PowerBook G4 suddenly decided to stop charging the battery.

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Xandros, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Xandros, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014

    Xandros macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #1
    ---------------
    A note to save anyone wanting answers to this or similar questions so you don't have to read the entire topic
    : As of February 2012, a whole two years since I made this topic, I've finally come to the conclusion that the PowerBook's PMU is the culprit for my trouble, which is apparently (though not confirmed) on the logic board, which means... Well it means fixing it would cost more than the laptop is worth. I only came to this conclusion through a process of elimination so I agree it isn't concrete proof but it's good enough for me to warrant giving up trying to bother fixing it. If you have any ideas beyond what is explored in this topic what it could be, or indeed if you have the solid proof and a solution, please feel free to update the topic.
    ---------------


    It was working fine up until apparently Sunday morning. It's a PB G4 15" 1.67 (the last one they made, with the hi res screen). The adapter's a genuine A1021 65w, the battery is genuine too. Basically I just turned the Mac on the other day to use it, then plugged it in to charge. Later on I closed the lid and put it to sleep, some time after this I needed to use the power socket for something else so I unplugged the adapter briefly, then when I was finished plugged it back in so the Mac would continue to charge (all the while the Mac was still asleep). It was only after I noticed a few hours later that it was still charging that I investigated and realised in actual fact it wasn't charging at all, even though it said it was.

    When I plug the adapter in the light goes green very briefly before quickly changing to orange, however the LEDs on the battery do not light up or flash like they would normally when charging. And the battery status in the menu bar merely says at first "Battery is not charging" before quickly changing to "calculating... until full" to "10:00 until full". It never drop below 10 hours though, when I pull the plug out the battery still has the same percentage charge left in it than it did when I plugged it in.

    I've tried resetting the NVRAM/PRAM and the PMU several times to no avail. I even went as far as doing permission repair and disc verification in Disk Utility (both booted into 10.5.8 and from the Leopard install disk) but that didn't solve anything. From what I've read of this issue that seems to have cropped up many times over the years, a lot of people seem to pin the blame on mostly a dodgy battery, less often it seems to be the adapter that gets the blame and I've seen a handful of people claim it to be the DC circuit board in the Mac itself as the culprit. So what do you guys think? Considering the Battery is just about 10 months old (since I bought it from Apple's online store), and has never shown any signs of failing or peculiar behaviour, what's it more likely to be? The battery the adapter or the DC circuitry? Or maybe something else entirely that I've missed?
     
  2. burnout8488 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Endwell, NY
    #2
    Does anything change if you wiggle or spin the charging socket in the laptop?
     
  3. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
  4. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #4
    You need a new battery probably.

    Mines exactly the same, I just havn't bothered replacing it, as I use my mac pro and ipad instead now.....

    The problem I have is that the chargers keep dying on me, and I dont know what the powerbook is actually any use for for me now, its 8 years old and taken a hell of a beating..... It wont give up and die though!
     
  5. Xandros, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #5
    This is what I'm worried about. I've had a dodgy battery before this one, although that one started playing up only a month after I got it, but I ignored it and about a year later it'd got so bad it just wouldn't hold a charge for much more than 30 minutes (even though it took the usual amount of time to fully charge and the battery status always stated it had around 3 hours left). At the very least though it still charged when plugged in.

    I eventually replaced it with this one last year (just in time it seems since it appears between last March and now Apple stopped selling them). The adapter is also a different one than the one I used to use with the old battery though - that one got destroyed, but again Apple seemingly stopped selling them long ago so I got a second hand one off eBay so I have no idea how old or how well-used this adapter was before I started using it.

    I must say though, this PB is still of a lot of use to me, since it's the only computer I have that's downstairs and I also use it for my music collection to sync with my iPod. I had always intended only to use it for Internets and writing, but thus far it's mostly been an easy access Internet machine. One of these days I'll get round to getting a MacBook Pro, in which case this Mac will end up being relegated to to just being used for the Interweb, until then though having the battery functioning in is something I desire. I managed to go for at lest a year and a half without a properly functioning battery in it before and I did cope but, not being able to move about with it in a room because it had to be plugged in really did limit it's usefulness entirely.
     
  6. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #6
    Bad DC in board -- but I have no idea how to fix these on this Powerbook.
     
  7. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #7
    iFixit.com
     
  8. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #8
    Is this a clear indicator that it's the DC board then? Because if it is the DC board I can fix that OK, I've got the Apple service manual for this Mac which always comes in handy in these situations but I have a lot of knowledge on the innards of it thanks to fixing/upgrading/replacing parts in the past. It'd just be a case of getting the part.
     
  9. eyoungren, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #9
    If you can test with a known good power supply and a known good battery and it's not charging then the next step is the DC-Inverter Board. I've replaced two and neither of them had the same symptoms as the other one.

