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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

PowerBook - Powerbook G4 1.67 massive battery cycles?

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Member Since: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 8
mattmacmatt is on a distinguished road

mattmacmatt is offline
Hi all,

I'm new to Macs and just got my first last week- a secondhand Powerbook G4 1.67 off eBay.

I'm really liking the switch from my PC but am struggling a bit with the new OS.

Anyway, i bought the G4 as "hardly used" and it appears to be in really good condition apart from the lid closes a bit unevenly which i understand is a fairly common fault. My first question however relates to the battery and to just how "hardly used" the Mac actually is.

From what i've read, most battery's are usually toast by the time they reach 500 cycles but this morning i discovered the system profiler and the following stats with the battery on 99% nearing 100%:

Battery Information:

Charge Information:
Charge remaining (mAh): 2555
Charging: Yes
Full charge capacity (mAh): 2573
Health Information:
Cycle count: 806
Battery Installed: Yes
Amperage (mA): 175
Voltage (mV): 12576

I don't really understand anything apart from the cycle count but is this the sign of a very hard worked machine or just about average if the battery is original?

As for the battery performance, i've been browsing the net for around 40 minutes on battery power alone now and have about 42% or 20 minutes of charge left.

Cheers, Matt
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Member Since: Jul 26, 2008
Posts: 87
jroller is on a distinguished road

jroller is offline
First, I cannot speak to the battery info. In your last line, you indicate that you have about 1 hour battery life under basic usage. This indicates to me a battery that is waning and is on the short side of usable. The cycle count suggests the same. This is not uncommon for a machine of that age, and, as you know, batteries eventually lose their ability to maintain a charge. When the battery life becomes an issue for you, simply buy a new one.

Welcome to the Mac! If you have questions, there are a number of good sources of help: the swithchers hangout section of this forum, the iSwitched link in my signature, and, for example. Also, there are a number of good books, if you like. I personally recommend David Pogue's Missing Manual series.

My Macs: MacbookPro, MacPro, Lab of 30 various Macs
My Sites:Apple-inspired Tees ~ iSwitched ~ Fix My Mac~ Apple Buyer's Guide
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Member Since: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 8
mattmacmatt is on a distinguished road

mattmacmatt is offline
Hi and thankyou for the reply,

To be honest, i'm a bit gutted that i've bought what appears (by the sheer number of battery cycles) to be such a "high mileage" machine. I had been saving up for ages to buy a used Mac and was so excited when i finally managed to get this one. Now i feel that i've paid top money for something that could be on it's way out already.

It does however appear to be well cared for with no visible signs of wear and tear so, apart from the battery, is there anything else to look out for that can wear out or break on a well-used Mac?

I'm hoping for some encouraging replies but don't mind brutally honest one's as i'd like to know where i stand!

Cheers, Matt
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Member Since: Sep 11, 2007
Location: Durham NC
Posts: 82
celica73 is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: Sawtooth G4 and PB G4 w/FW800

celica73 is offline
Sounds like it's well worn. Of course, there is nothing that prevented the original owner from installing a used battery. Maybe the original failed prematurely.

This is a good utility:

It expands a little bit on what system profiler reports, adding in the original battery capacity (probably 4400 mAh). At this point, you are likely getting about 1/2 the original battery life. New batteries are about $100.

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Member Since: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 8
mattmacmatt is on a distinguished road

mattmacmatt is offline
Ah poop,

Hopefully, as you say, the original owner could have exchanged a duff battery for another, used battery but i guess i'll never know.

There really are very few signs of wear to the exterior - which i would have expected if it has had prolonged usage but it could just be a new chassis on tired inners for all i know...

Never mind, it's mine now and i won't be able to get another for many years so hopefully this one will last!

I'll have to start saving for a new battery and maybe even treat it to a RAM upgrade sometime.

Cheers, Matt
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Member Since: Jun 18, 2009
Posts: 4
Veature is on a distinguished road

Veature is offline

I also just received my new used Apple G4 Powerbook, 1.67 ghz, 1.5 gig ram.

I love the way it works etc, everything is so functional. Getting used to all the various ways of doing things like right clicking.

Only thing i was disappointed about what came with the Tiger disks. There's no Paint program like Microsoft. Such a simple software and not included in Mac Osx. I downloaded Paintbrush, but find it useless and choppy performance. All i want to do is take a photo and fill in different color background so just the item in the picture shows. A simple task in Paint.
Microsoft comes with photo editor, but Osx nada. Why do they want me to dish up for iLife, if Mac is the best as everyone says, this small thing is a turn off already. This small issue is making me miss my old new laptop already. but im going to try to stick it out. The dang thing is Picasa by Google is only for Intel based Mac's, what a rip. I am already thinking of installing Linux distro on this Mac, at least i can get free paint type software then, and they will work correctly.
Sorry all you Mac lovers, i love this Mac, but dislike what they give you to start with. Boo hoo hoo:

Any suggestions? Much appreciated.

