MacBook mid-2009 battery rapidly losing health

Cubytus

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 2, 2007
1,413
14
Hi there,

I have this older MacBook mid-2009, and replaced the non-OEM battery by an original Apple, as I read somewhere that it was better to have the original part than trying to shave a few bucks.

At first, Battery Health 3 correclty reported 100% health and 1 cycle, manufactured about 8 years ago. But as I gently used the battery (mostly half-cycles), reported health is now 75% after 12 cycles.

The battery doesn't appear to have been tampered with, and System Profile doesn't report anything fishy.

Why would an original Apple battery lose capacity so quickly?
 

avz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2018
641
857
This is because of the age of the battery, cycles are not that important. You can have an original battery with 2000 cycles that still has a very good health. Exercising is the key here.
My MacBook5,1 have an original Apple battery(10,5 years old) with only 82 cycles but the health can bounce between 30% and 80% depending on how gentle I am. I only need the battery so the CPU does not throttle but I still give it a gentle exercise once in a while.
 

Cubytus

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 2, 2007
1,413
14
That's indeed what I've done - exercising the battery since I bought it about three months ago. Given the age of manufacture, it must have been New Old Stock battery. Would it be one of the reasons why it loses health much too quickly?
 

MultiFinder17

macrumors 68020
Jan 8, 2008
2,015
709
Tampa, Florida
Most likely, yes. If the battery was sitting on a shelf for a long while, then it likely lost a fair bit of its overall ability to store energy.
 

avz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2018
641
857
That's indeed what I've done - exercising the battery since I bought it about three months ago. Given the age of manufacture, it must have been New Old Stock battery. Would it be one of the reasons why it loses health much too quickly?
The point is that you started exercising the battery way too late. I am in the same situation as I bought my battery used(it was sitting on a shelf for a long time with only 49 cycles on it).
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2011
6,364
938
Baltimore, Maryland
I have a 2008 MacBook and bought a third-party battery about two years ago. It died in less than four weeks, so I returned it and got a different third-party battery that has been fine ever since.

It seems to be hit-and-miss with ALL replacement batteries for old laptops.
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,329
4,722
I have a 2008 MacBook and bought a third-party battery about two years ago. It died in less than four weeks, so I returned it and got a different third-party battery that has been fine ever since.

It seems to be hit-and-miss with ALL replacement batteries for old laptops.
Yup.

I bought a battery for a 2008 white MacBook and it was bulging out of the box. Amazon didn't even want it back and just told me to dispose of it safely and refunded my money. I then bought a different one and it was OK. Mind you, since it was the white MacBook and could only run old version of macOS well, I ended up just retiring the Macbook soon after so I don't know how long the battery would have lasted under regular usage. (I installed Chrome OS on it, but found I still didn't use it much.)

I have a mid-2009 MacBook Pro with a battery telling me it needs to be replaced, but I haven't bothered since it still works fine albeit with a short battery life. No point in paying $$ to get another crappy battery, and that machine is usually plugged in anyway.
 

Cubytus

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 2, 2007
1,413
14
The point is that you started exercising the battery way too late. I am in the same situation as I bought my battery used(it was sitting on a shelf for a long time with only 49 cycles on it).
It seems to be hit-and-miss with ALL replacement batteries for old laptops.
I started "exercising" this battery as soon as I bought it. I already trashed other batteries for the same laptop, not because of lower capacity, but because it would die without warning on heavy but transient loads (restarting the browser was enough to make it die).

If I had to choose between longer runtime and accurate runtime, I would opt for the latter every time.

Does that mean that, for such an old laptop, one may get better performance from a slightly used original Apple battery than from a NOS one?
 

avz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2018
641
857
I started "exercising" this battery as soon as I bought it. I already trashed other batteries for the same laptop, not because of lower capacity, but because it would die without warning on heavy but transient loads (restarting the browser was enough to make it die).

If I had to choose between longer runtime and accurate runtime, I would opt for the latter every time.

Does that mean that, for such an old laptop, one may get better performance from a slightly used original Apple battery than from a NOS one?
Yes, in my opinion, buying a used battery(say 100-200 cycles and 85-90% health - manufacture date is important as well) is better than a battery that was lying on a shelf for 8 years without use. The problem is that the used battery also can sometimes lie on a shelf for a few years without any use.
It can be very tricky to get an accurate reading for a battery that has fluctuating health from 40 to 80%. My battery used to die unexpectedly at 20%. I eventually managed to calibrate it.
The trick that worked for me:
1. Started with a fully charged battery, coconut battery showing b/s health reading say 70%.
2. Started using the battery under the load while monitoring the health, gradually increasing the load until b/s health reading of 70% would drop to a factual 40-50%.
3. While showing factual 40% health reading I noticed that my battery did not die unexpectedly and I was able to drain it to zero and calibrate as per official instructions.
My worst original Apple battery has a factual 25% health and still gives me 1 hour and 15 minutes of light browsing and I do get a warning before my Mac goes to sleep.
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,329
4,722
Heh. I have an old cheap Windows laptop that is on its original battery from 2010. It dropped from 100% charged to 4% charged after about 20 minutes of usage. I have no idea if that is accurate, but I'm not surprised either since it's be off and unplugged for the last several months, and I've only occasionally used it over the years. ie. It's got low cycles but most of that time, it's just been sitting on a shelf.

I'm debating if I should bother buying a new battery since I basically never use this old laptop. It would cost me about US$30.
 

avz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2018
641
857
Heh. I have an old cheap Windows laptop that is on its original battery from 2010. It dropped from 100% charged to 4% charged after about 20 minutes of usage. I have no idea if that is accurate, but I'm not surprised either since it's be off and unplugged for the last several months, and I've only occasionally used it over the years. ie. It's got low cycles but most of that time, it's just been sitting on a shelf.

I'm debating if I should bother buying a new battery since I basically never use this old laptop. It would cost me about US$30.
Yes, I completely forgot that Windows(nothing against the OS itself) just seems to destroy original Apple batteries. When I see an original Apple battery with a health around 20-30%, I can say with a certain degree of confidence that the owner have used Bootcamp with Windows on his/her MacBook.
When I see an original Apple battery with 2000 cycles and still 85% health I am confident that the owner only ever used Mac OS on his/her MacBook.
 

Cubytus

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 2, 2007
1,413
14
Yes, I completely forgot that Windows(nothing against the OS itself) just seems to destroy original Apple batteries.
Care to share a bit more details about that? Aren't all loads equal as far as the CPU is concerned?
 

avz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2018
641
857
Care to share a bit more details about that? Aren't all loads equal as far as the CPU is concerned?
Obviously OS's are not created equal. I am going by my own experience. When I used Windows XP on my MacBook5,1 even a brand new original Apple battery gave me only 1,5-2 hours. I can easily get that performance from a 10 year old original Apple battery with 40% health, running Mojave on the same MacBook5,1. Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion would be even more efficient than Mojave.
What is your experience? Did you ever run Windows with Bootcamp on your Mac on a battery? How's your batteries are doing? Still going strong?
This is a good example of an Apple battery that has not seen much Windows. It can still give you 8-10 hours with light usage:
Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 17.00.47.png