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MacBook Pro Batteries Swelling and Failing 388

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the boom-there-it-was dept.
JohnnyCakes writes "MacBook Pro batteries are apparently swelling, then failing. MacFixIt has some grotesque pictures of their own swollen MBP battery, which looks like it has suffered an internal explosion. Apple is replacing batteries on a case-by-case basis, but hasn't yet admitted any wide-scale issues."
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MacBook Pro Batteries Swelling and Failing

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  • by 2.7182 (819680) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:09PM (#15584715)
    We here a lot of this kind of thing - faulty Mac products. But they don't usually pan out, so why give it much thought ?
    • Re:Early stories (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ant P. (974313)
      When it's half a dozen faults with a single product, it's hard to ignore.
    • Re:Early stories (Score:3, Insightful)

      by creimer (824291)
      Apple is supposed to represent a great user experience. It's bad enough that the laptops -- any laptop, really -- is hot enough to make you go temporary sterile. An exploding laptop would not make for a good user experience and the continuation of the species.
      • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:37PM (#15584921)
        Temporarily sterile?

        If you're single, thats a *feature*.
        • Re:Early stories (Score:2, Informative)

          by IdahoEv (195056)
          There's a lot of truth to that joke.

          There's a particular anti-hypertension drug (nifedipine.php [malecontraceptives.org]) that suppresses fertility in men; enough that it could conceivably be used as a contraceptive pill. This has been known for fourteen years, but the drug manufacturer has been suppressing the info and lobbying against research of nifedipine as a contraceptive, afraid that it will hurt sales of the drug as an antihypertensive.

          This kind of baffles me. It's a short-term effect, and do most people really want to h
          • Re:Early stories (Score:3, Interesting)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            But everyone seem convinced that men want to have babies all the time, and therefore would feel that anything that temporarily reduces fertility is a bad thing. I don't know any guys who feel that way, do you? In my experience, most people are worried about accidental pregnancy a fair amount of the time.

            The problem is that in some cases temporary infertility leads to permanent sterility. In order to sell this drug as a male contraceptive pill they would have to do extremely lengthy and expensive studie

    • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:45PM (#15584971) Journal
      For the last 10 years, I help my neighbor out with his mac. In this case, he has an e-mac that had a filesystem failing. I thought it was the OS so forced him to upgrade to tiger. When the problem continued, I checked up on other issues. What I found is that the emac has an issue with mb capacitors. So I popped it open to take a peak. Sure enough, they have started leaking. Yet, apple does not want to do a recall on this. Sadly, I fear that Apple is becoming no different than others. As it is, I will recommend that his next system have a seperate monitor/system so that if he lose his hardware again, then he can switch to a linux box.
      • by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @05:13PM (#15585140)
        I think its amazing you'd expect your neighbor to make the leap from a Mac to Linux.

        Ever hear of another Mac or maybe even Windows?
      • Sadly, I fear that Apple is becoming no different than others.

        After owning 2 ipods within the period of a year and a half, I would definitely say Apple is becoming no different than others. It took me 6 months for them to replace my first ipod under warranty, each time I sent it in to them, they would send it back a few weeks later supposedely "fixed". But, the same issues would shortly return a day or two after I got it back (songs skipping, hard drive whirring sounds, crashes, lockups, unable to boot it

      • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @05:26PM (#15585233)
        if he lose his hardware again, then he can switch to a linux box.

        A who? Who is this hardware manufacturer "Linux" and why hasn't Linus sued them for trademark dilution?

        Oh wait, that's right. A Linux box is any old PC box, reformatted to run Linux. That means the same bad capacitors that contaminated the entire computer industry are as likely to be found in a Linux box as in your friend's eMac.

        Not to mention that there is no hardware difference between your regular Windows box and your regular Linux box. (Unless, of course, you're buying Linspire PCs.)
      • a filesystem failing. I thought it was the OS so forced him to upgrade to tiger.


