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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:28 am 
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Hi there just wondered if anyone has used one of the OEM thinkpad X60 batteries you see floating around on ebay and online stores. Are they any good?

[Mod edit: merged with topic "original genuin battery Vs compatible ones; the best choice?"]


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:49 am 
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My experience with one OEM (it is better to call them 'replacement' or 'generic') battery is that my X61 won't power on if I install the battery alone and it won't power off if I don't press the power button down for a few seconds. So I returned the bettery immediately and sourced a genuine lenovo battery instead.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:20 am 
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I have so far purchased three non-OEM (ie., non-Lenovo) batteries from Ebay vendors. One each for a TP600, X41 and X61s. All three worked OK. The TP600 was reasonably priced and considerably higher capacity than the OEM pack and lasted for several years..... it is probably still OK but I have decommissioned the laptop. The one for the X61s self discharges faster than I expected.... about 1% per day, even when on AC power. I asked here on this forum and also of the vendor, and never got an answer whether that was reasonable or not.

Additionally, the X61s battery was listed as a replacement for the "enhanced" 36WH battery but delivers only 30WH. Also not sure if that is normal or not. Battery manager does show the "design capacity" as 36WH, but I don't know how accurate that is supposed to be. However, it was only $35 shipped, so I am not terribly put out. On the up side, it does not appear to be sealed, so when/if the time comes, I can probably open it easily and replace the cells myself with known name brand cells for much less than a refill house would charge.

Paul

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:11 pm 
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hallo
i have to buy a new battery for my TP, the last ones is died!
i found many compatible batterys with the same features of the original genuine ones, so my question is:
has the compatible battery the same life and reliability of the original genuine ones or what are the differences?
could the compatible battery give compatibility or bios error issues?
thankyouan

[Mod edit: merged topic with "OEM Batteries Any Good?"]

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:33 pm 
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While some people have reported decent luck with third-party batteries such as the ones that can be purchased off of Ebay rather cheaply, I personally believe that OEM batteries are the only way to go. They tend to last longer and perform better, and if I recall correctly some people on these forums have had intermittent problems attributed to the use of third-party batteries in their systems. It might be a little more expensive first off, but in my opinion you're buying a lot of peace of mind, longevity, and fewer headaches.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:58 pm 
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My primary concern with 3rd-party batteries is whether they are compatible with the power manager software. One thing that's nice about Thinkpad batteries is that you can control when they start and stop charging. This can prevent the battery from constantly being 'topped off', which will extend the battery lifespan.

I'm curious whether 3rd-party batteries support this functionality, as I seem to recall this functionality requires some circuitry on the battery side which may be omitted for cost reasons. Perhaps someone with experience can chime in?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:52 am 
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Not X6* related, but I once bought a 3rd party battery for my old T30 and it worked fine. This was some years ago and I had limited choices (used IBM batteries or a 3rd Party company from Hong Kong). Bought it via Ebay from a Power Seller and arrived after 3 days. Not issues at all. Performance was ok. No BIOS problems, no crashes, nada...

Of course there are lots of other factors to consider. Do you use it for work? For leisure? How cheaper is the 3rd party compared to the OEM one? Is the difference worth? How much you "love" your X6* to risk a 3rd party?

just my 0.02 cents...

Cheers

Tasu

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:14 am 
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I can't speak to all non-OEM batteries but all three I have purchased (including the latest $35 Ebay special) were 100% compatible with both the Windows and the IBM battery manager software.

Paul

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:47 am 
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I purchased a pair of generic replacement batteries for my X60 a couple months ago. I had ongoing problems with one since I got it, but the second one seemed to work fine for a while. Both are now basically junked. I am fairly sure that there must be a wide variation in quality of batteries from different eBay vendors, but I haven't seen reliable reports about a specific vendor to recommend. I have decided that I'm just going to obtain Lenovo batteries until I can get more reliable information somewhere.

My batteries were apparently compatible with Lenovo's battery management software, including the option of controlling when to start charging, but if you use a non-Lenovo battery then you will have to put up with a pop-up notice warning you about your battery every time you turn on your computer as well as an exclamation mark icon beside the battery gauge in the taskbar. The only way to get rid of this exclamation mark is to use the standard Windows battery gauge instead of the much nicer Lenovo gauge.

pgoelz wrote:
I can't speak to all non-OEM batteries but all three I have purchased (including the latest $35 Ebay special) were 100% compatible with both the Windows and the IBM battery manager software.
Paul, could you possibly let us know the name of the vendor? The one that I used and was unhappy with was ilove_shop.

