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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Battery vs. AC Adapter

Battery vs. AC Adapter
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stephanielamb
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Jun 24, 2005, 12:21 PM
 
Sorry, i'm just full of questions today. (I only want the best for my Powerbook!!!)

This is the typical setting I use my Powerbook in. I don't really take it much of anywhere, it sits on a desk all day, and I go back and forth to it, so I sort of need it to be on most of the time. With my previous Powerbook, I just left the AC Adapter plugged in all the time. After reading something about the average battery only having 500 charges, I got to thinking, and got a little confused. So my question is, which of the following scenarios will be best on my Powerbook and battery?

1) Leave AC Adapter unplugged except when PB needs charging, run from battery.

2) Leave AC Adapter plugged in, but I don't know if this uses battery or not?

3) Plug AC Adapter in, take out battery? (I Think it still runs this way, and that way the battery will last longer?)

Towards the end, my PB battery life got pretty bad.. a couple hours max, even with all the settings turned down. I want to do whatever I can do conserve battery life now, because there will be a time soon where I will need to travel with my PB and let it run from battery here and there.


Thanks!
     
ibook_steve
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Jun 24, 2005, 12:30 PM
 
4) Don't worry about it.

Not sure what PB you are referring to where the battery life got bad, but batteries in the current Powerbooks are quite robust. And I'm not sure where you heard that they can take only 500 charges. That is wrong. Number 1 is not necessary. Number 2 does not use the battery. The AC trickle charges the battery once it's full to keep it full for when you need it. You can do number 3 if you are paranoid, but be aware that on some Powerbooks, this puts the machine in the lower CPU speed mode, hurting performance. So I say number 4. If you calibrate the battery every once in a while, that's all you need to do. All batteries will die eventually, but there's really no need to babysit them. Just use your machine and enjoy it!

Steve
     
stephanielamb  (op)
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Jun 24, 2005, 12:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by ibook_steve
4) Don't worry about it.

Not sure what PB you are referring to where the battery life got bad, but batteries in the current Powerbooks are quite robust. And I'm not sure where you heard that they can take only 500 charges. That is wrong. Number 1 is not necessary. Number 2 does not use the battery. The AC trickle charges the battery once it's full to keep it full for when you need it. You can do number 3 if you are paranoid, but be aware that on some Powerbooks, this puts the machine in the lower CPU speed mode, hurting performance. So I say number 4. If you calibrate the battery every once in a while, that's all you need to do. All batteries will die eventually, but there's really no need to babysit them. Just use your machine and enjoy it!

Steve
Hm. Well as long as option 2 doesn't use the battery, that's probably what I'll go by. As opposed to my last PB, this one *must* last me a long time, and for a college student, a battery is quite a big expense. I just don't want to do things the wrong way for a year then find out i've been causing harm!
     
perbl
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Jul 4, 2005, 04:15 AM
 
Word of advice...

Left my plug in the machine most of the time, and my battery went really bad in just a little over a year, lasting only 20 minutes on a full charge. Also have a friend with an iBook who experienced the same, while my friends that use their batteries more active have had no such problems. So my advice would be, at least use the battery a few times a week.
     
d.fine
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Jul 4, 2005, 04:32 AM
 
Leave it plugged in. It doesn't use the battery and it won't start charging unless the battery drops bellow 95%. I've been using mine like this for 1.5 years. The battery life of the RevA 15" PB's is nothing to write home about, but this one still goes a little over 2.5 hours when fully charged.

But the advice given above is valid. Use the battery from time to time. Drain it sometimes, untill the machines goes into forced sleep, then go for the full recharge.

stuffing feathers up your b*tt doesn't make you a chicken.
     
I was David B.
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Jul 4, 2005, 04:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by stephanielamb

3) Plug AC Adapter in, take out battery? (I Think it still runs this way, and that way the battery will last longer?)

Thanks!
Yes! This way the battery does not get hot. A hot battery lets the internal contacts corrode faster which is the main reason for capacity loss although the battery is not used.

If you want to handle your battery the best way you can, put it into a drawer with 50 - 70 % of charge, recharge every few months (or if you need it of course).

Handling it this way my Ti battery lost only 10% of capacity during 3.5 years of moderate use.



Originally Posted by ibook_steve
4) Don't worry about it.

Steve
And a second "Yes", absolutely!!!! Best tip I ever read about this and about powerbooks in general.
     
ibook_steve
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Jul 4, 2005, 12:30 PM
 
As I stated, running without the battery in place puts some Powerbooks into their lower CPU state automatically with no indication to the user.

Steve


Originally Posted by I was David B.
Yes! This way the battery does not get hot. A hot battery lets the internal contacts corrode faster which is the main reason for capacity loss although the battery is not used.

If you want to handle your battery the best way you can, put it into a drawer with 50 - 70 % of charge, recharge every few months (or if you need it of course).

Handling it this way my Ti battery lost only 10% of capacity during 3.5 years of moderate use.




And a second "Yes", absolutely!!!! Best tip I ever read about this and about powerbooks in general.
     
alianna_98
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Jul 4, 2005, 02:50 PM
 
From Apple's knowledgebase (http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html), leaving your portable plugged in all the time is NOT recommended. If you do have it plugged in all the time, they recommend that you drain the battery and charge it back at least once a month.

From that page:

Standard Maintenance
For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it’s important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses her iBook on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing. If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month.
( Last edited by alianna_98; Jul 4, 2005 at 03:35 PM. )
     
kwiens
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Jul 4, 2005, 02:52 PM
 
Apple has a great resource on batteries here:
http://www.apple.com/batteries/

Check out the notebook section. I'm not aware of any problems leaving the AC adapter plugged in all the time-- Apple only recommends to remove the battery when the computer will be unused for long periods of time. Long term storage with 50% charge is best for longevity, as David B. said.

-Kyle Wiens
CEO, PB FixIt
www.PBFixIt.com
Thousands of PowerBook & iBook parts and accessories.
------------------------
PB 17" 1.0 1GB 60GB SD
     
   
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