Simple thoughts in a complex life
Tag Archives: battery
For the last test, since daily usage would vary from day to day, I did 3 runs, so that the result would better represent the case.
What I did : Edited Google Wave documents, worked with some flash documents, listened to music and the occasional chat.
Running programs : Firefox, iTunes, Adium, TextEdit
Environment : Worked at a bright location, so screen should be at 100% most of the time
The result : Battery is down 53% in 149 minutes, average battery usage is 0.355704 % per minute, 100% battery would approximately equal to 4 hours and 41 minutes.
What I did : Web-based administration, server administration (using SSH), email, and a bit of coding in Windows through Remote Desktop Connection
Running programs : Firefox, Mail, Adium, TextEdit, Activity Monitor, Terminal (SSH), Remote Desktop Connection, Google Chrome
Environment : Worked at a relatively bright room, screen is probably about 70% to 100%
The result : Battery is down 60% in 134 minutes, average battery usage is 0.4477612 % per minute, 100% battery would approximately equal to 3 hours and 43 minutes.
What I did : Web-based administration, browsing some websites, email, encoded two 20-minutes long videos using HandBrake, internet connection using bluetooth
Running programs : Firefox, Mail, Handbrake, TextEdit, OpenOffice.org
Environment : Room wasn’t so bright, screen is probably about 70% to 80%
The result : Battery is down 65% in 119 minutes, average battery usage is 0.5462185 % per minute, 100% battery would approximately equal to 3 hours and 3 minutes.
Ok, since all of the tests have been completed, next I will try to write a conclusion from my tests.
It turns out that I need a lot of time just to complete the Mac Book Pro battery test. Well, I have completed item #5 in my checklist, which is to repeat the battery test as close enough to the way Apple tested them after a clean install of Snow Leopard.
As with item #2 I did a partial using Apple scenario, only this time I did not start from 100%. I take notes of the battery usage while I was browsing quite heavily searching for the best computer spec for my brother in law. The only applications running were Firefox and TextEdit. We were in a relatively dark room and I constantly adjusted the brightness to be at 50%.
The result : my battery is down 29% in 97 minutes. The average battery usage is 0.2989% per minute, which means 100% battery life would approximately equal to 334 minutes or 5 hours and 34 minutes of usage.
That is not so bad, considering that I was browsing heavily that day, the fans even turned on, something that I do not experience much.
Work has been crazy these few days, there’s this deadline that we’re trying to make in the office so I was having trouble allocating enough time for the perfect Apple environment test.
Moreover, my machine also has the notorious auto-sleep problem. A problem in which the notebook does not want to sleep by itself when it is left idle, even though the Energy Saver preference has been set properly. The manual sleep function works just fine though. This irritates me so much – you have to close the lid to preserve battery – that it made really want to format the machine as soon as possible. And the second battery test would not be valid if I formatted the machine.
Nevertheless I did a partial battery test using the Apple scenario. I did the test for only approximately half of the battery capacity. Here is the details of what I did. I charged the battery to a full 100%, and then used the notebook the way Apple tested them, by browsing some websites and writing some documents, the screen brightness was at 50% and so was the keyboard brightness. I used Firefox for browsing and OpenOffice.org to edit the document.
The result : my battery was down by 45% in 1 hour and 52 minutes. The average battery usage is 0.40178% per minute, which means 100% battery life would approximately equal to 249 minutes or 4 hours and 9 minutes of usage.
Hmm, that didn’t differ much than the result of the first test.. Maybe the running background processes are the ones really eating up the battery. And it’s possible that they are the ones responsible for the MBP’s auto-sleep problem. Well, we’ll see about that in the next test, after I format the notebook.
I’ve finished the first of four items planned on the battery life test, the real-world usage test.
I do the test while working in the office. Since I am a developer working in Windows platform, I used the notebook to remotely connect to my development machine and see how long it would last.