Phil

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:22 am 
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The seller I bought from was http://stores.shop.ebay.com/AccToGo__W0QQ_armrsZ1.

I'm not sure how to point you to the exact battery because when I try to search for it, all I come up with is the listing showing me as the buyer.

Their price is reasonable, the battery works and they have a 9 month exchange policy so if it tanks before that I can at least get it exchanged. When I asked them about the self discharge their answer was to fill out an RMA. I declined, opting to just keep it for now and wait and see what happens. I've set battery manager to charge at 90% and stop at 95%. Seems to self discharge a bit slower if it never starts out at 100%. Too bad battery manager doesn't have a "charge now to 100%" button.....

Paul

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:36 am 
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I think you're taking a chance with non-Lenovo batteries. Fortunately, the one I bought for $30 is standing up, but I've decided to go all new Lenovo from now on.

The chinese-copy AC adapters are pure crap. I have two and they both put out so much RFI as to blast every radio and computer in the house.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:54 pm 
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I fully agree. BUT..... Lenovo batteries are four times the price of the non-OEM and you have no way of knowing how long they have been sitting on the shelf. Deteriorating. If they were date coded and the date code was known prior to purchase, I might be tempted to go back to Lenovo. But since it is a crap shoot, I'll take my chances with non-OEM for now. Back when I used the TP600, I bought two genuine IBM batteries for it and they both lasted barely a year. Never again. The non-OEM I finally bought ran rings around them and lasted several years until I finally decommissioned the laptop. That battery was placed in the fridge fully charged about a year ago. I'll have to dig it out and see how it is doing.... I still have the TP600.

Paul

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Last edited by pgoelz on Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:22 pm 
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Yeah, I'm with you on trying to do something to bypass the ridiculously high price of original Lenovo batteries. Having said that, I just bought a couple refurbished batteries for my X60 through the U.S. Lenovo outlet store where they were selling at a reasonable price. I can't imagine spending $200 on just a battery. You can buy a good laptop for that price, complete with a battery that will hold a charge for over an hour.

And I'm a big fan of the 600 series as well. For that series, I found that the generic replacement batteries worked great. In some cases they far outlasted anything that was ever available from IBM. But I am getting the sense that the X60 and other newer machines may be more finicky about internal battery circuitry...or the generic clone-makers have not quite yet learned how to duplicate and improve on the Lenovo originals...

Phil.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:20 am 
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Lithium cells are trouble no matter who makes them. They have a very good power to volume ratio but they also degrade from the moment they are made, whether you use them or not. Heat and cell voltage aggravate the degradation and in a laptop, they are often warm and often fully charged.

Add to that my strong suspicion that there is intense competition among battery manufacturers to maximize capacity and minimize price. I suspect that leads to substandard cells that degrade rapidly.

Paul

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:12 am 
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Well, here I sit with my trusty X61 in my hotel room in Vienna, Austria. Long flight home tomorrow and was looking forward to watching a movie on the X61. But my battery discharged from 100% to 2% in less than 20mins and shutdown. Now PwrMgr says replace the battery...it is defective. It has only 21 cycles and was original Lenovo battery first used in Mar 2008. Made by Sony. DEFECTIVE! It didn't die gracefully over the life of the battery as I always got a couple of hours out of each charge. Just died immediately after only 21 cycles and about 18 months.

The good news is I have an ebay battery at home which will probably last a couple of years more. The bad news is ... it's at home and I have a long flight tomorrow without battery power.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:53 am 
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Bummer! FWIW, that was the failure mode on my (Sony cells) original X61s battery. It was reporting about 75% capacity and ran for an appropriate amount of time. Then all of a sudden one day, while still reporting about 75% of design capacity, it ran for about 10 minutes and went from battery monitor reporting 80% charged to EMERGENCY SHUT DOWN in seconds. Without a warning that it had passed the low battery warning point. My suspicion is that it has a bad cell, and the circuit that monitors that is separate from the overall "capacity remaining" circuit and is capable of initiating an emergency shut down without warning. Mine was about 6 months out of warranty and Lenovo told me to take a hike.

