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PowerBook G4 Aluminum laptops with 17" displays. Released by Apple in 2003.

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Can PowerBook G4 17" batteries be rebuilt/refurbished?

The inevitable aging batteries of my PowerBook G4 17” are losing their charge and not lasting as they once did, even my newertech replacements.

Can the battery packs be opened and the cells inside be replaced, as one might with a phone or newer laptop that doesn’t use the removable battery pack?


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jaesonk yes, it can be done. I actually have done a few for different purposes. It is not a terribly complicated job. Part of the issue that sometimes arise is that you may have to find a way to “reprogram” the battery to be properly recognized and to display the proper data if queried by any software.

You will need 6 US18650GR and those are widely available in new condition and thus not worn-out. Here is the datasheet for everything you need to know about the li-ion replacements. US18650VTC2 Sony

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Does this particular pack need it's controller reprogrammed after the cells are replaced?


@mattb72824 - This is not as simple as OT makes it sound. Sony does not produce this battery any more, hasn’t for quite a few years. And you will need to reprogram the batteries micro-controller.


@danj It's not critical if the same cell is made anymore. One only needs to find a compatible cell with comparable specs.

Have you re-celled one of these packs and had to reprogram the controller?


@mattb72824 - Yes! I tried and failed.


Do you know which BMC chip it uses? I'm going to have to get tools to reprogram the BMC in one of my T430 batteries at some point anyway.


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I personally wouldn’t bother as its risky and you’ll likely get worn-out cells!

Determine battery cycle count for Mac notebooks

First, you need to find the correct cell’s which are no longer available and anything you will find are from the back shelf that someone dusted off. Even many assembled new batteries won’t last very long either. The chemistry of these batteries was not as good as what we have today and doesn’t age well either. To add to it the charging profile is very different which is why you can’t swap them out with newer chemistry cells.

Here’s one source which appears to offer the needed batt NewerTech NuPower Battery

Anyways … Here’s what I’ve used so I could test things Teardown: Apple PowerBook G4: How to open Disassembly battery without destroying it " Sony Cells"

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On the flip side across the industry I have seen those pre-2006 Sony packs just run forever, even towards the end with no safety measures in place. It's nice to decide when I'M ready, but I see why they lock it down after something big happens; you don't want most people rolling the dice. You can probably take a lot of these things apart and rebuild it with how reckless some of these packs got.

I've never been afraid of that old Sony battery, but I'm also aware of the risk and precaution appropriately. I haven't seen the same level of hands off from anyone but Apple for a long time now :(. It's sad, I should make the call; not the manufacturer. As long as it isn't a spicy pillow even if it has 50% health left I will run that pack to the end. It's like running a 200k mile Toyota to the finish line in a way; you know the packs are on the way out but it's a game to get as much runtime as you can.


@nick - Review the cells spec sheet, these batteries are just not very good.

A worn out car battery still has a bit of life. But the voltage is not at the needed level to be useful. Lithium Ion Manganese batteries are no different, but unlike a car the voltage needs to be high enough for the logic to work.


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