Author Topic: What to do re: laptop battery?  (Read 2739 times)

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2457
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
What to do re: laptop battery?
« on: July 30, 2016, 05:36:07 AM »
Iíve got a MacBook Pro I purchased over seven years ago, and the battery (itself not the original, purchased early 2013) is beginning to show signs of decline. A few years ago I would have gone straight to the Apple Store to buy a new laptop, but of course Iím a little more considered about such things nowadays.

I guess the issue is, is it worth replacing the battery in a seven year old laptop?

Another Nupower battery for my MacBookís about $150-200 (Aussie) shipped. A knockoff eBay unit is about $50.

If I go down the new machine path, itíll be anything from $3-400 for a Chromebook to $2000 for a new MacBook Pro.

My needs have changed since I bought this, and Iíd get by OK with a Chromebook, but I still find Windows to be kinda kludgy. I could make do with a desktop once I move (probably next year sometime), but for now I donít have the space. The performance of my current MBP is adequate, but I'd prefer something lighter and more portable than the current 2.5kg monster :)

The other thing is that as my MacBook will not get the next OSX/macOS version, Iíll have maybe a year or two left before Apple kills support for El Capitan.

What does everyone think? Buy an Apple or a top-brand third-party battery? Buy the eBay knockoff? New machine time? Hold off until I move and then buy a desktop?

Thanks ☺

Cranky

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3008
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2016, 05:43:09 AM »
My macbook is 8 or 9 years old, and creaking along. I've replaced the battery once, and maybe 3 years ago I had a couple of issues fixed.

I dunno. I hate to replace it, as long as it works, but it also can no longer be updated, and eventually that will force me to make a decision. I don't actually carry it around much, and I have a power charger at work when I need it there, so that's just a nuisance.

cacaoheart

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
  • Location: Raleigh, NC
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2016, 06:41:55 AM »
I have a mid-2009 Macbook unibody (not Pro). A couple weeks ago the touchpad started lifting up and after googling it realized this meant the battery was expanding and needed to be taken out/replaced. First I just removed the battery and tried treating the Macbook as a desktop, but found that it runs MUCH slower when there's no battery. I was hesitant to pay $100 for a new battery from Other World Computing (https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Apple/Laptop/Batteries ) though I felt if I did so I could trust it to work and they have good video guidance on replacement. Then I noticed well reviewed 3rd party batteries on amazon for less than $50 and went with amazon. Install was easy and everything runs well again.

Last year I replaced the hard drive with an SSD for ~$130 and it runs so much faster than before, I have no desire to buy a new computer. Of course if anything else breaks and I need to replace it, the SSD may go into my next laptop :-)
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 07:09:08 AM by cacaoheart »

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4221
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2016, 08:04:19 AM »
^^ They throttle badly with no battery - they rely on the battery to buffer power for spikes in use.

To the OP: Replace it with a cheaper, well reviewed third party battery and you'll be fine.

lateralwire

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2016, 08:14:10 AM »
I'm in the exact same situation with my 2009 MacBook Pro. Battery is shot and the thing barely runs due to OS updates requiring more power and multi core processors. Honestly, the best sution for me would be to figure out how to go backwards about 2 versions.

I started with upgrading the memory to the max allowable (around 4gb) for about $100-$120 and dialing down the graphics settings as much as possible (turn off the translucency feature). It runs well enough for me to do basic computing (email, ms office, etc) but I can't use PhotoShop or InDesign.

I didn't know that replacing the HD with an SSD was even an option but I will definitely research that. The only downside is that you'd have to buy a special cable to transfer your stuff to the new HD and SDD's aren't always faster than standard HDs.

My solution for the battery has been to just keep it plugged in all the time. Its annoying but I dont need the portability. If you do and the machine is still usable then i would suggest skipping the battery if you can.

The problem with getting cheap computers is that they will be useless after a few years and they will have to be replaced sooner. I think the better value is getting a decent midrange computer and upgrade it petiodically.

I'm going to wait until the new MacBooks cone out this fall and see if I can get a deal on the going out of style models. My biggest non-Mustachian vice is my iPhone and Apple computers so I want to see if I can find something that's workable (for me that means going with a less expensive model than a MBP). If not then ill go with a midrange Windows-based laptop. As much as I loathe Windows, I have to admit that Windows 10 is actually pretty good. It doesn't have the horrible flaws that most of its predecessors have had.