I use lithium cells all the time in my electric planes and have similar issues, even when closely monitoring the packs and the individual cells. These cells are much lower internal resistance than the ones in laptop batteries and they still have a hard time running for more than a year without getting real soft (ie., high internal resistance). I have taken to storing them between sessions at 50% charge and in a small refrigerator. That seems to help. But that is not practical for a laptop.... it's barely practical for model airplanes ;)

My ultimate solution for model airplanes is to use very inexpensive packs from a Hong Kong vendor with a very good street rep. They are 25% the cost of the name brands and just as good, if not better. The model airplane community talks among ourselves a lot via the internet and we know who makes good cheap packs and who doesn't. I suggest that we all get together and post our experiences with the major Ebay laptop battery vendors and see if a picture emerges. ??

Paul

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:28 pm 
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Very informative post, Paul.
I agree with buying non-brandname batteries. I have had good luck in my other Thinkpads with batteries out of honk kong from ebay. Can't think of the ebay seller right now. Maybe when I get home, I can find the sale and post it. Really needs to be a sticky post so we can add vendors. But I kinda doubt advocating non-Lenovo batteries would be supported on this site.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:48 pm 
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Don't get me wrong.... lithium batteries scare me and non-OEM batteries even more so. My airplane batteries are stored in an ammo box in a refrigerator and I feel pretty safe. My laptop is in the family room connected to the charger nearly 24/7 and having unknown batteries in it does worry me a bit. But I can't get past the fact that in my experience (safety concerns aside for the moment) you don't get any real benefit from buying a genuine Lenovo battery...... it is vastly more expensive and is just as likely to fail prematurely.

I say we attempt a sticky. And if Lenovo tries to shut it down, we and Lenovo can take it for a bit of feedback in both directions. Lenovo needs to improve the battery situation, which is why we are driven to non-OEM batteries in the first place. And if they do shut the sticky down, we can take that as a message that they probably don't give a cr@p what we think about their batteries.

Again.... I would probably gladly pay $100 for a genuine Lenovo replacement battery IF it could be reliably expected to last longer than a year in mild service and IF it was known to be recently manufactured prior to purchase. I just checked.... my non-OEM TP600 battery is about 3-4 years old now. It still holds a charge and runs for a reasonable amount of time. In the 6-12 months it was sitting idle (at room temperature, not in the fridge as I thought), it self discharged from 100% down to 84%. It cost me $50 from an Ebay seller (I don't recall who). Contrast that with the $120 I paid TWICE for two IBM batteries that lasted just a bit longer than a year each. THAT is why we are being driven away from Lenovo batteries and towards non-OEM.

Paul

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:28 pm 
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I'm a big fan of the 600, too. Mine is sitting in Paris on a friends mantel, awaiting my return, preferably with a new DCDC card, or whatever, for the builtin charger. The 600 is a gold standard for keyboard feel.

I've (fortunately) never had a really bad battery, OEM or otherwise, or had one fail precipitously. And I don't treat batteries with any special care. Sometimes They're always plugged into AC and charged near 100%, and sometimes I charge to 100%, then watch TV until it shuts off.

I just made a mental count and I have 11 TP batteries here in the house, among 4 TPs, and they're all pretty good, except two old T40 batteries that only (ever) charge to 30%.

I know that lithium batteries are bombs (years ago they were only used for buoys out in the harbor because if they exploded they were far from people).

I think I've been lucky. Ah well, unlucky in love, lucky in batteries.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 4:16 am 
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John H wrote:
I think I've been lucky. Ah well, unlucky in love, lucky in batteries.

Well... now I don't know if I should congratulate you or feel sorry about you :wink:

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:07 am 
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treker wrote:
Really needs to be a sticky post so we can add vendors. But I kinda doubt advocating non-Lenovo batteries would be supported on this site.

pgoelz wrote:
I say we attempt a sticky. And if Lenovo tries to shut it down, we and Lenovo can take it for a bit of feedback in both directions. Lenovo needs to improve the battery situation, which is why we are driven to non-OEM batteries in the first place. And if they do shut the sticky down, we can take that as a message that they probably don't give a cr@p what we think about their batteries.

Just so we're all clear here, this site is not run by Lenovo or IBM, nor is it affiliated with them. Decisions about what to include or sticky or whatever are made by the independent admin/mod team, led by Bill Morrow. :D

I personally am not sure that a sticky is needed for this thread, or what the best way is of gathering reviews/recommendations of battery replacement sellers, but perhaps I'll raise it with the other mods/admins.

But feel free to post recommendations and comments in this thread. I've posted my (negative) recommendation in an earlier post above.