        Thank you, that was just priceless. And next time your power supply catches fire, remember to add nosmoke.sys to your win.ini . Upgrading to OS X 10.5 also fixes those dead MacBook LCD pixels... [no, no not really]

        Next time your neighbor needs help, he is better off FSCK-ing himself than listening you you, is what I am saying
  • Bad Mac Users! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguin Programmer (241752) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:09PM (#15584717) Homepage
    How many times do we have to tell you? Don't buy first-gen Apple hardware!
    • Re:Bad Mac Users! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by posterlogo (943853) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:21PM (#15584788)
      Every newly released model (inbetween the major updates) still often has different hardware, sometimes totally different. These "minor" updates include such things as batteries, RAM, etc. So really, even the 2nd gen version of a particular Apple product could have issues, maybe not the same ones. I don't think we can really say more things will be reliable in the next version, as more new things have been added that could break. As with any computer, ya toss the dice, and ya gets what ya gets. If you want a Macbook, get one.
    • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:27PM (#15584846)
      I haven't had any problem with my iMac Core Duo since I got it in February.
    • by noewun (591275) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:29PM (#15584873) Journal
      Absolutely. Should be right up there with "don't get involved in a land war in Asia." I've been telling my friends to wait until the second generation. My G5 will last me until the second generation of Intel-powered desktop machines.
      • Re:Bad Mac Users! (Score:3, Informative)

        by happyemoticon (543015)

        I was probably one of the first people in the public to own a new Intel iMac (ordered it like a half an hour after it was up on the website, and it was delivered way ahead of schedule), and I've had no problems other than some improper permissions.

        Conversely, my PowerBook - which was the second-to-last generation, mind you - has had a few problems here and there. I don't give it much of a beating, but I know that the keys start to act funny when it heats up too much.

        My reasoning with electing to be an

    • by hackstraw (262471) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:34PM (#15584900)
      How many times do we have to tell you? Don't buy first-gen Apple hardware!

      Shh. Be quiet. How do you think the errors get found for the 2nd+ gens?

    • Re:Bad Mac Users! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Pendersempai (625351) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:41PM (#15584943)

      I bet if you compared the proportion of users who experienced problems with first generation Apple products, they'd be less than for any competing products on the PC side.

      The hysteria is a combination of (1) Apple users' sometimes obnoxious levels of perfectionism, and (2) Apple's reputation for great customer satisfaction such that each and every flaw is a major news story.

    • How many times do we have to tell you? Don't buy first-gen Apple hardware!
      Because people can always afford to wait another x months for a new machine, right? Sometimes a yellowing, battery-swelling, overheating MacBook is better than something with a G4 in it.
    • by Zhe Mappel (607548) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:22AM (#15587742)
      While to the untrained eye this much-exaggerated swelling and overheating might seem problematic, Mac users are taking it all in stride. Across the MacOSXisphere, we're harnessing the power of OS X to leverage our expectations, cushion the shock, podcast prayers for Steve and see us through what's already come to be known as the Battle of the Bulge. I know for a fact that somewhere, Mac evangelist Dave Schroeder is preparing a 5,000-word Slashdot post that will have us weeping with joy and mods handing out Insightful points faster than pimps working the art of the compliment at the bus station. Meanwhile, later today I'll be releasing iDontseeanybulgedoyouseeanybulge? v2.0, my new zen koan widget for Tiger, which depicts raindrops landing in a rippling pool as a mellow, golden Wine Country voice endlessly intones: "Swelling batteries only make me stronger." Share it with someone you love ($29.99).

      Bottom line, you Windoze and *nix folks: don't think you can poke fun. We're strong, we're united, we love our meringue-tinged MacBooks and MacBulger Pros and we'll continue to love them even if they start to fill out in back like John Merrick, the Elephant Man. It could be worse; we could be stuck on Dell machines getting carpal tunnel from jamming our trackpad fingers on that impossible START button found in the left corner of XP--now, there's a basis for a recall if ever there was one. I weep for you poor, START-bound Windoze users. And Linux? Please, Spock. Understand: nobody licks a prompt. Nobody.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:10PM (#15584723)
    Apple's next OS X update will ensure that random MacBooks will explode in a ball of flames. Apple, after all, wants to do everything a PC can do, but better, right?!
    • Mac- Hello I'm a Mac PC- And I'm a PC Mac- Y'Know I can do a lot of fun stuff like arrange pictures and-- PC- Err what's that huge lump growing out of your side? And why are your clothes covered with yellow stains?
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:10PM (#15584729)
    I currently have the issue [zdnet.com] where the machine simply turns off when the battery has reached around 30-40%, according to the operating system's battery meter.

    Then, there is the issue of some batteries swelling, slightly to severely. If this is shown to be heat related, it may be also related to the issue of too much thermal paste being applied during manufacturing [slashdot.org], thereby not allowing heat to be dissipated properly via the heatpipe and associated fans in a controlled fashion, but rather causing it to be dissipated in an uncontrolled way. Like, discharged into the interior of the case, affecting things like the battery.

    The battery has definitely not suffered an "internal explosion", as the submitter speculates. This appears to occur over time to the batteries that do exhibit this issue, and it is by no means representative of the majority of MacBook Pro batteries. We've got plenty of MacBook Pros here, and we have yet to see one that exhibits this issue in a noticeable way.

