Problems with Powerbook G4 (5,8) battery
  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    ernsteiswuerfel
    Posts: 281 from 2015/6/18
    From: Funeralopolis
    As my old battery runs outta juice in about 30min I decided it's time to move on to a new one. Old one already was a replacment battery from Lavolta which all in all I was satisfied with. But these do not seem to be around any longer, so now I bought this yellow one from Patona (klick).

    The problem is that the Powerbook does not properly reckognize it. Most of the time it just shows a question mark in the energy meter. Sometimes it shows there is a battery present, but with low voltage and it reads out weird values in the energy information window. If I unplug the power adapter and try to run the PB on battery it just holds about 10 secs.

    The battery itself seems to work. If I press the button on the battery it shows several green lights reflecting the state of charge, like the original battery. Also the hardware of the Powerbook charges the battery, as according from the lights on the battery, it has been charged from 1 in the beginning to 5 now.

    I also did a PMU reset (not sure it worked?), but this did not change a thing.

    What's your findings with battery replacements on Powerbooks?
    Talos II Secure Workstation. [Gentoo Linux] | PMac G5 7,3. PBook G4 5,8. [MorphOS 3.11 / Gentoo Linux] | A1200. ACA-1233, Indivision AGA Mk2. [Amiga OS 3.2]
  • »15.06.19 - 23:06
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    It's possibly defective. The low voltage, the low capacity and not being detected sound like something's gone awry in it.

    A lot of these kind of replacement batteries contain refurbished cells or have been sitting around at their unsafely low voltage for too long. It's possible that it could show the working voltage at the terminals but that voltage collapses as soon as any slightest load is put on it.

    You'd be best to email the seller, tell them of the problem, and request a replacement if necessary.
  • »15.06.19 - 23:55
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    ernsteiswuerfel
    Posts: 281 from 2015/6/18
    From: Funeralopolis
    Thanks for your advice!

    Yes, this sounds all very reasonable. So I sent it back. And the search goes on for a another one... ;-)
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  • »22.06.19 - 22:48
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  • Cocoon
    Cocoon
    imax
    Posts: 41 from 2004/9/20
    From: Russia
    Quote:

    ernsteiswuerfel wrote:
    As my old battery runs outta juice in about 30min I decided it's time to move on to a new one. Old one already was a replacment battery from Lavolta which all in all I was satisfied with. But these do not seem to be around any longer, so now I bought this yellow one from Patona (klick).

    The problem is that the Powerbook does not properly reckognize it. Most of the time it just shows a question mark in the energy meter. Sometimes it shows there is a battery present, but with low voltage and it reads out weird values in the energy information window. If I unplug the power adapter and try to run the PB on battery it just holds about 10 secs.

    The battery itself seems to work. If I press the button on the battery it shows several green lights reflecting the state of charge, like the original battery. Also the hardware of the Powerbook charges the battery, as according from the lights on the battery, it has been charged from 1 in the beginning to 5 now.

    I also did a PMU reset (not sure it worked?), but this did not change a thing.

    What's your findings with battery replacements on Powerbooks?


    I see :
    PATONA Laptop Akku für Apple PowerBook G4 15" A1106 | M8980 | M8981 | M9421 | M9422 | M9676 | M9677 | M9969 und weitere... - [ Li-ion; 4400mAh; schwarz ]
    Akkutyp: Li-ion; Kapazität: 400mAh; Zellen: 6; Spannung: 10,8 / 11,1 Volt; Farbe: schwarz

    400mAh it is REAL Capacity

    I repair may PowerBook with 6pcs 18650 battary Lanzhd 2600 mAh
    (https://ru.aliexpress.com/item/32868532117.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.274233edX4Gj0L)
  • »01.07.19 - 22:14
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    I honestly don't think the capacity was just 400 mAh at 11.1V: that's around the same as a 9V alkaline PP battery. A typo, surely.

    Laptop batteries are usually built from 18650 Li-Ion or (more rarely) LiPo of similar capacity. They're usually around 1000-3000 mAh each (@ 3.7V).There are six cells in that Patona one so they're probably wired up 2 parallel/3 serial, which is about 1500 mAh per cell, which sounds reasonable enough.

    I think one of the cells had failed and was just being reverse charged by the others as soon as any load was put on the battery, and so immediately crapped out.

