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8 Posts

07-28-2011

California

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Poor T420 battery life: 3-4 hours

2011-10-15, 16:58 PM

I recently bought a T420i laptop a few months ago configured with the i5 processor.  Out of the box it got about 3-4 hours of battery life with no CPU intensive programs running - just normal Internet browsing, music, word processing, etc.  

 

I usually have the display set to 10-13/15. 

 

This was more or less the same amount of battery life I got with my old Macbook, so I didn't think much of it at the time. 

 

But now I'm hearing that it's normal for people to get up to 8, 10 hours of battery life and I was just wondering if I cheaped out too much on my battery or if something's wrong with my computer. 

 

I have the 55+ battery; I'm pretty sure it was the cheapest configuration available. 

 

How can I get these amazing battery life stats?  I'd be willing to buy a new battery, but would prefer to not have anything stick out the back of the computer.  

 

Thanks!

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9644 Posts

12-27-2009

Canada

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Re: Poor T420 battery life: 3-4 hours

2011-10-15, 17:01 PM
IIRC, the 55+ is a 6-cell. You should aim for 6 hours on that. The 9-cell sticks out the back and will offer 8-10 hours. There's a 9-cell slice that sticks out the bottom too, that will add 8-10 on top of the 6-cell.

As for why you're chewing through the charge so quickly, I'm going to guess that at least one of the following is true:
a) You use Chrome
b) You use iTunes

What is your power profile in Power Manager? Go to the Advanced mode and list the CPU setting. I don't suppose you have a discrete graphics card?

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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8 Posts

07-28-2011

California

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Re: Poor T420 battery life: 3-4 hours

2011-10-15, 17:11 PM

Thanks for the quick reply.  

 

Right now my power settings are set to Power Source Optimized, and you're right on both guesses - I used Chrome and iTunes.  

 

Would switching to a different browser improve battery life?  If so, which one is best? 

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9644 Posts

12-27-2009

Canada

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Re: Poor T420 battery life: 3-4 hours

2011-10-15, 17:25 PM

In my experience (and supported by quantitative data), IE9 is best on battery life. Firefox was good until they hit the exact same glitch Chrome has with regards to platform timer resolution. There's a manual patch for it in Firefox, not sure about Chrome. I stuck with Firefox because of my pile of addons.

Download ClockRes:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897568.aspx
Put it's EXE in C:\Windows.

Start a Command Prompt, and type ClockRes. Accept the agreement. If you see the following:

Maximum timer interval: 15.600 ms
Minimum timer interval: 0.500 ms
Current timer interval: 1.000 ms

Then your battery life will be poor. For example, I get an estimated 8 hours on my W520 taking notes and surfing the web with timer interval at 15.600. (After a Firefox patch.) At 1.000, I would get an estimated 5-6 hours instead.

If you have no reliance on Apple-based products or services, I'd recommend switching to foobar2k or Winamp. If you have an Apple device, having iTunes' drivers installed allows you to use Winamp to manage your device.

Note that media players (including Flash) will force platform timer to 1.000ms (this is necessary, and not much can be done.)

Under Power Source Optimized, I'd recommend setting your CPU speed to Balanced rather than Turbo for battery operation. This locks out Turbo, but should provide sufficient speed.

 

---------

EDIT: More stuff:

 

In a Command Prompt, run powercfg -energy. It'll produce energy-report.html in your user folder C:\Users\username.

Open it and it'll list issues it finds with power consumption. Some can be ignored such as no sleep timeout on battery and the platform ASPM thing.

 

Cutting down on background processes helps as well. From experience with friends' computers, Skype and Steam tend to do weird things. If you have a conventional spinning hard drive, defragmenting regularly also helps.

 

EDIT 2: Totally missed the line about screen brightness.

 

Generally, 13-15 is way too bright for indoor use except when near a sunny window or something. A good rule of thumb for preserving your retina is that if the screen's light visibly reflects off of your face, then it's too bright.


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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987 Posts

06-03-2011

United States of America

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Re: Poor T420 battery life: 3-4 hours

2011-10-18, 17:56 PM

Step one is reducing screen brightness, I tend to use my T420 at brightness 3 or below when I am on battery. I just make the font size larger. The i5 uses a little bit more battery than the i3. Some people receive better battery life with an SSD, so you may want to consider that. 

 

I have the 9 cell (55++) and can push to 7-9 hours on my T420. I don't think it sticks out too much, but then my T400 has a 6 cell, and that stuck out so I guess I am used to batteries that stick out some.

 

Chrome eats battery. Make sure the wireless card is set to maximum power saving. 

X1 Carbon 3rd Gen Type 20BT i7-5500U, 2560x1440 (non-touch), Win 10 Pro, 8GB RAM, 512 SSD, Intel 7625 WiFi, BT 4.0 | ThinkVision P24q-10 monitor

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16 Posts

09-28-2011

Poland

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Re: Poor T420 battery life: 3-4 hours

2011-10-20, 19:49 PM

Could you read my thread and check if Your problem resembles mine?

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/T400-T500-and-newer-T-series/T520-Wrong-battery-capacity-reported/td-p/550137

___________________
T520, T43
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33 Posts

12-05-2009

Illinois

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  • Message 7 of 8

Re: Poor T420 battery life: 3-4 hours

2011-10-22, 16:45 PM
Right click your battery icon and choose Switchable Graphics -> Energy Saving for most things. The only time I can notice a difference is when I connect to a TV to display video. If I played 3D games, I expect the difference would be more obvious then.
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987 Posts

06-03-2011

United States of America

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  • Location: United States of America
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  • Message 8 of 8

Re: Poor T420 battery life: 3-4 hours

2011-12-04, 14:19 PM

The T420 has Optimus, not switchable. It runs in the equlivent of energy saving mode unless higher graphics performance is needed. It does this without user intervention.

X1 Carbon 3rd Gen Type 20BT i7-5500U, 2560x1440 (non-touch), Win 10 Pro, 8GB RAM, 512 SSD, Intel 7625 WiFi, BT 4.0 | ThinkVision P24q-10 monitor

------------------------------------------
When asking for help, post your question in the forum. Remember to include your system type, model number, and OS. Do not post your serial number.

Did someone help you today? Thank them with a Kudo!

If you find a post helpful and it answers your question, please mark it as an "Accepted Solution"! This will help others with the same question in the future.
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