13 Replies Latest reply: Jan 13, 2010 2:21 PM by rkaufmann87
pcpu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hey Guys,

My MBP 5,3 is only giving 4:34 hours of battery life. I have reset the smc and power. I am not getting close to what is advertised.

Please see the link to see how I tested


MacBook Pro 3.06 Ghz 4 GB 320 GB, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (48,020 points)
    Your battery life sounds about right. Remember the battery life is advertised as UP TO 7 hours, not 7 hours. In order to extend battery life you need to turn off power draining items like Airport, Bluetooth, etc..


  • pcpu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hey please checkout the link

    I turned off all apps, bluetooth, firewall, used the 9400m graphics. I created an automator action to refresh to web pages every 20, 30 seconds and to continuously loop for 500 minutes. The screen was half brightness.

    I paid over 2500 for this laptop, kinda of feel cheated.
  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,690 points)
    "7 hours wireless productivity" = "Snake oil will cure your ailments" = Marketing. Any manufacturer who makes a product that uses batteries overstates battery life.

    From the footnote in the specs: +"Testing conducted by Apple in May 2009 using preproduction 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo–based MacBook Pro units with a Better Battery Life setting. Battery life depends on configuration and use. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information. The wireless productivity test measures battery life by wirelessly browsing various websites and editing text in a word processing document with display brightness set to 50%."+

    So, your machine has a faster CPU (and possibly more RAM) than the test machine. You're refreshing web pages - are they complex pages with graphics? You can bet Apple's tests were done on simple, text-based, easy to render pages. You have your hard disk set to not spin down - why? I'd bet that Apple's is set to spin down, and the word processing document was small, and autosave was off, allowing for a fair bit of time with the HDD asleep.

    Bottom line, battery life testing is never 'real world'. My work-provided Lenovo laptop claims 3.8 hours in the specs. If it lasts through a 2-hour meeting, it's such a good day that I run out and buy a lottery ticket on my way home. If you feel cheated, you're being cheated by anyone who sold you anything with a battery. Sorry for being blunt, but it is what it is.
  • Ayii Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi, I rencently bought a MacBook Pro and I don´t know how to take care of my battery, so it can last as much as it can. Usually the batteries of my last laptops used to last for about 3 hours, and by the next 2 years the only last for 20 minutes!!!.... How can I really take care of my battery and make it last as much as possible?
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    See NeuroAnatomist's very useful summary at http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1764220, Ayii, together with Apple's own pages on the matter at http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html and http://www.apple.com/batteries/ and the "battery university" page at http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm


  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    One of websites that pcpu's script pulls up just happens be one of the more notorious "Flash" sites - http://www.cnn.com , neuro.

    The other, http://www.reddit.com is a bit less intensive.

    Flash actually needs far more cpu work than Safari when visiting the cnn site.


  • pcpu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I thought someone might say "its due to flash". Well I tried it again, with these 2 sites



    Got almost 5 hours, and put the option, "Put Hard Disk to Sleep When Possible"

    Any more theories?
  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,690 points)
    Take your computer to an Apple Store and have them test it.

    Try a similar test with some other computers, with some cell phones, MP3 players, a digital camera or two, and some battery operated toys.

    When you discover that all of the manufacturers have overstated the battery life, dramatically in some cases, drop several thousand dollars on legal fees to initiate class-action lawsuits against all of those manufacturers. Let us know how that goes....
  • pcpu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    It might more have to do with snow leopard. See this article, www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3672&p=7. Yes, flash eats up battery life like crazy. More so on snow leopard. That is what is I have now.

    I am sure apple is looking into it, since they haven't gotten back to anandtech.

    I am sorry, you just sound very bitter. I am on this forum, so I can can really gauge if the battery life I have is normal. If I spend allot of money on the laptop and am concerned I have every right to be.

    If manufacturer's are deliberately overstating the battery life, then they need to be held liable for false advertising, it's that simple.

    Really we need a standard for battery life measurement. A standardize test that is easily reproducible, that what I tried to with automator workflow I created. Something standard would be great. I am sure there are reasons why this is not so.

    But just a wish
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    An automator flow constantly reloading websites every 20 or 30 seconds is hardly "normal usage", pcpu, though it sounds as if anadtech's basic test process was similar (see http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3580&p=4) Perhaps they simply chose less complex websites, or were operating on a shorter wireless network range, or had less fragmented or emptier drives or some such than you? Maybe they were simply testing it in a room at a significantly different temperature. Battery charge life can change quite extensively with temperature variations. It was the middle of the northern summer when they ran their tests. It is the middle of the northern winter now when you are running your own.

    The trouble is it is very difficult to say what is "normal" . Apple's approach was to take a mix of two common activities, which has merit as a means of reflecting to some extent the diversity of personal computer usage. Their results were actually less remarkable than anandtech's.

    Another "test" used by some computer magazines is to simply see how long you can play a specified video for. THis has the advantage of easy standardisation (which you seek) of course, but doesn't co-incide all that well with "real world" usage either.

