Friday, February 19, 2010

Mac Battery Health

Most of Macs sold are mobile machines and as a mobile machine we tend to use them when plugging in isn’t convenient.  Battery health is an important part of mobile computing.  If you don’t have access to power and your battery is dead there isn’t much point in having the laptop.  
There are a few ways to check the health of your battery.  Third party apps, and built in apps in OS X.  First I will start with the third party free ware apps.
Battery Health and Status Monitor from SonoraGraphics http://www.sonoragraphics.com/batteryhealth.html is a great freeware program that will tell you about your batteries original capacity, current capacity and charge cycles.  

This gives you a great quick overview of how your battery is doing and if it might need to be replaced.

In OS X 10.6 a new feature was added to the menu bar.  If you press
and click on the battery you will get additional information about your battery.  In this case it adds Condition and tells you what the status of your battery.   The third place you can check for that status of your battery is System Profiler.  Open your System Profiler and click on Power and it will tell you everything about the status of your battery and power management settings. If the indicator tells you to replace the battery or it is in a status other than Normal and you have fewer than 300 Charge Cycles on the battery take it into an Apple Store or call Apple Technical Support.  they may replace your battery if it is defective.   The newer model laptops batteries are typically good for 1000 charge cycles while the older machines are usually good for about 300 charge cycles.  I replace my battery typically every two years to maximize my battery life.   Now you can get an external power pack with a mag safe connector to allow you to run your laptop between 11 and 26 hours depending on model laptop and model of HyperMac http://www.hypershop.com/HyperMac-External-MacBook-Battery-and-Car-Charger-s/91.htm you are using.  It can also recharge iPhones and other USB devices. I know the Mac Geek Gab is doing a little battery survey so pop on over and participate in the survey http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/mac_laptop_battery_life_survey/?utm_campaign=shorturl it will be interesting for us to find out how these batteries really work.