    These issues have not yet been acknowledged by Apple. While Apple is actually, from a statistical and reporting standpoint according to consumer organizations like Consumer Reports, the best at responding to these types of problems, it generally does not respond to or acknowledge any problems unless it already has a solution (or there is a defined safety risk that meets the muster of an immediate recall (which this is not (no, really, it's not))).

    When Apple does acknowledge and address the issue, if it is indeed determined to be widespread (and anecdotal blog evidence aside, there is no reason to believe it is), Apple does make it very easy to get a replacement. See the examples for the previous PowerBook and iBook battery exchanges here [apple.com]. Just type in the serial number, Apple sends you a new battery. In this instance, Apple is most definitely replacing batteries that have failed or swollen; so, the end result is that affected customers still get a new battery. And, in the event that there is any larger problem that hasn't been addressed by the battery OEM, if that battery were to fail, it has its own warranty under which it will be replaced as well.

    In any event, further awareness of the problem may adjust Apple's priorities in addressing the heat and battery issues on the MacBook Pro. For the record, with regard to thermal paste, Apple applies this much thermal paste on the new MacBook as well, and in the service manual, they specifically state that it is the correct, intended, and verified amount of thermal paste to be applying (even though that's a ridiculous assertion). So there's obviously more going on there, and anyone who has ever worked in a massive manufacturing operation knows how long a simple procedural change like this can take, and everything else that's involved.

    As an aside, from the level of coverage all of these "issues" receive with Apple products, I can't help but wonder if some people get the impression that Apple just turns out one shoddy product after another, when the reality is that Apple is generally and consistently considered to be the best in the entire industry for quality, need for repairs, technical support, and so on, above all other manufacturers.
    • by Mr.Sharpy (472377) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:16PM (#15584761)
      My MacBook Pro was exhibiting the same behavior. The OS or hardware seemed to be miscalculating the charge in the battery. I could turn it off, remove the battery and let it sit for a while, then put the battery back in and it would seem to reset SOMETIMES but not always. In the end I had to make the call to Apple support. They sent a replacement battery out to me and things seem to be working better now.

      I feel like my MBP was definitely half-baked on release. Unfortunately, the kind of baking it is doing to itself now is not the solution. Ah, the perils of early adoption.
    • Your new MacBook Pro is in the mail, along with a complementary gift basket.

      ah.clem
    • When Apple does acknowledge and address the issue, if it is indeed determined to be widespread (and anecdotal blog evidence aside, there is no reason to believe it is), Apple does make it very easy to get a replacement.

      Maybe I'm just bitter, but they didn't make it possible for owners of first-gen G3 macintoshes to get a replacement logic board that didn't have a totally fucked IDE host adapter on it.

      I've learned not to trust any companies, and that includes Apple. If you don't have them backed into a corner, you can't expect to even get what you paid for.

      • by Moofie (22272) <lee@ringofsaturn. c o m> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:35PM (#15584915) Homepage
        Hmm. I didn't seem to have Apple backed into a corner when I broke my iPod (cracked the clickwheel because I bashed it into the corner of a desk while it was in my pocket), and they handed me a new one.

        So, (my anecdote)+(your something like an anecdote)=not much, right?
        • Hmm. I didn't seem to have Apple backed into a corner when I broke my iPod (cracked the clickwheel because I bashed it into the corner of a desk while it was in my pocket), and they handed me a new one.

          Actually, mine is not just an anecdote. I first became aware of the problem (I thought it was just me) when I plugged a new hard drive into a G3 and started getting data corruption all over the place. I did a little research and it turned out that the Rev 1 and 2 versions of the motherboard have different EIDE host adapters (different versions of the same CMD chip) and the Rev 1 boards have problems with most hard drives - you can run them fine in PIO mode, but they lose data in UDMA mode. This problem is so widespread that there's actually a couple different tools that will check for the data corruption problem. I found a description of the problem on the lowendmac website.

          Want to hear something even more fucked up? There formerly was an article about this in the Apple KB, but when they moved to their new system, they mysteriously "lost" the article. KB articles with numbers on either side of that particular entry made it into the new support system, but that specific article did not. While I have no evidence that it was intentional, it seems very odd that a most-likely-automated process would lose a specific article that details an error in Apple hardware that they utterly failed to address.