    If you replace the DC-Inverter board and there is still no charging then the last item would be the logicboard. There always exists the possibility that you could buy a bad DC In from eBay, or wherever of course, but you can't check that before you buy it.
     
  10. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #10
    Well, that's the problem of course, I don't have any other batteries/adapters to test with. I'll see if I can find the old battery, I think it is still lying around somewhere although God knows where I stashed it. I'm just hoping I didn't chuck it away. Also Seeing as the place I normally get spares from hasn't currently got a DC board in stock for this PowerBook, but they do have genuine batteries and adapters, I might take a leap of faith... I'll buy an adapter. It's the cheapest to get of the three anyway and, even if the adapter isn't the problem it'll be handy to have another one around for use in other rooms.

    In the mean time I'll try and find that other bat. If I can, and it charges, it'll rule out the adapter and the DC board so I'll know where I stand. If it also won't charge it'll rule out the battery, in which case that new adapter I'll have will be able to pin point the exact problem.

    I'll post back later in the week if I get anywhere.
     
  11. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #11
    I got a new adapter (finally), and it predictably didn't fix anything. I can't find the old battery either so cannot test to isolate if it's the battery or the DC board causing the problem.

    Annoyingly, I cannot find a DC board for this model Mac (A1138) in stock anywhere. There isn't even one on eBay at the moment. I can get a new battery for it though.

    What are the chances it's the battery refusing to charge and the DC-in board is fine?
     
  12. kartinmarit macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    #12
    Restaurant POS

    I cannot get the clear idea about this.I suggest you to take him to technician.Thanks in advance

    Restaurant POS
     
  13. archtopshop macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    #13
    I think this is what you're looking for.

    Here's one on ebay:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-IN-Power...ltDomain_0&hash=item1c242f6614#ht_1354wt_1119

    iFixit has them in stock here:
    http://www.ifixit.com/PowerBook-Par...s&utm_term=powerbook_g4_aluminum_15"_1.67_ghz

    A little pricey maybe.
     
  14. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #14
    I'm in the UK though and don't fancy importing one.
     
  15. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
  16. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #16
    Thanks but, that first one is overseas. I know they ship internationally but like I said previously I'm avoiding importing anything for the moment. The latter eB shop you found does have DC in boards but according to their descriptions they're not compatible with my PowerBook model.

    It's not a problem for the time being. I'll keep an eye out and I've got a "notify me" option set on some of the online shops I've looked at that have the board listed but don't have any in stock so maybe sooner or later I'll be able to get a recycled part.
     
  17. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #17
    OK, so my results.

    I got a new DC-in board, and it actually was brand new too, and that didn't fix anything either. So it was the battery all along!

    Well, actually it wasn't. Earlier today I was digging around some old boxes when low and behold I found the box this "new" battery came in and what a surprise I found the old battery nestled in it. I guess I put the old one in the new one's box for safe keeping, then totally forgot about it.

    So going back to what someone asked me prior about if I could check to see if a known good battery would charge. Now this old battery did definitely charge. The only thing wrong with it that spurred me into getting a new battery from Apple was that it didn't hold a charge for much more than 30 minutes, but it definitely did charge... So I plugged it in to the PowerBook and was surprised to find it also will not charge.

    So this turn of events sort of gives me some hope that my original thoughts the new battery wasn't the problem is in fact correct. However since I've changed the adapter and the DC-in board and done numerous PMU and NVRAM resets both physically with holding key patterns down and through Open Firmware. This leads me to a dead end. I mean, does this mean the PMU is borked? Or does the NVRAM "PRAM" battery have something to do with all this...
     
  18. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #18
    Keep it plugged in overnight or 24 hours to see if the onboard battery recharges. Just keep it plugged in for a long while. Then try it again.
     
  19. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #19
    I did try this a few times, it doesn't seem to make any difference to the main battery.

    Of course the backup battery does still apparently work; if for instance I leave the PowerBook unplugged from the AC for a length of time, now the main battery has ultimately run out of juice the backup seems to run on it's own steam, but after a day or so of this state it too runs out of power and I get the usual time and date reset warning when starting the PowerBook up on AC power. If I leave it plugged in overnight the backup battery does apparently recharge and can again keep the NVRAM going for about a day before it conks out again. Although I have no idea how long the backup is supposed to last normally.
     
  20. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #20
    Meanwhile...

    I left the PB plugged in to the mains for three months. Slowly but surely the battery has been fully charged. Yea it took three months but it charged it, lol. I'm guessing that somewhere along the lines it's been set to trickle charge mode for protective reasons, or through a fault.