    [ Edited by KennyR 01.07.2019 - 23:57 ]
  • »01.07.19 - 23:41
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    Oh by the way, if you're brave, and skilled, you can sometimes open laptop batteries and replace the 18650s yourself with cheap ones from eBay.

    However, you really have to know what you're doing. Even with load-balancing, they all have to be charged to around the same voltage for safety, and opening the laptop battery in the first place usually means breaking it. Even if you get inside without hopelessly smashing its case, directly soldering to the metal cases of highly flammable lithium batteries is best left to people with the correct equipment and a safe place to do it.

    I know what I'm doing - mostly. But I'd still never do this unless I had no choice and couldn't find a replacement. One day that time will come for my old netbook...
  • »01.07.19 - 23:49
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    ernsteiswuerfel
    Posts: 281 from 2015/6/18
    From: Funeralopolis
    Quote:

    imax schrieb:
    I repair may PowerBook with 6pcs 18650 battary Lanzhd 2600 mAh
    (https://ru.aliexpress.com/item/32868532117.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.274233edX4Gj0L)

    Good to know this is possible.

    Quote:

    KennyR schrieb:
    Oh by the way, if you're brave, and skilled, you can sometimes open laptop batteries and replace the 18650s yourself with cheap ones from eBay.

    ... but I fear I am neither brave nor skilled enough. ;)
    Talos II Secure Workstation. [Gentoo Linux] | PMac G5 7,3. PBook G4 5,8. [MorphOS 3.11 / Gentoo Linux] | A1200. ACA-1233, Indivision AGA Mk2. [Amiga OS 3.2]
  • »02.07.19 - 22:27
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  • Just looking around
    Posts: 13 from 2018/6/9
    I've given up any prospect of ever finding a working battery for my Powerbook G4. I've even taken it out now as the only purpose it serves is to add dead weight. The laptop only works on power supply. I did buy a battery reconidtioner in the hope that it might rescue the cells in the existing battery but it was a complete waste of time and money.

    I also must get round to putting tape over the CD slot too because I put the latest Amiga Future cover CD in the drive last night completely fogetting that that doesn't work either! Had to strip the machine down yet again to get the CD out :D

    For the CD drive I know I can spend money and fix that (it's actually the SSD that blocks anything else on the IDE from showing up, not actually a faulty drive) but I refuse to plough more money into such an old machine and live in hope that maybe one day we will see a MOS that will run on something new and reliable.
  • »09.07.19 - 12:04
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    Quote:

    MartinW wrote:
    I've given up any prospect of ever finding a working battery for my Powerbook G4. I've even taken it out now as the only purpose it serves is to add dead weight. The laptop only works on power supply. I did buy a battery reconidtioner in the hope that it might rescue the cells in the existing battery but it was a complete waste of time and money.


    Hold up a bit. You got the cells out and tried them in a battery conditioner? If you could do that why don't you just replace the cells? 18650s are dirt cheap on eBay.

    If you didn't get the cells out, then that was never going to work I'm afraid. The load balancing would just resist any attempts to charge the good cells by trying to keep them at the same level as the weakest. Everything you put in would just have been dissipated by resistors.

    [ Edited by KennyR 09.07.2019 - 13:57 ]
  • »09.07.19 - 13:54
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  • Just looking around
    Posts: 13 from 2018/6/9
    No, on the advice given (to me) oin a thread on this forum I bought a unit that could potentially rescue the battery as-is (or so I was told). Would have been nice to know it was never going to work before buying it but such is life. It wasn't a huge amount of money - £20 or so.

    I've done stuff like changing connectors on RC Lipos up into the 6S 5000mAh range plenty of times for people in the local model club but I still don't really fancy removing the cells and messing about.

    If there's anyone in the UK that's within driving distance that could do it for me then I'd like to hear from them but like I say, generally I just don't think it's realistic to think I'll get it running on battery again and not really worth spending too much on old cranky hardware anyway.
  • »09.07.19 - 21:26
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  • MorphOS Developer
    jacadcaps
    Posts: 1767 from 2003/3/5
    From: Poland
    Btw just sent one of my PB batteries to a company that specializes in replacing cells. Will report on the success once I get it back...
  • »10.07.19 - 07:05
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    You might also be able to get a general electronics repair shop to do it for you, for around £20-£30 including cells, or cheaper if you supply them.

