Why won't my Powerbook G4 battery hold a charge?
December 13, 2004 2:37 AM   Subscribe

My 2.5 year old Powerbook G4's battery seems to have suddenly lost the ability to hold more than a 40 minute charge. What's up with that? What should I do about it?
posted by donkeymon to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Is it sudden, or have you been gradually losing power in your battery? Do you often go onto battery power? Laptop batteries tend to retain less and less of a charge as time goes by. Lithium batteries (which I presume your powerbook has) typically last for a year or two with regular use -- the determinative factor being the number of charge-discharge cycles, so you've actually gotten about as much use out of it as you can. You might try draining the battery completely and charging it a few times to see if that helps, but it doesn't really make much of a difference for Lithium batteries, especially when they are that old. You'll probably have to buy a new battery. Note: I am not an expert on batteries, but I believe this information to be accurate.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 3:33 AM on December 13, 2004

In my experience (I work as a technician maintaining Apple equipment), that sounds like a reasonable lifetime for the battery if you charge-discharge often.

You can purchase replacement batteries from Apple, or from places like OWC - their replacements are supposed to hold a longer charge than the originals, but YMMV.
posted by sluggo at 4:25 AM on December 13, 2004

The same thing happened to my three-year-old Powerbook G4, roughly six months ago. A new battery will make everything right as rain.
posted by Prospero at 5:51 AM on December 13, 2004

You might want to check this out: https://depot.info.apple.com/batteryexchange/ to see if your battery is one of the ones affected. Of course now I see the 2.5 year old bit, but it couldnt hurt to check anyway :)
posted by gren at 5:55 AM on December 13, 2004

I have the same model laptop, or slightly older, and experienced the same issue. I just got a new battery from PowerMax (one of the few places that had them in stock then, I don't know what the deal is now). It fixed the problem.
posted by scrim at 6:47 AM on December 13, 2004

You're definitely going to need a new battery, but you may consider hanging onto the old one to use when you are at home, office, etc. and plugged in. Use the new battery exclusively for on-the-road use, and try to fully discharge it each time before recharging.
posted by rorycberger at 3:27 PM on December 13, 2004

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