Summary: The Battery Connector/Sleep Sensor unit was loose and dirty.

Today I fixed a MacBook Core Duo that wasn’t recognizing its battery. The battery was charged and the computer would run on battery power, but it had several problems:

  • The battery icon on the Menu Bar had an "x" in the center.
  • The battery status said "No Batteries Available".
  • The orange charging indicator on the MagSafe stayed lit, never switching to green.
  • The computer wouldn't reliably fall asleep, even when the case was closed.

Since I have a MacBook, I was able to test the battery and power supply by swapping them between the two notebooks. The battery held a full charge, and the power supply was fine. I then resorted checking to the internet. Unfortunately, this is the type of problem that is rapidly becoming ungoogleable. As usual, Apple’s support pages and discussion site weren’t particularly helpful. The forum had its three typical answers:

  1. Reset the SMC
  2. Reset the PRAM and NVRAM
  3. Take it to the Apple Store and have them replace it.

These three are usually followed by several “I have that problem too” posts and an administrator closing the discussion with no answer. While the first two answers fix some problems, none of these are useful. The most prolific posters go along with Apple’s assumption that your computer is new and still under warranty. Since this usually isn’t the case, the forums are useless. This is particularly annoying because anyone who still had a warranty would contact Apple instead of asking for help online. Since this problem is related to the battery, there were also a number of “Buy a new battery” answers, even though the problem is clearly stated as not being the battery. After wading through all this spam, I found one useful comment stating that the Battery Connector/Sleep Sensor could be loose. After disassembling the computer enough to clean this connection, the computer seems to be working again. I played a DVD to run the battery down, then recharged it, and the problem seems to be solved.