Phil.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:06 pm 
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After thinking about it rationally for a bit, it seems to me that a recommendation thread is a good idea that probably won't have much real value. The reason is that as far as I can see, there is no way to tell who made the batteries (let alone the cells) sold by any given vendor.... and there are a LOT of "replacement battery" vendors out there. Recommend a particular vendor and six months later, they may well be selling something different. So it is down to luck whether you get a decent battery or not.

Unfortunately this is also true for the Lenovo brand. The only reason to buy a Lenovo battery is the hope that the battery will be "safer" and last longer. But Lenovo will not stand behind their batteries with a warranty that has any real teeth.... a year is not long enough. How many of us have had a one to two year old battery fail? At >$100 a pop, that is simply not acceptable. Heck, we have an OLD Dell laptop here from maybe 1998 with the ORIGINAL battery in it. It still holds a charge and runs for a decent amount of time.

So it is back down to taking your chances with the $35 replacement batteries that might last a year or two. Or spending 3-4 times that for a Lenovo battery that seems to have exactly the same life expectancy. And doesn't even warn you that it is failing.... it runs for a couple hours one day and ten minutes the next.

If I can get my Lenovo battery open without damaging it, I want to check out the cells individually and see what the problem is. One possibility I have not been able to rule out is that it is a software problem in the battery itself.

Paul

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:05 pm 
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pgoelz wrote:
I say we attempt a sticky. And if Lenovo tries to shut it down, we and Lenovo can take it for a bit of feedback in both directions. Lenovo needs to improve the battery situation, which is why we are driven to non-OEM batteries in the first place. And if they do shut the sticky down, we can take that as a message that they probably don't give a cr@p what we think about their batteries.


Considering that after 2 years of membership you don't even realize whose forum you're in (here's a hint - Lenovo doesn't pay the bills here), I'm not really inclined to take your advice on what is worth being stickied.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:33 pm 
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i tend to stick with OEM batteries..

but then all my thinkpads now stay plugged in 24/7..

so i have no experience with aftermarket clones..

but if the team thinks a thread or two, stickied, devoted to replacement batteries and the various advantages/disadvantages of OEM vs. aftermarket and a list of aftermarket batteries and where to get them would enhance the forum member experience then its ok with me..
the admin team rules, lenovo does not..

if there is sufficient call for it a confrence on battery performance and so forth will be considered..

AND, this forum has nothing to do with IBM or lenovo..
the admin team makes the decisions here aided by the moderator team..
we DO listen to the general membership..

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:01 pm 
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JaneL wrote:
Considering that after 2 years of membership you don't even realize whose forum you're in (here's a hint - Lenovo doesn't pay the bills here), I'm not really inclined to take your advice on what is worth being stickied.

I honestly don't know who pays the bills and have never seen it mentioned the entire time I have been here. It seems reasonable to expect that Lenovo at least MIGHT provide some support and therefore might object to a directory of non-Lenovo battery suppliers.

I read this forum and try to contribute what I can. I have extensive hobby and professional experience with lithium cells and was merely trying to find a way to improve the community knowledge base.

If I have somehow annoyed you personally or the mods in general, it was quite unintentional. Your tone mystifies me. Whether or not you make anything a sticky is entirely your decision.

Paul

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 3:26 pm 
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Quote:
If I have somehow annoyed you personally or the mods in general, it was quite unintentional. Your tone mystifies me. Whether or not you make anything a sticky is entirely your decision.


no one is annoyed.. :)

just making it clear that lenovo has nothing to say about the content..

this whole issue was taken up by the usual lawyer letter from IBM about 10 years ago and an appropriate response..

thus the statement in the banner and in the thread above..

Quote:
honestly don't know who pays the bills and have never seen it mentioned the entire time I have been here. It seems reasonable to expect that Lenovo at least MIGHT provide some support and therefore might object to a directory of non-Lenovo battery suppliers.


i pay the bills and have done so for all of those 10+ years..
it was only recently i put up the advertisers you see above to help with the expenses..
and added a donate button..
the first part of this year i paid for a very rocky transition to a new dedicated server, updated phpBB and at that time the donate button disappeared and i have not had the inclination to mess with the phpBB code so as to restore it..

in short, lenovo and this forum have an arms length relationship..

that said, the team here will not allow any baseless or ad hominem attacks against the brand or the maker..
real complaints will be heard and allowed to stand since it all goes toward improving the brand as well as the thinkpad owner experience..

your input is valued and no one here disparages real and well thought out comments..

a battery thread with a sticky might be a good idea but only if it will be a positive (no pun intended) addition and well used by the membership here..

perhaps a poll whether to restructure and sticky this thread or make a new stickied battery thread..?

comments..?