          The really telling part of that article (which was summarized in a couple of different locations I found while trying to deal with this) is that Apple's official recommendation for people affected by this problem was that they should either buy commercial software that puts the drive in PIO mode, or buy a PCI host adapter and plug your UDMA drives into that. I suspect that they deleted the article because telling your customers to go spend money to fix a problem that you really should have caught in testing, before selling the system, makes you look like a bunch of assholes.

          Mind you, Apple isn't the only company that's done this to me. When I got my iPAQ I followed a link on the device to download HP Mobile Printing software. When I got there, I found that HP had discontinued this software; not just support on the software, but they actually had removed the download from the website. Their suggestion to people who needed PDA printing? Spend money on one of the two commercial printing offerings. Assholes.

          In spite of that, I'm getting an HP laptop, but work is paying for it, and it was either the HP, or a Sony Vaio that could be counted on to fail rapidly (the one we already have here developed hardware problems in the first three months) and of course, Sony's driver support once a machine is no longer their latest and greatest is always craptacular. If the choice is between HP and Sony, it's an easy one.

          Incidentally, if you want apple store+iPod anecdotes, someone I know bought a nano at the apple store because they were told that they would get a $50 rebate when they got home, it was allegedly on the apple website. They went home with the thing, checked the website; no rebate. The device went bad about a week later; they went into the store, and the device ended up being shipped back for repair, for which they had to wait. These people will never visit an apple store again, for obvious reasons. I'll probably never buy something from an apple store, either, but mostly that's because I don't want to pay for the overhead on an ostentatious retail outlet.

      • This is quite contrary to my experience over 5 years with three different laptops from Apple. The most recent incident; was using my MBP 2.0GHz one Saturday a couple of months after I bought it, and the airport died, then disappeared! About this Mac said none was installed... uh-oh. Then the same happened to the audio hardware. So I took it to the Genius Bar at the West County Mall in Des Peres, MO, the "genius" poked around with it, booted from an external drive, etc. No avail, service required, so he
  • Apple are shysters! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Threni (635302) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:11PM (#15584732)
    In the UK Apple have as good as told people not to buy iPods because they only last one year (despite UK consumer legislation protecting purchases for up to 6 years).

    http://money.guardian.co.uk/consumernews/story/0,, 1783814,00.html [guardian.co.uk]
    http://money.guardian.co.uk/howtocomplain/story/0, ,1738830,00.html [guardian.co.uk]

    Now it's apparantly not just iPod batteries causing problems! Very amusing.
    • In the UK Apple have as good as told people not to buy iPods because they only last one year (despite UK consumer legislation protecting purchases for up to 6 years).

      How do you legislate a portable hard drive that can take 6 years of abuse?

      My iPod is 4 years old now and still works fine. I put in a new battery from NewerTech and it has double the battery life it did when it was new. I try to be careful with it.

      Get a Nano if you want to smack an iPod around.
    • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:33PM (#15584889)
      Saying that iPod batteries (or anything else about the iPod) last "one year" is complete and total bullshit. Hell, the warranty is one year. And you can extend it to two years for $59 (or get a third party service plan), and yes, all of those cover the battery.

      They're lithium ion batteries just like any other lithium ion battery, so why not recommend people not buy anything else with lithium ion batteries in it in the UK? There's nothing worse about, or wrong with, the lithium ion batteries Apple uses in the iPod. They come from the likes of Sony, Sanyo, and other leading lithium ion battery manufacturers. The original iPod batteries were stock, pre-existing Sony batteries [ipodbatteryfaq.com] and weren't even built to Apple specifications

      And before anyone says the battery is "sealed inside", so what? Let's say you buy a Nokia phone, and the Nokia-branded battery replacement is $60. Well, Apple will replace your iPod battery with the Apple-branded battery replacement (actually, by giving you a new or factory-refurbished-in-a-brand-new-enclosure iPod with its own warranty) for $60. Or, you can get a replacement battery that's even higher capacity than Apple's for $25 from any of dozens of outfits selling iPod batteries and replace it yourself in about 5-10 minutes.

      For the truth, see iPod Battery FAQ [ipodbatteryfaq.com]. Disclaimer: iPod Battery FAQ is my site. It does have Google Adsense on it, but I don't sell anything. So if you think this is some "trick" to get people to visit it, by all means, don't click an ad. I believe I have covered the iPod battery issue extensively, and extensively disproven the crap. I challenge anyone to find anything incorrect on the site.
      • Yes, pay $25 (PLUS shipping) to replace the battery on your (overpriced) iPod yourself -- successfully voiding your expensive warranty.
        • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

          by daveschroeder (516195) *
          Yes, pay $25 (PLUS shipping) to replace the battery on your (overpriced) iPod yourself -- successfully voiding your expensive warranty.

