Help me fix my Thinkpad's battery and display issues (please)
November 6, 2019 8:30 AM   Subscribe

I have a Thinkpad T470s, in good condition, running Windows 10. This morning it suddenly started giving trouble: its battery (one of the two batteries is registering but not supplying power) and its display (which suddenly cycles to red and then back, sometimes immediately sometimes not). I am about to leave for a work trip overseas and would like to get it sorted quickly. Any suggestions what I should do to fix it? I am self-employed so I'm my own IT department.

Issue 1: Battery.
This morning the computer just turned itself off. On inspection I realised that it's only using the second battery, the main battery (which is at 92%) is not being used at all. Meanwhile the computer still thinks everything is fine and the first battery is connected, so I got no warning of the shutdown. Now that I've worked out the reason I can work around it, but I'd much rather have two functioning batteries or figure out if I need to replace one of them. Perhaps relatedly, for the past few weeks I kept getting a notification that my computer was not charging even though both batteries were in fact charging, but the message seems to have disappeared.

Issue 2: Display.
Because of the battery I decided to update everything in sight. Among these things were the Intel Management Engine and the Intel HD Graphics Driver through Lenovo Vantage which I'd never used before. The battery didn't get resolved, but now the display colour seems to randomly and suddenly get very warm. Then it switches back. I'm not sure but it might be related to giving focus to a new window? I use f.lux which I've turned off, but there is no difference. Nor can I find anything in any display or graphic driver settings that makes a difference. Possibly relatedly, the display did always have an irritating tendency to change the brightness by itself if I moved from a dark to a light coloured window, and I could never find a setting that stopped this from happening, so I have been wondering if this is related.

Any ideas on how I could resolve either of these myself or what I could be looking at? I have fiddled with all the standard Control Panel (basic and advanced view) stuff, but that is all.
posted by tavegyl to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Remove batteries and power cord. Wait 10 minutes. Try again.

Does the screen change when you move the screen? The hinges can be a weak point for the display cables.

I have bought several TPads on ebay, used, off-lease, refurbished. The hard drives move very easily from one to the next. For a work trip, I'd seriously consider buying a backup to take.
posted by theora55 at 9:08 AM on November 6

I think your monitor issue is related to all of Lenovo's baked in nonsense. I work for a company that uses Lenovos, and we don't deploy them with Think-anything installed because a couple of their default apps are a huge pain in the rear. By the sound of it, something is auto-dimming based on expected (or actual) brightness. Now might not be the best time to go digging through your installed applications and uninstalling things at random, but I suspect there's a Lenovo/ThinkVantage monitor / brightness / color management app that can be uninstalled to solve this problem.

For the battery, this issue usually has a simple resolution for our users. There's a little retention clip that likes to break off the battery. Pull it out, then put it back in. Once it's securely in place, put a piece of tape on the edge. In the long term, you probably want a new battery. In the short term, this will keep the contacts in place and prevent the battery from being seen without being able to discharge.

In the event that it's something more exciting, I seem to recall that Lenovo has a battery diagnostic / management tool. Check their site (or Google) for software related to your unit and see what it has to say.
posted by Zudz at 10:57 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]

Thank you, both. I've run the diagnostic tool and it says, unhelpfully, that the battery may be defective. Zudz, I will try what you suggest with the battery and if it doesn't work, I will replace it (irritatingly, it seems to not be available on the Lenovo website so all this will have to wait till after my trip). The battery is charging even now, it's just not being used by the laptop so far as I can tell. Battery 2 also seems to be discharging faster than before, though I'm not 100% sure of this.

As for the display changing colour - it's definitely software related, not hardware as it does seem to relate to giving focus to a different program or to a new dialogue box. I've tried wiggling the screen around and it makes no difference. I will try uninstalling the Lenovo Vantage program, as I used it for the first time yesterday when trying to run diagnostics on the battery, and it was only afterwards that the irritating flickering started
posted by tavegyl at 2:54 AM on November 7

Update: Uninstalling Vantage seems to have fixed the display issue at least, phew! Thank you, Zudz.
posted by tavegyl at 3:18 AM on November 7

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