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Can/should I get my Thinkpad battery replaced under warranty?

Discussion in 'ThinkPad Edge, X1, X100e/X120e, & SL/L' started by ba11ousai, Jun 13, 2011.

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  1. ba11ousai

    ba11ousai Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hey everyone,

    I've had a Thinkpad T410 since December (model 2518-4JU - discrete graphics, 9-cell, core i5), and so far I love it. However, I've been having some issues with the battery, and would like the advice of experienced Thinkpadders on this forum as to the best course of action.

    First, here are the specifications of the battery (according to Thinkpad Power Manager):

    -9 cell
    -Manufacturer: SANYO
    -Cycle count = 73
    -Manufacture date - 2010-06-27
    -First used date - 2010-12
    -FRU = 42T4799
    -Design capacity = 93.24 Wh
    -Full charge capacity = 92.70 Wh

    So according to the specs, all seems to be well. In order to take good care of the battery, I have done the following almost since I got the laptop (as per advice found on these forums):

    -Set charge thresholds to start charging at 90% and stop at 95% (I tried the 30% to 95% but I ended up getting caught with insufficient battery life too often)
    -Always charge up to 95%, discharge down to 8% or so, and then charge up to 95% again and repeat.

    I experienced the following right from the early days of using the laptop. When the battery remaining would reach around 20% (according to Thinkpad Power Manager), Windows would give me the low battery warning (that the level had reached 6%). Then Thinkpad Power Manager's capacity would jump down to 6% as well and I'd have to recharge.

    Needless to say, this was disconcerting. In order to counteract the issue, I decided to try a battery gauge reset, just in case. I did so, and ended up inadvertently charging the battery to 100%. At the time I was worried that doing so would have decreased the life of the battery (at least slightly), but interestingly enough, it caused the problem to go away temporarily. The battery level would go down at a normal pace to 20%, and then still at a normal pace all the way down to 6%. I think it was the charging to 100% rather than the gauge reset that did this, because the battery's charge capacity in Power Manager didn't change much at all after the gauge reset.

    After this gauge reset I went back to my 90% and 95% charge thresholds. Sure enough, as time went by, the problem resurfaced. Over the last few weeks, where I've been using it as my primary machine and giving it about 1 charge cycle per day, it has gotten worse. The battery level now jumps from about 29% down to 6% - making it seem like 30% of the battery doesn't exist! I've also noticed suspiciously low battery life for a 9 cell - around 4 to 4.5 hours. I seem to remember getting 5 hours or more in the laptop's early days, and I'm sure others have gotten more. I enabled all of the power saving features in Power Manager to extend battery life, except for screen brightness, which I always keep at maximum (I find it hard to read text on the screen otherwise).

    Here is my analysis of the situation. It seems similar to a thread I remember reading on these forums about one or more cells of the battery being defective and having trouble holding charge. Perhaps charging to 100% sort of "refreshed" those defective cells, but over time they went back to their previous state? My battery is also a SANYO, which I believe is of slightly lower quality than another provider (I think it was Samsung). From what I know, having this sort of strange behaviour 6 months into the use of the laptop is not normal, and battery gauge resets are not the answer in this case. I would welcome any advice or accounts of similar experiences on this topic.

    What I plan to do is to have the battery replaced under warranty. I would think that I have sufficient grounds to do so. Am I wrong? I'll be close to a warranty service centre for the two weeks after this one, so I can walk in and make my request in person (which I feel should work better than mailing it in). The battery has a 1-year warranty, but is this warranty from the date of manufacture or date of first use? The large difference between my date of manufacture and date of first use is due to me buying the Thinkpad from Amazon, where it had been sitting for about 4 months. I'm still within the one year date either way, but I'd still like to know. Out of curiosity, how does it work for actual Thinkpads (date of manufacture or date of purchase)?

    So my main question is, should I get the battery replaced under warranty? Should I ask for a Samsung? Did I do anything wrong in my care of the battery? I would welcome any advice on this matter.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. AboutThreeFitty

    AboutThreeFitty ~350

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    This is exactly what warranties are for. You should call Lenovo and explain the situation. I would be shocked if they don't give you a new one.
     
  3. redevils89

    redevils89 Notebook Consultant

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    Well, from my experience, batteries are not covered by warranty.
    I sent in my Thinkpad with battery issues, and they told me that there is something wrong with the battery and that I should get a new one as they are not covered under warranty. (they called it "user-replaceable parts" although technically, all parts are user-replaceable...)

    You should definitely call and check
     
  4. AboutThreeFitty

    AboutThreeFitty ~350

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    There is a 1 year Limited warranty on Lenovo batteries. What that covers, I'm not sure. A battery this new shouldn't have this problem and should (In my eyes.) be covered for this.
     
  5. JaneL

    JaneL Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    TL;DR. but if the battery's still under warranty, call support.
     
  6. ba11ousai

    ba11ousai Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the info people. I will get in touch with Lenovo and post my experiences.
     
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