          Huh?

          If your iPod is under warranty, and it needs its battery replaced, it's covered by the warranty. Therefore you're not "voiding your warranty" by doing something utterly retarded like BUYING a battery when you can get the entire iPod replaced by a new (not refurbished) iPod under the manufacturer's warranty. So what the hell are you talking about? (I don't expect you'll r
      • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

        by deacon (40533)
        From the iDave battery faq site:

        Q: Is the iPod's battery replaceable?

        A: Yes. Apple has an official battery replacement program for $59. The program requires that you send in your iPod (any model), and Apple will replace the battery and return it to you for $59 plus shipping and handling (technically, Apple actually replaces your whole iPod with an equivalent new model or factory-refurbished model in a new enclosure, with its own service warranty; if the iPod was previously engraved by Apple, it will be

        • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

          by daveschroeder (516195) *
          What a hassle. So my never-dropped iPod is going to be replaced with "refurbished" guts with who knows what history. Then I pay for shipping and handling. Then I have to be able to back up my music before my iPod dies so I can reload it again (assuming I CAN reload my music on the "refurbished" guts I get back). And, this program used to cost $99 for the battery, it has been reduced to "only" $59.

          By comparison, I can pick up a name brand or generic battery for my cell phone anywhere I want to, and just snap
      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by snuf23 (182335) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @05:47PM (#15585357)
        One certainly wonders why this has become such a personal crusade for you. Nevertheless let me address one thing:

        "And before anyone says the battery is "sealed inside", so what?"

        Convenience my friend, simple consumer convenience. If I can walk in and purchase a new battery and replace it myself in 30 seconds, I prefer that to having to bring it and leave it at the shop.
        • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by daveschroeder (516195) *
          Convenience my friend, simple consumer convenience. If I can walk in and purchase a new battery and replace it myself in 30 seconds, I prefer that to having to bring it and leave it at the shop.

          You don't have to. You can replace it yourself in 5 minutes instead of 30 seconds, the one time you'll need to do so every 2 to 4 years or so.

          Or you can just not get an iPod, I suppose, if having a battery door is really that important to you.

          And as for consumer benefit, don't you think there might be benefits in ter
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Damn Viagara!!!!!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apple is replacing batteries on a case-by-case basis, but hasn't yet admitted any wide-scale issues.

    When has Apple EVER admitted to any wide-scale issues? They're notorious for sweeping problems under the rug and downplaying them. Only after people kick and scream with pitchforks do they grudingly admit to a "limited" problem, and sometimes they don't admit to it all but just quietly do away with the product (e.g., the cube Mac with the cracking case).

  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:17PM (#15584765) Homepage Journal
    For more info, visit the battery manufacturer's website. [ballparkfranks.com]
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:19PM (#15584780) Homepage Journal
    I've read /., on and off for years. Never have I seen so many articles about the (alleged) shortcomings of a single product (aside from Windows, but that's a given.)

    It seems like every other day an article gets posted about a Mac product failing. Whether it's overheating, poor battery life, dirty cases, and now swelling batteries.

    Seriously, what percentage of *any* product fails? Yet it's blown all out of shape here.

    I'm not a Mac owner, nor do I even like their OS, but hell guys, lighten up huh?
    • by bsartist (550317) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:29PM (#15584865) Homepage
      It works like this:
      1. Write inflammatory Mac-related story.
      2. Hordes of Mac fans visit the site to post angry comments.
      3. Hordes of Mac bashers visit the site to post "I told you so" comments.
      4. Profit.
      See also: Any Mac-related article written by John C. Dvorak.
    • Probably not. I'm fairly certain that Taco and a few other of the editors own Apple notebooks... only because that's what I saw them use at LinuxWorld.
    • by Stalyn (662) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:59PM (#15585048) Homepage Journal
      No it's your own selective perception. Maybe 1 out the last 10 [slashdot.org] were negative. Now... Microsoft... that's another story.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You have to be a plant from Apple to make a comment like that.

      Hardly any other site that's not solely focused on Apple is as pro-Apple as Slashdot.

      I've had comments modded down so often for even hinting that something could be wrong with Apple's strategy from time to time. Basically, either you're new around here and don't yet understand the nature of the site, or you're on Apple's pay roll.
    • by pVoid (607584) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @05:26PM (#15585229)
      Never have I seen so many articles about the (alleged) shortcomings of a single product (aside from Windows, but that's a given.)

      Is it? how is *that* a given? is there a commandment which I'm not aware of that says the windows automatically gets the ire of people? If you can call any names to the slashdot community, it's having a bias towards linux, and against windows.

