MacBook Pro Battery Health Waning Quickly - But Why?

I usually leave my MacBook Pro sitting on my desk connected to a power adapter. Since I had the battery replaced back in October 2008, my guess is that I may have cycled through a power charge at the most 10-15 times.

However, this past week I had my MacBook Pro out and about around the house way more than usual. I would use the computer on battery a bit, then recharge it when I was done. Stuff like that. But, most of the time, even this week, I would still use the MacBook Pro connected to a power adapter.

So, yesterday (4 April 2009), I used iStatPro (highly recommended widget) to check the health of my battery. It was at around 96% after about 20 cycles. I didn't think this was too bad. Before I went to bed, I noticed my batter was down to about 35% as I had been using it untethered to my power adapter. So I shutdown the computer, plug it into the power adapter and then went to bed.

This morning (5 April 2009) I woke up to the strangest thing. I noticed the light to my power adapter was *off*. No green light to mean the battery was charged. No red (or is it orange?) light to mean that the battery was charging. Nothing. So I removed the adapter from the MacBook Pro and plugged it back in; then the light went on as to indicate it was charging.

When I booted the computer up, I noticed the battery still had only 35% charge. What the heck? I had it plugged in all night. So I brought up iStatPro again, and here is what I found :-( (except replace the 100% with a 35% because I just took this snapshot right now)


69% health after only 21 cycles!!!!! No way that is normal.

Then I opened up System Profiler and found corroborating evidence.


I tried resetting the SMC, but that didn't help.

So what is going on here? I must be doing something wrong, right?

Will calibrating the battery help me or am I just screwed and going to have to bring the battery back to the Apple Store again for replacement?


MacBook Pro SuperDrive Burn Problems Update: Fixed with Laser Lens Cleaner!?!

Here is an update to my fun (and more fun) with my MacBook Pro optical drive. I called Apple support. We talked for about an hour. We tried different things:

  • Tried burning a DVD again (just in case magic would happen this time)
  • Made sure that I didn't have any drive permission corruption or something stupid like that -- so we repaired my hard drive disk permissions
  • Ran a quick hardware test, which showed no problems

None of our initial troubleshooting resulted in success.

So the thinking before the end of the call was that I was going to have to get the drive replaced. I would prefer not to send my computer in a box to who knows where (even though it would be free with AppleCare and I hear good things about it). So we made an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar (again) so that I could bring my computer in, they could have a look at it, and then they can also tell me that the drive needs to be replaced :-) ; then I would have to come back to the Genius Bar for the actual replacement after they ordered the part. (Apparently, Apple phone support and Apple Genius Bar support are totally separate entities, so my call to Apple support could not be used as the definitive answer to replace the drive. The Genius Bar would have to make that decision for themselves. That is why I would have to go twice).

Anyway, right before we hung up, the support representative on the phone just off the cuff said to try a CD/DVD drive laser lens cleaner. I was a little surprised because I always thought these things were frowned upon. I made sure that doing so wouldn't void my warranty and AppleCare support. She said no. So I decided to give it a shot. Anything to save me two trips to the Apple Store and the possibility of being without my computer for a day or two.

So I went to Target and bought the Memorex Optidisc CD/DVD Lens Cleaner. Came home. Popped in the cleaner CD. It did whatever it does with the little brushes that are pasted on the CD. And the CD ejected.

Pessimistically, I tried to burn some photos to DVD.

WHOA! It worked. I was shocked. A $10 fix, that I should have tried all along. 

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the right solutions, I guess.

(P.S. I highly recommend getting AppleCare for your Mac products, especially big purchase items like a computer or monitor. I usually frown on extended warranties, but I have used it for a couple of issues after my year warranty ended on my MacBook Pro. And if indeed there was a problem with my SuperDrive, having AppleCare means it gets replaced for *free*. AppleCare is good for 3 years after the purchase of your Apple product. And many times you can find the AppleCare for your product cheaper (e.g., Ebay) than buying it directly from Apple).