MacBook Pro Battery Life Question
May 3, 2013 4:13 AM   Subscribe

Greetings - I "inherited" a MacBook Pro last year. It was a Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz from Spring 2008. So it was 4 years old when I got it and I was told that the battery was dead and as long as I kept it plugged in, it worked fine, however, I would need a new one. So last year, I purchased a new battery and installed it. However, I am still noticing that the battery life is horrible. It seems like when I am using it to type a document or check emails and surf the web, etc, I literally can watch the battery drain. I would assume that it might hold a charge of about an hour and a half maybe? Is there any way I can "test" it to see what my actual battery life if? To ensure there isn't something else going on? Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks,
posted by dbirchum to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd expect between 4 and 7 hours from a new battery, my old Powerbook would go for a whole day's use. Perhaps your charger is broken? Was your new battery bought from a reputable source? (Some 3rd party batteries are useless and some from ebay are people selling their exhausted batteries) If so is it still in warranty?
posted by epo at 4:25 AM on May 3, 2013

Have you recalibrated the battery? Apple recommends doing it monthly.
posted by scruss at 4:33 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

My MBP from Fall 2007 probably has about 1.5 hours battery life. Although I recall that it would go for 4-5 hours when new.

The usual way to test your battery life is to have it at full charge, unplug it, and use it (lightly, emails or web surfing as you say) until the battery dies. If you've never done this or had it happen to you accidentally, it's worth note that it's possible for the '% remaining' gauge to be inaccurate. The other possibility is that your computer is just drawing more power than expected, perhaps due to other problems (it is pretty old). If this is a new battery from, say, Apple then I'd expect that, though you can probably still take it to an Apple Store and have them check it out.
posted by Lady Li at 4:37 AM on May 3, 2013

I use a MacBook Pro that's only a little bit newer than that, and I replaced the battery last year. I get at least 6-7 hours of use. Battery calibration is a good idea.

If your model has dual video cards, you could check the System Preferences to see if you're using the higher-powered one that uses a lot more battery. You certainly don't need it unless you're doing graphics-intensive work. If your operating system is Leopard or Snow Leopard, the setting is in the Energy Saver preferences and you might have to log out and back in again to make the change; in newer operating systems things have been moved around but a little app like gfxCardStatus will let you switch pretty easily.

You should also check your screen brightness—when you're running on the battery you will see a marked improvement by turning it down a bit.
posted by bcwinters at 4:39 AM on May 3, 2013

Did you buy a battery from Apple, or a counterfeit from somewhere else? It's easy to get scammed through Amazon in that a seemingly cheap battery is actually a counterfeit, for example. They aren't made too well: cells can bulge out of the casing, which is dangerous in itself, or the charge life is poor, etc. One way to tell is to look at the text printed on the battery: look for non-Apple fonts, spelling mistakes, that sort of thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:31 AM on May 3, 2013

I have that vintage of MacBook Pro and when it was brand new it would get three or three and a half hours of use. That was of continual use with the screen nice and bright and wifi and Bluetooth on. And I would use it as I do plugged in. I've bought a new battery every two years as the cycles get over 300.

Your battery sounds like it is a dud. If you bought it from Apple they'll replace it if is still under warranty.
posted by birdherder at 6:36 AM on May 3, 2013

Response by poster: Hi All -

Just a quick note. Thanks for all of the replies thus far. I will go through them all in more detail when I go home and have my MBP in front of me.

Just as a side note, I didn't buy my replacement battery from Apple. I bought it from Other World Computing as our IT guy at work buys most of our replacement parts from them and said it was a good company (and I was on a budget).

Not sure if that helps...
posted by dbirchum at 6:53 AM on May 3, 2013

I also buy from OWC and find them reputable. Although this fact alone doesn't mean getting a dud is impossible, I would rule out other possibilities first.

The problem may not be your new battery. Perhaps there are processes running in the background on your computer using CPU cycles needlessly?
posted by StrawberryPie at 9:08 AM on May 3, 2013

You might be able to get some additional info from coconut Battery.
posted by oceano at 9:36 AM on May 3, 2013

Have you tried using a different power cord?
posted by PrimateFan at 4:47 PM on May 5, 2013

Response by poster: Hey all -

Ok, here is the info from the System Profiler:

Charge Info:
Charge Remaining (mAH); 4152
Fully Charged: Yes
Charging: No
Full Charge Capacity (mAh): 4152

Health Info:
Cycle Count: 44
Condition: Normal

Battery Installed: Yes
Amperage (mA): 0
Voltage (mV): 12528

Battery Load Cycle: 44
Battery Temp: 29.9 C
Battery Power Usage: 0.0 Watt

I also checked out the Coconut Battery (2.8):

Battery Charge:
Current Charge: 4152 mAh
Max Charge: 4152 mAh (100%)

Battery Capacity:
Curent: 4152 mAh
Design: 5200 mAh (80%)
posted by dbirchum at 6:30 AM on May 6, 2013

Response by poster: Also, I haven't tried out another charger...

I should try and get one to test it out.
posted by dbirchum at 6:32 AM on May 6, 2013

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