Battery Amnesia

Reviewed 14 December 2000 as a Mac Wares column for Low End Mac.

Jeremy Kezer's Battery Amnesia ($10) is a utility no PowerBook 1xx owner should be without, especially if you got the PowerBook used with a questionable battery. I've recently come into possession of a PowerBook 180 and 165c for free, thanks to generous donations, and neither one had a stellar battery. The 180 got about 15 minutes of battery life, while the 165c got a little under a minute. Needless to say, I wasn't too thrilled.

Battery Amnesia just happened to be on the 180's hard disk, so I fired it up to see what sort of a program it was. The splash screen told me all I needed to know — it's for deep-discharging NiCad or NiMH batteries to eliminate the "memory effect" that so commonly plagues these older rechargeables.

After giving the 180's battery about five full discharge cycles with Battery Amnesia, I took battery life from 15 minutes to nearly 80 minutes. When I started working on the battery I got with the 165c, I went from less than a minute to three minutes then to five minutes in the first three cycles. After bleeding off further voltage using a spare LED connected to the terminals, I swapped machines and again recharged both batteries. After that charging cycle, I was able to get about 20 minutes of life out of the battery that came with the 165c. I expect to be able to increase this to at least 30 minutes by cycling the battery one or two more times.

The program recommends running a discharge about once a month; I would say that those of you trying to resuscitate an old NiCad battery might want to run it several times until you don't see a significant (less than ten percent) increase in battery life, and thereafter use it as often as weekly.

As soon as I find out if Jeremy is still publishing this little gem, he's getting my $10, because this was certainly far better than buying two new batteries for these machines.

Download Battery Amnesia from Jeremy Kezer's site.

copyright ©2000-2004 by Chris Lawson