Can I leave the powerbook on 24/7 just like a desktop?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by urbanist, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. urbanist macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2003
    I am planning on buying a 15"powerbook(when it gets an upgrade) and I am kinda concerned about the battery.
    Since I will sell my one and only PC and use the powerbook as my main computer, would it cause any problems such as overheating of the battery or failure of the battery or shortening of battery life?


    (if im not getting a powerbook, i will get a dual g4 tower)
  2. MoparShaha macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2003
    San Francisco
    Interesting, I'm in the very same boat as you. I too want to replace my current computer (iMac) with a 15" Al-Book or a dual G4 Power Mac. I read up on the battery on the PowerBook and it seems you can leave it on and plugged in because the charging is controlled by a microchip in the battery and the OS I believe, so it just charges when it needs to if its plugged in all the time. As for overheating, thats a good question, but if apple uses the new G4's (7457's), it shouldn't be a problem as they run significantly cooler than the current G4's.

    Some real world insights from PowerBook owners would be welcome though.....;)
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    my g3 pbook is my webserver (and it's folding), so it's up all the time.

    the battery was trashed a long time ago (i get about 40 minutes on it now) and it overheated for the first time the other day. i had to press the reset button to get it back, and now it's fine.

    it's sitting on a grated shelf now, and i'll probably get a portable fan to keep the underside cool (it gets rather hot).
  4. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    I leave my ibook running all the time but with the battery left out, since i'm not at college at the moment it stays on my desk downloading off p2p.
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    The battery will only charge when it is below 96% of it's capacity. Otherwise, it will not charge. So if you charge your battery to 100% and plug your PB into the wall, the batteries don't get ruined or anything because they're not constantly charging and being used, charging and being used, in a repeated cycle. The only thing that may cause the battery to drop below 96% capacity is if power were to trickle out or something. Batteries normally lose their charge slowly if you leave them sitting idle, and may cause the battery to recharge a bit from time to time back to 100%, but it's not a big deal. This would only happen once in a while if you were to just leave your laptop on all the time and plugged into the wall. You can probably do 300-500 charges on your battery. If a battery lasts you for 1.5 to 2 years, I'd say that's pretty good.
  6. shadowfax macrumors 603


    Sep 6, 2002
    Houston, TX
    i sort of do what you're suggesting with my Tibook 15 inch. it still gets pretty good battery life, but mostly i just leave it plugged in. i do, however, sleep it when i am not using it. i strongly recommend this. if you leave it on your desk, close it if you are going to leave it over night. unless you fold, but i strongly recommend against that if you don't like fan noise or you touch the laptop (ie, you don't have a separate mouse/monitor/keyboard) when you are using it.

    it will be a great replacement, but you shouldn't treat it exactly like a desktop. and why would you want to? it's so much more than that. take the plunge, man, you won't regret it. i love taking my tibook to wireless hot spots (free ones) and browsing miles away from home.
  7. billyboy macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2003
    In my head
    I dont turn off my PB Ti 867 at all, but as said before, it is always left sleeping overnight, and it is plugged in via a good surge protector just in case. As for battery, if I remember, I do let it run down to nothing once a fortnight, then it recharges, displays its charge, the recharger kicks in as expected if it falls under 96%) and I have never had to reset PRAM or anything to keep it in order. On battery I can play a DVD straight through and still have 15-20% life left, so it seems OK with the way I have been treating it.

    Initially I used it a lot on the road and I had problems with flashing red, green and amber lights on the adapter, and with the lid in a certain position I couldnt type without the connection playing up. After a few months sat on the desk though it seems to have bedded itself in.

    Sat on a raised minimalist steel grid this is definitely the coolest desktop replacement imaginable, but once I settle down in a year or so and dont need to relocate every few months, I will be trading it in and getting a monster Powermac and even better bigger screen for not much more than I paid for the PB.

    The PB is so cool and works 99% correctly with Jaguar. I cant begin to imagine what Panther is going to be like, but even if half the hype is true, this "slow" laptop will still be specced beyond the needs of most non power-using laptop owners Mac or PC for the next two or three years. And it will be a rare Mac indeed if it dies in that time.
  8. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    You can always drop the charged battery out and run on PSU if you worried about it, I've run PBooks for 10 years now, and I used to remove the battery, but I really don't bother now, I got 2 years out of the Ti and the battery was giving me aroud 2.5 hours at the end.

    The 17 runs on the PSU pretty much all the time, doesn't seem to bother it, it charges when it needs to.

    Go portable, you'll never go back
  9. urbanist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2003
    thanx guyz for the responses

    i guess i just will go portable!!
  10. plutnicki macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2003
    sleeping all the time?

    So, it seems that most of you guys leave your PBs sleeping all the time? Question, how well does that work on battery power?

    I.e. how long could you leave a PB, in sleep mode, on the battery, before the battery dies?
  11. shadowfax macrumors 603


    Sep 6, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Re: sleeping all the time?

    a very, very long time. longer than any trip you would make, for sure. it doesn't hit battery life too bad at all (though usually i leave it plugged in when sleeping)... i dunno, not something to worry about, fo' shizzle.
  12. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    Re: sleeping all the time?

    In my experience, 3 days or so from a full charge. Maybe longer if you have the energy settings set for longer battery life and the screen brightness turned all the way down.
  13. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    I see a couple of you saying that after a couple of years, the battery won't last as long as it did when you got it. I thought the lithium batteries they use these days didn't have that problem?

