Options on a "Service battery" message - MBA 2012 13" with low charge cycles ?

4sallypat

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2016
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So Calif
I have a lot of 25 Macbook Airs from 2012 (1.7GHz, 4GB, 64GB) from a corporate recycle purchase.
They have been in cold storage for the last 3 years and they came with the original 45W Magsafe2 chargers.
All in excellent condition showing very little use and no abuse.

After charging them all up, updating with fresh clean OSX (High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina), they are all reporting "SERVICE BATTERY" and confirmed with Coconut Battery app as "CHECK BATTERY".

They all have very low charge cycles (under 150) and holds a long charge while playing back YouTube for 4-5 hours before dying.

Is there any way to revive these batteries and make them go back to "NORMAL" or are these toast so early ???

I am hoping I don't have to pull the batteries out and replace them because factory original batteries are the best....

Any suggestions ?

84 charge cycles on factory original battery from 2012:


110 charge cycles:
IMG_4995.jpg


Beautiful condition 2012 Airs
 

AxelFoley

macrumors member
Feb 16, 2015
39
20
That is the nature of a Lithium Ion battery whether it's in a computer or a phone or anything else. Total number of cycles is not the only factor in their degradation process. There is also the length of time and the environmental factor (Ambient temperature vs cooler vs warmer including level of humidity effects). These computers may not have been stored under ideal conditions for the battery(ies).
If you are not comfortable with the battery's current status that is reported by the OS then, I am afraid, that you will need to replace them since they cannot be revived back to "New" or Improved conditions.

Axel F.
 
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MacUser2525

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2007
1,912
269
Canada
I would bet that it is getting set based on the age of the battery, not the charge it will hold. As you say they seem to last a reasonable amount of time on the battery. I would not worry about it until the batteries show signs of failing due to the charge they can deliver.
 
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topcat001

macrumors regular
Nov 17, 2019
133
49
I'd use them till the battery dies completely. At that point, several Apple authorised repair centres will be able to replace the battery. This won't be an official repair (since the MBAs are "vintage"), but you can be confident of the work if the place is Apple authorised.

Btw very rough estimate of repair cost is about $100. I have a 2012 MBP with a similar battery and made some inquiries.
 

4sallypat

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2016
359
321
So Calif
That is the nature of a Lithium Ion battery whether it's in a computer or a phone or anything else. Total number of cycles is not the only factor in their degradation process. There is also the length of time and the environmental factor (Ambient temperature vs cooler vs warmer including level of humidity effects). These computers may not have been stored under ideal conditions for the battery(ies).
If you are not comfortable with the battery's current status that is reported by the OS then, I am afraid, that you will need to replace them since they cannot be revived back to "New" or Improved conditions.

Axel F.
yes, I figured that the temperatures at which they were stored makes a big difference.

Would heating the laptops up like in an oven to around 120 degrees (F) might revive the chemistry ??

I did find replacement batteries - they appear to be genuine APPLE:
eBay 2012 MBA batteries - are these genuine or copy ??
- - Post merged: - -

I would bet that it is getting set based on the age of the battery, not the charge it will hold. As you say they seem to last a reasonable amount of time on the battery. I would not worry about it until the batteries show signs of failing due to the charge they can deliver.
Yes, it's a shame that the laptop has more years on them than the actual battery usage.

But at least it does hold quite a good charge - 4-5 hours in Service Battery mode - how does it compare to a new battery life ??
 

MacUser2525

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2007
1,912
269
Canada
yes, I figured that the temperatures at which they were stored makes a big difference.

Would heating the laptops up like in an oven to around 120 degrees (F) might revive the chemistry ??

I did find replacement batteries - they appear to be genuine APPLE:
eBay 2012 MBA batteries - are these genuine or copy ??
- - Post merged: - -


Yes, it's a shame that the laptop has more years on them than the actual battery usage.

But at least it does hold quite a good charge - 4-5 hours in Service Battery mode - how does it compare to a new battery life ??
Not sure if those in the link are Apple branded they appear to be the correct voltage and amp hour rating needed. Needing 25 of them I think you could probably get reasonable deal on the make offer. I would not count on them being original from Apple, usually that carries a higher price on place like eBay. I was looking at some ram for my 2012 mini the ones with Apple on the label are $30-40 more than the PC ram that is the same except for the label... No clue on new battery performance I have never had one.