    Not many of these places around any more though, at least in the UK. And many of those that are won't do anything more adventurous than changing an iPhone battery, especially those nasty little corner shop thingies. If you go in and they don't at least have an oscilloscope, multimeters and soldering irons in the back, you generally don't even have to ask if they'll do it - they won't.

    It's a shame, as a lot of apparently dead-forever electronics are easily fixed, often by just replacing one simple cheap component. I recently fixed an old monitor I thought was dead; turns out the on switch was just stuck. Opened it, oiled the switch, good as new. There's no way I'd have found a repair shop willing to try to fix a monitor - the vast majority of people just buy a new one.
  • »10.07.19 - 19:13
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    NewSense
    Posts: 766 from 2012/11/10
    From: Manchester, UK/GB
    Quote:

    jacadcaps wrote: Btw just sent one of my PB batteries to a company that specializes in replacing cells. Will report on the success once I get it back...

    I'd be interested in the working state of your PwrBk battery when it gets back to you, as I've quite a few 15" and 17" PwrBk batteries that could do with being revitalised, as they're currently dead or close to it - so, it would be great news if the company can pull the rabbit out of that magician's hat. :-o
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  • »11.07.19 - 01:39
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    Quote:

    NewSense wrote:
    Quote:

    jacadcaps wrote: Btw just sent one of my PB batteries to a company that specializes in replacing cells. Will report on the success once I get it back...

    I'd be interested in the working state of your PwrBk battery when it gets back to you, as I've quite a few 15" and 17" PwrBk batteries that could do with being revitalised, as they're currently dead or close to it - so, it would be great news if the company can pull the rabbit out of that magician's hat. :-o


    All a PB battery is, is basically an interface, a plastic case, and a bunch of common 18650 lithium cells. Apple, like many other vendors, specifically didn't want users messing with them so it's hard to open the case without breaking and re-gluing it, and you really need a voltmeter, standalone 18650 charger and spot-welder if you want to start replacing cells, but there's nothing magical about the process.
  • »11.07.19 - 16:34
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    NewSense
    Posts: 766 from 2012/11/10
    From: Manchester, UK/GB
    @ KennyR
    Do you know if the interface has any components in it that once the batteries have dropped below their operating lifespan the interface won't allow it to recharge again, even if the failed batteries are replaced?

    I can easily get the case open and separate the components out, I just thought there'd be some electronic chip/component in the interface board that wouldn't allow replacement of batteries after it had run its expected lifespan.

    I've not got a spot welder, but surely a good soldering iron could connect the batteries together permanently? :-?
    MacMini 1.5GHz,10,2,64MB VRAM,1GB RAM,Airport, Bluetooth,A1016 Keyboard,T-RB22 Mouse,DVD-RW-DL+CD-RW,Iomega MiniMax,Belkin 6 port 3 x Firewire/3 x USB2,MorphOS 3.11,Mac OSX 10.4/10.5,A1138+A1139 PwrBk MOS v3.11,Model 5,8/5,9, & PowerMac G5 2.3GHz (DP)
  • »11.07.19 - 17:47
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    ernsteiswuerfel
    Posts: 281 from 2015/6/18
    From: Funeralopolis
    I now bought a different Model on Amazon (click) which works fine so far.

    But the more I think about it replacing the cells seems the most natural solution to me. So I am interested in jadacaps findings! Or from any other of you guys around here who sent them to such a company (in Europe).
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  • »11.07.19 - 18:29
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    Quote:

    NewSense wrote:
    @ KennyR
    Do you know if the interface has any components in it that once the batteries have dropped below their operating lifespan the interface won't allow it to recharge again, even if the failed batteries are replaced?

    I can easily get the case open and separate the components out, I just thought there'd be some electronic chip/component in the interface board that wouldn't allow replacement of batteries after it had run its expected lifespan.


    Not that I know of. There's a protection circuit there which will cut all power when the cells get to 3.0V to protect them, but it should power on again when the voltage goes up. Many batteries also have a capacity calculator which would be thoroughly confused at first, but after a few cycles should settle down.

