Is it wise to replace the dead battery in my MacBook?
February 15, 2013 2:44 PM   Subscribe

I have an older MacBook I use when travelling (four or five times a year), and then the odd occasion when I am away from my office desktop. The battery on the MacBook died a few months ago, and I am guessing partially because I haven't been using it frequently enough. I am hesitant to replace the battery, figuring the same thing will happen again, is that right? Is there a downside to not having a working battery on the computer itself? And lastly, is there a problem with leaving the dead battery in the computer?
posted by nanook to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I had the same experience. First battery died after a few years. Second died more quickly -- which was probably more a function of coincidence than theory. I used my laptop without the battery but the only problem was that the dumb magnetic plug would come out and cut my power at the most inconvenient times. So if you can put up with that I would not see a problem going battery-free.
posted by thorny at 3:00 PM on February 15, 2013

Define dead, in this case, please. Stone dead? Or just too low to maintain much charge?

There's no deficit in keeping it in there-- might as well, because it will protect the soft underbelly of the Mac and maintain a smooth bottom surface. There is an incremental danger of battery fire, but that's not likely enough to justify removing it for that reason, and is probably less likely to happen in a dead battery.

I don't think the same thing will happen again. Is this something you can expense? (I know that's not to be taken lightly-- companies can be misery, broke, or both, but still it's worth asking.)

I would buy the battery and leave it in your travel kit. Swap it in when you travel (charge it up before you leave), and that might preserve its lifespan.

That said, do you expect to get many more years out of this Mac? Factor that into your decision.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:03 PM on February 15, 2013

You can run a MacBook Pro entirely without a battery, no problem. The only issue is that if you accidentally jostle the plug, you'll lose power instantly. You might want to tape it down.

If a battery goes really bad, then it can start leaking toxic ugliness, so if it is completely dead, you may want to take it to your local battery disposal place. If there is any charge in it at all, it's probably okay to leave in.

Batteries will eventually go bad whether you use them or not. Like tires, they are made of stuff that just deteriorates over time.
posted by musofire at 3:03 PM on February 15, 2013

Sunburnt, it is completely dead. In terms of expense, I would probably prefer to skip it and put the money towards some other tech expense, if there is no actual harm to the computer, and I can live with the inconvenience of needing a power source, though it certainly can be a bit of a hassle.
posted by nanook at 3:27 PM on February 15, 2013

If you don't mind the weight, then I'd keep it in, or else improvise a cover to take its place, assuming there are exposed parts down there-- that varies with the model. If it's internal, then chuck it so you don't risk a leak. Save all the screws!

Please dispose responsibility.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:32 PM on February 15, 2013

If you run a MacBook without a battery, it will limit itself to half-speed to conserve power. The power adapter alone can't power a MacBook running at full speed. It relies on the battery reserve to do that.
posted by WasabiFlux at 3:34 PM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

See also: Tom's Hardware's benchmarks for a MacBook with and without battery. This explains so much...I have a 2008 black MacBook that has a dead battery and is now superslow. Hence why a new battery is on my wishlist for this spring!
posted by limeonaire at 4:19 PM on February 15, 2013

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