Edit: Oh and I would not be heating the laptop in an oven unless some liquid was spilled on it, even then I doubt I would do it..
 

4sallypat

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2016
359
321
So Calif
So if I can find batteries for them, how do you tell if they are legit or real ?

The eBay seller has this so called genuine battery:
Screen Shot 2020-01-05 at 8.00.11 AM.png

Screen Shot 2020-01-05 at 8.02.19 AM.png


But the original laptop battery pulled from the lot of 25 MBA looks like this:
IMG_5013.jpg

IMG_5012.jpg


They look very close - almost perfect like the original ?

Would you trust it ?
 

MacUser2525

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2007
1,912
269
Canada
So if I can find batteries for them, how do you tell if they are legit or real ?

The eBay seller has this so called genuine battery:
View attachment 886839
View attachment 886841

But the original laptop battery pulled from the lot of 25 MBA looks like this:
View attachment 886842

Close almost perfect like the original ?

Would you trust it ?
Appears to be close to it as you say and it has the Apple specification on the label so could be it. Yes I would think it would be worth getting a few for testing it out. But then again I would be waiting for the perfectly usable batteries already there to start dying before thinking replacement.
 
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topcat001

macrumors regular
Nov 17, 2019
133
49
Appears to be close to it as you say and it has the Apple specification on the label so could be it. Yes I would think it would be worth getting a few for testing it out. But then again I would be waiting for the perfectly usable batteries already there to start dying before thinking replacement.
Agreed. These look very close and might be the genuine item. Since you're getting 4-5 hrs the existing batteries still have enough left in them. I'd use them up completely.

New battery life for those machines is 7-8 hrs I think from what I could find online. However, I'd not worry about it. Enjoy your awesome buy :)
 
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Saturn007

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2010
380
122
My 2013 MacBook Air was giving me the Replace Battery message at one point. What worked for me was fully charging the battery, then running the Air until it shut off automatically. Then, I recharged it for 5-6 hours, without using it.

It seems to reset the battery calibration (much like what happens with an i-device). Coconut Battery then reported battery condition GOOD and and a hefty 82% battery State of Health. It's worked like a champ ever since. I've not had any service messages and the condition has remained GOOD even with close to 800 cycles.

I'd definitely do some forum and internet searching for solutions to this issue before getting new batteries. Your batteries may be perfectly fine; it's the indicator light that's off (shades of Apollo 8 and 11).
 

4sallypat

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2016
359
321
So Calif
My 2013 MacBook Air was giving me the Replace Battery message at one point. What worked for me was fully charging the battery, then running the Air until it shut off automatically. Then, I recharged it for 5-6 hours, without using it.

It seems to reset the battery calibration (much like what happens with an i-device). Coconut Battery then reported battery condition GOOD and and a hefty 82% battery State of Health. It's worked like a champ ever since. I've not had any service messages and the condition has remained GOOD even with close to 800 cycles.

I'd definitely do some forum and internet searching for solutions to this issue before getting new batteries. Your batteries may be perfectly fine; it's the indicator light that's off (shades of Apollo 8 and 11).
Thank you for that @Saturn007 !

I found an article that shows some ways to reset the battery by doing a recalibration.
https://www.addictivetips.com/mac-os/fix-service-battery-message-macbooks/

Since these batteries don't have even close to 1000 charge cycles, it might be worth a try!
 

4sallypat

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2016
359
321
So Calif
Well after many SMC resets, and not getting any to change from "SERVICE BATTERY" to good, I heated up a batch of the MBA to about 120 degrees F for about an hour.

Got 2 to come back to life with batteries now reporting "GOOD / Normal"...

Guess I have to "bake" the rest of the MBA for a longer time ???
 

Saturn007

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2010
380
122
Whoa! Baking MBAs is a risky business.

Note: When I mentioned recalibration, it wasn't going the SMC route, but using the Airs until they turn *themselves* off — then recharging them for 5-6 hours. That process is what resets the battery. And, it worked like a charm. No fancy keystrokes or SMC resets, which, as you discovered, sometimes do nothing.

It seems that running the battery down until it shuts off and then giving it a long day's recharge helps!

Sure beats risking melted MBAs!