Battery draining quickly, lots of pinwheel

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by DeBacker, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. DeBacker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    #1
    I have a 12" PowerBook G4. Its just over fours years old and has 1.25 GB RAM, and a 1.5 GHz processor.

    Within the last couple months, the battery life has been almost zero. This seemed to happen overnight- it went from having a battery life of several hours to several minutes within a day. When the battery drains now, there is no warning that the computer is going to shut down, and instead of going to sleep, it completely shuts down, forcing me to reset the clock and lose all unsaved work. It also shuts down with about 70% battery life (even checking the battery itself, I get 4 out of 5 lights on when the computer has shut down). In all, this has resulted in me being tethered to a wall.

    Contemporaneous with this, has been an abundance of the "pinwheel" and a fan that is almost always running very fast. The pinwheel is especially likely with an internet browser or mail client open or when a video is running. Videos also drain the battery immediately. Correlation is not causation, but I feel like these events are all related- it seems like there is some hardware or software issue that is causing the computer to work too hard, but I have no idea.

    I have tried resetting the PMU per the instructions from Apple Support with no effect. I have run the hardware test from the CD that came with the computer and it found nothing wrong. I have used OnyX to clean things up with no noticeable results. I've also reseated my RAM with no effects I could see.

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks!

    Sincerely,
    Jason
     
  2. dvdhsu macrumors 6502a

    dvdhsu

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Location:
    Palo Alto, CA
    #2
    This probably won't work, but have you tried looking at activity monitor?
     
  3. DeBacker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    #3
    Thanks for the suggestion to use the Activity Monitor. I've used the "top" command through the Terminal, but it doesn't have nearly the detail. Still, I'm not sure what I need to be looking for (i.e. I don't know what's normal and what isn't). I do see CPU usage hit 100% when I have a YouTube video playing and my mail client open.

    Thanks,
    Jason
     
  4. megfilmworks macrumors 68020

    megfilmworks

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Sherman Oaks
    #4
    Sounds like a bad battery. It may have had some internal issues that flattened it permanently.
     
  5. DeBacker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    #5
    Dear Megfilmworks,
    I understand a dead battery- but what do you mean by internal issues that flattened it permanently? Would this be something that would also make the computer slow (i.e. result in lots of pinwheels)? Any ideas on what hardware issues would kill the battery?

    Thanks!

    Jason
     
  6. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #6
    The battery is the first place I'd look, yeah. Try disconnecting it and see if the pinwheeling stops.
     
  7. DeBacker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    #7
    I took the battery out while I worked yesterday. I had email, internet, Skype, and Matlab going- no pinwheeling. Thanks for the suggestion.

    I'm still not sure why that works, but I think my next step will be to try out a good battery and see how long it lasts.

    Thanks,
    Jason
     

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