Category Archives: MacBook Pro

Apple Still Standing By 17″ MacBook Pro Batteries

In November of last year, I posted a picture of yet another MacBook Pro 17″ swollen battery. At the time, I figured that the battery was out of warranty so I didn’t run right off to Apple to get a new one. I ended up purchasing a new battery at an Apple store while running errands one day and didn’t have the battery with me to show them. This week though, I had to go to Apple to get my wife’s iPhone 4S looked at (topic of another post) and I decided to bring my swollen battery with me. I hadn’t thrown it away (bad!) and hadn’t taken it to be recycled. Good thing. After getting the iPhone sorted out, I showed the Apple Genius my MacBook battery. No questions asked, he walked over to the shelf, picked up a new battery and opened it up and handed it over. He just took the old one and put it in the box. I was floored. No hemming and hawing over it not being under warranty. Just flat out handed me a new one. So now I have two!

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. No matter what you read about issues with these batteries, its my experience that Apple will just stand by their products and give you a replacement. I’m sure this battery will swell again at some point and I will no doubt be bringing it back to my local Apple store for another replacement!

Swollen MacBook Pro 17″ Battery Ready to Explode?

I had to replace my MacBook Pro 17″ Battery again a few months back due to the swollen battery issue. I just left the old one on my desk on top of a few Apple product boxes figuring I’d take it somewhere to have it recycled. Just last night I was cleaning up in the middle of the night (don’t ask why I was up) and noticed that it had had swollen even more. In fact, it looks like leaving it charged kept feeding the expansion of the battery cells. Its at the point where the entire case is separating. I think I’ll take it to an Apple Store and have them recycle it so that they can see how bad they get. Hey, maybe they’ll give me another one!

Apple Macbook Pro Swollen Battery Problem

I get a lot of questions regarding issues I have had in the past regarding my Macbook Pro and the infamous swollen Macbook Pro battery issue. Apple won’t always warranty your battery for you, especially if your Macbook is out of warranty or older than a year. The issue is that batteries aren’t meant to last forever and depending on the battery usage and how well the battery is taken care of, they won’t replace it. There are some tricks you can use to keep your battery performance at a high level. In a nutshell, you want to charge the battery to 100%, then unplug your Macbook and let the battery run to 0% without having the Macbook plugged in. Then let it charge while in sleep mode until it is fully charged. Its pretty important to not use your Macbook Pro while its charging during this procedure.

If you are experiencing issues with your Macbook Pro battery though, I suggest you take your laptop and the battery in to your local Apple Store. Don’t bother calling Apple Support, they’ll most likely blow you off. You just want to make your Genius Bar appointment and plead your case. In my experience, I talked to the head Genius at my local Apple Store (in Natick, MA) and he took care of me. He also gave me a receipt because my new battery was under warranty for a year.

In the case that Apple won’t replace your battery, I suggest you take a look at these NewerTech NuPower batteries available at Other World Computing. They generally offer better performance and a longer life expectancy. Hope that helps!

MacBook Pro 17″ Quick Blinking Status Light

I had quite the freak out moment this morning regarding my 17″ MacBook Pro (Duo 2.16GHz model). During the course of the morning I had to reboot the darn thing, but after the restart, it never came back up. Just a black screen. Then I noticed that the white status light on the lid clasp was blinking rather quickly. I’ve never seen that before so I started to panic. Especially when I couldn’t get it to boot even when plugged into the charger.

A quick search of Google made me really freak out. Most people seem to suggest that the quick blinking light means that the logic board (motherboard for those PC users out there) has an issue. Ugh, not the logic board. That’s an expensive repair typically and sometimes just worth it to buy a new system. So, I made sure the laptop was unplugged and dropped the battery out of the MacBook and let it sit a couple minutes. Then I put the battery back in and plugged it in and it turned back on. Phew. Good news is I just did a reinstall recently and had backed up ALL of my data. Bad news is that my MacBook is probably on its last legs. Hopefully it lasts through 2011 as I haven’t planned on purchasing a new one.

Manage MacBook Pro Battery with Binary Tricks’ Watts

My good buddy Kyle pointed me in the direction of a great little app for OS X to manage your MacBook Pro battery. Its from Binary Tricks and its called Watts. This little app, which only costs $6.95 by the way, allows you to calibrate your battery through 5 easy steps. Various people out there on the intertubes suggest you calibrate your battery once a month to maximize its life. I’m on my second 17″ MacBook Pro battery after the first one suffered the infamous “Swollen Battery” problem almost 2 years ago. That said, I want to get as much out of this one before ponying up another $130 for a new battery. I’ve been using Watts now for about a month and so far I love it and highly recommend buying it.

Speaking of new batteries, Other World Computing offers new 17″ MacBook Pro batteries from NuPower for only $99.99. They supposedly hold a longer charge and last much longer than those sold directly by Apple. I haven’t tried one yet though. They also sell Battery Charger/Conditioner devices for them. I’m not sure I’d pony up the cash for one of those though.

MacBook Pro Hard Drive Upgraded to Seagate Momentus 320GB 7200rpm

I’m on a roll the past week it seems with fixing or upgrading my MacBook. So I’ve decided to wrap things up with upgrading my internal hard drive. I’ve noticed that my MacBook is kind of sluggish lately, especially when booting. I was also running out of storage space, so it seemed like a good opportunity to upgrade my internal hard drive.

