Help me; help my battery
June 14, 2012 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Laptop battery filter: My Lenovo SL510 wasn't charging my battery, and I foolishly assumed it was the battery's problem and bought a new one. But the new one wouldn't charge either. Any advice?

Running Windows 7, SP1, most recent updates to software and firmware. The Battery program shows that my battery has 8% charge left, and that it is in good condition, but exhibiting "no activity." The battery light on the front of the cover is blinking orange continually.

The Lenovo forum suggested I delete the Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery driver and let it reinstall itself, and I tried a number of variations on this without success. There is also a driver for a "Composite Battery" — should I try deleting it too? There's one for "Microsoft AC Adapter" too but I'm afraid if I mess with that I'll turn my laptop into a paperweight.

Is this simply a hardware problem? If so, do you have any idea of the cost of getting it fixed? If you live in Baltiwash, do you have any person or firm you'd recommend to do the job?

I really would like to be able to operate my laptop from a battery again; any advice will be appreciated.
posted by ubiquity to Technology (7 answers total)
When I had this problem on my laptop, the problem was that I had dropped it and broken the solder connection between the A/C inverter and the battery charger. Fixing it was nearly impossible. If this is your problem, you can "fix" it by replacing the motherboard, at ruinous expense.
posted by KathrynT at 10:34 AM on June 14, 2012

It should charge the battery with the system powered off or sleeping, so if it still refuses to charge it would guess that the charging circuit is damaged. Sometimes you can reset this behavior by pulling the battery and power cord and then pushing the power button a few times and then leave it alone for about 30 minutes. This will allow the motherboard to completely discharge. If you find your computer complaining about CMOS defaults or date and time errors then the issue could actually be the CMOS battery. Luckily these are pretty cheap to replace on Thinkpad.
posted by tmt at 1:05 PM on June 14, 2012

Far as I know, the operating system has nothing to do with how the battery charges. It all happens outside the control of it.

If it doesn't charge up when left OFF (not sleeping) and plugged in over night, it needs a new motherboard.
posted by gjc at 1:12 PM on June 14, 2012

Another thing to check is the AC adapter. I've seen them start to fritz out without dying completely. Check for unusual heat coming off of the brick or a kink or cut in the cord from the brick to the computer end.
posted by tmt at 1:15 PM on June 14, 2012

Response by poster: Unfortunately, I have the same problem with two completely different adapters. And neither of them is warm, worn, kinked or cut.
posted by ubiquity at 1:44 PM on June 14, 2012

You could bring your machine, the batteries, and the adapters you have to a PC Retro store. If you go at an empty time in the store, they might briefly test what you have. Otherwise they are OK to do a repair.
posted by caclwmr4 at 7:44 PM on June 14, 2012

Do you still have the Lenovo ThinkVantage Toolbox still installed?

I have a T410s and this program keeps thinking that my battery is dead, but the battery is fine and still holds a 2 &3/4 hour charge despite what the software thinks.

Maybe see if you can disable software monitoring?

But, yeah, could definitely be a hardware problem. Simple, quick check to do; pop the battery out and visually examine the contacts. Any corrosion or darkening? Look at the connector in the latop, any bent or missing pins? But it could easily be something else inside the case.
posted by porpoise at 10:14 PM on June 14, 2012

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