PowerBooks and iBooks Unplugged

Is it time to let your PowerBooks and iBooks off-leash?

PowerBooks and iBooks Unplugged 1One of the great luxuries I enjoy is a home that has many stations at which I can charge my PowerBook. The kitchen banquette has an adapter waiting in it, the egg chair in the living room has an adapter swirled beside my beloved Saarinen cocktail table, just raring to go. The adapters have become part of the decor, really. Even my bedroom has an adapter for my PowerBook right on my nightstand. My design friends and visiting PowerBookers love it. My physician blames my insomnia on it.

It’s a logical assessment. All things need to rest, including, they say, the battery in your laptop. Tech guru J.D. BIERSDORFER points out that Apple Computer does not recommend leaving the PowerBook plugged in all the time with its lithium-ion battery connected because the internal chemistry can stagnate, which may shorten battery life. Apple advises unplugging the laptop and working from the battery once a month to discharge the stored energy and gets those precious electrons moving.

The company also recommends that you calibrate your laptop’s battery every few months. Laptop batteries contain microprocessors that tell the computer how much of a charge is left, but they can get out of sync. This causes the computer to give incorrect information about the charge status. We all have either seen or experienced the laptop that insists it is only 97% charged after days of being plugged in. Well Apple suggests that calibration helps the battery and computer communicate more accurately.

Apple adapter.
Home, sweet home.

Calibrating is easier than falling out of bed. To calibrate the battery, simply start by making sure it is fully charged and showing the green indicator light on the power adapter. Then unplug the power adapter and use the laptop on battery power until the machine goes into Sleep mode. Once it goes to sleep, the battery has been drained and you can connect the power cord and charge it back up. Really it’s so easy, you don’t have do anything except… to coin a touchy-feely phrase let go.

If you occasionally run the PowerBook from the battery but typically keep it plugged into a power outlet as I do, Apple recommends fully discharging and charging the battery at least once a month. In fact, Apple has a lot of advice on the matter of PowerBook battery care including an iCal reminder that alerts you once a month to calibrate, but sadly, practically nothing on repairing my sleep disorder.