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why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

T400/T410/T420 and T500/T510/T520 series specific matters only
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angelofthesouth1
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why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#1 Post by angelofthesouth1 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:51 pm

While shopping for a new battery for my T420, I saw a T4xx Ultrabay battery for sale. https://www.ebay.com/itm/254613916916
What would be the point of putting a battery in the Ultrabay when I most likely had one in the customary place?
I guess in case I performed some sort of enormously power-intensive activity and couldn't use a power supply?

Ultrabays keep surprising me with the useful things they can do.

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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#2 Post by theterminator93 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:09 pm

You can have multiple batteries and just swap out the ultrabay battery without needing to suspend the system first. Basically with a few of them, you can run the system all day.

The T400/500 and T410/T510 as well as T420s/520s and T430s/530s use the slim ultrabay. The T420/520 and T430/530 use the ultrabay enhanced which is thicker.
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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#3 Post by TonyJZX » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:09 am

They are ok but the way the unit behaves with two battteries is kind of weird. My experience with mine is that it always draws from the ultrabay first. AFAIK you cant draw from both at once.

Also they have low mah given their small size. They are cute as a curio and they are best used if you have more than one laptop that can use it.

its a cute little thinkpad thing that is really redundant now that any typical modern unit can do 6hrs plus.

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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#4 Post by kfzhu1229 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:13 am

If the Ultrabay battery system on these newer models is anything like the Ultrabay 2000 and Slim ones that I have experience is, it is a pure annoyance that you absolutely have to remember to pull the battery out when the battery gets low otherwise the laptop will use it to 0% before switching to main and quickly degrades the health, and if you have a power hungry machine like a T43p the battery at such low charge won't have sufficient voltage and the laptop just shuts down! Charging is also a hassle for those in that it will only switch to charging the other battery once this battery is fully charged, but at least you can make it charge one of the batteries first by putting the other battery in after. Due to these design flaws I have ruined a couple of aftermarket and NOS Ultrabay Slim batteries and 2000 batteries before I finally gave up on that sort of usage.
What I don't understand is why can't they think of any better way of dealing with this?
The Latitude D-bay battery module for example is also pretty "dumb" but Dell is at least nice enough to stop draining the module battery once the level reaches 10% instead of 0% and that charging will automatically switch to the other battery once the battery charge reaches 80%, 90% and full. The C-bay battery module is even smarter and it switches to the other battery as soon as 10% of charge is drained.
The slim ones are a joke in terms of capacity. The regular thickness ones like the Ultrabay 2000 and Serial Enhanced ones can at least house a 6 cell battery like that D-bay module.
Also one more nuisance is that on a airport security check you have to pull out the module bay battery because combined capacity of that and your main battery is most certainly over 100Wh :roll:
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 128gb WSXGA+ Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#5 Post by dr_st » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:23 am

Note an important thing, sometimes overlooked:
The T410, T420, T430 do not support the Ultrabay battery; the battery connector in the Ultrabay is missing. Only the T400s, T410s, T420s, T430s do. The regular models can have the 9-cell battery which has more capacity than than the 6cell+ultrabay in a slim model, so it was probably not seen as a crucial thing for them.
TonyJZX wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:09 am
They are cute as a curio and they are best used if you have more than one laptop that can use it.
I'd say they are quite an important thing for the slim-T models of that generation, since their internal battery is very small and has atrocious capacity. See here, for example.
TonyJZX wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:09 am
its a cute little thinkpad thing that is really redundant now that any typical modern unit can do 6hrs plus.
Indeed, but some modern models have dual batteries (internal + external) that offer a similar experience.
kfzhu1229 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:13 am
If the Ultrabay battery system on these newer models is anything like the Ultrabay 2000 and Slim ones that I have experience is, it is a pure annoyance that you absolutely have to remember to pull the battery out when the battery gets low otherwise the laptop will use it to 0% before switching to main and quickly degrades the health, and if you have a power hungry machine like a T43p the battery at such low charge won't have sufficient voltage and the laptop just shuts down!
It drains it down to 5% before switching, not 0%, so it shouldn't be as bad. But it absolutely always drains the bay battery first, so it puts many more cycles on it. The modern dual-battery system (T470, Thinkpad 25, etc.) also determine which battery to drain first depending on battery wear (to keep it relatively even between the two). Then again, some would prefer that they always used the external, since it's easier to replace, but you can't keep everyone happy, it seems.
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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#6 Post by unixed » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:24 pm

