defective battery or just normal use?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Jottle, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Jottle macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2003
    #1
    I'm kind of stuck here with this issue and wanted to see what some of you think. I have a 43 month old mid 2009 mbp that has exactly 100 cycles on its battery, and coconut battery is reporting only 72% capacity left in the battery. The energy saver control panel is reporting service battery. I took it into the apple store and they ran a hardware test on it that indicated the battery was essentially dying.

    If I read apple's description for unibody mbp batteries, this battery is designed to have about 80% capacity after 1000 cycles, and not after just 100. LINK

    I understand that over time (3 years for my mpb) the battery will lose some of its charge, but this battery is dying extremely quickly after only 100 cycles. Isn't this waaaay less than what it should be given the low number of cycles? I know people with 600 cycles and the same aged mbp who are at 91% capacity still.

    I do run my mbp plugged in most of the time, but I also run it off battery at least 3 times a month to make sure that the battery doesn't run down fast over time. Unfortunately, that's exactly what seems to be happening. I believe the battery is defective, but I doubt apple will agree. Do you think the battery is defective given my description above? I understand not using the battery can wear it out faster, but I make a point of giving the electrons some flow a few times each month. The only way Apple will replace batteries - a consumable - is if they are defective.
     
  2. xShane macrumors 6502a

    xShane

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    United States
    #2
    It might be that you're not discharging it enough.
     
  3. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #3
    You are out of warranty. Whether or not your battery is defective, you will have to have it replaced at your cost.

    Did the "service battery" sign come up yet? Note that Mac batteries tend to expand when they die, so if you notice some bulging of the case or problems with the touchpad, the dying battery is most likely the reason.
     
  4. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #4
    Batteries that aren't used as often are just as - if not more - likely to lose capacity.

    It may have been defective, it may have been consumed - either way it doesn't really matter since it's outside both of it's warranty and any AppleCare plan.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    I think this is your problem. You should be cycling it a bit more. Running plugged in the vast majority of the time is definitely bad for your battery. Regardless, Apple won't replace your battery free, even if it is defective, if the warranty/AppleCare has expired. Batteries are consumable items, so you should plan on buying a new battery and run the new one on battery power more frequently, to keep it healthy longer.

    The link below should answer most, if not all, of your battery/charging questions. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
     
  6. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    My mid 2009 13" MBP has nearly 500 cycles on my battery and Coconut battery reports 87%. I agree with GGJstudios, I think cycling your battery a little more often would have been benificial.
     
  7. Jottle thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2003
    #7
    I figured that running the battery up and down a few times a month (not to 0%) would be sufficient. Apparently it's not. Apple states that they don't recommend keeping your laptop plugged in all the time. But the large drain that I'm seeing seems abnormal to me. The battery was at 94% a week ago at 99 cycles, then it dropped all the way to 75% the next week. That huge, quick drop made me suspect it's defective rather than the result of normal use. However, it may just be from disuse like many of you are reporting.

    ----------

    Yep. Service battery in the energy saver control panel window and in system profiler.
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #8
    You could try resetting the SMC, but I doubt it will do much good. After you buy your new battery, unplug it every 2 or 3 days and run on battery down to somewhere around 40-50%, then plug it back in. That should be sufficient to keep the battery healthier than you experienced with the one you have now.

    The "Service Battery" indicator comes up when your battery health drops below 75%, whether the battery is defective or not.
     
  9. Jottle thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2003
    #9
    God point. I did an smc reset last week. No help unfortunately. It just made the reported capacity go down to 65%, but then return to 75% a few hours later.
    I'll probably just buy an new oem apple battery online and install it myself considering I'm out of warranty. Apple charges outrageous prices just to open your case and replace the built-in battery with a brand new "don't remove this sticker" sticker. Ridiculous.
     
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #10
    I wouldn't trust or recommend any non-Apple battery, due to the number of problems reported with "knockoff" batteries. Also, there is no assurance that knockoff batteries have the same charging technology that Apple uses, involving the battery, the MagSafe adapter and the Mac's logic board.

    Battery Replacement
    Replacing the built-in battery in your MacBook Pro
    Replacing the Battery in your MacBook Air
    Intel-based Apple Portables: How to replace or service a built-in battery
     
  11. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #11
    Those jumps in capacity are clear indicators of a dying battery (at least mine started doing that a few months before it died). Another thing to look at (and protect from) are unexpected shutdowns. I've had a few cases when the machine would run out of power and shut down although it said that 20 minutes or so are left.

    Concerning the "horrendous" cost of replacing the battery, in my opinion these are your options:

    Get the replacement from Apple ($129 or so) and have a working laptop for three more years
    Get some fake knockoff that most likely will have lower capacity (i.e. you won't improve over your current 70% capacity), will last who knows how long, will still cost you north of $50, and in the worst case, might damage your laptop
    Use the current battery until it breaks, then consider buying a new laptop
     
  12. Jottle thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2003
    #12
    My feelings exactly. I'm getting an oem apple battery, not a third party knockoff. There are authorized suppliers that will sell over the internet (even though they're not supposed to :)
     
  13. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #13
    Bear in mind you'll need to dispose of the battery safely. The reason it's "service provider only" isn't to make more money (it's the same price as the old batteries), but because to save room, it has exposed "soft" cells which don't have hard protection. If they get pierced/damaged (i.e. from being thrown in the trash) they may explode or vent badly.

    If you install it yourself - make sure you do it safely. The black plastic tabs holding the battery in have a habit of breaking off easily if they've been overtightened. And if one of those was to go under the soft cells of the new battery the results could be pretty dramatic.
     
  14. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #14
    I wouldn't trust any of them to be legit, but it's your Mac!
     

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