1 2 Previous Next 17 Replies Latest reply: Apr 8, 2013 3:14 PM by Arhsmacdude
hotwheels 22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

i have the above MBP and have basically been crying in my beer for the last two and a half years about battery life. i have brought it into the mac genius bar at least three times asking that they check things and each time i get some answer that basically equates to "looks OK to us".

 

as a new user i am aware of the fact that i originally had a bad driver from HP that would affect the computer negatively when there was a large print queue and i am aware of the fact that Parallels may drain the computer more than normal. i am also something of a power user and tend to keep open a lot of programs.

 

HOWEVER, i have never gotten more than 1 1/2 hours when surfing the internet or more than 3 1/2 when doing absolutely nothing (i test this by turning on after shutdown and full charge with no startup items listed).

 

i have applecare coverage until january.

 

is there anything i could or should do when i bring this in again? from my perspective this "pro" line computer has been underpowered from the get go (i put 8 GB of RAM into it after using it a year) and the battery life seems just inexcusable to me.

 

TIA and sorry if that sounds a bit "vinagery" because i am just trying to troubleshoot things here. computer cost me a couple of bucks and buying the pro line i thought i had things covered...


Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.4), with 64 bit Win7 in Parallel
  • 1. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    hotwheels 22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    duh. sorry.

     

    the main issue is that the battery appears to be draining while sleeping and i have an alert for it that says "Service Battery"...

  • 2. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    Arhsmacdude Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    I never get more than 2 hrs battery life on mine, and now I am only getting 60-90 minutes between charges. it takes 2-3 hrs to charge it as well! i tried to visit apple with an appointment, and they left me waiting for over an hour without even noticing that I am annoyed with them...

     

    I have noticed that my laptop has broken down a lot more frequently than my last two macs ever did (PowerMac 6500/250, and iBook G4 [early 2004]), so I'm quite curious about why the 2009 macbook pro breaks down so often...

  • 3. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    hotwheels 22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    yeah. wicked bummer to see the new laptops advertising up to 7 hours browsing when i get 1 and 1/2...

     

    you have to think there is something wrong in buying a laptop in 2010 that gets 1 1/2 hours browsing in safari...

  • 4. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    Poikkeus Level 4 Level 4 (2,780 points)

    I was also bothered by the promises of a long battery, so I investigated it systematically. Apple uses a simple equation for determining battery longeivity: I used the same criteria Apple used to gauge battery life. Monitor at half-power, no background processes going, internet on, Safari on (and on the Apple website), and Energy Saver and screensaver off. At that time, my battery was pretty fresh, but not new. Promised battery life, seven hours.

     

    My actual battery life: almost seven hours.

     

    This isn't to discredit your experience. But in order to address Apple's kneejerk response, "I see no problem here," you have to fight statistics with statistics, data with data. If necessary, hang around in the Genius Bar with a stopwatch and duplicate your results so they can't be denied. If your battery is a little older, say you'll be satisfied if it lasts four or five hours.

     

    If you're only getting one or two hours, I'd say that's a problem.

  • 5. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    hotwheels 22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    i've never gotten more than roughly 1 1/2 hours when browsing with safari since the day i bought the machine.

     

    as a new returning mac buyer i didn't know how to test this and every time i brought it in they said everything normal.

     

    now i have a "sevice battery" alert...

  • 6. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    Poikkeus Level 4 Level 4 (2,780 points)

    If you have a service battery alert, you're in a quandry. Apple staff will say that the problem with the battery resulted from typical use, and is therefore normal. Your only option is to get the battery replaced...and then go to the Apple Store/Genius Bar with a stopwatch and an attitude. Bring a friend or two as witnesses. And try not to be surprised when the battery fails to last a couple of hours.

     

    If the battery test fails, I know exactly what they'll say. "Huh. Failed battery. We'll install a new one." You'll get an unending set of replacement batteries; then, they'll say it's some kind of hardware problem. None will be found. Apple staff is well-schooled not to give in to the idea that the MBP itself is the problem. In that case, you're going to have to escalate your strategy in a way that forces the Store to admit there's a problem. Don't exclude legal options. That's when management starts paying attention.

     

    But your first step is to get a new battery and perform a battery test according to Apple's criteria: monitor at half intensity, no background processes on, internet on, Safari on, Energy Saver off and screensaver off.

  • 7. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    hotwheels 22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    hi poikkeaus.

     

    i bought one of the first mac laptops, and had a problem which was fixed in a way that made me a customer for life. then i had to move to windows and now i am back.

     

    to be honest, after reading a bit on genius bar tactics and after having fought my way through various "issues" on my end - that were not the real issues - i am more mad at the sheer amount of time i have fought with this machine based upon the non-responsive (and i won't go further) 'help' i have been receiving.

     

    is there a way to get some help on where to go from here off list at my me.com email account? universal then the word joint?

     

    i have another three or four months left on my applecare warranty and while i have been looking at the new laptops and giving the old machine to my mom - it is almost worse asking /her/ to carry around a power cord and have to plug it in every hour and a half...

     

    TIA

  • 8. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    Arhsmacdude Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    i discovered that my issue was software related... apparently folding at home was causing my computer to display 'service battery' and using 100% of my cpu (100% of the time)... once I uninstalled it, my computer stopped acting weird!

  • 9. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    hotwheels 22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    thanks. yeah, i get that from the mac genius bar advisers as well over the last two and a half years.

     

    it is sort of a hard one for me to dispute. i also get the check your energy saver settings.

     

    both of these are sort of hard to wade through and or dispute.

