Saturday, May 6, 2006

Powerbook Battery Rejuve

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My aging G4 Powerbook battery slowly died over the last month or so. It just seemed to hold a charge less and less. Last week it wouldn't go on for more than a minute or two. This weekend, unplugging the power cord was equivalent to a shutdown. After that, the battery reported "missing". It seemed like a strange progression-- not as organic, following some sort of decay curve, as I would have expected the material to behave. So I looked on the Internet to see if there were any clues. There were a set of my batteries that were recalled, but (damn), mine didn't qualify. Next, I found a thread about resetting p-ram and other such shenanigans. I was skeptical, but it seemed like there was one trick that worked for people: going into open firmware (Restart with Cmd-option-O-F pressed), and then resetting the chip that manages the battery power (reset-nvram). It was worth a try. So I did this. Wow, what a transformation. Now my battery seems to hold a charge just like it did a month or two ago. I haen't gone through extensive tests, but it's workable again. Perhaps that other dead battery will come to life... -- report from a year later -- Battery life wasn't that great for very long. It decayed to be mostly unworkable after a month or two. After a year it was down to ten minutes or so, but never as bad as before. Yeah, I've bought a new battery.