I started with 100% battery, programs running were Firefox, Apple Mail, Adium, iTunes, TextEdit, and Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection. I didn’t check the display brightness level, but I assume that it was at 100% all the time because I have a big glass window behind my desk and I live in the tropics. I was using AirPort to connect to the network, and Bluetooth was disabled.
I did all the browsing, emailing, chatting, listening to music in OS X, and only coding on the remote Windows machine. I also did some downloading in iTunes. At lunch break, I streamed a movie for about twenty to thirty minutes to watch while eating. The machine went to sleep several times while I was briefly away from the desk.
I think this test could be described as “moderate wireless usage”. The Remote Desktop Connection constantly streamed some data during the test period, occasionally wireless usage went high when I downloaded something or when I streamed a movie. The CPU usage were not intensive.
The result, I got to work for 3 hours and 58 minutes, before the battery was completely drained (0%) and the machine went to hibernate by itself.
Next up is the Apple Environment test.
Apparently, my post about my suggestion on fixing the battery life problem in Snow Leopard has been generating enough traffic to make me feel compelled to do a battery life test. So here goes.
First, a short description of my machine :
- It is a 13″ MacBook Pro, with 2.26 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM. Logically, faster processor would consume more power for a given time and the same applies to larger amount of RAM.
- I upgraded to Snow Leopard via the upgrade path, as advised by Apple (I read this on gizmodo.com).
- It had all sorts of programs installed, the Applications folder had 70+ items and I also installed programs that runs as a service like SynergyKM, Growl.
I think this machine qualifies for a real world test machine.
The target of this experiment is to try to verify Apple’s claim about the notebook’s battery life, and to compare it to real-world usage scenarios. Apple claims that the battery would last up to 7 hours of “wireless productivity” (8 in 17″ MBPs). As usual, in every claim there’s the fine print. You can see in this page, in the fine print, 7 hours is achieved in a specific working condition. The keywords are in bold.
13-inch MacBook Pro testing conducted by Apple in May 2009 using preproduction 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo-based MacBook Pro units. 15-inch MacBook Pro testing conducted by Apple in May 2009 using preproduction 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo-based MacBook Pro units with a Better Battery Life setting. 17-inch MacBook Pro testing conducted by Apple in May 2009 using preproduction 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo-based MacBook Pro units with a Better Battery Life setting. Battery life depends on configuration and use. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information. The wireless productivity test measures battery life by wirelessly browsing various websites and editing text in a word processing document with display brightness set to 50%.
There are several experiments that I plan to do. In order :
- Real-world usage test.
- The Apple Environment test.
- Format and do a clean install of Snow Leopard.
- Repeat item #1.
- Repeat item #2.
- Write a conclusion.
For anyone interested, I will update this post with links to each item, and I will try to do at least one test in a week.
Ever since I upgraded the OS of my Early 2009 13″ MBP to Snow Leopard, I have a problem with the notebook’s battery life. When I was using Leopard, the battery could last very long, so long that I was used to working without connecting the notebook with a power source. I also remember that the Time indicator for the battery used to estimate about 7 hours or so of battery life at 100%, although it occasionally fell to 3 or 4 hours on heavy usage. But now, at 100% it would only show about 5 hours max.
For some time I used to think that this was probably due to 64-bit architecture change that caused the notebook to use more power. But the longer I used the notebook in this condition, the more I worry about the battery. According to Apple, the new battery technology in unibody Macs are supposed to last for 1000 charge cycles, about 3 years of normal usage. The battery problem means that I am using more cycles than it is supposed to be for a given time, which increases the possibility of the battery having degraded performance before the 3-years mark.
So I googled around a bit, and found out that other people are also experiencing the same problem. The solution to this problem is to do the following :
I did all three and the problem is now fixed, I can now see the 6+ hours battery life indicator on 99% again :).
EDIT : I am conducting a battery test to see the actual performance of the MBP’s battery here.