Can't you manually manage the order in which they are drained so that effectively you use the ultrabay battery to swap between multiple larger batteries?
Wait until the main battery discharges by the required amount, then insert the ub battery and use that to swap the main battery with a fully charged one then eject the ub battery.

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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#7 Post by dr_st » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:35 pm

unixed wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:24 pm
Can't you manually manage the order in which they are drained so that effectively you use the ultrabay battery to swap between multiple larger batteries?
Wait until the main battery discharges by the required amount, then insert the ub battery and use that to swap the main battery with a fully charged one then eject the ub battery.
I've known people to write scripts for Linux, using the tp-smapi API. I'm not aware of anything for Windows.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#8 Post by cadillacmike68 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:13 pm

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:13 am
If the Ultrabay battery system on these newer models is anything like the Ultrabay 2000 and Slim ones that I have experience is, it is a pure annoyance that you absolutely have to remember to pull the battery out when the battery gets low otherwise the laptop will use it to 0% before switching to main and quickly degrades the health, and if you have a power hungry machine like a T43p the battery at such low charge won't have sufficient voltage and the laptop just shuts down! Charging is also a hassle for those in that it will only switch to charging the other battery once this battery is fully charged, but at least you can make it charge one of the batteries first by putting the other battery in after. Due to these design flaws I have ruined a couple of aftermarket and NOS Ultrabay Slim batteries and 2000 batteries before I finally gave up on that sort of usage.
What I don't understand is why can't they think of any better way of dealing with this?
The Latitude D-bay battery module for example is also pretty "dumb" but Dell is at least nice enough to stop draining the module battery once the level reaches 10% instead of 0% and that charging will automatically switch to the other battery once the battery charge reaches 80%, 90% and full. The C-bay battery module is even smarter and it switches to the other battery as soon as 10% of charge is drained.
The slim ones are a joke in terms of capacity. The regular thickness ones like the Ultrabay 2000 and Serial Enhanced ones can at least house a 6 cell battery like that D-bay module.
Also one more nuisance is that on a airport security check you have to pull out the module bay battery because combined capacity of that and your main battery is most certainly over 100Wh :roll:


My experience was similar with T30s and U200 batteries. It just ended up killing the U2000 battery and you have to take it out for the system to get its head out of its 4th point of contact.

When I was traveling with the T30 it was before the lithium battery scare (except at the end of my regular T30 use), but the airport screeners were always baffled a the number of HDDs DVD drives, batts, cables, etc in my roll-aboard laptop bag. I had to empty that bag out more than once.
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T41 T42 T43
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T500 2
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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#9 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:54 am

cadillacmike68 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:13 pm
My experience was similar with T30s and U200 batteries. It just ended up killing the U2000 battery and you have to take it out for the system to get its head out of its 4th point of contact.
Well at least you are dealing with a T30 and not a A3x series with U2000 battery. If you try to touch the eject lever when the A3x series is running, the system will go to sleep. If you remove the battery before the system fully goes to sleep, the system will shut down like as if the main battery is not present!
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 128gb WSXGA+ Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#10 Post by angelofthesouth1 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:31 am

dr_st wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:23 am
Note an important thing, sometimes overlooked:
The T410, T420, T430 do not support the Ultrabay battery; the battery connector in the Ultrabay is missing. Only the T400s, T410s, T420s, T430s do. The regular models can have the 9-cell battery which has more capacity than than the 6cell+ultrabay in a slim model, so it was probably not seen as a crucial thing for them.
D'oh! I have carelessly purchased the Ultrabay battery I linked to, when it will not fit in my T420 (not T420i).I didn't read the auction closely enough. Oops.

