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Running a Macbook Pro without the battery

by rnauth1418 / December 30, 2009 1:01 AM PST

I use my mac mainly on my desk and as such the power adapter is always readily available. I have been charging the battery, then removing the charger and running off of battery power until it is drained. This will eventually kill the battery, so now I am running it without a battery.

Firstly, are there any performance/longevity issues I should be concerned with? I know the power management system uses the battery as a sort of fail safe against internal circuit overloads... I don't know if that is still the case with newer computers.

Secondly, is there any way to have the computer automatically update the date and time? Every time I start the computer I get the warning screen that says the date has been reset and this may cause programs to act weird.

Thanks for any help!

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Running without the battery,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 30, 2009 3:27 AM PST

Performance is degraded when the battery is removed and the machine is running only on the AC adapter. Apparently it was designed this way.

Leaving the battery in and running from the AC adapter does not harm the battery and Apple recommend that you occasionally remove the AC adapter and use the computer until it shuts itself down through lack of power.
As a matter of interest, all batteries have a life expectancy which is usually measured in charge cycles. All batteries will die eventually, even if you do not use them.
Even without the battery, but with the AC adapter plugged in, the date and time should be maintained correctly. System Preferences > Date & Time has a setting to use a Network Time server which keeps the clock up to date. If you remove the AC power after shutting down the computer and the Date and Time gets lost, you may have a problem with your backup battery.


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a couple things
by rnauth1418 / December 30, 2009 3:57 AM PST

Where can I find out the exact performance hit I will see from running the laptop without a battery?
I ask because I don't think the speed of the computer will change because of the power supply. Granted the computer performance changes when only on the battery, I don't think the same can be said for a computer operating only on the A.C. what I am concerned with is the longevity of the actual hardware itself. I know that power redundancy issues as will as power fail safe measures rely on the battery, which in turn could affect the longevity of the product. I would like to know if apple has addressed this issue since it was a problem with the older powerbooks and ibooks (2002-2004).

In terms of the date/time issue, I unplug the ac adapter when the computer is shutdown. I try to conserve energy in any way I can, and even the little green led on the magsafe uses some power. (I know I know, but I care about the environment)I am thinking that I might have a problem with my backup battery... How can I know for sure? Thanks for your help!

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Doubting Thomas
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 30, 2009 10:29 PM PST
In reply to: a couple things
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I see
by rnauth1418 / January 3, 2010 10:23 PM PST
In reply to: Doubting Thomas

Well I hadn't exactly done any research specific to the macbook pro on the matter. Both articles were very helpful.

In terms of the backup battery, I was wondering how I would be able to test the backup battery to know for sure it was dead. I have read a couple articles on the components in the macbook pro and I have not seen anything detailing a backup battery...

Any help would be appreciated.

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Running Laptop without battery
by johnlh / January 3, 2010 11:23 PM PST

I ran my G4 laptop with the battery installed for well over 3 years for 98% of the time. When I did use the battery it never gave me any problem. I sold it a month ago and it was still ticking very well. I have read that it may be wise to on occasion drain it down. That I did about twice a year. I simply ran it without the battery doing my regular work.

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I haven't seen a performance hit
by rnauth1418 / January 4, 2010 12:33 AM PST

I haven't seen a performance hit since removing the battery. The computer is a fairly fast machine and I have not been using it for anything hardcore in the past few months. I guess I will have to weigh the options.

So to clarify, you ran it with the battery in the computer for three years or did you remove it to do normal work during that period? I was a bit confused by the post.

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