    Still not sure if that's the PowerBook or the battery though, I'm guessing though since the old battery had exactly the same problem (when I knew it used to charge fine) that it's the PowerBook's PMU (seeing as a replacement DC-In board resolved nothing). For some reason it's stuck in trickle charge mode, or something similar, so it is charging the battery after all, just really slowly.

    If it is the PMU then it's not worth fixing of course, seeing as from what I can tell from documentation and the likes, the PMU is soldered onto the logic board. Oh well...
     
  21. bavbavis macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #21
    Me too

    I have the same model Powerbook as you from ebay and I seem to have the exact same problem. I am using xbattery and coconut battery to monitor the voltage and mAh and the battery is charging, but very very slowly. Did your every resolve this? Did your battery charge normally after the 3 month epic charge?

    Thanks
     
  22. DrakkenWar macrumors 6502

    DrakkenWar

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    San Antonio,Texas
    #22
    This is a bit interesting...

    I have a PB 1.5 and experienced some similar issues over the last few months. But for me, procuring a "new" battery for $20 dollars shipped off of Amazon fixed all the issues. I know get about 3 1/2 ish hours off of a full charge depending on what I am doing. And I no longer get the clock error on reboot. I know you have replaced the d/c board, used the battery that you have and did some trouble shooting with the old battery you found. But I would hazard to spend a pounds on a battery either on ebay or through Amazon. As others have said, when you get that battery, plug it in. Let it charge over night and see where it goes from there.

    I understand the love affair with these PPC's beasties. This PB is the only one I have left, and I use her all the time. For work I have a 2011 mac mini and an iphone 5c.. Need to update my sig :D. But if you honestly want to try and keep a technical work of art going? I would take one last throw of the stone and get a good battery and see where it goes.
     
  23. bavbavis macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #23
    Same issue?

    Hi DrakkenWar, was your issue the same? Was your old battery charging very slowly? Did your powerbook report that the battery was charging and the mAh go up very slowly? I am curious because I have just bought another genuine powerbook battery and its displaying the same issue as the original. The new battery has 3 load cycles and came with 33% charge. I have left the powerbook on charge all weekend and its now on 38% charge. Surely I couldnt have 2 bad batteries?
     
  24. Mnowell69 macrumors regular

    Mnowell69

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bedford, UK
    #24
    I went through the same problems with my powerbook. Got a dc board, battery, and was still the same so eventually gave up on it. Then saw a spares repairs powerbook on ebay and bought that for next to nothing and it came with. 2 batteries. Miraculously both those batteries worked fine in my original pb and still do a year later.
     
  25. Xandros thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #25
    Unfortunately I didn't resolve the issue, the battery never did start charging normally. In fact after the charge light went green and I used the computer normally on battery for a few hours, when it ran right down and required a charge again, so I plugged it in only to see it go orange to appear to be charging but it seemed like it wasn't just like before (only ever saying calculating until full in the menu) - once again leaving it for around three months plugged in eventually recharged the battery.

    It didn't last though. I gave up caring after the second ridiculously long charge cycle and started using it exclusively on the power adapter, though somehow or other at one point I left it powered on without the adapter plugged in then left the computer for days (I have a habit of doing that). The battery died as a result. But when I plugged it back in a few days later I found that despite the plug being orange indicating it was charging it actually said in the menu this time "battery is not charging" and sure enough leaving it for three months didn't do anything. Eventually the lights on the battery itself stopped lighting up, so... Now I have a completely dead battery.

    Although up until my last post in this topic I was still up in the air about if it was the PMU in the PowerBook or the battery, I think after I did this I decided that it was in fact the battery that was the culprit all along. And I can see someone else has concluded the same. I know it seems highly unlikely that, given the fact I tried my old battery and it had the exact same issues leading me to believe it was an internal fault with the computer, but it seems like these Apple batteries have something in common with each other no matter how old or new they are; they're utter crap.

    As such, going all the way back to what happened to me originally; the very fact when I put the laptop down and pulled the power plug out of the socket first while it was still plugged in must have caused a power surge, or a drain or some sort of spike, that resulted in the battery's internal fail safe tripping and causing it to go into trickle charge mode only, and permanently. Later on letting it fully discharge was the final nail in the coffin and the cells were locked off completely to prevent any charging at all. The old battery had suffered the same fate already, so was a red herring when I came to try it.

    I fully expect that if I buy a working second-hand or a new third-party battery I'll find it charges perfectly. But until I do this I cannot guarantee it is the battery so take all of what I just said with a pinch of salt until such a time I can be bothered to obtain another battery. Which I may well do now. I just hadn't bothered after all this time because using the Mac on the power adapter has proved reasonable enough, but I am getting a bit tired of accidentally knocking the plug out of the socket and then having to sit here for 30 seconds waiting for it to boot up again.
     

Share This Page