      Aside from that, these articles about Apple are important: I just bought an Apple macbook a few weeks ago, and I'll tell you that I'm honestly shocked at Apple's level of service both software and hardware wise. It is quite simply bad by any standard, be it Microsoft or open source community.

      However, there was no way for me to know this until I bought the damn thing because there's an army of religious monks out there evangelising about how awesome mac is.

      Giving the bad as well as the good is important.

  • by Leomania (137289) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:19PM (#15584782) Homepage
    You put the words "grotesque" and "pictures" right next to each other and made them a link... which had predictable results on the responsiveness of the MacFixIt server. That might be some kind of record.
  • Happened to mine (Score:5, Informative)

    by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@nOspaM.comcast.net> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:22PM (#15584799) Journal
    This happened to mine 2 weeks ago (and I actually was one of the first to report the problem to MacInTouch and others. What seems to be the cause is heat and a series of batterys from Feb-March that cant take it. It also seems to ONLY be a cell of the battery, not all three.

    The best course of action is if you see your not getting the maximum power out of the battery (it cuts out) take it out and take it back ASAP. Its likely in 1-2 weeks going to fail.

  • Full Story (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:23PM (#15584801)
    Sudden shutdowns can be precursory to severe battery failure We continue to report on severe battery failure -- apparently due to overheating -- from some MacBook Pros.

    As we noted last week, our an in-house MacBook Pro (1.83 GHz) has a battery that has begun to swell noticeably. The system has always had some quirks with battery operation, but recently has begun to randomly shut down, or refuse to operate from the battery alone -- requiring connection to AC power.

    In mild cases, batteries swell but remain functional. In these cases, keyboard and/or trackpad functionality is sometimes affected by the rising of internal components.

    In severe cases, the swelling is visually striking, and users are eventually left with non-functioning batteries.

    In most cases, Apple is replacing these defective batteries on an individual basis. The company has yet to disclose a manufacturing defect affecting any range of serial numbers or date-based production runs.

    Anecdotal evidence (including our own in-house experience) suggests that the problem primarily affects MacBook Pros that were shipped early on in the production cycle -- our MacBook Pro was shipped in February.

    A MacFixIt reader corroborates:

    "Talking to a friend at a Apple Store in NJ, he has had a few people return with battery issues and from the dates strongly suggests its a error that started late Feb to late March, since all the computers coming back fall into that timeframe."

    If your MacBook Pro's battery is swelling, please let us know.

    Running Rosetta applications causes heat spikes Any processor/hard drive intensive operation -- including running applications in Rosetta -- can result in tactile heat spikes from the MacBook Pro.

    As described by MacFixit reader Mark:

    "I've been a happy owner of a MacBook Pro for about 3 months now. In my opinion, it is a laptop in all senses of the word. However, I have noticed a very high sensitivity to the type and intensity of workloads the processors are running in regards to heat. If you are on battery power, the time remaining indicator is an excellent predictor of how hot the 'Book is going to get. If you are running Microsoft Word, your 'Book is going to get very hot. If OpenBase (used with Chronos products) is re-indexing, or Adobe software is running, the 'Book gets hot. Most Rosetta-dependent apps knock 30 min to an hour off of the battery time, even if they are not in the foreground. If you want a cool 'Book, kill all Rosetta-dependent apps unless you need them. The heat drops, the battery lasts 3+ hours, and you have a laptop again."

    Meanwhile, some users report receiving replacements for abnormally hot units.

    MacFixIt reader Del writes:

    "I have a 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro with the 7200 rpm hard drive and 1.5 GB ram. It has been running hot ever since it arrived in April. After downloading from VersionTracker and installing the 'CoreDuoTemp' application version 0.9 which monitors an Intel Mac's internal temperature, I was getting temperature readings as high as 162 degrees Fahrenheit.

    "After speaking with tech support, on May 31, I took the unit to the Apple store for repairs. I have been notified that they are replacing the mother board and the temperature sensors. The repairs are supposed to be complete by June 23, 2006. Apparently the parts were backordered and should arrive by June 16, 2006. I will let you know if this repair fixes the problem with over heating."

    More projector problems Users continue to note issues with output to digital projectors from the MacBook Pro.

    MacFixIt reader Todd Birdsong writes:

    "When I connect the MacBook Pro to a projector, both the audio and video work great when they are independent from each other. It is when you combine the two (which is 99% of the time) that the audio becomes irritatingly noisy. It is a steady 'buzz' which is completely distracting. After checking out all of my gear, I discovered that when you disconnected the DVI/VGA adaptor that the audio returned to normal."

