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8 Posts

10-26-2011

Germany

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9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-26, 20:10 PM

Hi all,

once I left my laptop in standby too long(?) until it powered off with my 13 months

old 9-cell lenovo battery pack (FRU 42T4644) inserted.

After attaching the power cord the battery LED would just blink at a faster rate than normal

and the lenovo tool reports a damaged battery. Measuring between the two outermost connector

pins gives 0 Volts reading. Just before the battery would last four hours when doing normal
office work.

As I'm a computer science guy and know how batteries work I opened up the battery
case and measured the cells directly: all of them are about 4.15 Volts totaling 12.52 Volts.

The explanation why the battery is "dead" lies not in in the cells but in the controller circuit
composed of a battery protection analog front end chip named bq29330 and battery fuel gas
gauge chip bq8030DBT. Either of these chips have a FAULTY bit that can be set by arbitrary
conditions. I interfaced the battery pack via i2c and could read some data at adress 0x0b:

root@raw:/home/master# i2cdump -y 0 0x0b
No size specified (using byte-data access)
     0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  a  b  c  d  e  f 0123456789abcdef
00: 03 4a 0a 00 00 ff ff ff a4 e0 00 00 00 00 00 00 ?J?.....??......
10: 30 00 00 ff c8 38 d7 24 e8 30 31 63 78 XX XX XX 0...?8?$?01cxXXX
20: 08 0b 04 0e XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX 0b ????XXXXXXXXXXX?
30: 0a 10 10 18 XX XX XX XX XX XX XX ab 13 00 01 89 ????XXXXXXX??.??
40: 17 XX 03 20 XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX ?X? XXXXXXXXXXXX
50: 03 0a 08 07 0d XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX ?????XXXXXXXXXXX
60: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
70: XX 17 00 XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX X?.XXXXXXXXXXXXX
80: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
90: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
a0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
b0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
c0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
d0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
e0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
f0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

The pinout of lenovo batteries is always the same: || ||||| being: + + [gap] SCL SDA [unknown] GND GND

An i2c interface is easily build with a spare vga cable: Pin 5 is GND Pin 12 is SDA and Pin 15 is SCL.
Under ubuntu you just need to install i2c-tools and lm-sensors then modprobe i2c-dev and run i2cdetect -l

With my R61 notebook (intel graphics) this gives me
i2c-0 i2c intel drm CRTDDC_A I2C adapter
i2c-1 i2c intel drm LVDSDDC_C I2C adapter
i2c-2 i2c intel drm SDVOCTRL_ I2C adapter
i2c-3 i2c intel drm SDVOB DDC I2C adapter
i2c-4 i2c intel drm SDVOB/VGA I2C adapter

Obviously we want to use i2c-0 as this is the interface we can then use via the vga cable.
On other machines it's often not clear what i2c device is the correct one, the trick here is to
iterate over all i2c devices via i2cdetect -y 0..n once with the battery connected to the vga
cable and once without. The diff of both runs reveals the correct i2c interface.

So what we should find out is what i2cset commands we need to run to be able to unset the
faulty bit! I hope LENOVO reads this and gives us the info, I assume that some authentification
codes must first be communicated to the battery to accept the reset. Please lenovo show

mercy - or send me a new 9cell battery :)


Best Regards,

John

 

Edit: Changed Font for the i2cdump data to make it readable more easily

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437 Posts

08-13-2010

Tucson, Arizona

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  • Message 2 of 16

Re: 9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-26, 21:26 PM
Interesting! What model Thinkpad?
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4550 Posts

01-22-2010

United States of America

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  • Message 3 of 16

Re: 9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-27, 0:16 AM

http://sbworkshop.com/sbdat110.pdf

 

Hi john507 and welcome to the Community,

 

I saw your post over at Thinkpads and I was going to answer you there, but since you're here, ok.

 

You don't need anything from Lenovo to rewrite a battery eprom.  You do need the right program to support the chip.

I'm not familiar with linux and your program, i don't know its capabilities. There are a few programs that are free, but they have to support your chips and if I'm not mistaken, they only will work under windows.

 

I've rewritten a few eeproms, I paid for the program, (about 50USD), but it only supports chips in the x30, x31,x32, and x41.

My program won't work for yours.  But it does it automatically. It gets rid of the errors which shut down the battery in the first place and resets everything to 0. It also gives it a new mfgr. date. This assumes that the controller board is good.  

 

It's interesting that you were able to make a board that works with the VGA port.

 

I made mine with a parallel interface with 5v usb power.

 

It sounds like using linux you would have to run the separate commands for each of the bits.  The pdf I linked to should give you the values of the bits and the functions.

 

Now that I have a couple of x60ts, I'll probably have to buy a new program.

 

They say that if you drain a lithium battery all the way down to zero, it's toast, but you're still reading voltages so it probably still could be saved.

http://be2works.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11

This is where I went when I wanted to start doing this. There's a lot of good information and help there.

 

Dave

 

 

   


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8 Posts

10-26-2011

Germany

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  • Message 4 of 16

Re: 9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-27, 9:56 AM

The battery was in my T400 when it died.

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2 Posts

10-27-2011

Germany

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  • Message 5 of 16

Re: 9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-27, 14:29 PM

Hi,

 

I've just experienced the same symptoms with my T400. The battery was fine and fully-charged and suddently the battery indicator is blinking orange and the battery seems to be completely dead, and the laptop only works on AC.