     

    it is a bit like saying that the boat didn't sink because the hull was faulty and caved in the minute you took it out into the sea, but that it is actually pilot error that caused the sinking...

     

    i mean, i appreciate the input but i have been chasing hidden ghosts like this on and off for 2 1/2 years.

     

    i'll check the CPU usage (<sigh> again) but barring 100% CPU it seems like there is a problem with the computer, no?

  • 10. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    patrickegan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Had the same problem "Service Battery" and wasnt getting more than 1 - 1.5 hours fortuneately my Mid 2009 macbook pro 13 was still on apple care. But you dont go to the apple store cause the "genius" there will not have a clue and is instructed not to help you. Find a local authorized apple service place in town. We have two and I get service at the counter in 2 minutes. My guy looked at it figured Ive still got apple care. Ordered me a new $200 batter and installed it the next day. Done!  BUT I still dont get more than 3 hours Oh well, Next year its time for our regular family hardware rotation. I'll get a new one, wife gets mine kid1 gets hers, kid2 gets kid1's and the oldest one goes to craigslist.

  • 11. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    hotwheels 22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    hi patrick. thanks.

     

    my issue is that i bought this new for like 1000 U.S. +, had poor battery life and hot underside and loud fan and weird wake from sleep issues - then spent some good money putting a full 8 GB of RAM into the machine hoping the performance would improve.

     

    when it didn't - and when i /finally/ got them to take the battery life seriously when i got the Service Battery Alert - they replaced the battery and the motherboard.

     

    however, i still get what i consider very poor performance - frequent beachball hangs and i get extremely weird wake from sleep issues. the wake from sleep issues are easier for me to see NOW since after finally getting a new battery and a new motherboard i can use the computer OFF OF POWER CORD and I can leave it off of power so that it goes into sleep mode - and plus i can spend some time trying to figure out what the wake from sleep is doing instead of trying to ignore all the problems with this machine as i try and get business finished.

     

    two days ago it woke from sleep with 1 1/2 minute delay of beachball hang and frozen cursor and then promptly went into a almost all black screen with a tiny little bit of the screen behind still visible which is a NEW and totally bizarre addition to already bizarre behavior with this machine.

     

    why should i - or any rational buyer - be spending 1500 U.S. for this kind of performance? and more importantly why is this acceptable to mac? i mean, i've been put off from getting this computer fixed by the genius bar guys that i cannot count the terrible explanations that i have been given about this machine. and being a new user i was naive enough to accept them over a period of time.

     

    but a new motherboard and a new battery added to already very bad performance related issues with some of them continuing - to me means that i shouldn't have to sell it on ebay and - frankly i was going to give it to my mom but it is going to be so confusing to use - since it behaves so bizarrely - that i can't really imagine doing this.

  • 12. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    hotwheels 22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    > is instructed not to help you.

     

    it took me 3 years to figure this out and this is by far the most disappointing thing to find after returning to mac. it is completely the opposite of what i remember my experience being with mac when i first started with them (before i had to switch) and i have to say i really feel cheated in a large way with respect to this...

  • 13. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    Arhsmacdude Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    the really stupid part of my problem was that it was some app i installed on my computer that caused my problem. I found a program called 'battery health' that tells me the age, and remaining lifespan of my battery. i found out that my battery is perfectly fine, and still has 88.6% life left (4828 mAh of 5450 mAh left), and its 3.1 years old! if my battery needs to be replaced, its $329....

  • 14. Re: 13" MacBook Pro Mid 2009 Service Battery Alert
    G4V Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Arhsmacdude

     

    Would you mind telling me what app it was that was causing the problem?

     

    I have very similar symptoms to those you describe on a mid-2009 mbp 17 running 10.8.2 with 8Mb of RAM (installed a few months ago myself). The battery is around 2 1/2 years old (the original was replaced after 11 1/2 months under warranty) and generally reads around 78% health and drains at an acceptable rate (but nothing like as slowly as when I first got it and - more importantly? - when I was running the 10.5 it came with) but the machine simply cuts out unexpectedly. It does this both when it is plugged into power and when on battery. When it is plugged in, it restarts itself; if on battery, it usually (always???) needs to be plugged in to restart. Either way, when it comes back up, the charge level reads as 0% (even though it may have had significantly more charge just before the failure), I get the Service Battery! message and the battery health shows as much lower than before (I have seen as low as 17% but sometimes it just drops into the 60s). After a good long charge (or two), the battery health shows in the high 70s (or even low 80s) again and the Service Battery! indicator disappears. Then, a day or so later the whole cycle repeats itself.

     

    I have taken it several times to my local authorised repair centre here in Leeds, UK. They have tested it extensively (keeping it over night) and have always concluded that the battery health is fine. I realise that there is a chance the problem relates to the motherboard but I am hoping it is not as this would be very expensive to replace with no Applecare cover and so I am considering replacing the battery to see what happens (even if it doesn't solve the problem, I figure having a replacement battery ready for a time when it will be needed can't harm, especially as I like the 17" screen and so plan to run this machine a while).

     

    However, if it is a software issue that can be resolved by simply uninstalling some software, this would be the perfect result. I have installed a number of apps and widgets over the last few months (including the Battery Health you refer to, which is useful as you say). So, please let me know which was the offending app for you in case I have installed the same one!

     

    One of my favourite features of this laptop is that you can simply leave it to sleep itself or fold it closed and come back to it whenever you want, knowing it will instantly fire into action. I am now almost definitely finding it dead and needing to plug it in and boot it from scratch (or from hibernate state or whatever you call it when the screen shows as kinda white and the counter has to get from the left to the right before it will respond). So, please help.

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