    If you are experiencing a similar issue, please let us know.

    For further coverage, see our MacBook Pro special report
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:23PM (#15584807)
    There's no problem. You people are a bunch of whiners. Batteries are supposed to explode, computers are supposed to moo, laptops are typically too hot to rest on your lap and plastic naturally turns pink. Perfectly acceptable. Apple hardware is the best in the world, period.
  • Fix it (Score:5, Funny)

    by electrosoccertux (874415) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:26PM (#15584839)
    If they keep swelling and failing, then perhaps they need some supplements. More information readily available in your mail account [imageshack.us]. But act fast, this offer ends soon!
  • Now every laptop from every manufacturer has battery problems.

    The MacBook didn't have them for a month because it was new. That's all.

    Who makes these crappy batteries (China obviously) any why do companies keep buying them? And is it the slave labor, or the childrens small hands that makes the quality so low?
    • any why do companies keep buying them?

      Because people don't buy more expensive things when there are cheaper alternatives (unless it's software...).

      It's the same reason why [some] people go wild when they get coupons of 50cent or "+1 free" offers when they otherwise wouldn't buy that product.

      Also, China actively sells producs cheaper to invade markets and can produce much higher volumes of sweet tech.

      these crappy batteries ... is it the slave labor, or the childrens small hands that makes the quality so

  • by msauve (701917) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:28PM (#15584857)
    I'd think if this is somewhat common that it is more likely to be an issue with the battery charging circuitry. Lithium batteries in general are pretty reliable, as long as they are properly charged. Overcharging them can cause all kinds of problems, including explosions.
  • by Zaphod2016 (971897) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:29PM (#15584874) Homepage

    Before this year, I hadn't used an Apple since a IIe back in grade school. Why? Because most of my clients are office junkees, and it was just a heck of a lot easier to use windows in the interest of "compatibility". Then came news of the Wintel: a Mac that could do BOTH! I ran out and bought a MacBook Pro the week after they came out. Then my problems began...

    I will skip the horror stories we have all read about, but needless to say the thing is hot, loud and the tech support people are still in denial about everything. I gave up, and down-graded to a MacBook instead. All in all, the MacBook is a solid machine and a quality value- but it still has MANY of the same problems (and a few all its own). In other words, things I consider unacceptable at $2,500 I view as "good enough" at $1,000. Then again, I've been using Dells for the last decade...silly me for thinking quality was a function of cost, eh?

    I simply cannot understand why Apple would do this to itself. The iPod was a grand slam, and I was expecting these Mactels to DOUBLE Apple's market share in time for Vista. I had nothing but high hopes, which is probably why I am so disappointed now.

    Bad metaphor time: I come visit you the day a family member dies. Mom is crying. Dad is drunk. Sis is sneaking a cig. Unbenknownst to me, for 20 years your family has been normal and wonderful, but this is one hell of a shitty first impression. I tell myself "never again", and don't bother to return your phone calls next week.

    In the end, Apple nets even because I bought a second MacBook for the fiance. However, the way I see it, they still LOST a potential $1,500- and probably one heck of a lot of Windows users who are less patient that I am.

    • The apple mystery. Since becoming the first and biggest maker of personal computers back in the 80's Apple always sits on his achievements milking customers until it risks bankrupcy, then comes out with a killer thing (the powerpc, the ipod, OSX) and wins back some market and lots of image, until the next depression.
      t's a very dangerous game to play for a company, and it's a pity as OSX is the best commercial OS.
  • by bepolite (972314) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:30PM (#15584876) Homepage
    ...and what happens if you say *Macbook* while waiting in line at the airport?
  • Kyocera smart phones (the 7135 variety) had a problem like this a while back; the contents of the battery pack would leak and become super-heated. The resulting condition would cause pressure to build up within the skin of the battery cell and the cell would eventually fail, releasing some very angry super-charged gas. This burned a few people, IIRC, and Kyocera recalled the batteries.

    I wonder if these fail in nay similar way, 'with force' as the Kyocera batteries did. It's one thing to stop working and ge
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:33PM (#15584890)
    If this happened to Dell, or Compaq, or random-nonname-clone, this wouldn't be news. Because its Apple, there's shock and dismay. Perhaps because people have a higher expectation of Apple, or a lower expectation of PC hardware?
  • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:45PM (#15584967) Homepage
    I clicked once on a slashdot link that led to grotesque pictures of swollen parts [wikipedia.org]. That was also quite a wide-scale issue, very wide in fact. I'm not falling for that one again.
  • by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:49PM (#15584986) Journal


    For Lithium Ion Polymer (or LiPo for short) batteries to swell like this one or more of the following has to have happened:

    1. The battery was discharged below its safe discharge voltage threshold.

    2. The battery was discharged at a current higher than the rated sustained discharge current rating.

    3. It was a boy computer placed too close to a girl computer. .,.,
  • By Storm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Joebert (946227) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:55PM (#15585021) Homepage
    I've learned not to trust anything that's white, & takes the country by storm, like Pilgrims or Cocaine, or Apple Products.