 

I googled and found various posts saying the battery likely has a cell damage and must be replaced. I had another older battery lying around, which worked fine for a while. (I put it through some cycles since the fuel gauge had drifted off completely). But after a while it suddenly showed the same symptoms, completely dead and orange light blinking.

 

Both batteries are not the newest, but it's hard to imagine that this is a coincidence. Could it be that the laptop fries the batteries for some reason? I don't want to buy a new one for a lot of money and immediately destroy it again ...

 

Could you explain what you found out with your battery a bit less technical? Are you saying that the battery might just think it's dead and there is a way to reset it?

 

I really need a functioning battery for my work, so any help is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Frank.

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8 Posts

10-26-2011

Germany

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  • Message 6 of 16

Re: 9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-27, 16:11 PM

wrote:
[...]
Could you explain what you found out with your battery a bit less technical? Are you saying that the battery might just think it's dead and there is a way to reset it?
[...]

What you understood is correct. The battery cells are all ok, however the battery pack controller

reports a dead battery to the laptop resulting in the fast blinking led and error messages.

 

Tech support refused a replace of the battery as it was by then 13 months old - no exceptions.

 

I hope someone from lenovo can still comment on this, especially how to "unbrick" such a battery via i2c commands.

 

Best Regards,

 

 John

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2 Posts

10-27-2011

Germany

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  • Message 7 of 16

Re: 9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-27, 16:25 PM

john507 schrieb:
What you understood is correct. The battery cells are all ok, however the battery pack controller reports a dead battery to the laptop resulting in the fast blinking led and error messages.

[..]

 

I hope someone from lenovo can still comment on this, especially how to "unbrick" such a battery via i2c commands.

 


thanks for the quick reply.

 

It would also be very helpful to know how or why this happens and how to prevent it. Since this happened to me for two batteries within a day, I don't want to ruin yet another battery if it's a problem with the laptop that's causing this.

 

cheers,

Frank.

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8 Posts

10-26-2011

Germany

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Re: 9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-27, 21:46 PM

I searched the web some more and found this interesting thread over at forum.thinkpads.com

 

User discoy2k states this:

back to the point, from what i have discovered so far from raw testing using commercial equipment and from public docs and from 'aquired' docs, LENOVO has whats old skool techs refer to as a 'time bomb' in these batteries.

for n00bs that means, there is a counter inside the battery, when the manu thinks you used it enough and its time you paid the extortion tax the battery shuts off, not because of a problem but because of use.

 

As I'm not asking to be kicked from the forum I spare my comment...

 

 

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8 Posts

10-26-2011

Germany

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  • Message 9 of 16

Re: 9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-27, 23:08 PM

I reattached the cells to the controller board and read out the acpi info:

 

root@raw:~# cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/info
present:                 yes
design capacity:         84240 mWh
last full capacity:      64480 mWh
battery technology:      rechargeable
design voltage:          10800 mV
design capacity warning: 3224 mWh
design capacity low:     200 mWh
cycle count:              0
capacity granularity 1:  1 mWh
capacity granularity 2:  1 mWh
model number:            42T4644
serial number:           20354
battery type:            LION
OEM info:                SANYO


root@raw:~# cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state
present:                 yes
capacity state:          ok
charging state:          charged
present rate:            0 mW
remaining capacity:      64480 mWh
present voltage:         12556 mV

 

Quite interesting... everything looks fine, beside the cycle

counter that seems to have been reset when the cells got disconnected.

 

The i2cdump with attached cells looks also a bit different (the first dump was w/a cells connected):

 

     0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  a  b  c  d  e  f    0123456789abcdef
00: 03 4a 0a 00 00 ff ff ff 98 0b 00 00 00 64 4d 30    ?J?.....??...dM0
10: 30 ff ff ff 88 38 e7 25 e8 30 31 63 78 XX XX XX    0...?8?%?01cxXXX
20: 08 0b 04 0e XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX 0b    ????XXXXXXXXXXX?
30: 0a 10 10 18 XX XX XX XX XX XX XX 9e 13 00 01 89    ????XXXXXXX??.??
40: 17 XX 03 20 XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    ?X? XXXXXXXXXXXX
50: 03 0a 08 07 0d XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    ?????XXXXXXXXXXX
60: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
70: XX 17 00 XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    X?.XXXXXXXXXXXXX
80: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
90: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
a0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
b0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
c0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
d0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
e0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
f0: XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX XX    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Values 0x08-0x0f, 0x11-0x1f and 0x3b-0x3f differ...

 

Maybe attaching an i2c sniffer like the bus pirate

while running the lenovo tool that tells us the battery

is broken reveals the authcodes and memory positions?

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9644 Posts

12-27-2009

Canada

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  • Message 10 of 16

Re: 9-Cell Battery just DIED (not by normal wear)

2011-10-29, 1:24 AM
The planned obsolescence thing sounds a bit shady...

I've seen a T60 6-cell go over 500 cycles and still hold half a charge.

W520: 2960XM, Q2000M @ 1091/1380, 32GB RAM, 500GB&750GB HDD & 500GB SSD, FHD&MB168B+
X61T: L7500, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, XGA screen, Ultrabase
W550s: 5600U, K620M at 1164/1281, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3K touchscreen
X200s: SL9400, 6GB RAM, 64GB SD card, WXGA+ screen
TPT1: 1839-23U
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