Does the battery life on your Powerbook Suck?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by shane-o-mac, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. shane-o-mac macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2005
    I got my powerbook about 6 months ago now. I was excited, since it was my first mac ever, and I still love it! The only thing is I have noticed my original battery life of 3.5 hours was very short lived if ever realized. Now I am pushing it to get 2.5 hours. Why does the battery life suck so bad. On my last laptop which was an HP I got two hours, but heck I got that machine in 2001. Are there any after market batteries with better technology that can boost my performance time? Do other powerbook users have similiar experiences? I love my mac, but it kinda sucks when my friends' IBM and Sony pc's can 6 hours.
  2. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    stupid question but this being your first mac you have checked the power settings that your running? Other things to consider: are you using processor heavy aps? screen brightness turned up high? Are you using the optical drive alot? And what size monitor does your powerbook have?
  3. .:*Robot Boy*:. macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2005
    New Zealand
    This site sells batteries with 11% more capacity than the stock battery. I haven't used one, so I can't confirm whether it's particularly effective or not. But if you're considering replacing your battery, you may as well try it.

    Is your current battery eligible for replacement under the latest safety recall?
  4. carpe diem macrumors 6502

    Sep 18, 2005
    Try coconutbattery it gives you all the stats needed.
  5. Marlon_JBT macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2003
    Detroit, Michigan
    Sorry to hijack the thread here, but I gotta know...

    I downloaded coconutBattery, here's what it gave me.

    Current Battery Charge: 3362mAh
    Maximum Battery Charge: 3383mAh


    Current Capacity Status

    Current Battery Capacity: 3383mAh
    Original Battery Capacity: 4200mAh

    Additional Info

    Battery-Loadcycles: 486
    Age of your Mac: 28 months
    Charger connected: yes
    Battery is charging: no

    Is any of that good? I know I've recently seen a decrease of battery life, but I thought that was due to the AirPort Extreme I *finally* added to my PowerBook, and the 5400RPM Hard drive.

    original: PB 12" G4, 867MHz, 256MB RAM, 40GB Toshiba MK4021GAS HD, No AirPort Extreme, BlueTooth
    now: PB 12" G4, 867MHz, 640MB RAM, 60GB Hitachi 5400RPM HD, AirPort Extreme, BlueTooth
  6. CaptainCanuck macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2005
    The 5400RPM HD will make a bit of a difference in battery life, but it won't be that big. However, your battery has gone through 486 Battery-Loadcycles, or recharge cycles, and that is what has killed your battery life. The Li-Ion battery like any rechargable battery has a limited recharging life, where the amount of electric charge it can hold will decrease the more it is recharged.

    So if you do a lot of work unplugged, I'd say you might want to look into getting either an apple battery, or a third-party battery, which I think tend to be a bit cheaper and have a higher capacity. Maybe someone else who has replaced their battery can recommend one. (My Rev. C 12" PB's original battery is still going strong :D)

    I hope that helps.
  7. fklehman macrumors regular


    Sep 19, 2005
    Newark, DE
    I'm running on a Pismo with an upgraded G4/550 and a NuPower battery that delivers almost 50% more juice than Apple's original battery. I had two Apple batteries conk out after relatively little use and finally replaced the 2nd one with the NuPower and it works great. I do a couple things to save battery power:

    1. I turn down display brightness to 20-30%. It usually doesn't bother me when I'm just surfing the web, although I do have to turn it up to 40-50% when typing in Word or Appleworks. Even at 50% you are seeing significant energy savings.

    2. Turn off system sounds; the less your speakers have to work, the less energy you're using. Anyone know if it uses less energy to listen to music through headphones as opposed to the laptop's speakers assuming the volume is the same in both instances? I'm thinking at it might be the case but I don't have any evidence to back that up.

    3. Avoid use of your optical drive--uses a ton of juice. I listen to my digital library through iTunes insead of CDs, and I've been known to put CD images on my computer for playing games so that my drive isn't endlessly spinning to "check" for the CD (fair use trumps EULA in my opinion).

    4. I create a Network Location setting called "No Network/Low Power" for when I'm not conected to the internet. On that setting all of my ports--modem, ethernet, Airport, and infrared (I'm on a Pismo, remember)--are turned off and not drwing power. Over the course of several hours of use this can make somewhat of a difference (and the key is that every little thing you do adds up).

    5. I've never been sure how to handle my hard drive, so maybe someone has some thoughts about that. In Energy Settings I direct it never to spin down, because I'm guessing that the power it draws to spin up is greater than the power it draws if it's maintaining its speed all the time. I could be wrong about that.

  8. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    Get use to the battery life on the PowerBook being insufficient. I personally love the iBook for this very reason. The keyboard on the iBook can be improved, however that is a minor step. :)
  9. joecool85 macrumors 65816


    Mar 9, 2005
    Interesting. My gf's Dell laptop gets 35 minutes with processor on full and a little under 2 hours when its on laptop setting. This is a 6 month old laptop. My PB, almost 2.5 years old, still gets around 2 hours now. It use to get around 4 hours when it was new.
  10. Marlon_JBT macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2003
    Detroit, Michigan
    I forgot the question I meant to ask...

    is 486 recharge cycles normal? low? high? over 28 months? what's everyone else's compy say?
  11. iDM macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2005
    The Commonwealth of PA/The First State-DE
    I checked out Coconut Battery and here is pic of what it gave me. I know for a fact that I do not have amazing battery life but I do get about an hour and half to 2 hours. Is the fact that the Original Battery Capacity and Current Capacity so different because of it's age??

    Attached Files:

  12. WillMak macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2005
    that's CRAZY High. apple advertises that 300 charges will leave the battery at 80% of original charge. Get a new battery dood!
  13. Bern macrumors 68000


    Nov 10, 2004
    Firstly did you calibrate your battery correctly as per the manual when you first got your Powerbook?

    I get about 5.5 hours from my battery. When using my Powerbook I turn off the BT, dim the screen a little, mute the sound and I have my processor set to reduced.

    If you're getting such low battery time I'd be getting it replaced under warranty.
  14. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005
    One time, on my 15" PB I got 5ish hours. It was awesome.
    It was like the episode of seinfeld when kramer takes a test drive and uses gas, all the way past "E"
  15. Lau Guest

    I don't know, but although my battery life is slightly reduced (but I do run on "Highest" power and full brightness, with airport on, so it's probably mostly that) I have used 380 odd cycles in a year. So 486 over a 2 and a bit years is just probably using the battery a lot, like I do.

    I figure I bought a laptop partly so I can lounge on the sofa wirelessly*, and if that means a new battery in 2-3 years, so be it. I'd rather enjoy my computer.

    *Ok, so I bought it so I could take it to college, but lounging on the sofa on the net is a fairly big perk.... :D

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