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She was not what you would call refined,
She was not what you would call unrefined,
She was the type of person who kept a parrot.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 5:20 pm 
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I would vote for a poll, or better yet, a sticky on this topic. I have had a few experiences (posted in various places) that may be helpful for people, and easier to find if all in one place.

Mike

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:39 pm 
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BillMorrow wrote:
a battery thread with a sticky might be a good idea but only if it will be a positive (no pun intended) addition and well used by the membership here..

perhaps a poll whether to restructure and sticky this thread or make a new stickied battery thread..?

comments..?

I'm not sure there is enough information in this particular thread to make it a sticky. But a sticky with concise reports on experiences with various replacement battery vendors might be a good idea. Hopefully Lenovo will also read it and take it as a point of data that their batteries are unsatisfactory to some users and that perhaps a better (longer) warranty would be a good start. In the mean time, being able to identify a satisfactory replacement (satisfactory as in proper function and equal or better service life at lower cost) would in my mind be worthy of a sticky.

My input, anyway.

Paul

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:41 pm 
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pgoelz wrote:
But Lenovo will not stand behind their batteries with a warranty that has any real teeth.... a year is not long enough.

Batteries are a consumable for any laptop, and how long any consumable lasts depend to great deal on how the user consumes it. :idea:

If you want a longer warranty on a consumable for any product, expect to pay significantly more for product! :roll:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:28 pm 
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bill bolton wrote:
Batteries are a consumable for any laptop, and how long any consumable lasts depend to great deal on how the user consumes it. :idea:

If you want a longer warranty on a consumable for any product, expect to pay significantly more for product! :roll:

I am very aware that laptop batteries are consummables. I am also aware that normal laptop use (ie., 90% of the time spent fully charged and hotter than ambient) is not the best way to prolong life. Unfortunately, it isn't practical to use laptop batteries in a way that enhances lifetime (cooler and maintained at a lower state of charge).

What I am objecting to is that replacement batteries are commonly available for 25% of the price of a "genuine" Lenovo battery. By that standard, Lenovo is ALREADY charging a premium price. My $35 Ebay special came with a 9 month replacement warranty. A $153 Lenovo battery (from Thinkpad Parts) only carries a 12 month replacement warranty. The cells themselves may or may not be exactly the same.... impossible to tell. And Lenovo batteries in my mind are more likely to have sat on the shelf for quite a while than the replacement batteries. Impossible to tell before it is too late.

I gave it one more shot last night with Lenovo. My 18 month old defective battery (runs for about ten minutes and then goes from about 80% to zero in seconds) IS listed on their web site as a recalled FRU. But the battery test program says it is not in the recall group. I spoke to a very concerned supervisor at Lenovo who said many times that it was his job to make sure that each and every customer was "extremely satisfied". However, he also said that if the battery test program says that the battery is not recalled, there is nothing he can do. I suggested that perhaps the best course was to replace my battery, get the old one back, examine it and see if perhaps they have a bigger issue than they think they do. No dice. Paraphrasing a bit, Lenovo is not at all interested in examining failed batteries unless they already know that the cells were from a "bad batch". Seems quite self limiting to me. He also said that they get "a very small percentage" of calls re: bad batteries. I suggested that in that case the best course of action would be to replace the "very small percentage" that fail and make everyone "extremely satisfied". No dice.

Too bad. I have been more than "extremely satisfied" with all three of my Thinkpads. I have also been "extremely UNsatisfied" with every Lenovo battery that I have had. They have ALL failed just past the one year mark. NONE have made it to two years. The two replacement batteries I have purchased have been superior in every way. One lasted past two years and the other is (I think) about four years old and is still close to original capacity.

This would not be anywhere near as serious an issue if the cells themselves were user replaceable. LiIon cells in this size are (estimated based on similar capacity LiPoly cells) $5 each. I am fully aware of why they are not currently user replaceable, but that forces us to replace the entire battery when most likely all that is needed is to replace the four cells. So when everyone makes their markup, we end up replacing a very expensive battery just to replace four $5 cells.

To those of you who seem to think this is unreasonable..... just what DO you consider to be an acceptable service life for a $153 battery? I'm not talking about slow capacity degradation. I'm talking about an abrupt failure where one day the battery will run for 1.5 to 2 hours (in my case) and the next day it will shut off after about ten minutes without even a low battery warning.

Paul

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