    Anyway, I usually leave my iBook (6 hour life according to Apple) plugged in when I'm at home, and run it from batteries in the car to and from class (I use it as an MP3 player), with it asleep while I'm actually sitting in class. I'm not certain exactly how much life I get out of it - when I unplug it from a full charge it says about 4 hours, but I think it takes a bit more than a minute for it to actually decrease by 1 minute. And after it hits 0:00, it sits there for about 15 mins before it goes to sleep.
  14. 5300cs macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    I don't even put mine to sleep anymore at night, although I used to. Now my TiBook is on P2P all night, so I just hide most of the applications and leave it be, it soon shuts off the screen. The fan gets really loud if I'm using a bunch of apps at the same time, but just DLing it's real quiet.
    I've left one of my iBooks asleep for 5 days before, and the charge went down to 92% I think.

    OS X has great uptimes :)

    Attached Files:

  15. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    If you run a battery down to the point where you get the power warning and then sleep, the battery won't support more than a few hours in sleep, and the machine will shut down, dumping whatever you have in RAM, if you are a distance from the next charge, shut it down yourself, that way you don't lose data.

    My 17" hasn't been down since it came back from Apple two weeks ago.
  16. Schiffi macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2003
    I turn off my Ti eveynight. It's just a preference I have. But you could treat it like a desktop I guess. Plug in a monitor, kb, and a mouse and close the lid (will it still go to sleep if another monitor is hooked up, it shouldn't, but you never know) and wala! insta desktop.
  17. jtown macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2003
    Nothing lasts forever. Li-ion batteries have a shelf life of a couple of years whether they're used or not. They'll still work but, by the time a couple of years has passed, they've lost a noticable percentage of their original capacity. The loss of capacity is unrelated to usage, charge cycles, etc.

    I believe Li-Polymer batteries have the same characteristics but can be built into thinner packages.

    NiMH batteries are similar but have a lower storage density so a NiMH battery has to be larger than a Li-Ion battery to provide the same run time.

    What's been elimintated from the NiCd days is the "memory effect". Essentially, NiCd batteries should be drained completely before recharging. If you were to constantly recharge them at half charge, very quickly you'd only be able to use half the battery's original capacity. If you always recharge them while they've still got 70% of their charge, you'll quickly end up only being able to use 30% of the battery's original capacity. But, like the others, even a perfectly maintained NiCd will lose capacity over time.
  18. scan300 macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2003
    Melbourne, Australia
    I use my PB G4 500 as a backup design workstation. I've produced many books, reports, packaging and poster design, surf the net, use it as a iPhoto download repository, database development, occasional webserver, develop web sites, code, play some games, made movies and a whole lot of other stuff. It's always on: during the day on battery, at night on mains.

    I've been doing this for over 2 years, and before I bought it, it was a shop demo model for about a year and a half.

    The battery life is not too spectacular now, approx 2 hours awake.

    It only overheated when I did a long intense Diablo session. All the other stuff made it hot, but never affected performance.

    Also, I have a friend who had a motorbike accident – he was hit by a car and was nearly killed. The G3 powerbook he carried in his backpack flew a big distance at high speed and crashed on the road. It still works.
  19. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    I've had my powerbook on 24/7 for well over a year - even did folding@home on it. Hadn't had a problem until recently - ended up being a frag and internal battery issue. Got it fixed and now its back and running....

  20. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    My PB here is on all the time, although it does go to sleep at night. The battery life is one of the major benifits of this machine, it is better than any other laptop I've seen except the ibooks with the big batteries.
  21. Angelus macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2002
    New Zealand
    You should be very happy with your laptop.
    I normally turn mine off at night but when its on its plugged in at my desk.
    It only gets finger burning hot if i play games like ghost recon for over an hour and a half.
    By the way fellow powerbook owners do you ever notice that if the powerbook gets really hot that the speakers start skipping or don't play anything(this includes using headphones and my tibooks a 667mhz with radeaon 7500 32MB by the way).
    One other cool thing about having a powerbook as opposed to a desktop is that you can work and surf/download during powercuts with having to buy some sort of reserve powersupply.
    It may seem small but it has saved me when there have been powercuts while i was installing apps or downloading huge files.
  22. hvfsl macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2001
    London, UK
    I know one person whos iBook court fire because it was left on for so long. My PB G3's Hard Disk also went after leaving it on for 24hours downloading stuff (I only had a modem back then).

    I don't recommend leaving a laptop on for too long especially if you do a lot of processor intensive stuff with it. I repair/sell computers as a side job and have just seen too many burnt laptops (although most of them were PCs)
  23. Drako Millosovi macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2003
    24/7 powerbook?

    What happens if you don't leave it on 24/7 I hear d there are crons tasks and other things that are scheduled to be carried out at some crazy hour in the morning. Maintenance stuff, so if you switch it off at night or even let it sleep will this cause problems?
  24. beefcake macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2003
    I just got a new TiBook and have primarily been leaving it plugged in on my desk. I have set it to run on reduced performance when unplugged. However, since I leave it plugged in the vast majority of the time, would it be best to take the battery out?
  25. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Jun 23, 2003
    St Augustine, FL
    Well, I have been using my G3 PowerBook for 4 years now and hardly ever turn it off. I put it to sleep when I am not using it or if I am going to move it, though. As far as shutting it off, I do that maybe no more than two or three times all year, only when I am going to be gone for an extended period like Thanksgiving break or something. I usually have it running without restart/shutdown for months at a time. It doesn't seem like there is any harm, since after over 4 years, my PowerBook is still going strong without fail.

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