    Quote:

    I've not got a spot welder, but surely a good soldering iron could connect the batteries together permanently? :-?


    Generally speaking, a very good soldering iron could, if it could supply enough heat to melt the solder fast enough. See, trouble is that the cell shell is metal and makes a great heatsink that will stop the solder melting until it itself gets really hot, and the cell inside has a flammable electrolyte and a pyrophoric metal that can't be put out even with water if it catches fire...

    So... if you plan to do this, do it outside or have a really big fireproof tray nearby.

    And also, the other complication is that the batteries all have to be at roughly the same voltage before you solder them in, usually in a range of 3.2 - 3.6V (i.e. 3.45 and 3.48 would be fine, 3.2 and 3.8 wouldn't be). You could charge them all fully (4.2V) but it does mean that if you accidentally short one it'll probably explode in your face.

    Edit: There's a few good videos on Youtube. This one from the 8 bit guy, for instance.

    [ Edited by KennyR 11.07.2019 - 19:06 ]
  • »11.07.19 - 19:00
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    NewSense
    Posts: 766 from 2012/11/10
    From: Manchester, UK/GB
    @ KennyR

    Thanks KennyR - very minor point - the video is by someone calling themself "TheiBookGuy", as I say it's a very minor point, but great advice in the video. 8-)

    It's made me realise that if I can get the batteries cheaply enough I'll go about fixing the "ded" batteries I already have, and keep the housing and the usefulness of the housing, and just recycle the "ded" batteries from inside the housing itself, and that way keep my systems working as I want them to.

    That's - even if I can't commercially buy new battery packs anymore - especially the 17" PowerBook batteries which seem to sell for over £100 when new, which is a bit ridiculous, and so keep my batteries in tip-top condition at a reasonable price.
    MacMini 1.5GHz,10,2,64MB VRAM,1GB RAM,Airport, Bluetooth,A1016 Keyboard,T-RB22 Mouse,DVD-RW-DL+CD-RW,Iomega MiniMax,Belkin 6 port 3 x Firewire/3 x USB2,MorphOS 3.11,Mac OSX 10.4/10.5,A1138+A1139 PwrBk MOS v3.11,Model 5,8/5,9, & PowerMac G5 2.3GHz (DP)
  • »11.07.19 - 22:07
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    Yeah, 8 bit guy renamed his channel at some point, but his older videos still use the older name.

    All electronics companies, to a lesser or greater degree, bank on people not being willing or able to make minor repairs. After all, if everyone could do this, people would stop buying new stuff and they'd be out of business.

    Apple are the absolute worst though. Just be thankful that Tim Cook didn't make any PPC PowerBooks, as the modern ones tend to have RAM, CPU, SSD and even batteries hard-soldered into the mainboard. You'd have to be nuts to buy modern Apple hardware IMO.
  • »12.07.19 - 12:27
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    Oh by the way, if you want the most life out of a laptop battery (or indeed any lithium ion battery), apparently one of the best ways is to rarely charge it above 50% capacity. Asus bundles software with their newer laptops that allows you to do this. (I wonder if MorphOS has the capability of controlling charging from the OS... probably not.)

    That, and the basics. Don't leave the battery in really hot places, exercise it once in a while and don't keep it fully charged all of the time, let it completely drain at least once every couple of months, and don't leave it flat for more than a day or two. And for long term storage when not being used, 40% capacity and a cool dry place is best.

    Now, if only I could replace the battery on my Pebble Time...
  • »12.07.19 - 12:53
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  • MorphOS Developer
    jacadcaps
    Posts: 1767 from 2003/3/5
    From: Poland
    The PowerBook hardware provides no software controls over the charging process afaik.

    Btw, battery returned - apparently I've missed the part where their FAQ says they don't service non-original batteries. Nor non-18650 batteries. Damn.
  • »12.07.19 - 20:28
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    KennyR
    Posts: 640 from 2003/3/4
    From: #AmigaZeux, Gu...
    Urgh, that sucks. Sucks that they wouldn't replace them, but sucks even more that they're not 18650s. Must be LiPo, so they'll be made to size by order, and probably really hard to find something suitable to replace them with. No point in trying to squash different sized LiPos into a battery pack - that's how you lose your fingers.
  • »13.07.19 - 12:16
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