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Posts: 5
Registered: ‎11-23-2011
Location: Denmark
Message 1 of 6 (20,912 Views)

Thinkpad X220 battery not charging

Hello there,


I have a Lenovo Thinkpad X220 42914CG that will not charge my 9 cell battery nor the 4 cell battery I bought extra.  This computer is only a few months old, so I can just send it to service, but I'd prefer to fix it myself if it's just a simple issue of updating the BIOS firmware or similar.




  • When I pull out the power cord from a running laptop, it immediately blacks out, so I assume the battery is totally flat.

  • When I plug the power cord in a shut down laptop, the battery lamp on the laptop lid flashes green three times and then stays off.

  • When I plug in the power cord, power on, and enter the BIOS, the laptop battery lamp doesn't indicate charging; usually it would flash orange, then green, and finally stay green.  (The point of entering the BIOS here is to keep operating system-specific issues out of the equation).

  • When I boot into Ubuntu 11.10, the battery indicator says that the laptop is on AC power and the battery is charged 5%.  The history charge graphs show that no charging has been happening the past few days.

Here is the battery-related information I can retrieve from the ACPI driver:

stephan@wipeout:~$ tree /proc/acpi/battery/
└── BAT0
    ├── alarm
    ├── info
    └── stat


stephan@wipeout:~$ cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/alarm
alarm:                   294 mAh


stephan@wipeout:~$ cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state
present:                 yes
capacity state:          critical
charging state:          charged
present rate:            0 mA
remaining capacity:      275 mAh
present voltage:         11282 mV


stephan@wipeout:~$ cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/info
present:                 yes
design capacity:         9324 mAh
last full capacity:      5884 mAh
battery technology:      rechargeable
design voltage:          11100 mV
design capacity warning: 294 mAh
design capacity low:     18 mAh
cycle count:             0
capacity granularity 1:  1 mAh
capacity granularity 2:  1 mAh
model number:            42T4940
serial number:           14478
battery type:            LION
OEM info:                SANYO

Here are some bits of  additional information about my computer (retrieved from 'lshw'):


          description: CPU
          product: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2640M CPU @ 2.80GHz
          vendor: Intel Corp.
          physical id: 1
          bus info: cpu@0
          version: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2640M CPU @ 2.80GHz
          serial: Not Supported by CPU
          slot: CPU
          size: 800MHz
          capacity: 800MHz
          width: 64 bits
          clock: 100MHz


          description: BIOS
          vendor: LENOVO
          physical id: f
          version: 8DET52WW (1.22 )
          date: 09/15/2011
          size: 128KiB
          capacity: 8128KiB
          capabilities: pci pnp upgrade shadowing cdboot bootselect edd int13floppy720 int5printscreen int9keyboard int14serial int17printer int10video acpi usb biosbootspecification

The laptop is running incredibly slow at the moment.  This matches other users' report when using the X220 without a battery and also explains the slow processor speeds reported above.


I'm running Ubuntu 11.10, not Windows so I cannot fiddle with the ThinkVantage power manager threshold as suggested in related threads.  I never found an actual answer in any of the  other threads.


Finally, if anyone should recommend upgrading the BIOS, please point me to an official CHANGELOG or similar that clearly states and an upgrade will actually solve my problem.  I'm not risking to brick my laptop without a very, very good reason.


I hope someone can help.  Thanks in advance =)


Former Administrator
Posts: 8,592
Registered: ‎11-19-2007
Location: US
Message 2 of 6 (20,892 Views)

Re: Thinkpad X220 battery not charging



This seems odd that the situation has affected two unrelated batteries.  


I know we had some no charge issues on other batteries and we've released firmware updates to address them, but I don't see the X220 listed.  Here is an example of the firmware update for some other models..


I mention these in case you are searching ...


Since those don't apply, I can think of several possibilities...


1) Software settings.  If you were running windows, with our power manager, you could customize the charging start / stop thresholds.  Since you are running Linux, I don't know if there are similar controls.  I'm also not sure, but if the system were off and the battery needs charging and you plug it in, I would expect it to charge regardless of the settings.    I don't think this is it because you note they won't charge even with the system off.


2) Out of spec AC adapter.  It is possible that the output from the AC adapter is out of spec - under volt or under current - less than expected wattage.  You can easily test voltage with a digital multi-meter if you have one.  Given the degraded system performance, this might be the first thing to try.   Are you running the 65 or 90w?   


Another reason to start there is that service can just ship you another AC adapter and you don't have to send in the system.


3) If not this, then the next likely cause is the system board and you would need service to replace it which, unless you have onsite warranty, would require sending in your system.


