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T61 Battery Recommendation and Ultrabay Battery Explaination

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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cjedwa
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Location: Albuquerque, NM

T61 Battery Recommendation and Ultrabay Battery Explaination

#1 Post by cjedwa » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:31 pm

Hello! First post here.

I recently purchased a T61 from ebay and it's working out pretty great so far. I think the computer must have mostly lived in someones closet because there's almost no wear and tear. I think I got pretty lucky here. Anyway, I spend a lot of time with my laptop between coffee shops and breweries and I'd like to try to squeeze the most battery life I can out of this thing.

My current battery seems to be the original 6 cell and seems to be in decent condition. Lasts 2-2.5 hours under normal usage in Linux. I would kind of like to take it out and save it since it's the original and use another for my normal running around. I didn't see anywhere where you can purchase the originals and I want to avoid bad chinese knock offs. Can anyone recommend a decent replacement that may get me more life?

Also, I've heard it's possible to have another battery in the ultrabay. Can someone explain (like I'm 5.. jk) how those work, how many mah you can add and if there is a reputable source for them?

I'm also curious how much battery life others with the T61 are getting. Any tips to improve life beyond the battery upgrade are also much appreciated. I've already update the bios to middleton and put in an SSD but that's the only changes I've made thus far.

Thanks in advance!

Additional info:

I'm not actually certain that my current battery is a 6 cell. possibly the 9 cell. It says 10.8v 7.26Ah on it.

Cigarguy
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Re: T61 Battery Recommendation and Ultrabay Battery Explaination

#2 Post by Cigarguy » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:51 pm

I get about 2-3 hours on a 6 cell battery running a T9300 and SSD on Win 7. Battery life is difficult to say as, like fuel mileage, is dependent on what and how you're using the machine. I have a couple of 6 and 9 cell battery in the backpack and swap them out when needed. Only takes a minute to swap. That's roughly 8 hours of computing time without a plug in which is very rare. Typically after 2-3 hours of usage I can find a plug in somewhere.

I had and used an ultrabay battery once but I'm not a fan for 2 reasons: 1) battery life was not that great, about 45 minutes for me and 2) I prefer the put in a HDD in the Ultrabay for data.

cjedwa
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Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:17 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: T61 Battery Recommendation and Ultrabay Battery Explaination

#3 Post by cjedwa » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:59 pm

That makes sense. I really only use this laptop for browsing, youtube, and programming for work. I don't think I need any more space so I'll probably either leave the DVD ROM in the ultrabay or put in the battery.

I just realized, If you have extra batteries and need to replace them, the ultrabay battery would allow you to replace the battery without AC and having to turn off the computer, right? If so, that might be a good enough reason for me to use one.

Cigarguy
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Re: T61 Battery Recommendation and Ultrabay Battery Explaination

#4 Post by Cigarguy » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:20 pm

Even with a SSD, I use hiberation rather than turn the laptop off or put it to sleep.

cjedwa
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Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: T61 Battery Recommendation and Ultrabay Battery Explaination

#5 Post by cjedwa » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:57 pm

Nice. I've been shutting it down but I'll give hibernation a go. Thanks for the tip.

zoltan87
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Re: T61 Battery Recommendation and Ultrabay Battery Explaination

#6 Post by zoltan87 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:47 pm

Your battery is definitely the 9 cell variant, the 6 cell ones are rated as 5.2 Ah. But it's easy to tell, if the battery sits flush in the laptop, then it's a 6 cell, if it protrudes at the back, then it's a 9 cell battery.

Utrabay battery indeed allows you to hot-swap the main battery without switching the machine off. However there is a catch: the laptop always drains the ultrabay battery first, then it automatically switches to the main one. There is a trick to prevent this, although it's not the most elegant solution: If you pull out the ultrabay ejection lever, then the laptop automatically prepares for ejection, and uses the main battery. So when the main battery is about to die, you push the lever in, the laptop starts using the ultrabay battery, you switch out the main battery, then carry on using your laptop without turning it off.

