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IBook battery won't hold charge

Q. My Apple iBook battery does not seem to hold a charge for longer than a few minutes, and it doesn't seem to be charging at all when the power cord is connected. The laptop is less than 2 years old. Is it possible that the battery has worn out already?

Laptop battery life can be affected by the battery's chemistry, high temperatures and the number of times it has been drained and recharged, among other factors. Before you buy a replacement, try these troubleshooting steps.

First, with the iBook turned off, take the battery out of the laptop and put it back in, making sure that the contacts are pressed firmly to the interior of the battery compartment.

If performance does not improve, try resetting the iBook's Power Manager Unit, an integrated circuit typically found on the logic board of an Apple iBook or PowerBook. It controls the computer's sleep and wake cycle, screen backlighting and some battery-charging functions.

Apple has instructions for resetting the Power Manager Unit for various laptops in its technical support database at Search for article No. 14449, "PowerBook and iBook: Resetting Power management Unit (PMU)."

If resetting the Power Management Unit does not improve the computer's performance, you may need to replace the battery. You can find iBook batteries for about $139 at online stores, including

_ New York Times