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Below are answers to some common questions
about SlimBatteryMonitor.

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This app is free.
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Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about SlimBatteryMonitor. As more questions are asked, more will be posted here.

If your question isn't listed, feel free to drop me a line at: sbm AT juicer.orange-carb.org (replace the AT with @).


Does SlimBatteryMonitor support Snow Leopard?

Yes. Version 1.5 has no known issues on Snow Leopard.

SlimBatteryMonitor always shows (...) instead of time remaining...

Several users have reported an issue with recent operating system upgrades where SlimBatteryMonitor no longer reports the time remaining on battery, instead showing the (...) indication which indicates that the time information is being calculated.

All these users have found this to be an operating system issue. The test is to enable Apple's monitor too. Since SBM and Apple's monitor use the same data source, they should always display the same information. If Apple's monitor continuously displays CALCULATING and SBM continuously displays (...) then it indicates a problem in the part of the operating system that calculates battery run time.

The only recommendation I have in this case is to try Apple's documented battery recalibration procedure. Failing that, you may want to contact Apple's technical support department, or search the Apple discussions forum for other suggestions. (One thread discussing this is here.)

I also received an email from Gene Simmons telling me that a power manager reset was helpful.

What is new in version 1.5 of SlimBatteryMonitor?
  • 64/32 Universal binary supports 32 bit PowerPC Macs as well as 32/64 bit Intel-based macs
  • Repairs horizontal image text display on Mac OS X 10.6 and later
  • Adds arbitrary sliders to set warning panel and colour level
  • Uses the Sparkle framework to automatically check for updates
  • Requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher

What was new in version 1.4 of SlimBatteryMonitor?
  • Universal binary supports both PowerPC and Intel-based macs
  • New Horizontal shape with integrated text display
  • Text-only options allow display with no graphical icon
  • A few structural changes to further reduce memory usage

What was new in version 1.3 of SlimBatteryMonitor?
  • Added a French localization (credit to Daniel Robillard)
  • Added a Czech localization (credit to Frantisek Erben)
  • Improved SlimBatteryMonitor's memory footprint by correcting a minor memory leak associated with the system's update of battery status.

What was new in version 1.2 of SlimBatteryMonitor?
  • Added a new more modern icon shape: Rounded with Dimple
  • Enhanced usability on two-battery systems by allowing the order of icons to be reversed
  • Removed a mis-feature (assumption that AC connected, depleted batteries will start charging) that broke display on newer powerbooks equipped with power managers that exercise batteries.

What was new in version 1.1 of SlimBatteryMonitor?
  • SlimBatteryMonitor can now open a warning panel when battery power is nearly depleted. This was added because users of some versions of Mac OS X have noted that Apple's warning panel does not open when third-party applications are monitoring battery levels.
  • The energy saver system preference pane can now be opened from SlimBatteryMonitor's menu, which has been re-organized and also now includes a check for updates item.
  • Enhanced support for 2-battery powerbooks: Now the second battery's remaining time can be estimated from the first battery's power characteristics. Also, times and percentages are now aggregated across both batteries.
  • A new preference is available to set the colour used to draw text and the battery outline.
  • The preferences panel has been re-organized into a tab view format.

The system won't let me eject/unmount the SlimBatteryMonitor disk image.

This generally occurs if you have run SlimBatteryMonitor directly from the disk image instead of copying it to your Applications folder first (as recommended in the installation instructions and on-screen panels).

To recover from this, select remove from menu bar from the SlimBatteryMonitor menu (by clicking on the SlimBatteryMonitor icon in the menu bar). Select Remove Forever on the panel that follows.

Now, using Finder, copy the SlimBatteryMonitor program into your Applications folder from the disk image.

Now you should be able to unmount/eject the SlimBatteryMonitor disk image. Once you've done this then run the copy of the SlimBatteryMonitor application you placed into your Applications folder and let it add itself to your startup items.