 

sonjak

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 234
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2016, 08:38:40 AM »
I was in the same situation earlier this year with my Dell laptop.  Like it but there are things I would change if I bought a new one and I thought with that issue it might be time.  They have quit making that style/size.  But last ditch effort, I called Dell and spoke with a rep who was able to sell me a refurbished OEM battery for it for about $50.  I'm sure I would be enjoying a new laptop right now if I had bought one but I'm also grateful to have saved that money and delayed the purchase.

Oh, and by buying the OEM battery from them, there was a 30-day guarantee on it if it if the battery died they would refund my money.  So there didn't feel like as much risk as an unknown off of amazon or ebay.

cacaoheart

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
  • Location: Raleigh, NC
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2016, 08:40:17 AM »
I didn't know that replacing the HD with an SSD was even an option but I will definitely research that. The only downside is that you'd have to buy a special cable to transfer your stuff to the new HD and SDD's aren't always faster than standard HDs.

This site helps figure out exactly which model of SSD can work with a given macbook and sells kits where you put your old hard drive in an external case, plug it into your computer via the included special cable, and transfer everything over. All necessary tools included. Amazon may be a little cheaper, but the macsales site is useful for seeing all that's involved, with free install videos included.
https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/owc/macbook-pro

I likewise don't need long battery life at this point, and would have readily left the old battery in if it wasn't making my macbook case literally crack open from expansion. Upon googling the issue I found it's a not so unusual experience with macbooks. I'm not sure what computer I'll buy next since most of the new Apple computers aren't very upgradeable, with the exception of the non-Retina Macbook Pro, which hasn't seen much change in years now.

etselec

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2016, 04:40:59 PM »
Depends what you mean by "signs of decline" ó like, it only holds charge for a few hours, or it's not charging at all, or it's starting to expand?

If it's serious decline (expanding means it's not safe to use anymore), and the computer otherwise works well and meets your needs, get a cheap knock-off battery. It may give out after a few years, but a few years of life for your current computer at $50 is quite cost-effective.

Also, I would recommend making a replacement plan ahead of time ó when my last computer died, I found it helpful that I had already researched my options and knew what I wanted, so I could just re-confirm that I was getting the best price, and buy the new one.

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2457
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2016, 10:00:40 PM »
Depends what you mean by "signs of decline" ó like, it only holds charge for a few hours, or it's not charging at all, or it's starting to expand?

If it's serious decline (expanding means it's not safe to use anymore), and the computer otherwise works well and meets your needs, get a cheap knock-off battery. It may give out after a few years, but a few years of life for your current computer at $50 is quite cost-effective.

Also, I would recommend making a replacement plan ahead of time ó when my last computer died, I found it helpful that I had already researched my options and knew what I wanted, so I could just re-confirm that I was getting the best price, and buy the new one.

Currently battery life is about an hour and a half, and the battery is at about 55-65% of design capacity according to coconutBattery.

Performance wise, it's a late 2008 (built Nov 2008) 15" MBP, and I put in 8GB of RAM (which is supported with the later OSX versions) and a 128GB SSD (Crucial M4) in it a few years ago. These ones are slightly picky about SSD brands, anything with a Sandforce controller is limited to SATA 1.0 (I had a Patriot Pyro in it first).

Seems like the consensus is a new battery. Maybe something like this?

http://www.betterbatt.com.au/s/laptop-battery/apple/macbook/pro/15-4-a1286-2008-early-2009-/

Realistically once I move I'll probably plug a monitor into it most of the time and use it as a desktop. My phone and iPad take care of most of my portability requirements these days. Once El Capitan is EOL, I could put Linux on it, but by then I'll probably just buy another machine.

Thanks :)
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 10:03:29 PM by alsoknownasDean »

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2457
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2016, 12:15:19 AM »
So I've spilt coffee on the MacBook today (fortunately before buying a battery).

Now a couple of the keys on the keyboard no longer work properly.

I guess that this means that I'm going to be buying another machine sooner rather than later, although I can use an external keyboard in the short term.

D'oh.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4221
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2016, 06:00:08 AM »
Or you learn to pull and clean a keyboard...

Harder on the unibody ones but not impossible.

alsoknownasDean

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2457
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: What to do re: laptop battery?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2016, 09:26:32 AM »
Or you learn to pull and clean a keyboard...

Harder on the unibody ones but not impossible.

It's worth a try. However, for some reason, it's not working well with an external keyboard I have here.

Worst case, I could probably do some work from my old iPad.