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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > OS 9, 10.4, and batteries

OS 9, 10.4, and batteries
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Sep 23, 2022, 08:18 PM
My old clamshell iBook has a very dead battery, at least that's what I thought. I fired it up today for the first time in a long time, and it initially booted to Tiger. The battery seemed to be charging from what both SlimBatteryMonitor and Apple's own menu bar icon told me, and I watched the charge mAh continue to increase in CoconutBattery.

Rebooted into OS9, and the battery meter in the control strip gained another bar. Pulled the power, and the iBook immediately shut off. At this point, I had three bars in the battery meter, and the palmrest was pretty warm, which makes me think the battery was charging.

Rebooted into OS X after plugging in the power adapter, and SlimBatteryMonitor and CoconutBattery reported 0%...but yet again, I'm watching CoconutBattery continue to report an increase in charge mAh - and the palm rest is staying warm. I also noticed the cycle count increased by one (to a total of 11, so this is not exactly a well-used battery, just very old).

So what's going on here? Is the battery charging, but the controller on the battery itself shot, hence dying when AC is removed? Is everything in OS 9 and OS X that handles reporting battery information getting wrong information from OF or something? Is there a way I can salvage this battery so it's still usable? I can't find anyone at all who makes these anymore, and I'm not sure the plastic enclosure is going to hold up to cracking it open to replace the cells.

I'm used to the "replace immediately" message from the battery manager with bad batteries. I'm not used to a battery behaving like it's taking a charge, only to find out it's not when I pull the plug.
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Join Date: Jun 2000
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Sep 23, 2022, 08:59 PM
I suspect the pack has a weak cell. The whole pack is indeed charging. But one (or more) cells has almost no capacity. Pull the adapter, that one cell falls to zero volts, dragging the pack voltage below critical. Instant shutdown.

At a minimum, you'd have to replace the bad cell(s).
shifuimam  (op)
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Sep 23, 2022, 09:11 PM
This is super helpful and makes sense. I'll have to crack this thing open and have a go at the cells to see what's going on. I mean, it otherwise appears to be an almost-new battery, so if it's just a matter of replacing one (or more) cells, that's easy enough. I hope.
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Sep 26, 2022, 05:25 PM
Its a matter of soldering if memory serves. Those era batteries are generally built out of off the shelf rechargeable cells that look like slightly oversized AA batteries. When wired up they have flat metal strips spot welded to the ends of the cells.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
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