As I said, not the most elegant way to do things, also you want to be at a table or at a safe place while using your laptop like this, otherwise you are running the risk of accidentally breakin down that thin plastic lever/ puller tab. But at least this way you can hot-swap your main battery. Under Linux there might be a solution to rearrange the using order in the system, I might even read something like this a while ago, but honestly I can't exactly remember now, you probably want to do some googling.

Also the capacity of the ultrabay battery is about half of a normal 6 cell battery (and one third of your 9 cell one). It lasts about 40-50 minutes for me too, like a previous poster said. And it's pretty expensive. But I have one because of the hot swap feature, and also ordered one a few days ago (it's from the USA actually, I live in the UK) through eBay, but it hasn't arrived yet, so will see if it's indeed genuine, and the capacity will be as expected.

I also managed to find a chinese eBay seller, who I bought a genuine 9 cell battery from about 2 months ago. And to my surprise, it was indeed genuine (although it wasn't in the original box, and had some small label on it's side), it was manufactured in 2014, and it still has it's designed capacity.

That was a nice surprise, as I have bought 3 different third party batteries for my T60 in the past (all 6 cell batteries), and all of those had disappointing capacities (around 4 - 4.2 Ah), even though the sellers were advertising "A++" quality battery cells, and promised 5.2 Ah.
Also all these mentioned third party batteries have cases, that are in one way or another just not quite the right size, and have some difficulty inserting and removing them. Nothing major, but if you are mobile, and keep changing them in and out, it would get frustrating really fast. Also the used plastic has a slightly different texture (although that doesn't bother me).

So all in all, I would definitely recommend you to buy genuine batteries. But you probably have to be somewhat lucky to find one that is not a knock off, not too old, and has a fair price.

One observation (but keep in mind this might be a misinformation, so I would appreciate if someone could confirm it): the more recently produced genuine batteries have a solid big red circle on the battery label with a number in it. The older ones have a big blue coloured section on the label there. If I am incorrect here, then I will edit this post (if I can still do that later).

One last thing. which size of T61 have you bought? Because 14.1 inch widescreen T61 has a different battery size compared to 14.1 inch 4:3 and 15 inch widescreen T61. The ultrabay battery works fine ill all these variants, in fact my ultrabay battery was advertised as a Thinkpad T420s ultrabay battery, but because it was so cheap I took the plunge, and it worked out fine, it's a perfect fit.
Laptops after the 4:3 aspect ratio era are non-existent to me.

dr_st
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Re: T61 Battery Recommendation and Ultrabay Battery Explaination

#7 Post by dr_st » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:30 am

zoltan87 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:47 pm
Your battery is definitely the 9 cell variant, the 6 cell ones are rated as 5.2 Ah. But it's easy to tell, if the battery sits flush in the laptop, then it's a 6 cell, if it protrudes at the back, then it's a 9 cell battery.
That's not true for the 14.1" wide T61/T400 though; even the 6-cell protrudes from the back there (only 4-cell is flush). However, 7.28Ah is a capacity expected of a 9-cell, that's certain.
zoltan87 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:47 pm
One observation (but keep in mind this might be a misinformation, so I would appreciate if someone could confirm it): the more recently produced genuine batteries have a solid big red circle on the battery label with a number in it. The older ones have a big blue coloured section on the label there.
That is true. The battery-numbering system was introduced after the production of T6x.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), 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

zoltan87
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Re: T61 Battery Recommendation and Ultrabay Battery Explaination

#8 Post by zoltan87 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:02 pm

I thought I will come back with a small update. Since I posted here, I have ordered one more extended (9 cell) battery, and one ultrabay battery as well through eBay.

The extended battery was fine (not quite design capacity, but around 95% of it, still ok in my book), but the ultrabay battery was a major let-down. It was advertised as brand new, but when I installed it showed 12 cycles already. And the major issue: it had only slightly more, than half of it's design capacity. Took pictures about it for proof, and messaged the seller. Then sorted out some discount. Still I wish I hadn't bought it, at this point ig gives like 30 minutes extra boost, which is pretty much pointless.

So I would advise anyone who is looking for old batteries like these: you should message the seller prior to purchase, and ask about possible capacity loss. I don't think there are many batteries out, still in good condition.
Laptops after the 4:3 aspect ratio era are non-existent to me.

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