State of the iBook

According to iStat Pro, a system monitoring Dashboard widget, the battery in my 14″ G4 iBook only has 31% of the endurance that it shipped with, a bit more than a year ago. No wonder I have been unplugging it from the wall recently only to find less than an hour worth of power available. Of course, the figure it gives is untrue. With somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes remaining, the computer will simply turn off – hopefully in a way that seeks to avert file corruption. Every little click of my hard drive now makes me fearful of losing this vital academic and personal tool. The experience of the succession of iPods has made me wary. Backups as frequent as I can bear to run them seem the best option.

Since it would be at least US$129.00 to replace my iBook battery, I must simply tolerate the lack of stamina until such a time arises (probably once I have tunneled my way out of student debt) to strip this machine of most of its RAM and move to something snazzier.

[Update: 13 October 2008] My original iBook battery has now failed completely. It cannot run the computer for even a fraction of a second, the LED charge display on the bottom of the battery doesn’t work, and the computer often cannot detect that the battery is present.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

13 thoughts on “State of the iBook”

  1. iStat says 204 cycles.

    I know it is best practice to do so, but I almost never fully drain and fully charge the battery. It is just too inconvenient. I do try to let the battery discharge and replenish fully once a week or so.

  2. How many cycles has the battery gone through?

    Also, have you generally fully depleted it, then fully charged it again?

  3. My battery has had 191 cycles, but 73% health.

    (I can hardly resist an “i told you so”)

  4. Have you calibrated your battery in the last 3 months? That would likely fix the problem of it shutting off more than 5 minutes before its predicted stop time.

  5. I find your course of action odd. While 130$ US is not chump change, it’s ten fold cheaper than a new labtop. And with all that ram, would a macbook pro really be so much better? I plan to keep my ibook for many years.

  6. Tristan,

    ‘Calibration’ simply being draining it completely and then charging completely? With 40 minutes of battery life, this is not a time consuming operation.

    Regarding replacing the battery, even with a new one I would probably use it in exactly the same way. It is really terribly inconvenient to operate in full cycles of draining and charging.

    Also, regarding the differences in capacity between our iBooks: you did buy yours several months later, and it seems likely to me that you use it less. On a normal day, I am probably on my computer for six hours or more.

  7. I plan to keep my ibook for many years.

    The last paragraph of this post says the same thing, if not as concisely.

  8. After calibrating, the capacity of my battery is listed as being only 26% of what it originally was. Perhaps this post should be entitled ‘iBook on the rocks.’

    The UK Apple Store for education has replacement batteries for £82.25, with free shipping.

  9. My battery health is now down to 21%. This is after 211 cycles.

    Thankfully, I will be buying a new one for use while roving on November 8th.

  10. The real-world life of my iBook battery is now less than four minutes. The heat here has done a number on it.

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