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For those of you who always keep your Portable computers plugged into AC Power, it is imperative they be unplugged occasionally and used without AC power to maintain battery life. All Portables should be allowed to run on battery power at least every month or so by doing these basic steps.

The battery of these computer has an internal microprocessor that provides an estimate of the amount of energy in the battery during charging and discharging. The battery needs to be recalibrated from time to time to keep the onscreen battery time and percent display accurate. You should perform this procedure when you first use your computer and then every couple of months thereafter.

These are the steps:

1. Plug the power adapter in and fully charge your MacBook or MacBookPro computer's battery until the battery indicator lights turn off and the adapter plug ring goes from amber to green, which indicates that the battery is fully charged.
2. Disconnect the power adapter and use your computer. When your battery gets low, you will see the first low battery warning dialog on the screen. Continue to use your computer until it goes to sleep. At that point the battery has been sufficiently drained for calibration.
3. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged again.

Note: You have to fully charge and then discharge your battery only once to calibrate it. After that, you can connect and disconnect the power adapter when the battery is at any charge level.

Important: When the battery reaches "empty", the computer is forced into sleep mode. The battery actually keeps back a reserve beyond "empty", to maintain the computer in sleep for a period of time. Once the battery is truly exhausted, the computer is forced into shutdown. At this point, any open files could be lost. Therefore, it is important that you find an electrical outlet and connect the adapter before the forced shutdown occurs or simply do this when you are not going to be using the computer and you have no open files, perhaps overnight.

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How long can I store my Portable's battery?

Apple uses four different types of batteries.

A lead acid battery should retain the minimal charge needed to operate a Notebook for 2-3 months. Once a lead acid battery becomes fully discharged, it may experience sulfation. Sulfation occurs when the lead electrodes inside the battery convert to lead sulfate. This destroys the battery making it unable to hold a charge.

A Nickel Cadmium battery should retain the minimal charge needed to operate a Notebook for 1-2 months. A NiCad battery stored up to 12 months should still be able to accept a charge.

A Nickel Metal Hyydride battery should retain the minimal charge needed to operate a portable for 1-2 months. A NiHy battery stored up to 12 months should still be able to accept a charge.

A Lithium Ion battery should retain a minimal charge needed to operate a MacBook Pro for 1-2 months. A LiIon battery stored for up to 12 months should still be able to accept a charge. For more info on these batteries click here.

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My MacBook Pro will not start off the battery at all. Should I just buy a new battery, or is there something else I can do?

Generally when a MacBook or MacBook Pro battery goes bad, it provides less operating life over a period of time. If your Book suddenly will not work with its battery at all, this could be an issue with the battery itself, or the logic board. If possible, try your battery with another Book.

If you are not in a position to try a known good battery or verify your own battery with another MacBook, there are still some steps you can take. First, reset the power manager. Instructions for resetting the power manager on various model computers are available in the suport section at Apple. Use the search string "power manager and reset" to locate the article. Put in your computer model. Charge the battery overnight following this reset.

If your MacBook Pro still will no longer work with its battery after this process, you should seek service. Contact your local Apple-authorized service provider, or call Miss Mac for further assistance.

Batteries may be damaged if stored for prolonged periods with a closed circuit. The environmental temperature also affects the storage life of any battery. Cool environments are best and are assumed for the above estimates. All storage times are based on storage starting with the battery fully charged.

For example, schools that may not use their computers during the summer should fully charge the batteries, remove them from the computers, and store them in a cool location for the duration of the summer.

Apple also has a good explanation of their suggestions here.


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