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W550s - Removed built-in battery (bulging) now removable battery not detected?

W530/W540/W550 series specific matters only
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fewfiet
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Location: Washington, DC

W550s - Removed built-in battery (bulging) now removable battery not detected?

#1 Post by fewfiet » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:54 am

I'm not sure if this is an issue more specific to my Thinkpad (W550s) or to Windows 10 Pro but I thought I'd try here.

The bezel below my touchpad started bulging up recently and I was worried that the built-in battery might have been bulging and so I booted to bios, disabled the internal battery, removed the external battery, then opened it up and sure enough, the battery was bulging so I removed it.

I reinserted the removable battery, and when I plugged it in again it booted just fine and said it was charging on the taskbar. Once it was fully charged I thought I'd just unplug to see how long it would last on just the external but it immediately shut down. This made me worried so I've performed the following steps (not necessarily in this order):

1. Updated BIOS (running: N11ET52W (1.28 ) 03/19/2020)
2. Updated all drivers for devices listed under "Batteries" in Device Manager.
3. Disabled and then enabled all devices listed under "Batteries" in Device Manager.
4. Uninstalled all devices listed under "Batteries" in Device Manager. Shut down computer. Unplugged AC power and removed the external battery. Waited 5-10 min. Reinserted the battery, plugged back in and booted.
5. Ran the power troubleshooter in Windows settings.

After each of these steps (and many other attempts at variations), I ran a Battery Report from an Admin instance of PowerShell, but each time I got the notice: "No batteries are currently installed".

I'm kind of at a loss of what to try next. Can anyone help point me in the right direction? I didn't replace the built-in battery with anything, was it necessary to install a dummy battery? Do I need to make some change in BIOS?

It isn't really the biggest of issues, because the AC power is fine and I'm at my desk 95% of the time and could easily make that 100%, but if I could somehow get the system to recognize the battery it would of course be more convenient to move locations or to go somewhere with the computer in sleep mode rather than shut down.

Thanks for any help you can offer!

MikalE
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Re: W550s - Removed built-in battery (bulging) now removable battery not detected?

#2 Post by MikalE » Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:23 pm

I don't know what the others will recommend, but I would unplug the CMOS battery while your external battery is out. Wait a minute or two, re-insert the external battery, plug the CMOS battery back in, and reboot and check.
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Screamer
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Re: W550s - Removed built-in battery (bulging) now removable battery not detected?

#3 Post by Screamer » Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:08 pm

It is not necessary to install a dummy battery, or rather, a literal plastic spacer (FRU 00NY472).

By any chance, have you checked the external battery pack's health? I suspect that there is something off about it, as I have heard of ThinkPads operating without the internal battery pack (some configurations did not even have it installed). That would certainly mean that they could solely run off the external battery pack, so something must be definitely wrong with your external battery pack.

fewfiet
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 8:28 am
Location: Washington, DC

Re: W550s - Removed built-in battery (bulging) now removable battery not detected?

#4 Post by fewfiet » Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:52 pm

Screamer wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:08 pm
By any chance, have you checked the external battery pack's health?
I'd love to! Any idea of how I can do that if it isn't even detected by the system?
MikalE wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:23 pm
I don't know what the others will recommend, but I would unplug the CMOS battery while your external battery is out. Wait a minute or two, re-insert the external battery, plug the CMOS battery back in, and reboot and check.
Thanks for the advice. Is there anything I need to know about the implications of unplugging and replugging the CMOS battery? Could that have any adverse effect on my system?

MikalE
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Re: W550s - Removed built-in battery (bulging) now removable battery not detected?

#5 Post by MikalE » Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:44 pm

If you aren't connected to the internet you will have to reset the date and time.
A31p P-IV 2Ghz, 2MB, 2653-R6U
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Re: W550s - Removed built-in battery (bulging) now removable battery not detected?

#6 Post by Screamer » Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:27 pm

fewfiet wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:52 pm
I'd love to! Any idea of how I can do that if it isn't even detected by the system?
I initially assumed that the external battery pack would have been detected by your W550s, since you did imply that it was being charged at one point. My apologies, then.

I suppose that I need to be a little more clear on what I had meant to say. The thing is, was the external battery pack functional in the sense that it could be discharged and charged without an issue, before your internal battery pack became bloated? Or, was it actually problematic from the start before this happened?

If it was problematic in the first place, then I would think that it should be the external battery pack that has an issue. If it is not, there might be something going on with your W550s' motherboard. I do not know for sure, though. Theoretically speaking, what would happen if you were to re-install the internal battery pack, and then attach the external battery pack? Would both batteries get detected, or would only one of them get detected?

This is a very risky move as the internal battery pack is bloated and is potentially explosive, but if you do not have another spare ThinkPad to test the external battery on, we would never know on what is off with your external battery pack (assuming that the external battery was never problematic to begin with). Again, this is all theoretical speculation with some hint of danger, so you could choose to not do this. Personally, I would try to find a compatible ThinkPad to check the external battery pack's health.

You should purchase another external battery though, as this is the best out of the three possible choices that I have suggested.
fewfiet wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:52 pm
Could that have any adverse effect on my system?
Adding on to MikalE's statement; the BIOS settings would also be reset.

If you or somebody else has locked the BIOS with a supervisor password, disable it before removing the RTC battery. Ignore this step if you know what your supervisor password is (if it is set).

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