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SlimBatteryMonitor
Documentation


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This manual is for SlimBatteryMonitor version 1.4 and is also applicable for version 1.5. If you are running a previous version of SlimBatteryMonitor you may wish to upgrade to the most recent release.


Contents
1. Introduction
2. Installation
3. Configuration
    3a. What to Show
    3b. Shapes and Colours
    3c. Startup Items

1. Introduction
Full titlebar show SlimBatteryMonitor's small size
SlimBatteryMonitor is a replacement power gauge for Mac OS X. It can show different information based on whether the battery is currently charging, discharging or fully charged. Depending on how you configure it, it can be much smaller than Apple's provided battery meter.

SlimBatteryMonitor changes its colour to reflect whether the battery is in use, is charging or is fully charged. It can also display a red colour to warn of a low battery condition, and display a panel when power levels become low.

SlimBatteryMonitor supports many UPS devices, and treats them as batteries for the purpose of display. UPS support is available when the UPS vendor has provided a system driver that is compatible with Mac OS X's power management system. UPS information is provided to SlimBatteryMonitor through Apple's standard power information system, so if the UPS vendor doesn't talk to Apple, the information will not be available in SlimBatteryMonitor. Several popular UPSes have been tested with SlimBatteryMonitor.



2. Installation
Installing SlimBatteryMonitor is easy. Simply copy the application itself to an Applications folder on your system, then run it.

SlimBatteryMonitor needs to be run each time you reboot, or log in. The best way to take care of this is to add it to your startup items so that it is automatically launched for you whenever your Mac restarts, or whenever you log in. When it is launched, SlimBatteryMonitor offers to add itself to your startup items if it is not already there. (If you prefer, you can add it to your startup items manually by running the System Preferences application, and using the Accounts preference pane.)

(If you decide that you no longer want to use SlimBatteryMonitor you can easily remove it from your startup items using the SlimBatteryMonitor menu, its preferences panel, or using the System Preferences application.)

You should copy the application to your Applications folder before you add a startup item for it. This is because the application must always be available at login, and it would not be available if it was inside a disk image. It is best to fully install SlimBatteryMonitor in its permanent home before asking the operating system to launch it every time you log in.



3. Configuration
It isn't difficult to configure SlimBatteryMonitor. All configuration is done from the SlimBatteryMonitor preferences panel.

There are two ways to open the panel:

  1. The panel can be opened by selecting the Preferences... option from SlimBatteryMonitor's menu. You access this menu by clicking on the SlimBatteryMonitor icon on the menu bar. (There is always a menu here, even if the display of SlimBatteryMonitor is hidden because of your preferences. Click where SlimBatteryMonitor would be.)
  2. As a convenience for when no SlimBatteryMonitor icon is shown (because of preferences that specify that the icon should be hidden) double-clicking the SlimBatteryMonitor application in the finder will also cause the preferences panel to open.

The preferences panel is shown below:
Preferences window -- first tab shown.

There are three principal areas of the preferences panel for the purposes of configuration. The tab view switches between two of these areas. One tab allows you to select what will be shown, depending on the type of power source, and whether it is being charged, powering the computer or fully charged and idle. The other tab allows you to set the shape of the icon, and control its colours. The third area for configuration is the bottom-left menu button that allows you to control SlimBatteryMonitor startup items.



3a. Configuring: What to Show
The top area of the panel controls what to display in the menu bar. There are separate settings for when the system is running on the battery, for when it is charging the battery and for when the battery is fully charged. In each case you can choose to have SlimBatteryMonitor display:

  • a graphical icon depicting the battery's current charge level
  • the graphical icon accompanied by text showing the percentage charge in the battery
  • the graphical icon accompanied by text showing the time remaining (either the time remaining before the battery is depleted, or, in the case of the charging state, the time remaining before the battery is fully charged)
  • a text-only display of the percentage charge in the battery
  • a text-only display of the time remaining on battery (or for charge)
  • Neither icon nor text. This option is provided for those who only wish to see a battery indication in certain cases (e.g. only while running on battery).

In addition, you can specify whether an icon should be shown for a removed battery (a gray outline will be shown) or whether the display should be hidden for removed batteries.

The top part of the window also controls whether connected UPSes should be treated as batteries.

This part of the configuration panel also contains an option to cause SlimBatteryMonitor to display a power warning panel when battery levels are low.

For those users using Powerbooks with multiple batteries (or in any case where multiple batteries or UPS units are connected) you may wish to reverse the order of display if the default order doesn't match your physical setup.



3b. Configuring: Shapes and Colours

Preferences window -- second tab shown.

five different shape options

The shapes and colours tab allows you to customize the look of a displayed battery icon. Five different shapes are available, as selected with the icon shape menu. The shapes are pictured at right: rectangular, rounded with terminal, thin rectangular, rounded and horizontal. The thin rectangular shape takes up much less space than the other three icons, and is recommended for those trying to minimize the space occupied by their battery monitor. The horizontal display prints above the meter the text that would otherwise be displayed beside it.

Colours are selected here in the Battery Level Colours box. These colours indicate whether the system is on battery, charging or fully charged. By default the colours are set to match the colours on the status lamp of recent iBook and Powerbook power cords. You can select your own colour here: Clicking on the colour well (swatch) will open the standard system colour panel. Each colour well has its own preview icon, so you can immediately see what that colour will look like when displayed within the small icon.

The last setting of general interest in this tab is the red colour preference. If set, this preference causes the outline and fill colour of the icon to change to red when the battery's charge falls below the percentage you select. This helps to alert you to a low battery condition.

A few users have requested that they be able to customize the outline colour of the icon and the accompanying text. Most users will want to leave this set to the default black colour, but it is provided here for those who want a high degree of control over the appearance of the gauge.



3c. Configuring: Startup Items
The final control on the Preferences panel is the startup item control. This control allows you to add a startup item for SlimBatteryMonitor, or remove an installed startup item. If you prefer, you can manually view, add or remove startup items in the System Preferences application (located on the Apple menu) in the Accounts preference pane. It may be more convenient to use this provided control instead.

If you try to add a startup item when one already exists, SlimBatteryMonitor will remove the original item before adding the new one. In some cases this may be necessary if you have moved the application on the disk.

SlimBatteryMonitor takes no action if you try to remove its startup item when no such item is currently enabled.





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Program and documentation are copyright. © 2006 by Colin Henein.
Accessed 50176 times. Last modified: September 30, 2009.