A New Battery for PowerBook G4

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I recently acquired a 1.67 GHz PowerBook G4 and now have it fully set up and working like a charm. However, like most older laptops, the battery that came with it was for all intents and purposes dead.

Low Battery Alert

iStat Pro reported the battery health to be around 30%. In real world usage, I found that it would charge up fully with no problems, and would then run down linearly, at about the expected rate, until it go to around the 50% mark. It would then plummet precipitously to around 7% in almost the blink of an eye. More than once I had the experience of turning away from the PowerBook when the battery level was around 50%, and then turning back only moments later to find the battery now down to 5% and a critical battery level warning showing! This was not good!

Let’s keep in mind that first and foremost, the PowerBook G4 is a laptop. Portability is a key attribute of a laptop, and to be meaningfully portable, a laptop needs to have meaningful battery life. If this is not the case, it becomes simply a small computer physically tethered to a power cord. This is NOT what I was looking for, and so I set out in search of a new battery for my new acquisition.

To be sure, there are LOTS of PowerBook G4 compatible batteries still available on eBay, even this many years after the machine debuted. However, the age and health of a lot of them were somewhat suspect, and then there was a whole series of offers from dubious looking vendors located in problematic parts of the globe. On balance, it seemed to me that buying a new PowerBook G4 battery on eBay looked an awful lot like a great way to throw away money. I decided to check out more conventional suppliers!

I am happy to report that Amazon had a great product available in this category. I bought two of them, and could not be more pleased with my purchase. Below is the Amazon page for the purchase, with all the details.

G4 Battery - Updated

Quite aside from being certified as a NEW battery, this product is also the larger capacity 5200 mAh size, which is what Apple was providing with this last generation of PowerBook G4s. 4400 mAh batteries seem to be “a dime a dozen” out there, but why go for a smaller capacity battery? Larger capacity equals longer run time, something that most laptop owners are looking for.

I have been using these new batteries for several weeks now, and they are performing very well. I get about 3 hours of run time from a full charge and iStat Pro reports the battery health at 99% or thereabouts. This implies that these will be healthy batteries for some time to come. CWK Technology, the manufacturer, is a small American company that takes enough pride in their product to have sent me a follow on survey to ensure that I was pleased with their batteries. From my perspective that augers well for the battery’s capacity and longevity, nicely in line with the expectations established by the good run time and the iStat Pro readings.

All in all, this has been a good purchase, and has returned my PowerBook G4 to its original full usefulness. If you are looking for a new battery for your PowerBook G4 laptop, I can unreservedly recommend the CWK Technology brand. There are a lot of “crap batteries” (as one reviewer I read called them) out there, so you need to be careful when selecting one. Since I have had a good experience with CWK Technology, I thought I would pass this information along, in case it might be of help to one of you.

As always when endorsing a vendor, let me state for the record that I have no affiliation with CWK Technology at all, except as a satisfied customer.

Happy shopping!

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7 thoughts on “A New Battery for PowerBook G4

  1. After reading this blog post, I purchased two of these batteries from the very same referenced Amazon listing. Although the batteries are advertised as 5200 mAh, and the labels on the batteries I received said 5200 mAh, what I actually got were 4400 mAh batteries. This was confirmed by both System Profiler and Coconut Battery on two different PowerBook G4’s. After cycling the batteries to calibrate them, the best charge either one would actually hold was 4185 mAh. So, at least in my case, not only were CWK’s batteries not what they were claimed (and labeled!) to be, they are indeed “crap batteries”.

    Even worse, CWK apparently does not care. I emailed them twice to complain. My first email was ignored. Their response to my second email was, “Sorry to hear that. Please send us a picture, and we’ll look into it ASAP.” So I did send them pics of the batteries and screenshots showing what I described above. As I write this, it’s been about three weeks since they received those pics from me, and I’ve heard –nothing– from CWK. I only paid $18 each for the batteries, so it wasn’t really worthwhile for me to pay shipping to return them. I’ll just consider it a lesson learned.

    I’m glad your purchase from CWK worked out for you. Most of their reviews on Amazon are positive. But, I personally will never do business with them again.

    • Hmmm… thanks for the comment. I loaded Coconut Battery and tested my new batteries and got the same result you did – 4400 mAh. That leaves two possibilities. Either the last version of Coconut Battery for PPC (2.6.6) does not understand, and thus cannot show, capacities greater than 4400 mAh, or CWK has engaged in deliberately deceptive advertising. To test this, I have ordered another 5200 mAh battery from a different manufacturer, and will see if I get the same results. Have you ever seen Coconut Battery running on a Powerbook G4 showing a 5200 mAh capacity? A final test will be to do direct load testing, using a known 4400 mAh battery and a putatively 5200 mAh battery, each powering the PowerBook G4 while it does something taxing, like displaying looped video, and see how long the PowerBook lasts in each case. The 5200 mAh battery SHOULD last longer, if it is in fact 5200 mAh. I will update this thread, or report in a new post, the outcomes of these tests. Thanks for bringing this up. It would be pretty odious if CWK was intentionally misleading the public about the true capacity of their batteries.

  2. What is the latest on your powerbook battery testing? What capacity do they report in System Profiler or Coconut? How long will they run the powerbook under similar conditions? For example my “good” battery will play a movie with the screen at full brightness for about 3 hours before going to sleep.

    Also, newer Li-ion battery technology allows a deeper discharge, down to 2.8 or sometimes 2.5v per cell, so I’m curious how low your new aftermarket batteries get before the computer sleeps. My OEM batteries sleep at around 10.4v (3.45v per cell).

    • I eventually gave up on this. I ordered the only other credible higher capacity battery I could find, and it STARTED OUT showing only 4200 mAh in Coconut, despite being advertised at 5200 mAh. I could have kept spending money on other new batteries, trying to find even one that would be rated at the expected and advertized 5200 mAh, but I decided to “call it a day” on this particular effort. The two batteries I have are working well, and I am still getting about 3 hours out of each one. For now, that is good enough.

      • I’m curious, what was the “only other credible higher capacity battery” that you found, and where did you purchase it? Also, if you don’t mind providing some detail, what were your parameters for determining what a “credible higher capacity battery” is?

  3. I have bought a battery from this company and after a few months, it stopped recharging. I have tried to contact them on many occasions with no response from them. So buying from them can probably be ok, if everything works out fine but if not, forget about any refund or new battery. Even forget about an email response as long as I’m concerned.

  4. CWK Batteries are garbage and the vendor is a scam artist. Take a look at the Amazon advertisement and collateral: “2 Year Warranty; Buy with confidence!” The CWK battery I purchased for my Sony Vaio never worked. I contacted the vendor who laughed and said the warranty was bogus – they never honour the warranty and its sole purpose is to sell batteries on Amazon. I have been dealing with Amazon for three months. What a useless organization! I am now into the “special investigation” phase of the process. They will not weed out rogue third party vendors and do nothing on behalf of buyers. Meanwhile, CWK-TECH continues selling their trash products under a bogus warranty. I will update as I plan on forcing this through Amazon’s army of confused, uninterested support staff.

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