It is also possible that both batteries failed.  But, seems unlikely, and usually if the protection circuit in the battery trips, preventing it from charging, that the battery light would be blinking fast and yellow.  At least on the older models I'm used to.  I've not seen that failure mode on X220 so I can't say with confidence.  It just seems less likely that 2 batteries would both go bad at the same time.




Posts: 5
Registered: ‎11-23-2011
Location: Denmark
Message 3 of 6 (20,748 Views)

Re: Thinkpad X220 battery not charging

Ad 1) Software settings:  I agree that this issue is highly unlikely related to OS.  Ubuntu doesn't in its default setup allow one to read or write battery charging paramters, but in the meantime I've found my way to the tp-smapi project  that gives control of battery charging and extended battery status.


Unfortunately my X220 is the least supported model of all ThinkPads, and only very few models are fully supported.  It would be very nice if you pass this information along to the proper instance within the walls of Lenovo, and have someone aid in the development of this driver; usually providing the necessary specifications is enough to get the open source heroes working.


I also find it quite annoying (particylarly considering the pickle I'm in) that these battery charging paramters aren't accessible in the BIOS!  It would seem like a most natural thing to be able to configure without some silly piece of (OS-specific) software.


Ad. 2) A/C adapter: Good thinking, so I did it.  I measured the output to be 18,8VDC ... and 20,1VDC of the adapter for my T61.  Both within sensible spec I'd say, and both adapters charge my T61 as expected; none charge my X220.


I'm almost certain that its the X220's charging circuit that's bad.  I'll call Lenovo Support monday.


Btw, when the X220 runs either without battery or with one battery that's flat and cannot be charged, the computer runs horribly slow.  I this normal?  And is it specific to the X220?  And what's the design-decision behind this?  I've never noticed behavior this with either my previous X30, R50, T40, or T61 models, though I must admit that I have never explicitly tested this either.  It just seems weird and is very annoying since the X220 has all the power it would never need provided from the A/C adapter.






Microsoft MVP Contributor
Posts: 21,009
Registered: ‎12-19-2008
Location: Australia, Melbourne
Message 4 of 6 (20,688 Views)

Re: Thinkpad X220 battery not charging

if you run the Thinkpad without battery on a 65 watt adapter, it will throttle down the CPU clock speed. The only remedy is to either run the laptop with the correct and working battery or get the 90 watt adapter.

Jin Li

May this year, be the year of 'DO'!

I am a volunteer, and not a paid staff of Lenovo or Microsoft
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎11-23-2011
Location: Denmark
Message 5 of 6 (20,616 Views)

Re: Thinkpad X220 battery not charging

[ Edited ]

90W adapter.  Thanks!  Although I'd still like to know why the down-throtteling is is necessary.


Btw, I called Lenovo Support today, and apparrently I have on-site support and they offered to come by my place tomorrow.  As I've already made for the week, I moved the visit to next thursday, but I was still gladly surprised =).  I'm looking forward to see what'll happen.  Do they usually come with spare parts?  Or a new replacement laptop?  To borrow until fixed or for keeps?

Paper Tape
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-01-2014
Location: Pakistan
Message 6 of 6 (7,254 Views)

Re: Thinkpad X220 battery not charging

[ Edited ]

Hi Zta,


I have a Lenovo Thinkpad X220 TYPE 4290-WAA with a 9 cell battery that unfortunately is not charging as well. I am experiencing the same observations that you made in your posts earlier except for the fact that my machine is not running slow and performing normally.


The battery is just a few months old and was running perfectly fine before. The battery charge is stuck at 45% and according to the power manager application a battery error has occurred and the battery cannot be charged. I found out about this problem when I wanted to move to a different room in my office and pulled out the power cord while the laptop was running. The machine immediately blacked out and was not turning on. I plugged in the power cord and saw the battery light on the lid flashing green three times and then staying off. When I turned the machine back on, the battery indicator showed the error message that I mentioned earlier and the battery percentage stuck at 45%.


I have tried several methods such as updating the bios, re-installing the power manager, re-inserting the battery, re-setting the battery gauge but unfortunately have not been able to fix the issue. I do have come to a conclusion that this is not a software issue but a hardware one.


I am running a 65W genuine Lenovo adapter, the battery was manufactured on 2011-10-06 and the first used date is 2013-07. The current cycle count is 40 and the battery condition is shown as “poor”. Since you were able to claim Lenovo’s on-site support, could you kindly share with me a few details on how you got the issue fixed? I would really appreciate the help.



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