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#12984 - 11/27/10 11:45 PM Battery calibration question
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Apple Portables: Calibrating your computer's battery for best performance specifies, with regard to my MacBook:

Quote:
1. Plug in the power adapter and fully charge your PowerBook's battery until the light ring or LED on the power adapter plug changes to green and the onscreen meter in the menu bar indicates that the battery is fully charged.
2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for at least two hours. You may use your computer during this time as long as the adapter is plugged in.
3. Disconnect the power adapter while the computer still on and start running the computer off battery power. You may use your computer during this time. When your battery gets low, the low battery warning dialog appears on the screen.
4. At this point, save your work.  Continue to use your computer; when the battery gets very low, the computer will automatically go to sleep.
5. Turn off the computer or allow it to sleep for five hours or more.
6. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged again.
(Emphasis added)

I've always assumed that the absence of an explicit statement that I should not use my MacBook during step 6 means that I may use it during recharging without affecting the calibration, but I just got a brand-spanking new battery from Apple, I want to calibrate it, and I'd like to finally be certain.

Thanks.
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#12988 - 11/28/10 08:08 AM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: artie505]
MacManiac Offline

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Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
I'd take the prudent course and plan my recharge for either overnight, or for some other period of time where I am suitably distracted so as to not want to use the computer while it was charging......

I personally have been told that there are interdictions for this terrible addictive state we all seem to share, but to-date I've successfully held them all off.
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#12989 - 11/28/10 08:20 AM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: artie505]
alternaut Offline

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Registered: 08/04/09
I can't give you the official scoop on this, but like you I have always taken the instructions to allow usage during recharging. That said, I rarely use it during this recharging because I run down the battery in the evening to let it sit overnight and start recharging the next (weekday) morning before leaving for work.
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#12997 - 11/28/10 02:13 PM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
step 5 seems excessive. possibly problematic as well. Having a battery fall into hibernation is annoying. Apple's batteries are intelligent, and require the electronics to be functioning to TAKE a charge, meaning if they ever do get truly fully discharged, they're bricked, forever.

When a battery is "dead" that it won't turn on the computer anymore, it still has enough power to communicate with the computer and start accepting a charge. But if it sits too long that way (no firm numbers anywhere on "how long" this takes) the battery safeties into hibernation mode. In that mode it can be identified by the computer as present, but will not accept any charge at all. About every 10-20 minutes, the battery will briefly wake from hibernation and check for the computer. If there's a computer willing to charge it, it will switch into charge mode and begin charging.

Therefore a battery that's hibernating can appear to be defective in that it won't take a charge. The solution is usually to let it sit for a long time (hour or more) on AC power - you'll usually return to see it has started charging. We've had close to a dozen people bring in their macbooks/pros in with a battery they claim is defective/needs replacing because it won't charge, and that I was able to wake from hibernation and restore to normal function by leaving it on AC all day.

But still I'm surprised that apple would suggest taking a battery down far enough to enter hibernation. That's a dangerous place to be. If it gets too low, it will no longer be able to check for the computer, and will be bricked.
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#13002 - 11/28/10 03:39 PM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
What personal rules do you follow for calibrating your MBP's battery if you don't follow Apple's?

Thanks.
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#13003 - 11/28/10 04:56 PM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: MacManiac]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> I personally have been told that there are interdictions for this terrible addictive state we all seem to share, but to-date I've successfully held them all off.

I once took my addiction to an acupuncturist, but I wasn't about to let him stick that two inch pin into my deuced Mac(hina)'s screen.

Thanks for the insight. My problem is I'm really short on distractions these days.
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#13004 - 11/28/10 05:14 PM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: alternaut]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> [...] before going to work.

I never, ever thought I'd miss being able to say that. frown

My problem with calibrating the "safe" way is I have no means, such as, for example, work or sleep, to structure the necessary "down-time."

Don't you find it curious that Apple left a gaping hole in the instructions right at the point at which direction seems to be most needed?

When you're battery is fully charged, using your Mac works it in the direction you want it to go, whereas when it's charging, using your Mac works it in the opposite direction and could conceivably affect calibration.
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#13021 - 11/28/10 09:51 PM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Thanks for the battery facts; they sure ain't just plain old Evereadys any more.

I just reread your post and searched Google, unsuccessfully, for problems such as non-waking hibernating batteries, so while I'm in no position to dispute your facts I've got to suggest that Apple has apparently research its methodology and determined that it's sound, and I'll calibrate their way.

