Before today, I had never heard of a swollen laptop battery...

I use a 2008 MacBook Pro at work. It sits on the side of my desk and I have an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse plugged into it.

I run Windows in a virtual machine because this is a business office and, like it or not, businesses use Windows.

This morning I was reading an email in Outlook and wanted to reply. I moved the mouse in order to do so and it began drawing a selection box on the text of the email. I clicked the left mouse button repeatedly, assuming it was stuck somehow, but this did not fix the problem.

So I decided to reboot Windows. It’s amazing what you can do without mouse buttons if you can move the mouse and the keyboard works.

Well… not amazing. “Frustrating” might be a better word. You can open some menus, highlight some selections, and it seems like there should be a way to do what you want to do, but there’s some things you just can’t do when the software is acting like you’re repeatedly clicking and holding down the left mouse key.

Plus, the whole time you’re trying to shut things down, you’re unwittingly grabbing and dragging things all the place. :smack:

Finally, I just held down the power button on the laptop and hardbooted the damned thing.

When it came back up, I tried to start the virtual machine. This was thwarted by the fact that it was now doing the same thing in the Mac environment. As I moved the cursor around the desktop it would draw selection boxes or grab and drag icons.

So I figured that the mouse was busted and replaced it. Same problem. So I unplugged the mouse and tried using the laptop’s trackpad instead. Same %*^(&& problem! :mad:

I hardbooted the machine several times and the problem came and went but was never gone for long.

So I got on another machine and Googled the problem. I found some conversations from a few years ago where people were complaining about this problem occurring after a Mac OS upgrade, but none of them seemed to have found a workable solution. Then I found a comment asking if maybe this wasn’t a result of the “swollen battery problem”.

I Googled that and sure enough there is such a problem. Some Mac laptop batteries swell after a few years.

I turned the laptop over, and immediately saw that one corner of the battery compartment cover was no longer flush with the rest of the case. It had been forced up. It turns out that the battery was swollen and pushing on the bottom of the trackpad causing it to behave as if it was being clicked and held.

I removed the battery, and ran the laptop off the power supply with no battery. The problem was gone.

So I can use it like that for now and I’ve ordered a new battery.

This was a frustrating morning. :frowning: :confused:

Anyone else ever run into something like this?

Yep. Fortunately, my MacBook was still covered by AppleCare. They sent me a new battery and a box to send the old one back. :slight_smile:

My husband’s '07 MacBook Pro battery did the same thing this summer. It was almost dead and he’d already ordered a new battery when he noticed that the trackpad wasn’t working because the battery had expanded.

Give it two aspirin and call the IT dept in the morning? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

It’s a very well known phenomenon in Mac tech support circles.

Wow, I had never heard of this problem before.
I think Apple is looking into (developing?) a new type of power source: hydrogen fuel cells.

I am the IT department. So it was embarrassing when people called for help and I had to ask them to call me back because my computer was malfunctioning :o

In this job I only support Windows machines so my Mac support experience is limited to keeping my machine running. I now have one more piece of information in that arsenal.

It’s not actually my machine, of course. It belongs to my employer. He has the support contract for this company and he placed me here and supplied me with the Mac and the VM software. I’m actually glad that he did. Adding Mac experience to my resume can’t hurt.

you might want to put that battery somewhere where it can’t set anything else on fire if it ignites.

Supposedly that can’t happen, but I have it in a safe place until we can recycle it.

I came into our office one morning in 2003. There was this choking smell and sort of a haze in the air. We finally tracked it to the UPS on our Server. Bad batteries. Thank goodness they hadn’t caught fire.

I ordered replacement batteries for all the UPS in the office. As I went around replacing them I found two more that were unusually warm. Probably just days or weeks from failing.

I had that problem once, but it was caused by my not having the mouse plugged in properly. That was one tough sumbinch to plug in!

I should note that all laptops that use Lithium batteries can have swelling issues. They cause trackpad clicker problems on Macs, because there is essentially no space between the top of the battery and the bottom of the trackpad. Once the battery swells enough, the clicker becomes super sensitive, and starts registering false clicks.

Since aceplace57 brought up UPS’s (UPSes? How you pluralize acronyms?), I have another story that happened yesterday.

One of my coworkers came to and told me that I needed to reset her UPS, it was beeping.

My first thought was that she must have lost power to her office somehow (the lights, etc., were on everywhere else).

When I got to her office, it was beeping and I saw that she had plugged an electric space heater into it! :eek:

I told her that she could not plug that into the UPS. She asked why she couldn’t and complained that she was cold and there was no place else to plug it in.

I explained that it drew too much current and if it hadn’t tripped the UPS’ circuit breaker she might have damaged the UPS or worse.

Then I found the receptacle where the UPS was plugged in. It was between her desk and the wall and difficult to get to. With some squirming and stretching I plugged the heater directly into the wall. Then I reset the UPS. Problem solved.

I tell everyone not to plug other things into the UPS units without checking with me. I specifically tell them not to plug HEATERS into them.

I guess the safety rules don’t matter if you’re cold. To be fair, it’s conceivable that I hadn’t told this woman about those rules, but I’m pretty sure that I did.