    Being white, I don't even trust myself !
  • by tlambert (566799) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:56PM (#15585024)
    Is that your battery, or are you happy to see me?

    -- Terry
  • personal experience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Matey-O (518004) <michaeljohnmiller@mSPAMsSPAMnSPAM.com> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:56PM (#15585027) Homepage Journal
    three MBP's, three batteries, all three fine.

    Now, one of the laptops lost two fans within three weeks of ownership...but that's offtopic.
  • by Warlock7 (531656) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @05:09PM (#15585111)
    Probably a good idea to avoid them...

    Sad thing is that Apple gets the bad press over it.

    Here's a much more disturbing photo [xlr8yourmac.com] of one of those batteries. It was posted on Accelerate Your Mac [xlr8yourmac.com] on June 15.
  • by Anonymous Freak (16973) <(prius.driver) (at) (mac.com)> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:44PM (#15585642) Journal
    Just yesterday I got it replaced at the local Apple Store.

    My hardware:
      First gen MacBook Pro 2.0 GHz (shipped the first week,) with 2 GB of RAM and the 7200 RPM hard drive. All firmware updates applied, running Boot Camp. (95% of the time in OS X, 5% in XP.)

    My symptoms:
    1. The computer would go to sleep, but wouldn't wake up. I would have to remove the battery, replace it, then plug the computer into the wall, to get it to turn back on. (I would *NOT* wake up from safe sleep, but would turn on from scratch.) This started out as an occasional thing, but eventually got to the point where it happened every time.
    2. Then it would start randomly turning off during use, and wouldn't turn back on unless I was plugged in to power. If I shut it off, it would start up off the battery, though.
    3. Then it would not run off the battery any more, but it did say the battery was there.
    4. Finally, it wouldn't even acknowledge that there was a battery. Tried resetting power manager, re-flashing the firmware, etc. No help. The battery's LEDs said it had a full charge, but the computer wouldn't even attempt to start on battery power.

    This whole process occurred over about two weeks.

    So I took it to an Apple Store's Genius Bar, and they did some diagnostics, then finally declared it a bad battery. (The Genius hadn't heard of any company-acknowledged failures that covered this.) Swapped my battery for a brand new one (straight off the sales shelf,) and went on my way. (I bought a second at the same time, simply because I had been wanting a second battery anyway.)
  • by nzgeek (232346) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:52PM (#15585687) Homepage Journal
    We use LiPo batteries for radio control planes, and many of us have experienced swelling, and eventually combustion, because of the abuse that we put the batteries through. We demand massive current output to drive high-wattage brushless motors, and then get frustrated and charge the batteries at higher-than recommended currents so we can get out flying again.

    Then there's the whole cottage industry of R/C flyers buying 'bare cells' and soldering together frankenstein combinations of cells in series and parallel to get the perfect size/voltage/weight battery for the plane we are building.

    So in other words it comes as no surprise to me that LiPos in consumer products are swelling (and exploding) as the capacities and loads are increased, and as manufacturing perhaps gets shoddier as supply demand increases.

    As I mention here [gadgetophile.com], the more power you need, the more energy you need to store in a battery, and the higher the likelihood of some sort of catastrophic failure.
  • by kestasjk (933987) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:53PM (#15587004) Homepage
    Mac- Hello I'm a Mac

    PC- And I'm a PC

    Mac- Y'Know I can do a lot of fun stuff like arrange pictures and--

    PC- Err what's that huge lump growing out of your side? And why are your clothes covered with yellow stains?
  • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:19AM (#15587313) Homepage Journal

    For what it's worth, I found that my Mac Book Pro was running hot, and was consistently idling at 40% cpu activity, when there didn't seem to be anything consuming that much cpu as far as top was telling me.

    It appears to have been caused by having Windows Sharing turned on. It was using that many cycles even when I was at home with no Windows machines on the network.

    When I turned off Windows Sharing, the cpu usage dropped to single digits, and the laptop has been running much cooler.

    Your mileage may vary, of course, but it might be something worth looking at if your laptop runs hot.

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