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A couple of weeks ago I checked the battery and at that point in time (after 160 load cycles) it still had a capacity of 5000 mAh.

Today, my 2006 macbook pro tells me via the battery menu to "Service Battery". According to Coconut Battery the current capacity is only 1590 mAh.

The corresponding help text suggests contacting an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) to have the computer checked.

Before I decide to throw money at the AASP I'd like to understand what the AASP could possibly do to eliminate the problem. Isn't it more likely that the battery simply broke at 160 cycles and needs to be replaced?

Are there any means by software or firmware to influence battery behavior? Of course, the computer hardware might be broken but how could this result in the described effect?

And yes, I'm currently trying a calibration cycle but I have some doubts that it will save the day.

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It seems as if - contrary to my first impression - the calibration cycle indeed managed to save the battery. It is now back at 5300 mAh and does no longer ask for a service. It is, however, strange that more or less directly after completion of the calibration cycle the status of the battery left no hope for improvement and after another 10 h everything is just peachy again. –  Uwe Honekamp Nov 2 '09 at 20:23

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You're correct, there's not anything they can do you're not already doing.

I wonder, though, if this text is more directed at newer Macbook Pros/Macbooks, now that all of Apple's notebooks have internal batteries and are not directly user serviceable.

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Good point. Yes, the the help text may probably be aiming at the newer models. –  Uwe Honekamp Nov 2 '09 at 5:07

If you have applecare, you can try calling apple and seeing if they will do anything. Batteries usually are not covered under warranties though.

If you don't have it or any warranty, I would see what happens after the calibration cycle and see if it regains any life. Otherwise, it sounds like it just needs to be replaced. 3 years sounds like a good running life for a laptop battery.

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FWIW, Apple's batteries should be covered for 6 months under your computer's warranty otherwise batteries you purchase from Apple only have a 90 day warranty. –  Chealion Nov 1 '09 at 19:54

Yeah batteries do break from time to time.

If you are within your 1 year warranty Apple should replace it for you, otherwise you are probably out of luck.

You can try a deep cycle. There is a very small chance that it will fix the problem (but that chance is still there) otherwise you're up for a new battery.

Your case isn't the worst if could be since batteries normally last 300 charges before they go all lasting for only 10 minutes, but yeah normally you should have gotten another 50% life out of it.

If you call Apple's support number and speak to a service person, they will probably direct you to an Apple store, so you should just go there directly.

Good luck.

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I tried the calibration cycle but unfortunately it did not fix the problem. Looks like I have no other option than to replace the battery. –  Uwe Honekamp Nov 2 '09 at 5:14
    
Oh wait, this morning, i.e. 7 h after the calibration cycle, the battery reported a capacity of 1900 mAh and NOW it's back at 5300 mAh. Whoopie! Looks like the calibration cycle finally worked :-). –  Uwe Honekamp Nov 2 '09 at 19:50

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