MacBook Battery Woes...

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 17, 2014
3,712
3,577
Lincolnshire, UK
I recently bought a really nice condition late 2006, black MacBook (2Ghz C2D) - bought mainly because of the condition - none of the usual cracked plastics!
Didn't come with a charger, so after buying one and plugging in this was the outcome:

After connecting power there was a brief flash of the battery charging indicators then nothing - pressing the test button showed nothing either.
The MagSafe plug light was green too - presumably showing it wasn't charging the battery?
Turning on, the MacBook had no OS, so I installed Lion and once up and running it showed the battery as present, with 36 cycles on it but not charging.
I reset the PMU - now the MagSafe plug light was at orange (charging?) but the battery was still showing up as not taking a charge.
Leaving the MacBook off but "charging" for a few hours, I turned on again and the result was the same..another PMU reset however returned the black cross battery icon top right and the system couldn't see the battery at all.
After another break, I booted from an Elementary OS live disk - that showed the battery as charging and on 1% but after half hour went to 0% and not charging.

Whatever the problem may be, the MacBook seems to be stepping down the CPU - this is evidenced by a poor Geekbench score (1000 less than it should be) and poor video playback - which I gather is an Apple "safety feature."

Is there any way to bypass this?
I found that running another Linux live disk, Terminal reveals the CPU isn't being clocked down in Linux (apart from normal scaling) so it must be an OSX feature not hardware based.

From what I've seen, anyone have a clue whether it's simply a bad battery or a charging circuit problem?

Such a shame on an intact black MacBook!
 
  • Like
Reactions: G4fanboy

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,536
25,262
99.9% sure the battery is duff. OS X will clock down performance when the battery won’t hold a charge, no way around that I’m afraid.

New battery should fix the issue. :)
 

miksat

macrumors member
Jan 27, 2018
49
39
Republic of Serbia
I actually had this exact issue with my 2006 MBP. I ended up just ordering a new third party battery as the only way to bypass this problem is using a paid OS X app that I don't think you can even purchase anymore.

I have the original battery for it at only 6 cycles but it hasn't been charged since May 2006, as the laptop was sitting in storage. I really want to find a way to bring the original battery back to life, since the third party battery gives me only about 2 hours of use. Also the third party battery ruined my magsafe charger by overheating it to the point where it almost caught on fire.
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 17, 2014
3,712
3,577
Lincolnshire, UK
I have the original battery for it at only 6 cycles but it hasn't been charged since May 2006
This is why I thought the battery wouldn't be bad at 36 cycles...but guess there's no way of knowing how long it's been dormant?

Not currently inclined to get a new battery...the more investment the less of a bargain it is ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: miksat

LightBulbFun

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2013
2,296
2,231
London UK
there are ways to force "feed" a battery some electricity and try and revive it however its a very risky procedure and I dont think many people here have a bench top CC/CV DC PSU

your best bet here is to just buy a new a battery of some kind, that will resolve your throttling issues (as mentioned, with no battery/a bad battery a MacBook2,1 will throttle it self to 1Ghz)

(Also PS: MacBooks have SMCs not PMUs :) )
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 17, 2014
3,712
3,577
Lincolnshire, UK
Funny things laptop batteries...I've had a couple left for dead that somehow return again after being stored away for months...
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: G4fanboy

philgxxd

macrumors regular
Feb 11, 2017
234
186
Malaga, Spain
Yes, it was typical behaviour for the MacBook and MacBook Pro to throttle CPU speed when the battery is removed (or too far gone to properly register). Using CoolBook, I can watch the stepping "unlock" after I remove the battery and reinsert it. I get about 10 seconds of 1.83Ghz before it deems the battery unworthy and locks itself back down to 1Ghz. If I register another copy of CoolBook, I can also override the stepping and force the MBP to run at full speed. CoolBook registrations are per machine and it locks itself to the hardware (I have one reg for my C2D MacBook uni '08 which works only up to Snow Leopard 10.6.8). But for about $10 more, I can just buy a cheap eBay special Chinese knock-off battery to suit and also make the Mac portable again, so I'll go with that instead.
[doublepost=1538323301][/doublepost]This quote is from another thread...
https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...and-general-faqs.2059200/page-3#post-26025376
[doublepost=1538323334][/doublepost]Maybe it could be done with that Coolbook app?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dronecatcher

Adamscomputerrepair

macrumors 6502a
Aug 9, 2015
514
231
Kinda slightly off topic, but does anyone here know if the 2010 unibody MacBook throttles without a battery?

I was given one with a swollen (literally almost exploded) battery. I immediately took the battery out but I’m not sure if the computers throttling or not seeing as until now the newest Mac I’ve ever owned was my 09 MacBook 5,2.
 
  • Like
Reactions: miksat

miksat

macrumors member
Jan 27, 2018
49
39
Republic of Serbia
Kinda slightly off topic, but does anyone here know if the 2010 unibody MacBook throttles without a battery?

I was given one with a swollen (literally almost exploded) battery. I immediately took the battery out but I’m not sure if the computers throttling or not seeing as until now the newest Mac I’ve ever owned was my 09 MacBook 5,2.
Yes it does, every Macbook throttles to half CPU clock without a battery.
 

pl1984

Suspended
Oct 31, 2017
2,230
2,642
Yes it does, every Macbook throttles to half CPU clock without a battery.
This is stupid. Until I read this thread I was unaware they did so. I bought one when it was new and immediately removed the battery as it primarily remained stationary. Little did I know I was losing almost half of its performance as a result.
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 17, 2014
3,712
3,577
Lincolnshire, UK
This is stupid. Until I read this thread I was unaware they did so. I bought one when it was new and immediately removed the battery as it primarily remained stationary. Little did I know I was losing almost half of its performance as a result.
I find it a very strange concept that the power supply alone isn't enough to power the laptop...afterall, weren't the Intels meant to be so less hungry than PPCs? I'm pretty sure iBooks/Powerbooks don't throttle on a dead battery?
 