Thanks all.
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Member Since: May 11, 2005
Posts: 264
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Mac Specs: 15" MacBook Pro 2.8 GHz/4 GB/500 GB

claudius753 is offline
You could try Seashore or Tux Paint

Nathan Sweeney

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Come and help save lives by Folding
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Member Since: Jun 18, 2009
Posts: 4
Veature is on a distinguished road

Veature is offline

Thanks i tried the Seashore and it would not work, but funny thing it worked the next day. I used it this morning to sign a credit card receipt digitally, lol.

But i notice the system performance of this Mac is excellent for certain things but horrible for others, for example Paintbrush, why is that. Are there performance enhancing programs for Mac? The video on this PC is sufficient at 128 mg built in ram. Thus is should burn rubber. Also i downloaded Internet explorer 5 for Mac, tried it and it was horrible, terrible performance, worked like burnt molasses, i got rid of it right away. I don't understand since Microsoft owns 49% of mac why they do not provide more free programs for Mac, well at least they did used to own 49% of Mac, they saved them in the 90's from bankruptcy, from what i understand. thats why they adopted the Blue apple, since Microsoft was a silent partner, if they still own the shares their raking in billions,lol.
Ok enough of my rant.
I do love this Mac, everything just works and syncs, i plugged my mouse and Logic head set and work great, didn't even need to look for drivers.


Hardware Overview:

Machine Name: PowerBook G4 17"
Machine Model: PowerBook5,7
CPU Type: PowerPC G4 (1.2)
Number Of CPUs: 1
CPU Speed: 1.67 GHz
L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
Memory: 1.5 GB
Bus Speed: 167 MHz ( wow only, that's where the slow comes in, what were they thinking)old P3 bus technology there)
Boot ROM Version: 4.9.1f3
ATI Mobility Radeon 9700:

Chipset Model: ATY,RV360M11
Type: Display
Bus: AGP
VRAM (Total): 128 MB
Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
Device ID: 0x4e50
Revision ID: 0x0000
ROM Revision: 113-xxxxx-160
Color LCD:
Display Type: LCD
Resolution: 1440 x 900
Depth: 32-bit Color
Built-In: Yes
Core Image: Supported
Main Display: Yes
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Quartz Extreme: Supported
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Member Since: Jun 19, 2009
Posts: 2
discostu665 is on a distinguished road

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Veature, I hope you didn't spend too much on this computer. The powerbook G4 is 4+ years old; of course it is going to show its age. The G4 is from the P3/P4 era of computing, and yes it was faster than the P3/P4 at similar clock speeds...but a higher clocked P4 was still better. Then there's that horrible bus. There is a reason Apple jumped ship from the PowerPc architecture...and now that they are dropping support for it in snow leopard, why did you go for it? Your graphics card is also 4 years old, and was a middling card at the time too. In short, what do you expect out of the machine?

The last time Microsoft worked on IE for Mac was in 2003. Of course it's going to be horrible. Use Firefox.

Also, I don't know where you're getting your facts about the relationship between Microsoft and Apple. Apple was never in danger of bankruptcy, although people often predicted they would go under based on their market percentage. Furthermore, Microsoft only ever owned a tiny amount of non-voting stock in Apple, made in concert with a promise to continue developing software for the Mac. I believe it was $150 million in stock, but at the time Apple had several billion in cash. They own little to no stock now.
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Member Since: Jun 18, 2009
Posts: 4
Veature is on a distinguished road

Veature is offline
Actually i did not spend too much on this laptop. $550 US, they were going for $750 plus so i guess i still got a good deal. I have had offers of up to $850 from persons who wish to buy it. Go figure.

I did not intend to put Apple down in any way, i have always liked their products. But never actually owned one, so i thought before i go and spend $xteen number of dollars on a new Mac Laptop, I'd give it a road test so to speak. But this Mac is growing on me. I did learn that the 167 mgz bus was 128bit, so that's why it did not fair too badly. The PC bus at that time was 100mgz to 233mgz, but i believe they were only 32 bit bus, correct me if I'm wrong.

Regarding Microsoft owning part of Mac, they did own 9 million shares for a while, but no one actually knows how much they really own, probably because they bought the shares under another name, like when Walt Disney bought the land in Florinda. loll.

But i did notice this laptop still handles graphic effects nicely, stuff Vista just started to do. Like the puddle effect on certain applications.

Thanks for your feedback.
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Member Since: Jul 03, 2009
Posts: 12
manning28addai is on a distinguished road

manning28addai is offline
some batterys can last for a while but if you want a really accurate read out of the charge cycles i would download coconut battery and that will tell you all the info about your battery but yes batteries are usually toast by the time they reach 500 cycles my is at 532 and i still get about a good 1 and half to 2 hours so cheers mike
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