So, I think I may have a problem that might be unsolvable at least without wasting more money; would someone tell me if I'm right? This is why I wanted the battery: Something's wrong with my T420 or the normal battery I have in it, because the battery will never charge; the computer detects it but the battery remains at 0%. I researched it, and found out that I might possibly need to upgrade the BIOS. This would be because older T420 BIOSes won't cooperate with certain generic T420 batteries, as explained in https://www.brianlinkletter.com/fixing- ... lem-linux/ . I used the software specified in the article, and determined that my BIOS is not the latest one.

So I downloaded the update from Lenovo, and burned it (an ISO) to a CD. (Could have used a stick, but I want to use up my blank CDs.) The updater refuses to update, because it requires a fully charged battery in case the power fails. See my problem? I can't update the BIOS in case that's why it won't charge this battery, because the battery must already be charged! That's why I mistakenly bought the Ultrabay battery I can't use. Should have just bought a regular battery. But I was afraid that the problem is not the BIOS at all, but some mechanical problem (probably in the battery compartment) that would also prevent a replacement battery from charging. I wanted to bypass that possibility by using one of these Ultrabay batteries.

Anyway, this obnoxious circular problem in the BIOS updater: does anyone know a workaround? Can't update the BIOS to possibly make the laptop charge a dead battery, unless the battery is already charged. Since there is no Ultrabay battery that fits in a T420, I wonder if I can solve this without trying another regular battery. I'm skeptical of whether the battery is the problem. How often does a battery refuse to take any charge at all?

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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#11 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:26 pm

Well I think the only way around this is to get a genuine used but guaranteed working ThinkPad battery and see if your laptop will charge that. You can use the T410, 510, 420, 520, W510, 520 series batteries as well as the newer T530, 430, W530 batteries (however these newer machines won't accept the older T4xx/5xx batteries without a custom BIOS)
If it does, you can try to flash the BIOS but it is also entirely possible that the aftermarket battery have sat for too long and the inferior cells they have used completely died.
If it doesn't, unfortunately you are looking at potentially a BQ24742 battery IC failure that I have learnt the hard way that my T520 developed. The symptom with that is the laptop thinks it is charging and the battery LED also shows it is charging, but you open the power manager and the current/wattage is almost non-existent.
But getting that said used working ThinkPad genuine battery is proven to be harder than I initially anticipated. I have asked this forum to absolutely no avail. Eventually my friend found the original battery that was in the T520 that I was trying to sell for him.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 128gb WSXGA+ Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#12 Post by cadillacmike68 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:53 pm

Look for genuine ThinkPad T420 battery and you will fined a few on fleabay.

The charged battery requirement goes way back. You Must have a battery and it Must be charged to flash the BIOS on a ThinkPad. And I'd do it on a UPS backed outlet.
600, 600X
760LD FUBARd
T21 2647 T22 2647 1@ 1GHz SXGA+ 4 more; T23 2647 1@ 1.2GHz SXGA+ 3 more
T30 2366-88U 2GHz; 2366-83U 1.8G; 5@ 2366-LU0/66U; 2367-KU6 FUBARd
T41 T42 T43
T61 8897 2.4GHz SXGA+; 8898 2.4Ghz; 6463 2@ WSXGA+; 7658 2.5GHz; T61p; 6 more T61s
T500 2
T530 W530

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Re: why might I want an Ultrabay battery?

#13 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:14 am

Or buy/borrow any model/size battery from between T60-T430 / X60-X230 and make a battery extension cord.
I'll show you how: viewtopic.php?p=680106#p680106
You can then update BIOS in any of those models, as long as you have a working battery.
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