  • Like
Reactions: amagichnich

LightBulbFun

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2013
2,296
2,231
London UK
I find it a very strange concept that the power supply alone isn't enough to power the laptop...afterall, weren't the Intels meant to be so less hungry than PPCs? I'm pretty sure iBooks/Powerbooks don't throttle on a dead battery?
its generally just a safety thing, I know some PC laptops do it too.

and yes PowerPC laptops do it too

(I had to remind @weckart of that fact when he did a performance shootout between his 1Ghz 17 inch AlBook and his 1Ghz TiBook :) )
 

pl1984

Suspended
Oct 31, 2017
2,230
2,642
its generally just a safety thing, I know some PC laptops do it too.

and yes PowerPC laptops do it too

(I had to remind @weckart of that fact when he did a performance shootout between his 1Ghz 17 inch AlBook and his 1Ghz TiBook :) )
How does reducing clock speed increase safety when the battery isn't present?
 

LightBulbFun

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2013
2,296
2,231
London UK
Really? My old Clamshell had a completely defunct battery but there was no indication of throttling - in benchmarks or performance. Maybe G4s only?
indeed its mostly a G4 thing

the PPC750L in the first gen Clamshell does not support any sort of multiplier control on the fly.

How does reducing clock speed increase safety when the battery isn't present?
reducing clock reduces power draw, so you avoid over loading the PSU or any sort of VRM.

(under very intensive loads a Mac will actually draw power from the battery if the main PSU cant keep up, esp if someone uses a 60W charger on say an 85W MBP etc)
 

pl1984

Suspended
Oct 31, 2017
2,230
2,642
reducing clock reduces power draw, so you avoid over loading the PSU or any sort of VRM.

(under very intensive loads a Mac will actually draw power from the battery if the main PSU cant keep up, esp if someone uses a 60W charger on say an 85W MBP etc)
IOW Apple didn't properly design the MacBooks power supply.
 

dbdjre0143

macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2017
334
346
West Virginia
Just wanted to echo the confirmation that a new battery will almost certainly solve the problem. I had a very similar issue with a late 2008 white Macbook. It similarly reported a low-cycle count on the battery, and even claimed to have ~80% of original capacity, but would not charge for any reason. I also bought a new third-party battery from Amazon which wouldn't charge, so really started to think there might be something wrong with the charging circuitry on the laptop. However, after changing the Magsafe board and the battery connector, I got the same behavior, so I ended up sending the battery back for another and it charged with no issue.
See this thread for that saga:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/a1181-wont-charge.2122182
 

weckart

macrumors 603
Nov 7, 2004
5,031
2,315
Really? My old Clamshell had a completely defunct battery but there was no indication of throttling - in benchmarks or performance. Maybe G4s only?
Indeed it does on TiBooks for one. You can see all the gory details in the About This Mac screenshots thread from post #416 onwards. Other manufacturers harbour different power idiosyncrasies. I have an old HP laptop I rescued from an office clearout. When the battery is flat, it doesn't pay to start using the laptop until it is charged otherwise the charger gets super hot and switches off.
 

dbdjre0143

macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2017
334
346
West Virginia
I'm just going to sell it on - false economy buying a Russian roulette Chinese battery for it...
Fair enough. That's why I like to buy the batteries from Amazon rather than eBay, even though they're usually a couple dollars more. Can't speak for how they are across the pond, but in the U.S., Amazon customer service and returns are arguably the best in the business. If you get a bad one, its trivial to send it back, with free shipping.
 

Adamscomputerrepair

macrumors 6502a
Aug 9, 2015
514
231
Yes it does, every Macbook throttles to half CPU clock without a battery.

How sad, half the clock speed it should be, underpowered in RAM, still using a mechanical hard drive and it’s still the second fastest laptop I own. (Unless you count the surface pro as a tablet. Honestly right now I’m using it as a nice paperweight.)
 
  • Like
Reactions: miksat

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
7,202
4,300
Kentucky
FWIW, I've given up on no-name batteries. I only buy Apple OEM or NewerTech. I've been generally happy with both.

My most recent battery replacement was in a MacBook Pro 5,1-this is the first 15" Unibody, and has a battery that is officially user replaceable. I went the NOS route, and so far it's working great. I did the same in an aluminum MacBook. Both were in the ~$40 range. The last NewerTech I installed was in a MacBook Pro 9,2(last of the non-retina 13" unibodies), and it was $90.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Raging Dufus

bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
1,527
1,271
Kiel, Germany
another PMU reset however returned the black cross battery icon top right and the system couldn't see the battery at all.
A constantly "black-cross battery icon" often indicates a failure of the MacBooks side ...
I had a similar black MBP 2y ago with black-crossed battery icon that didn't load even a brand-new battery. Did some research on the problem and finally sold the MBP clearly indicated as a defective unit because of the defect of the battery-loading-function and therefor only to be used tethered like a desktop-computer. The buyer afterwards caused me a lot of trouble, because he thought it was only a problem of a dead battery ...
But maybe it's only a matter of the connectors?
Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dronecatcher
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.