Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Thu 27 Jul 2006

MacBook Pro battery life

Category : mac and the internet

Recently during a library talk, I was caught by surprise in mid-sentence when Keynote announced for all to see that: "[My] slideshow has been suspended."

Sheesh! Suspended! Couldn't it just go completely blank like it used to?

While I admonished myself for that silly mistake, RamblingLibrarian helpfully took this photo above and later reported that:

At one point, [Otterman's] Macbook Pro ran out of battery power. "You are now running on reserve battery power." I bet he thought, "I miss my ibook".

It's not any iBook of course, but my 14.1" iBook with a battery life the likes of which will never be seen again (closest energy-guzzling Intel MacBook is 13.1"). With the iBook I did not have to resort to that namby-pamby screen-dimming, "better battery performance" nonsense that Powerbook owners enthusiastically talk about when comparing battery life. I am still used to all systems go for at least 4 hours before any warning emerged. Then severe screen dimming would coax the iBook for another 20 mins at least.

All that is history now with the MBP. I have joined the hordes of screen-dimming, "better battery performance" users and its no fun. Especially while all that emerging heat is lost to the ambience or your long-suffering hands.

Recently LCP reported that he understands more than one MBP user has had his battery die on him after a several months. He reported this after sending his MBP to Applecare - they took his MBP in, but eventually gave him a new battery.

Intrigued, I started testing my MBP battery just a thread started in me@n. I can make one meaningful comparison:

Yezdi, 2.16GHz MBPro,
~ 3hrs 45 mins

Start with Full Charge, 100%
Screen brightness = 6 bar,
Bluetooth = OFF
Airport = ON
Power Setting = Better battery life.

Otterman 1,83GHz MBPro,
~ 2hrs 25 mins

Start with Full Charge, 100%,
Screen brightness = 12 bar (max 16 bar),
Bluetooth = ON
Airport = ON
Power Setting = Better performance.

I have to try Yezdi's settings to make a meaningful comparison, but 6 bar brightness? I'd have to try that at home where the ambient lighting is darker.

Meanwhile, MacFixit suggests readers check their batteries charge capacity.

Macfixit, late breakers, Wednesday, July 26 2006 @ 08:30 AM PDT. About battery mAh readings -- increasing charge capacity through calibration

If you are concerned that your portable Mac battery is providing less run-time than it did when you initially purchased the system (or the battery), you might want to check mAh reading.

mAh stands for milliamp-hours - essentially this is a measurement of how much energy is stored in the battery. The lower this number, the less energy will be available for your notebook while disconnected from external power."


If your mAh reading is above 5000, your battery is in relatively good shape. Most units ship from the factory with mAh readings between 5500 and 6000.

If your mAh reading is below 5000, you may want to attempt a battery calibration.

To check, go to Apple Menu> About this Mac> More info...> (System Profiler) Hardware> Power> Battery Information> Full Charge Capacity (mAh)

Mine read 4305. Sheesh, didn't I calibrate the battery a month ago? Or is LCP's suspicions about the early batch of MBP batteries correct?

Meanwhile, I am hanging on to my powercord. Both of 'em.

I had to repost this as I spelt MacBook as "MacBok"!

Posted at 9:52AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .