obsolescence into their cars because you have to replace gas, oil, tires and wiper blades. Apple is simply providing a warranty and AppleCare so that you don't have to worry about battery issues under normal use, if you follow their recommendations. I've never had a notebook battery last as long as my MBP battery has.
     
  20. squeakr, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

    squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #21
    Why you continue this argument is interesting. Apple will not know what recommendations and procedures you follow, so they will replace it either way. I also like how you are quick to point out the extension of Apple care carrying over for 3 years to correct me and try to make me look the fool, but I had covered that in my next paragraph. Funny how if you had quoted the entire sections, your first comments would have not been necessary.

    In regards to your Car analogy, that makes no sense as they don't warrant these items to begin with and no one covers "true" consumables, and they do cover tires, had mine replaced under warranty (do you understand planned obsolescence?). It is a known problem with the late 80's Turbo Charged Pontiac Sunbird that the turbo units only lasted about 40-50K miles. Funny how the manufacturers warranty only covered to 36K. The repairs cost several people thousands to get their vehicles running again. My cousin was one of the victims and found this out the hard way (it was known that during that time period US car makers turbos only lasted the above stated ranges, yet European makers generally got 70-80K out of their turbos). Now that is an example of planned obsolescence, when the warranty only covers the usable range of the product and a large majority of the product fails "just" outside of the covered period, causing the consumer increased costs of repairs (theses turbos went out whether or not the maintenance was done as scheduled, they were a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode). Tires are also planned obsolescence as the warranty pretty much covers the usefulness of the tires. Once you reach the warranted mileage, they get replaced at your cost, which is why most performance tires have no warranty for mileage, so you are forced to replace them, as to get the performance they use a soft compound that wears out quickly. If you were stated that the tires were warranted for 10K miles and cost $200 a piece would you be so quick to buy them??
     
  21. GGJstudios, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

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    #22
    They do if the tires or wiper blades are defective, but not for normal wear .... just like Apple does with batteries.
    What percentage of Apple batteries fail just outside the covered period?

    Regardless of the manufacturer, how long are you expecting a notebook battery to last?

    By the way, you never answered this one:
    Link please.
     
  22. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    #23
    But squeakr, there is no such thing as a battery that lasts forever. It's not "planned obsolescence," it's the chemistry of batteries. For physical/chemical reasons, they eventually die. This holds true for all batteries that I know of.

    I would imagine that if someone could come up with a battery that would last, say, forty years, they could make a pretty penny selling it, as it would be SO MUCH more long-lasting than batteries we have now. Heck, they wouldn't need to rely on repeat customers, as with everyone buying them even ONCE they would make a killing.

    To me your argument sounds like saying that Sunkist uses "planned obsolescence" to make sure their oranges don't keep for five years on the shelf. No, oranges just deteriorate.
     
  23. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #24
    It is planned obsolescence if you warrant it and it expires just outside of the warranty, that is the ideal behind it,especially since you know how long it will last. If it were a true consumable (as you to are presenting examples) then there is no warranty other than the implied that it is good at the time of sale. Sunkist doesn't manufacture either, so nice try.

    Also most dealerships will replace the parts under warranty (because they can get it pushed through and as a good will gesture to get you back into their dealership and maintain good customer relations, the same as Apple does), but any new car and the warranty explicitly states that those things are NOT covered and are replaced at owner's expense. I had to replace the brakes on my wife's Accord at 18K (really 18K on a brand new car) and Honda is just now deciding that this was a manufacturing defect, after I had to pay to get them replaced.
     
  24. GGJstudios, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #25
    Or it means you've extended your warranty to cover more of the product's lifespan. So you'd feel better if Apple only covered defective batteries for 60 days, so you'd have a longer battery life after the warranty? And remember, the warranty doesn't cover depletion of the battery from normal use. It only covers defects in manufacturing. That is, in no way, planned obsolescence.
    Read the quotes I posted from GM and Ford.
     

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