Extreme Runtime

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Date: Monday, January 24th, 2005, 23:22
Category: Hardware, PowerBook G4 Titanium

Putting the most powerful battery available into the slowest TiBook yields impressive results. Read on……….


The Titanium PowerBook G4 represented a shift in design for Apple Computer. The ultra-thin metal enclosure eschewed interchangeable bays and dual battery capability for a simplicity of form and edgy compactness. The TiBook was introduced with a choice of 400 or 500 MHz G4 processors. One of the great things about this machine was a very respectable runtime on the lithium ion battery. My original 400 Mhz TiBook was capable of playing a two hour DVD with power to spare. As the TiBook matured it was speed-bumped a few times and the battery was also bumped from 3,600 to a capacity of 4,000 mAh in an attempt to keep pace with the hungrier processors. Enter NewerTech and their NuPowr replacement batteries. Available in 4,400 and 4,800 mAh capacities, they promise longer runtimes than any available battery for the TiBook. In the lowly 400 MHz machine, they provide some very long legs.
When the NuPowr 4,800 mAh battery arrived from OWC, I charged it overnight for about 16 hours. This step is critical to the life of the battery, according to Newer. To discharge it, I played a DVD for about two hours before a warning came up indicating that I was running on reserve power. The DVD continued playing for almost another hour with battery percentage at 0 before a forced sleep occurred. I recharged it again for about 5 hours and then played the same DVD. Same thing happened, so I checked the battery using Capacity Meter which reported a calculated capacity of only 3,600mAh. I reset the power manager by pressing the reset button and waiting five seconds to restart, and voila Capacity Meter reported a calculated capacity of 4,650 mAh. I set the rated capacity at 4,800.
I ran the same test again and got a slightly shorter runtime, but with more accurate monitoring of the battery time in the menu bar. This time the reserve power warning came up at about two and a half hours and the computer went into forced sleep about twenty minutes later. In normal use, the menu has reported more than 6 hours remaining at full charge! I took it to the Philadelphia PowerBook User Group meeting and after three hours, saw the battery monitor indicating nearly three hours remaining. According to Newer, it may take as many as five discharge cycles for the battery to reach full capacity.

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