it sounds like the symptoms in this Apple Support article: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3964 The issues with the battery and the fans can usually be solved by doing an SMC reset, please refer to the article fo how-to. Good Luck!
it seems that it helped out a lot (THANK YOU!) and it now recgonizes my battery.. occasionally. when the MBP is on, it says it is charging. but if i turn it off or put it to sleep, it no longer charges. and sometimes when i turn on my computer, it still says there is no battery... wait a few minutes, and it will start charging.
can i reset the SMC many times? or could there be a different problem (need a new battery??)
thank you for all your help!