Why aren't my Macbook and battery communicating with each other?
September 13, 2007 8:58 AM   Subscribe

My Macbook has stopped recognizing/charging the battery. Help.

Today, I noticed that every time I unplugged my Macbook from the AC adapter, it shut down instead of going into sleep mode. When I plugged it back in and restarted it, I noticed the following:

The light on the adapter is green.
The battery icon in the finder bar says 0% for about 3 seconds, and then has an X on it.

So the Macbook thinks it has no battery and the AC adapter thinks the battery is charged. The button on the bottom of the Macbook for checking battery shows no lights when I push it.

I found an Apple document that suggests reseating the battery (done) and shutting down, disconnecting from AC, removing the battery, holding down the power button for 5 seconds, reinserting the battery and AC and restarting. Neither works.

Thanks in advance for your help.
posted by 4ster to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
It sounds like the battery is dead. This happened to me with a ~6 month old MacBook and Apple replaced it.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:01 AM on September 13, 2007

(Replaced the battery, that is.)
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:02 AM on September 13, 2007

It's a common problem, and Apple has extended the warranty coverage on the batteries. You should be covered to get a new one.
posted by marionnette en chaussette at 9:07 AM on September 13, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the quick responses. Assuming it is the battery, what is the best way to handle it? I have only had the Macbook since May, and I was waiting until January to buy AppleCare (for expense account reasons).

If I went to an Apple store (unfortunately about 90 minutes from my house), would this be pretty quick and painless?
posted by 4ster at 9:14 AM on September 13, 2007

Response by poster: er, not May. March.
posted by 4ster at 9:14 AM on September 13, 2007

You're still within warranty, so just call AppleCare. They'll give you some hassle about being out of the 90 day phone support window and charge you for the privilege of talking to them, but if they determine that your battery does need replacing, they'll refund that charge. Trekking to an Apple Store may end up being easier, especially if you make an appointment beforehand, but you may get burned if they make you come back at a later time if they can't troubleshoot it or replace the battery on the spot.
posted by marionnette en chaussette at 9:28 AM on September 13, 2007

I had this problem about 11 months after owning a MacBook. I had left it in sleep mode while unplugged for a week or two and it completely depleted the battery. From what I could tell it need to be reset internally. Since it was still under warranty, I made an appointment at my local Apple store and brought it in. When I was there the genius verified that it wasn't working and grabbed a brand new battery and put it in and it worked fine. I was in and out in under 5 minutes with a brand new battery.
posted by mjp at 9:33 AM on September 13, 2007

CoconutBattery might be able to give you a bit more information. Also, poke around in the "System Profiler" app to see if it has any insight.

But yeah, just call AppleCare if you're still within warranty.
posted by Laen at 9:54 AM on September 13, 2007

I suggest going on the Apple website and setting up an appointment at the Genius Bar for your nearest store beforehand. You'll be happier and probably wait much less time. (On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who happily watches technogear, hey, the wait can just let you poke at stuff.)
posted by mephron at 10:01 AM on September 13, 2007

I had this problem with my powerbook. It wasn't the battery, but an AC charging circuit on the motherboard itself. It took a trip to applecare to fix.
posted by devbrain at 10:18 AM on September 13, 2007

I've lived with this problem on my PowerBook for the past two years. Tried replacing the battery and that didn't do it; I suspect that my problem is the same as devbrain's (i.e., that it's something internal). I live in upstate NY, far from an apple store, and parting with my computer for an exptended period is, for me, more inconvenient than always plugging the laptop in.

(slight derailment) Devbrain, how long did it take to fix the problem when you shipped it off? Is this a problem that can be fixed at an apple store genius bar (I don't live near one but could take my laptop with me next time I visit the in-laws, who do live near an Apple store).
posted by herc at 12:46 PM on September 13, 2007

Also, you may want to try http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=305364 if you haven't already. There's a few options there, including apparently a patch to the battery monitoring software.

Of course, you may have tried it already. But I did find that.
posted by mephron at 1:51 PM on September 13, 2007

This happened to me. The computer was still covered by the original warranty, so I brought it to the Apple store and they tested it, replaced the battery, and sent me on my merry way.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:31 PM on September 13, 2007

Response by poster: All,

I can't seem to get an appointment with a genius anytime soon Anyone had any experience with just showing up at an Apple store and getting helped with this?
posted by 4ster at 6:56 PM on September 13, 2007

Response by poster: Also, thanks so much. This has been a big help.
posted by 4ster at 6:56 PM on September 13, 2007

This is a known problem. Your battery is dead. Call Apple, and they will replace it. I've had it happen to two different Macbook batteries this year.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:30 AM on September 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Showing up at the Apple store sans appointment was a bad idea, but calling Apple got me my new battery in 2 business days.

Thanks again.
posted by 4ster at 8:06 AM on September 21, 2007

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