Seagate Momentus 320GB 7200pm Notebook Drive

The MacBook Pro 17″ Core Duo I have originally came with a 120GB 5400rpm Seagate Momentus. I thought this drive was a great drive in my opinion so when upgrading, I decided to go with a newer, larger Seagate Momentus. The model I chose was the 320GB, 7200rpm drive. Installation took about 20 to 30 minutes, mostly because of all of the screws you have to take out to open up the case.

Upgrading to the 7200rpm drive was definitely a good choice. While having the fast drive will probably deplete my battery quicker, I thought having it was worth it to have faster boot times and faster disk access times. The 320GB should provide all of the space I need for quite some time.

Oh, and I didn’t discard my old drive. I spent another $40 and bought a Firewire/USB 2.0 enclosure, so now I can bring my old drive with me on the road and use it to store bigger files and back up my data.

Replacing The Fans In My 17″ MacBook Pro

I’ve had my 17″ MacBook Pro Core Duo for 2 years now and I don’t have a single bad thing to say about it. However, probably starting 6 months ago, the left fan started to make a lot of noise. It sounded like the bearings in the fan itself were going. What was worse was that even though the fan speed seemed to be set right compared to the right fan, the MacBook got really, really hot on the left side. I put up for it for quite a while, but I finally gave in and decided I needed to do something about it.

Generally I’m not sketched out by taking a computer apart, but my MacBook was a little different. I didn’t want to ruin the case or anything like that and I certainly didn’t want to fry and of the tiny components inside it. This computer is basically my life line to everything I do for development, both freelance and full time so I couldn’t afford to kill it as I don’t have a reliable backup for it (something I’m looking at resolving currently). So, even with the slight fear of messing up my MacBook, I trudged along.

I bought my new fans for $39.95 each plus S&H over at What was even better is they have two pretty good articles on replacing the fans in my MacBook. The left fan instructions are here and the right fan instructions are here. I was able to follow the right fan instructions to a T. The left fan ones were a little different for me. First, I had to remove the Airport card. That wasn’t too difficult as its held down by a torx screw. Also, the left speaker was actually screwed down in my MacBook. It didn’t appear to be in the one used in the guide as the instructions said to just lift it up. I couldn’t do that and was glad I saw the screw and didn’t force anything (that’d have been bad!).

In all, it took about an hour to get the MacBook apart, the fans replaced, and the case put back together. I definitely took my time as I didn’t want to mess up and was very careful to not touch anything I didn’t have to inside the computer. I’ve included some interesting photos I took as I did my repair, which are below. The one thing that I did, that I highly recommend, is that as you take the screws out of the case and other parts of the MacBook, that you put them on a white piece of paper and label them. Or, use some plastic baggies and do the same. A lot of the screws look the same and you definitely want them to go back in the proper place.

If you have fan trouble in your MacBook, I definitely think anyone that has some technical abilities can do this repair themselves instead of paying Apple or another Apple repair shop to do it for them. I’d imagine you’d pay over $100 plus the cost of parts to have them do it for you.

MacBook 17" Top Case Off MacBook Pro 17" Top Case Off Overhead View

MacBook Pro 17" Labeled Parts MacBook Pro 17" New Fans

MacBook Pro 17" Airport Card MacBook Pro 17" Airport Card Removed

MacBook Pro 17" Right Fan Removed MacBook Pro 17" Old Fans Removed

Apple MacBook Pro 17″ Core Duo “Swollen Battery”

I’ve been having some issues with power to my Apple MacBook Pro 17″ Core Duo laptop recently. There have been issues with the fans for quite some time, especially the left one, so I thought that might have been part of the problem. The left fan was especially crunchy. So I ordered two new fans for it and went through the replacement process on my own (details to come in an upcoming post). That didn’t do the trick.

Later on that night, my MacBook shut itself off again. Really annoying. I flipped it over to look at the battery meter and noticed that the edge of the battery was above the edge of the battery compartment. I popped it out and low and behold, it was starting to swell. You could definitely feel some of the cells were expanding and thus pushing the “aluminum” plate off the battery. Having seen posts about this same problem online before, I did some hunting and found this article over at Apple.

I had already installed the Apple Battery Update 1.2, so I decided to roll the dice at my local Apple Store and see if I could get it replaced. My MacBook is out of warranty, so I was a little skeptical, but figured if it saved me the $129 for a new battery, it was worth a shot.

MacBook Pro Swollen Battery

So off to the Apple Store at the Natick Collection in Natick, MA I went. The Mac Genius I spoke to, Ray, was very very nice and as soon as I showed him the battery he said he’d be more than happy to provide me a replacement at no charge even though the MacBook is out of warranty. Even more, this battery has its own new 1 year warranty, so I should be set if I have any more problems.

MacBook Pro Swollen Battery

I think the model I had was A5389, serial number 6N7161H9WX4A. I’m not 100% sure when it was manufactured, but the date on it was 2006. Anyway, if you’re having similar issues with your MacBook, I definitely suggest that you go to the Apple Store and have them take a look. You might save yourself $129 in the process.