Mountain Lion, New SSD - what's destroying my battery life?
February 24, 2013 8:53 AM   Subscribe

So, I've made the fatal mistake of performing several upgrades at once, and I could do with some advice on where to go now... is my problem with charging time and battery life my new SSDs, my new OS, or something else entirely? Generic snowflake details to follow:

Recently, I've been experiencing excessive hard drive spin noise in my (Early 2011) 15" MacBook Pro, along with what felt like excessive fan spin-up. Hoping to kill two birds with one stone, I decided to swap the HDD out for an SSD. After due consideration, I bought the Samsung 840 basic model (500GB).

Then, since I was going to be taking the bottom off the laptop anyway, I thought why not also put an SSD in the little-used optical drive bay? I had a 256GB Crucial M4 SSD kicking around from the death of my last laptop, which had up until that point been doing duty as a very expensive sneakernet solution, so I bought an OWC OptiBay drive caddy and installed that also.

To save time, I cloned my old 500GB HDD onto the 500GB SSD using SuperDuper, and did a straight swap.

So far so normal, but when I booted back up, after a long and slightly terrifying pause, it booted as normal, indexed the new drive and I was back in business.

However, I then got cocky, and decided, since I was making changes, to upgrade the OS as well, from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, right after booting up.

This all happened yesterday. Everything was fine until I unplugged the laptop, at which point it registered one hour of battery life (although actually it lasted for more like two, and that figure jumped up to 1:24 and froze in place at various points). Although the Early 2011 Pro is not supposed to have a user-replaceable battery, and thus also is not supposed to need calibration, I let it run down overnight (using Caffeine) and am now charging it - a process which the system is telling me is going to take a full day (it's at 32% now, and saying it will be 3 1/2 hours until the charge is complete, but again that needle is sticking and jumping - in fact, a few hours later, it is at 65% but still saying 3 hours, so...).

I don't know what the run-down time will then be, because I want to give it a full charge before I try it, but at this point I'm not optimistic.

Now, because I used SuperDuper I still have the (bootable) mechanical Hard Drive, with Snow Leopard and all my files, currently one day out of date. I am wondering if it would be sensible to either admit defeat and swap that back in, or to swap it in, reclone the HDD onto the SSD and then swap the drives again (thus rolling back to pre-Mountain Lion, since it seems impossible to roll it back without restoring the cloned HDD), leaving me with the SSD in the machine. However, because I was an idiot and made three changes without stopping and benchmarking, I am not sure where the problem lies, and I'd like to minimize my corrective steps. I'm also wondering if this is something weird about SSDs, and I would be better off with a clean install and the back-aching procedure of redownloading and installing my applications from there...

So, does anyone have experience of this kind of issue? What is most likely to be the issue, and is there any chance it will sort itself out over a few charges? I expected that taking the HDD motor out of the system would _increase_ battery life, but am I missing something obvious? As it is, I figure the problem is logically either the new hardware, the new OS or (outside chance) failing to reconnect the battery properly (but I can't see how that would cause this, rather than a total failure to power up). There seem to be a number of complaints online about Mountain Lion borking power management, and because I bought it a while ago and never got around to installing it I am on 10.8.1, but 10.8.2 would need to be a dramatic update to make this workable... does anyone have experience/secret knowledge of this kind of situation, before I start making and testing further system changes?

(Further totally generic snowflake addenda - the battery is a standard came-with-the-machine Apple battery, which originally had 6900 mAh, and is now registering 6199 after 342 cycles, according to Battery Health. The MBP is a 15" unibody: was on 10.6.8, now on 10.8.1. Both SATA connectors are Intel 6 Series, enabling 6 gigabit throughput, and both SSD are 6 gigabit models.)
posted by running order squabble fest to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe try resetting your SMC?
posted by GuyZero at 9:04 AM on February 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Reset the SMC.

Fans running oddlt, battery behaving improperly, major hardware changes. Start with an SMC reset, go from there.

This does not sound like a software problem to me, this sounds like something wonky with the SMC to me, so start there.

Then back up using time machine and install a ground up O/S, restore from time machine backup.

Your apps should just be there btw, with a proper time machine backup, but I always like to install fresh.
posted by iamabot at 9:06 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, wow - how did I forget the SMC? So, next question - is there any way to tell if an SMC reset is actually successful on an early 2011 MBP? I turn it off, press down left shift, left control, left alt and the power button simultaneously for about a second, then power it back up, right? Is there any way to tell whether it worked except experientially? Like the beep when you reset PRAM?
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:31 AM on February 24, 2013

Response by poster: (This question may have answered itself, since the processor temperature has dropped by about 60 degrees, and the fans are running 3000rpm slower.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:35 AM on February 24, 2013

The other way to tell a successful SMC reset is that the power adapter light will switch states (orange to green or vice versa).
posted by sleeping bear at 9:41 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Now upgrade the OS, ya dingus!
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 10:43 AM on February 24, 2013

I hope you ran TRIM enabler, otherwise your new SSD will die fairly quickly.
posted by devnull at 1:16 AM on February 25, 2013

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