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New MacBook owners reporting battery cover problems

updated 09:55 pm EDT, Thu October 23, 2008

MacBook battery cover prob

The new aluminum MacBooks might lack a proper fit between the battery cover and the main housing, according to a number of owner reports, including MacRumors Forums. Several users have reported that the cover slides around or leaves gaps where it should be flush. Apple's Mac Geniuses are reportedly replacing any of the faulty systems, although this could be a temporary or hit-and-miss solution. The aluminum enclosure is a completely new system that faces the typical revision process of new designs.

The problem could involve several design elements, including the latch, the retaining tabs, or the tolerances of the door and case. If the latch doesn't secure the door tightly, it allows for play between the parts that would be apparent by noticing the gaps. If the cover or case are out of spec, the panel could slide around without ever settling where it is intended to seat.

Most companies test the moving parts to ensure proper action and fit over an extended time period. The battery door cover does not necessarily fall into the same category. As with many electronics, the fit could be sensitive to the exact way the cover is set into position after being taken off.

Several users have reported that their MacBooks showed no problems until they took the cover off and tried to put it back on. One post claimed that slight adjustments to the tabs was necessary to fit the pieces properly. This could still be a problem, however, if the tabs are not rigid enough to hold their shape.

An inherent limitation of softer metals, including aluminum, is the tendency to bend out of shape when forces are applied instead of bouncing back to the original shape. Engineers usually take this into account and make the parts thick enough or tempered to reduce flexibility. Apple has not publicly addressed the issue yet, but the Apple techs have reportedly been taking care of affected customers.

by MacNN Staff





  1. mullum

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "faces the typical revision process of new designs".

    how long before the first revisions are released and typically how long between revisions ?

  1. mactarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Probably user error

    After playing with the cover myself, I'm guessing some user error is resulting in broken covers. It is a very thin and extremely precise bit of engineering. If you don't put the cover on properly and with too much force and can certainly see someone bending or breaking a tab or the cover itself.

  1. itguy05

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No issue here

    As any good tech would do, I had my cover off within 20 minutes of getting the machine. And it was a little tricky to get back on but still fits fine.

    My vote is for it being sensitive to the installation.

  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    There a little tricky

    There a little tricky, but there not faulty. I've played with two or three Macbooks and they do go back together but take some finesse to get them back.

  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    There a little tricky

    There a little tricky, but there not faulty. I've played with two or three Macbooks and they do go back together but take some finesse to get them back. No force necessary either.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: There a little tricky

    It's "they're", not "there".

    And some might argue that if it takes finesse or precision to replace a supposedly user-openable part, that in itself might be considered 'faulty', or, at the very least, not user-friendly.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not really

    I suppose it is really a user problem.
    This is user-operable, but it is not intended to do it on a daily basis…

    I do admit though, you have to be a little bit thoughtful.

    Nevertheless I prefer the new systmem much more above the old one… Which gave you different headaches.


    (Proudly owning a 2.4 MB)

  1. Remlyor

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's a First generation

    These new laptops are first generation in design, so yes, there are bound to be some issues. As a rule I tend to avoid the first gen machines, they are usually test beds for future changes. This doesn't make them bad units, but one should expect some quality or design flaws.

  1. jjm390

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Battery cover problems

    I had my new MacBook pro for about 2 minutes before it showed signs of missing quality control. I did carefully pay attention to the battery bay cover. It was snug and tight when I first opened it, and it got progressively looser as the door was removed and reinstalled. The computer had to be shipped back to Cupertino for Engineering analysis anyway, so I thought I would check the bay. Even when being extremely careful, the bay cover loosened noticeably.

    Other issues that prompted apple to replace the computer:

    1) hinge was so loose the scree would slam on my hands if moved suddenly.

    2) speaker grills had aluminum debris all over them

    3) there was what looked like a blood stain on the right speaker grill.

    Anyone else seen anything like this?? My computer was a custom build...


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