I'll probably post back tomorrow about a battery that won't take a charge after having been calibrated according to Apple's instructions. tongue
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#13066 - 11/30/10 10:36 AM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: artie505
What personal rules do you follow for calibrating your MBP's battery if you don't follow Apple's?


I always have two batteries, and I number them. About once a month I unplug AC and let it go down to sleep. Plug it back in again in the morning and let it top off, and that afternoon I switch it with the one in my bag.

Keeps both batteries charged and experiencing a periodic deep cycle. Has done well by my so far, and I'm on mac laptop number 6. Wallstreet, tibook, albook, newer albook, mbp, newer mbp.

I upgrade fairly frequently, every 2-3 years, and can really get to using my batteries, but every time I've sold a computer it's gone with two good batteries still in it.
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#13071 - 11/30/10 01:25 PM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: artie505]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
The primary function of calibrating a laptop battery is not so much to condition it or minimize any memory effects that might occur (valuable as these effects may be), but to re-adjust the readout of the gradually diminishing charge of the battery to 100% when full and 0% when empty. This is necessary because the ‘100% charged’ value in particular is a moving target.

Apart from being drained when used, batteries gradually lose the ability to hold a charge. After a while you cannot recharge the battery to the original 100% anymore, because it can hold only (let’s say) 95%. Recalibration resets the extreme values to those measured when the battery stops charging (= 100%) and stops discharging (= 0%) during the calibration process. These 0% and 100% values may be affected by safety circuitry, but that doesn’t detract from this explanation.
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#13072 - 11/30/10 01:27 PM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I don't know if the term "conditioner" has the same implication as calibration, but Newer Technology offers external "Charger and Conditioners" to fit the batteries from many (most?) MacBook models. You might take a look here to see if there is one that might solve your issues.
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#13081 - 11/30/10 11:55 PM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
That sounds like its exactly what Apple suggests.

Your input has made me realize that I've probably been doing something potentially dangerous, though, i.e. letting my battery run down until my deuced Mac(hina) burns through its sleep reserve and shuts down on its own.

So far, I've (luckily) not run into any issues, but I'm going to change my evil ways beginning with the next time I calibrate run down.

Thanks for your help.


Edited by artie505 (12/01/10 12:15 AM)
Edit Reason: Claen up
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#13082 - 12/01/10 12:07 AM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: alternaut]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I've been aware of that all along, which is why I've merely run my battery down once a month rather than calibrated it.

Since my battery virtually never gets any use, working it is critical, whereas accurate readouts, which are nice to have, are not all that necessary other than to keep tabs for insurance purposes or preparatory to selling a deuced Mac(hina).
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#13083 - 12/01/10 12:12 AM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Thanks for the link, but, as I just explained to alternaut, I've got no real issues at this point, the ins and outs of both running down a battery v calibrating it and Apple's calibration instructions having been discussed.

I'll just continue to run down once a month and calibrate as the whim and opportunity strike, which I think is adequate in my situation.
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#13136 - 12/03/10 10:20 AM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: artie505
Since my battery virtually never gets any use, working it is critical, whereas accurate readouts, which are nice to have, are not all that necessary other than to keep tabs for insurance purposes or preparatory to selling a deuced Mac(hina).


Actually I'd suggest the greater risk for you is never using the battery, and never calibrating it. I frequently see customers come in with an older machine with a cycle count under 20, and the battery has about a 5 minute charge, because it's never been used or cycled and that makes the battery develop a charge memory, ruining it. It's hard for some customers to understand the irony of the situation, that their "saving their battery" by never using it, has lead to its early demise.
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#13142 - 12/03/10 10:59 AM Re: Battery calibration question [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
Originally Posted By: artie505
Since my battery virtually never gets any use, working it is critical, whereas accurate readouts, which are nice to have, are not all that necessary other than to keep tabs for insurance purposes or preparatory to selling a deuced Mac(hina).


Actually I'd suggest the greater risk for you is never using the battery, and never calibrating it. I frequently see customers come in with an older machine with a cycle count under 20, and the battery has about a 5 minute charge, because it's never been used or cycled and that makes the battery develop a charge memory, ruining it. It's hard for some customers to understand the irony of the situation, that their "saving their battery" by never using it, has lead to its early demise.

That's precisely what happened to my iBook battery, which I unhappily discovered while I was prepping it for sale. frown

And that's why I've made a point of running my MacBook's battery down once a month, but the calibration process is such a pain that I do it faaar less frequently, 'cause, after all, it's really only a statistic.
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