Preserving Cycle Count

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by acdo71, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. acdo71 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I've only had my macbook for a few months and I'm already at 140 cycle counts. My friend who has had his for 2 months longer than me is only at 80 cycle counts. What am I doing wrong? I make a lot of music and have a lot of applications open. However I keep my laptop plugged in quite often. Thanks guys!

    - Adam
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    I've been through 9 cycles in two months.

    It's not really preventable if you're using the battery.
     
  3. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

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    #3
    Well if he has his powered down a lot/doesn't use it of course he isn't going to have a lot of wear on his laptop. In all honesty there are a lot more things to worry about than battery wear. You're more likely to spill coffee and ruin your computer, for instance.
     
  4. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #4
    Well my only thought is that you should keep it on AC more often. That's pretty much the only sure fire way of reducing the number of cycles you go through.

    In the end, if you do need to go without the AC fairly often, just invest in a new battery once you clock more than 300 cycles. There's a discount for students if that helps.
     
  5. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #5
    Batteries, like all things, are fated to die. In this respect, one might envy the desktoppers, who, tethered as they are to their alternating currents, do not fear the inexorable march of the charge cycle.
     
  6. g-boac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    #6
    If you're plugged in, are you cycling the battery? What actually happens when you're plugged in, and the magsafe LED is green? Are you trickle charging the battery, or do you completely bypass the battery, and run the MacBook directly off of a/c?

    Is there any harm to the battery in staying constantly plugged in to the a/c (whether using the compute or not), and only unplugging and running off of battery when absolutely necessary (travelling, using computer in bed, etc?)

    thanks,
    Mark
     
  7. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 20, 2005
    #7
    Apple laptops do not trickle charge in an attempt to keep the machine topped off. Instead they allow the battery to slowly deplete (to ~95% for PPC laptops and ~93% for Intel laptops) before charging up to 100%. This helps prevent overcharging and extra wear and tear on the battery.

    As long you calibrate your battery every month or two, feel free to run it on AC the rest of the time.
     
  8. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #8
    As WildCowboy said, the batteries drain to a certain point before the charging kicks in. On my Macbook, I've noticed the cycle increasing even without appreciably using it unplugged. So yeah, it does cycle while plugged in, unfortunately, but it does so slowly. Maybe 1 per week? That said, no, I don't think there's any harm to being constantly plugged in. That's how most people use their laptops anyway.
     
  9. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #9
    It has to be longer then just 1 cycle per week.

    I've gone through 9 cycles since November. A few of those weeks I was on battery power and recharging everyday.
     
  10. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #10
    Yeah, you're right; it's probably not that quick. It's just a bit unsettling to see the number (seemingly) randomly increase by 1 every now and then.
     
  11. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #11
    Indeed
     
  12. synth3tik macrumors 68040

    synth3tik

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    Oct 11, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #12
    When you unplug and then plug back in that is a cycle. even if the plug accidentally unplugs it will count that as a cycle.

    That being said cycle count is not a conclusive way of determining battery health. Instead the battery health indicator will be. To keep your battery at it's best it is good to power cycle it once a month or so. Do this by letting the battery drain until the computer shuts off. Then fully change it and let it drain again. People say that the new Poly batteries in the Macbooks and MBP do not need to be power cycled. I do find however that it still helps. See I always forget to charge mine and I inadvertently power cycle at least once a month.:eek:
     
  13. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #13
    The battery will not be trickled charged if the current charge is above 95% (that's the threshold on my mbp in any case). You will know when your battery is being charged (even if it's only a matter of 6%) if the Magsafe light turns red. Otherwise, your battery is not being charged.

    And there's no harm in keeping it on AC. As long as you periodically calibrate, you'll be fine.
    Umm...no, that is not a cycle. Apple defines a cycle as a drain of 100% of your battery's capacity. Macbook/Pro users are expected to get roughly 300 cycles (or complete drains of their batteries) before maximum capacity drops below 80% of a brand new battery.

    Apple's page.
     
  14. synth3tik macrumors 68040

    synth3tik

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    Oct 11, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #14
    Then I should be at 15 cycles and not 57. Apple may define a cycle as such, but their software and third-party software does not.
     
  15. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #15
    How old is your computer? Even if you just have it on AC all the time, you will gradually lose power over time.

    Plus, you could have a defective battery.
     
  16. g-boac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    #16
    Cycle Count

    How do I track battery cycle count? Is there a counter somewhere in Leopard?

    thanks!
    Mark
     
  17. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #17
    You'll want to download an app to get better results (multiple sources). iStat Pro (a Dashboard widget) and Coconut Battery (regular app) are the most common ones, and while Coconut is better, it's had some problems with Leopard. I advise you download both and then compare the results to ensure that there is some consistency.
     
  18. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 20, 2005
    #18
    System Profiler lists the cycle count...it's under "Power" in Tiger. The iStat Pro widget also shows it.
     
  19. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    May 21, 2007
    #19
    I forgot about system profiler. :eek:

    iStat has other advantages though, so I still recommend it.
     
  20. g-boac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    #20
    WildCowboy - found it, thanks! 23 cycles and good health for me.
    CalBoy - thanks for the tip, I will check out iStat!

    regards,
    Mark
     
  21. skyhawkmatthew macrumors member

    skyhawkmatthew

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #21
    I don't have an issue with using the computer and basically ignoring the cycle count...
    Full charge capacity (mAh): 5221
    Cycle count: 187
    Battery health: Good
    My MacBook is 13 months old and MB batteries are quoted by Apple as 5200mAh, so it's still above rated capacity!

    However, batteries can and do die over time, even with the computer running almost permanently on AC, like my Pismo, whose battery died altogether a few weeks ago, having 8 mins of charge about 3 months ago and 1:30 a year and a half before that.
     
  22. gagugagu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #22
    so i googled 'how does cycle count increase and how to lower it' in google. and this popped up. :p dont wanna make a new thread. :)

    anyways, yeah. how do i prevent it from increasing rapidly and such? also, is it bad (does the cycle increase or such) if say im 100% and still plugged, unplug it, go to school, and plug it again?
     
  23. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #23
    If you use your Mac from 100% to 50% battery capacity, then recharge again to 100%, it will count as 0.5 cycles. You have to again complete half a cycle to get a full cycle, thus go again from 100% to 50% and recharge again.
     
  24. gagugagu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #24
    oh. so hold on.. i drain mine to 1%. and charge up to 100% (in most occasions; then leave it on) is that bad?
     
  25. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #25
    You don't need to completely drain the battery, it is not necessary. If you can use the power adapter, use that. Just remember to calibrate every once in a while.
    And that FAQ might be a good read too. I guess, I am forced anyway to post it.
     

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