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Battery won't charge on IBM Thinkpad T40

Sometime in the last 24 hours the battery on my IBM Thinkpad T40 stopped charging.  When I'm plugged in I can work just fine but the battery has run down so as soon as I lose AC power (i.e. unplug the laptop) it dies.  I've tried re-booting as well as shutting the laptop off and removing and re-adding the battery.  Nothing seems to help.  

A couple of things did happen in the last couple of weeks that may have caused this:

1.  A week ago or so I open up a cup near the laptop and a few drops of liquid found their way to the laptop.  However, it was a very small amount of liquid and I don't think anything got inside the case so I doubt this caused it.

2.  A few days ago the laptop feel off a low chair it was sitting on.  It was in a padded case so I didn't think much of it (it fell no more than 12 inches) but potentially this could have caused it I guess.

My thought right now is to purchase a new longer-life battery for the laptop and see if that solves the problem.  I've been thinking about doing that anyway so it wouldn't be a big deal.  But before I did so I figured I would post here and see if anyone has any other suggestions.

Thanks!
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jpb123
Asked:
jpb123
2 Solutions
 
Shane31Commented:
A new batery might be the answer but here are a few things to look at:

1 - Check that the battery actually charges - windows should report charging and the battery charge light should be on.  If you don't see this then your battery may not be the issue.  More than likely the DC/DC board is malfunctioning.  This can be replaced but they generally range in price from about 120 - 250$ depending on the model and vendor.  Also you need to open the unit completely and make the repair.

2 - If the battery is charging but not holding the charge then you should see the battery charge as usual and then the laptop should die after a minute or so.  This would indidcate an issue witht eh battery, also after charging the battery you can remove it from the notebook and use a voltmeter to read the voltage, it should indicate the voltage marked on the battery which for a T40 should be about 10.5 to 11 Volts DC.  If you see this kind of behaviour then I would replace the battery.

If you see behaviour like I describe in 1 then most likely it is an issue with the charging circuitry and  and most likely the DC/DC board, in some cases these are seperate boards and can be replaced but in others the circuitry is part of the mainboard.
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jpb123Author Commented:
I think it's probably that the battery isn't charging.

As to #1, the orange battery light keeps blinking.  And when I look at the power meter it doesn't appear that the battery is getting charged at all (it always remains around 5% or so).  

So I think it's more #1 than #2.  My thought in getting a new battery was that if that didn't solve the problem I could return the battery (not sure of the return policy though) and if it did solve the problem I wouldn't mind having a better battery anyway.  

Thanks for the response and let me know if you think of anything else.
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rindiCommented:
I think your best bet is to take your battery to a IBM retailer (this is a relatively common model, so it is likely they can test it) and kindly ask him if they wouldn't please be so kind as to test that battery. Or, of you know of a colleague who has a similar notebook you could ask him. That way you should be able to find out if it's just the battery or if you have to do some more repairing.
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ridCommented:
Unfortunately there may have been damage to the battery connector on the motherboard as the computer fell - the battery is a pretty heavy component. If possible try another battery in the bay before buying a new one.
/RID
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jpb123Author Commented:
We did try another battery and it didn't charge that one either.  So I think it probably is the battery connector.  I can get the motherboard replaced but I want to doublecheck to see if that's definitely the problem before I send it away.  Any way to determine that?  What would be the best route for me to take at this point?  Just send it in and get the motherboard replaced?
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ridCommented:
It is very difficult to say anything really wise about this. Personally, if the machine has lost its warranty, I'd take it apart and inspect the mobo and particularly the battery contact area for cracks or broken solder joints. I think I would manage to resolder the battery contact if that were the problem. Unfortunately, it may be something that cannot be eyballed or something so tiny it cannot be soldered with "normal" home workshop equipment that has broken. I would also look at the power inlet connector area for the same reason, but, again, who knows what has happened.

If you don't feel up to laptop surgery I guess your only option is to leave the machine in the hands of the experts at IBM or local repair shop.

/RID
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jpb123Author Commented:
Thanks rid.  The cool thing is that I can get this fixed for free.  The bummer is that I need to send it away and will be without the laptop for 10 days.  I'm running a business and that's going to be tough.  However, it looks like that's probably the way to go at this stage unless anyone has any other thoughts or advice.
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smandellCommented:
I manage about 100 T40's. Recently, we've seen about 5 or so of them do the same thing, just stop charging. I tested them with different AC adapters as well as different batteries. Fortunately they're still under warranty so I just send them in for repair, as far as I can tell they just replace the mobo.


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