    Personally, on my MBP13, in my own version of "real world" usage , I find I get times pretty consistent with the Apple's claims of around 7 hours when I use the computer for an extended bout of writing in a word processor, coupled with email running in the background. A heavy session of web browsing cuts battery charge life to about 41/2 to 5 hours. Heavy duty file transfer, video rendering, and the like, reduces it further again, to a point where I'm lucky to get more than 3 1/2 hrs.

    But , by comparison with my older Santa Rosa MBP15" I'm regularly getting pretty close to double the time that I did with it when used for comparable activity.

    Of course, if you want to develop a "standardised" test that is useable across platforms then the picture gets even murkier. It is pretty clear that recent versions of OSX running on a Mac have much better power management routines than MS Vista, for example (see http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3435&p=13 for a discussion and tests). How do you factor this in to the "standardisation" equation for proper comparison purposes?

    As for Snow Leopard and "Flash" I didn't noticed any obvious change in battery behaviour as a result of upgrading from Leopard , but I wasn't looking for it. Flash always seemed to have a deleterious effect on battery life for me. The Anandtech article you link to is interesting in this regard, though.

    Flash itself, also, has been updated a couple of times since SL arrived on the scene, making comparisons even more confusing.

    Certainly it would be nice to see a version of Flash from Adobe which was a little less CPU hungry. Perhaps you could complain to Adobe about the problems generally that their software often causes when ported across to Macs these days? They almost invariably seem to be pretty slow off the mark getting things right for use with updated Mac OS versions. Sounds as if they have yet to get around to optimising it for use in 64bit mode yet.

    But developing a proper "standardised" test that has much real world relevance is much harder than one might think, I'm afraid. Hence the variety of measures used not just by different manufacturers, but by reputable third party technology reviewers such as Anandtech, Ars Technica and the like.


  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,690 points)
    Apologies for the tone of my responses. But in essence, Roger's response to your post was the most accurate (at least, the first part).

    rkaufmann87 wrote:
    Your battery life sounds about right. Remember the battery life is advertised as UP TO 7 hours, not 7 hours.

    In essence, with what you have running, your battery seems normal (but see below). The point I am making is that most manufacturer battery life testing is performed under 'ideal' conditions, which are not 'normal' for most users. Apple's 'wireless productivity test' comes closer, but was still performed on a machine different than yours, doing different tasks than your test.

    My suggestion to take it to an Apple Store was not flippant - it is possible that your battery is not performing within spec. They'll boot it from an iPod with a battery test routine installed, and show you a graphical readout of your battery's state. If it's 'in the green' then your battery is performing within spec. If not, they'll replace it for you.
  • pcpu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks guys for you help. It definitely great to get your opinions and I think your right overall. I just had to prove it to myself, the laptop was an expensive investment. I did so.

    I reinstalled os x 10.6 , updated to 10.6.2, reset nvram/pram/smc.

    I download then a tool called xbattery http://www.kezer.net/shareware/xbattery/

    Its a great little tool, its says you pay money to register but I didn't pay anything.


    So I brushed up on lithium ion polymer from wikipedia and http://www.batteryuniversity.com/. Everything that Apple has said about how to properly care and maintain the batteries is true. (Calibrate 1-2 a month, use your battery a little every day, don't use in excessive heat, etc).

    (sorry if state anything incorrect please feel free to correct)

    I had to look what mAh meant. I should of known buts it been awhile since I have taken any electrical engineering classes.

    mAh = milli-Ampere-hour = (Ampere-hour)/1000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampere-hour). So 6500mAh for example is equals 6.5 Ah or simply states will supply a current of 6.5 A for 1 hour.

    In system profiler you call see the current battery capacity , for me its around 6186mAh or 6.186Ah. So using xbattery, you can actually see the current that flowing out of the battery.

    So if on average I had a flow of .808 Amps, The battery would last 6.186 Ah / .808 A = 7.66 hours or 7 hours and 40 minutes.

    Now the Ampere used by the system depends on various factors as stated in the thread, what programs are running, how bright the lcd screen is etc etc. Now using xbattery I was able to see that using my Automator program spiked up the Amps to 1.1 ~ 1.2 A, which 6.186 Ah /1.2 A = 5.155 or roughly 5 hours and 9 minutes. This is exactly what os 10.6.2 was saying.

    I was alway able to use around 8.8-9.2 doing light web browsing by hand (no flash, craigslist.org only). But the main point is by seeing your Amp usage, you pinpoint what setup will give you that 7 hour mark.

    Apple I must say has done a great job with the laptop. There marketing did not lie about the 7 hour battery life its was pretty accurate. However the setup as stated before is very critical.

    Now I have a 15 inch 5,3 macbook pro, other macbook pros could consume more or less Amps, and thats why a 13 inch unibody and 17 inch unibody has different capacities.

    The only thing is I am disappointed by battery isn't 6500mAh but just 6176mAh, but thats not a huge loss, maybe just 20-30 minutes of real time performance. Now I am satisfied my battery is fine. If it loses capacity any more I can always get it replaced.

    and Def Apple has great engineering and thanks guys
  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (48,020 points)
    Your welcome and I'm glad everything is good now!

    Enjoy your MBP!