My icons have disappeared, how can I configure SlimBatteryMonitor?
How can I access the SlimBatteryMonitor menu when the icons are hidden?
How can I access SlimBatteryMonitor when it doesn't appear in the dock?
In order to offer you the best use of the menu bar, it is possible to configure SlimBatteryMonitor so that it doesn't display any icons (e.g. when the battery is fully charged and you are plugged in). In these cases you may want to access SlimBatteryMonitor's configuration tools so you can change the display options, or remove SlimBatteryMonitor from your system. There are three ways you can access SlimBatteryMonitor's preferences panel, even when no icon is displayed in the menu bar:
  1. Double-clicking the SlimBatteryMonitor program in your applications folder will cause the running copy of SlimBatteryMonitor to show the preferences panel.
  2. In the case of a laptop, if you have an icon configured in another power state you can simply plug in your laptop (or unplug it, as appropriate) to cause an icon to appear. You can then click on the icon to configure SlimBatteryMonitor
  3. Even when SlimBatteryMonitor's menu bar icons are hidden, there is still a small area in the menu bar where you can click to bring up the SlimBatteryMonitor menu. Click around where you believe the SlimBatteryMonitor icon would be located if it were shown to find the menu. (If this approach doesn't seem to be working, try one of the other two methods described.)
If you are simply trying to remove SlimBatteryMonitor from your system entirely, remember that it can be removed from your startup items in the Accounts pane of the System Preferences application.

Why can't I move SlimBatteryMonitor to a new position in the menu bar?

This is the most requested SlimBatteryMonitor feature. Users requesting this feature likely want to know why I haven't implemented it.

The answer is that Apple has taken specific actions to prevent third-party applications like SlimBatteryMonitor from being moved. These specific actions include refusing to load them entirely. There are workarounds (and yes, I am aware of MenuMeters); these workaround require a complex installer than can install a 'cracker' program into Apple's menu bar control system to defeat the checks that Apple performs.

I still hope to provide this functionality in the future, but it isn't as easy as flipping a switch... it will likely require that SBM be split into a system preference pane and a pretending-to-be-like-an-apple-menu-extra.

After re-charging my APC brand UPS shows as running on battery again?

There appears to be a bug in the APC UPS driver which causes it to report 'On Battery' when it has fully recharged. (Actually, if you are watching closely, these UPSes report 'Fully charged" for a split-second before reporting 'On Battery'.)

I found that if I unplug my UPS from the wall and plug it back in quickly this problem is resolved.

There is nothing that SlimBatteryMonitor can do about this, because the raw data provided to the application by the UPS (through Apple's power information API) is flawed. It is indistinguishable from really being on battery.

I have tried to report this to APC but I have no contacts there aside from their regular tech support channel. If you feel strongly about this issue, I urge you to report it as well... squeaky wheels get the grease and all.

Update: After some lengthy fighting with APC's support people, I got the following response: I have forwarded [your bug report] to the individual looking into this. Please keep checking our website for the next release of PowerChute Personal Edition. If they are able to replicate this error, it will be addressed in a future release of PowerChute.
[Incident: 040205-000147]

How can I prevent the "Install SlimBatteryMonitor" panel from appearing at launch?

When SlimBatteryMonitor is launched, it checks to see if it is listed in your startup items. If not, it offers to add itself. This is to help new users install SlimBatteryMonitor as recommended. This approach can cause issues for those who wish to launch SlimBatteryMonitor from a secondary script.

There is an advanced preference that will stop SlimBatteryMonitor from showing this window at startup. To prevent the window appearing, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure SlimBatteryMonitor is not running by selecting Remove from Menu Bar from the SlimBatteryMonitor menu
  2. Launch the Terminal application
  3. Enter the following command:
    defaults write org.orange-carb.slimbatterymonitor CMHIgnoreStartupStatus 1
  4. Re-launch SlimBatteryMonitor

The warning panel will no longer appear.

If your question isn't listed, feel free to drop me a line at: sbm AT juicer.orange-carb.org (replace the AT with @).

Program and documentation are copyright. © 2009 by Colin Henein.
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