Desperate for content, I’m pilfering posts I’ve made to message boards, mainly to give me a reason to link to the very nifty coconutBattery, an application that lets you monitor how much of your (Apple) laptop battery’s ability to hold a charge has degraded.
Ask Metafilter Post
Nothing useful as far as SOLVING your problem goes, but I thought this data point might be useful.
I’ve seen a similar problem in a MacBook that’s 23 months old (where does the time go) on a battery with 81 percent of it’s original capacity left.
It’s a hard-shut off, (as opposed to entering sleep mode), accompanied by a sharp PING sound and usually happens when I’m watching an online Flash video and the fans are going hardcore. Most nights I take this as a sign to stop surfing in bed and go to sleep, but the times I’ve needed to stay up and finish what I was working on I’ve been able to turn the machine on without problem and continue to use it on battery.
I’ve thought this behavior was either heat related, or had something to do with the high power needs that streaming flash video brings to the table.
I’ve had crap luck when it comes to laptop batteries. I managed to run my original iBook’s battery down to the point where it wouldn’t hold a charge anymore. I’ve been doing occasional battery conditioning as described above with this MacBook and seem to be doing better, but there’s soo much voodoo surrounding rechargeable batteries it’s hard to tell what’s going on.