Using MBP in an airplane with in-seat power?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mixvio, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. mixvio macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #1
    I have a question for you guys.

    In January I'm going to be flying from Australia to the US via Qantas. I already know that my flight will have power in the seat available on the Sydney to Los Angeles leg, but I have a concern about one thing which I've been unable to find information for online.

    Those seat plugs have a maximum amount of power they will let you draw, and if your device is trying to suck down more than that allowance the power simply won't activate at all. A possible way to trip this is if your laptop battery needs to be recharged or is not at full power. Attempting to charge the battery on the plane won't work, and the usual solution is to just take the battery out entirely and plug it in again.

    Now, I've never had that be an issue with my previous Windows machines, but I tend to keep my laptop at full charge as much as possible. Now that I have a MBP with a non-removable battery, I'm slightly concerned about this being a problem if the battery isn't fully charged and it tries to draw more power than the seat will allow.

    The thought of a fourteen hour flight with no computer is really harrowing to me. :p Do any of you have any experience using a MBP with in-flight power -- specifically when the battery is not fully charged?

    I have the 15" 2.66 i7 from earlier in the year if that makes any difference (although I don't think it would.)
     
  2. DiamondGCoupe macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #2
    http://www.seatguru.com/

    Type your flight number and see power options on the model aircraft you will be flying. May need to buy in-flight adapter at airport. Not familiar with Quantas' setups, though.
     
  3. mixvio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 12, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #3
    Nah that's not what I'm asking. I've already done this flight and I already know that it has power and how to get the MBP plugged in.

    Specifically I'm asking about how the MBPs with the non-removable batteries work in the airplane in-seat plugs. This is an issue across the board with all the planes, it's not limited to a specific airline or airplane.
     
  4. RZS macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #4
    I think this is what you're looking for: http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB441Z/A

    I believe it is designed to provide power to the laptop but not actually charge (to limit the amount of power it draws).

    Basically, you can use your laptop the entire flight with it, your battery just wont go anywhere (in fact I guess it would probably loose a little juice)
     
  5. mixvio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 12, 2009
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    Sydney, Australia
    #5
    Oh sweet, that would be perfect actually if that's how it works.
     
  6. RZS macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #6
    I will point out that from what I can see on SeatGuru and Qantas' website, their power-equipped planes use AC power. If this is true, then you should be able to plug in your regular power cord, no need for any kind of adapter. But if that isn't the case, the adapter I linked to before will work.

    I think it would probably be smart to call Qantas and inquire specifically about the availability and adapter on your flights. It wouldn't be fun to spend $50 on something that doesn't work or you don't need.
     
  7. mixvio thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #7
    Yeah I just checked myself and they use the regular wall plugs as found in a home, not empower.

    Again though my question is not whether or not there will be power on the flight (I already know that there will be) but whether or not anyone has any experience using a MBP on an in-seat powered flight. Specifically, if the issue I mentioned above of the mains power not activating because the battery is discharged holds true.
     
  8. mixvio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 12, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #8
    Okay, from the best of my ability to research, it appears that seat power is limited to 75W, which is what the MBP can trip up over given that its power brick is rated for 85W. A few people on other sites suggested using the 13" 60W charger with the MBP instead, as that will allow it to get enough of a charge to run the machine but not enough power to go over the current limit and cause the seat to disable power entirely.

    As a worst-case scenario I'll throw one from my previous 13" MBP into my luggage and use that if I have problems charging/using the laptop in the flight.

    Although if anyone has any direct experience with this and can allay my fears, that will be awesome.
     
  9. AnonMac50 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    #9
    I haven't used it in a plane, but I from my experience, the 60W charger is really weak for a 15"/17" MBP. Since you're MBP has a non-removable battery, you wouldn't have to worry about it. It would hardly charge. For a 60W battery of my Early 2008 MBP, it took almost an hour to charge from nothing to border-line bootable.

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. LikuidMetal macrumors regular

    LikuidMetal

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Location:
    Irving Texas
    #10
    This has been very informative, Good Q & A's guys.
     
  11. jlc1978 macrumors 68000

    jlc1978

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    #11
    I did a trans-Atlantic flight with no problems. My MBP (2010) worked just fine the entire flight. No seat adaptor was needed - used the ac adaptor.
     
  12. mixvio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 12, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #12
    That's promising, although out of curiosity did you begin the flight with the battery fully charged, or discharged enough that if it had been plugged into a wall it would be charging?

    And, was it the 13'', or the 15/17''?
     
  13. jlc1978 macrumors 68000

    jlc1978

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    #13
    Fully charged - 15" i5. If you're really worried take a 60w supply with you in case the 85 gives you trouble. - I use one at home to charge/run my MBP and it works fine.
     
  14. khunsanook macrumors 6502

    khunsanook

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    East Asia
    #14
    Just flew a 7-hour Delta flight in Asia with in-seat power. My MBP 13" had a low battery from the start - plugged in my regular adapter and had no problems whatsoever. It charged my MBP as well.
     
  15. mixvio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 12, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #15
    Awesome, that makes me feel better. I will bring along the 60W adapter just to be 100% safe, but I feel a little more at ease that my 15" won't be shutting off when the battery runs out a few hours into the flight.
     

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