Most helpful critical review
105 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Failed to take a charge
on May 22, 2012
The original-equipment battery in my 3-plus-year-old MacBook started swelling visibly about 3 months ago, as it approached the 300-cycle mark. In my case one of the outer-edge corners of the battery module is protruding a full 1/4'' (6-7mm) due to this, though the battery otherwise seems fine, it is still charging and discharging in normal manner. After researching the problem online, it seems that 300-400 cycles is the expected service life of these kinds of batteries, and the swelling is a common visible indicator of such end-of-life approaching. My system was never under AppleCare, and I don`t know if Apple makes exceptions to their 3-year AppleCare extended warranty for this issue - have seen conflicting reports about that - but I called AppleCare anyway to inquire whether there is a safety issue related to the swollen packaging. The mention of the magic word "safety" got my call escalated quickly to a supervisor level, whho was very helpful. After I gave her the basic data for my system (age and cycle count, mainly) she assured me there are no corrosive liquids inside these batteries so there should be no safety issue, although she urged me to stop using the battery and get it replaced ASAP (she even requested that I unplug the system while we were on the call to stop the charging process, apparently a legal-liability precaution.)
So looked around on Amazon.com, and eventually decided to buy this brand, best reviews (by a small amount) of the 3 similarly-priced (I paid US$25) 3rd-party-made replacements. I also saw they sell "certified used" OEM batteries for a similar price, but since you won`t know how many cycles are on those until you take delivery and insert into your system, the pig-in-a-poke aspect dissuaded me, as did the fact that the used-OEM battery did not offer a Free Shipping option, whereas the 3rd-party=manufactured new batteries did.
The battery arrived quickly (4 days, not bad for Free Super Saver shipping) and after reading the small-printed but-clearly written instruction leaflet I went to install it. Like other reviewers I found it to be not an ideal fit; mine was a smidge too long. After carefully seating the outer edge, I slowly applied firm palm pressure on the locking-tab end, and the unit slowly slid into place, ending up perfectly flush in my case. So far, so good. On power-up (I tried with the unit disconnected from the charging cable, to see if the battery came precharged as they are supposed to to prevent full discharge, which is catastrophic for Li ion batteries), the indicator showed 60%, so I put it into drawdown mode by firing up a CPU-heavy application and letting that run. It took about 90 minutes to deplete the partial charge. That is similar to what my OEM battery provides starting with the same charge level. At this point it was around 11pm, so I hooked the system up to the charging cable, powered it up, which showed the expected "charging" on the battery widget and the LED on the charging cable lit solid orange, again as expected. At that point it was late, so I went to bed.
The next morning came the unpleasant surprise: Even after 10 full hours of (alleged) charging, the LED on the charging cable was still orange rather than the hoped-for green, and after logging it I saw the battery indicator showing a dismal "18%". I needed to be mobile at that point, so I closed the lid and took the system with me, but as a precaution I also put the warped-but-working OEM battery, which was about 50% charged at the time I swapped in the new one the previous evening, into the plastic antistatic bag the new one came in and took it with me as well. That came in handy, because indeed the partial charge on the new battery provided just over an hour of use, with nothing power-heavy running, just the WiFi, as I was checking e-mail and doing online stuff.
This battery clearly can be charged to a greater level, as my initial-drawdown shows, but if the recharge rate I observed overnight holds true, that means over 48 hours for a full recharge, which is more than 10x longer than the OEM battery needs, and is simply unacceptable. It`s possible I got a "bad apple", but surely these must get tested for charge-takeup prior to leaving the factory, so no clue as to whether this maker`s batteries are all this way, and I`m not taking any more chances. I just ordered 1 each of the other 2 of the 3 similar batteries I`d flagged in my research:
As it happens I tried #3 first, and it was DOA. But #2 fit and works perfectly. Long story short: These are very hit-or-miss, so be prepared to order more than one until you find one that works. I'm just glad my replacement need was non-emergency, otherwise it would have been a very aggravating process.