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Thread: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

  1. #21
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    May 2006
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    New York
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    Xubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    Just how damaging to a battery is keeping it fully-charged? Would it really ruin a battery in, say, three months? My T61, which really is brand-new, has been kept mostly fully-charged. Last week Ubuntu popped up a notification that my battery seems to be damaged and cannot be charged more than half-way. Since then, I've noticed my laptop running out of battery power in -- oh -- fifteen minutes. An alarming thing for a new laptop! Any advice? (I am running 8.04.)

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Austin, TX (formerly D.C)
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    Just how damaging to a battery is keeping it fully-charged? Would it really ruin a battery in, say, three months? My T61, which really is brand-new, has been kept mostly fully-charged.
    Hi Porter,

    It's really not clear... it depends a lot on the charge regulation and charge termination rules that the integrated circuit used inside of the T61 charger uses. I've never really researched this, but my guess is that Lenovo is using a higher priced IC for charging the battery, so it really shouldn't make much difference.

    Three months before a dead battery seems extreme... Perhaps your battery was faulty. I'm sure I had kept my battery (mostly) fully charged for a longer period than that after buying it, with no noticeable battery degradation.

    I'm sorry to hear that about your battery... but at least it may be of some consolation to know that it wasn't you who ruined it.

    Mike

  3. #23
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    Xubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    Lenovo's replacing my battery free of charge, next day shipping.

    I'll certainly be putting into use the instructions in this thread in future!

  4. #24
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    Lenovo's replacing my battery free of charge, next day shipping.

    I'll certainly be putting into use the instructions in this thread in future!
    Great! Thanks for the update!

    Let me know if you have any problems following the instructions... One of these days I should update them -- they're starting to show their age, probably.

    Mike

    EDIT (11/27/08): I just updated the links to the newest version of tp_smapi, and cleaned some things up. Everybody, please let me know any suggestions you have as to things that would make this tutorial better.
    Last edited by mbsullivan; November 27th, 2008 at 10:01 AM.

  5. #25
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    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    My comp doesn't seem to discharge at all. Everything seems to work fine, but it appears as if my computer just doesn't charge at all when its within the range that I set. Is this normal?

  6. #26
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    My comp doesn't seem to discharge at all. Everything seems to work fine, but it appears as if my computer just doesn't charge at all when its within the range that I set. Is this normal?
    If you mean that the battery stays at the threshold charge and doesn't oscillate between the bounds when plugged in... then "yes", this is proper behavior.

    Mike

  7. #27
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    Sep 2007
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    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    so then whats the point of setting a minimum and maximum threshold? this doesn't make sense to me.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    49
    Distro
    Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    Does anyone know if tp_smapi would work with the T500 with Jaunty? My main question is whether I could enable the battery-saving features, like powering off the cd drive. Now, without tp_smapi compiled, the led light on the ultrabay cd drive stays on all the time, even when suspended.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    I found this link trolling around looking for a battery cycling scheme for my work T61.

    Here is an expedited way to get everything installed from start to finish --

    Install script:

    Code:
    #!/bin/sh
    #
    # tp-smapi-source-install.sh
    #
    # Installs any and all required debian pkgs if missing, then proceeds to build the 
    # kernel module from scratch, and install it.
    #
    # This script only installs / modifies as necessary.
    #
    
    #
    # Nuke the old source directory, just in case. Not sure if there's a *-install script that 
    # goes off  and does this automatically with the .deb pkg, but just to be on the safe 
    # side, this is here.
    #
    [ -d /usr/src/modules/tp-smapi ] && rm -Rf /usr/src/modules/tp-smapi
    
    # Error out any atomic commands immediately if anything fails below here.
    set -e
    
    # Install the packages if necessary.
    # This should install the rest of the required dependencies for building the module.
    for pkg in sysfsutils tp-smapi-source; do
        dpkg-query -W -f='${Status}' $pkg | grep -q 'install ok installed' || apt-get install $pkg
    done
    
    # Setup sysfs -- modify the thresholds to suit your needs.
    
    SYSFS_NODE=devices/platform/smapi/BAT0
    if ! egrep -q "^[[:space:]]*$SYSFS_NODE" /etc/sysfs.conf; then
        cat <<EOF >> /etc/sysfs.conf
    $SYSFS_NODE/stop_charge_thresh=81
    $SYSFS_NODE/start_charge_thresh=85
    EOF
    fi
    
    cd /usr/src && tar xvjf tp-smapi.tar.bz2
    
    for i in clean all install; do 
        make -f "$(dirname "$0")/Makefile.tp-smapi" $i
    done
    
    egrep -q '^[[:space:]]*tp_smapi' /etc/modules || echo "tp_smapi" >> /etc/modules
    
    # Update the modules database.
    module-assistant update
    Makefile (put in the same directory as the script):
    Code:
    # Makefile.tp-smapi
    #
    # NOTE: keep the tabs intact!
    #
    
    # What's our kernel version?
    kernel_ver        ?= $(shell uname -r)
    
    # Where are we going to pick up the sources from?
    tp_smapi_dir        ?= /usr/src/modules/tp-smapi
    
    .PHONY: all clean install
    
    all:
        $(MAKE) -C $(tp_smapi_dir) \
        KBUILD=/lib/modules/$(kernel_ver)/build \
        KVER=$(kernel_ver)
    
    clean install:
        $(MAKE) -C $(tp_smapi_dir) \
        KBUILD=/lib/modules/$(kernel_ver)/build \
        KVER=$(kernel_ver) \
        $@
    
    # END Makefile
    After that, just do:

    1. sh tp-smapi-source-install.sh
    2. lsmod | grep tp_smapi && rmmod tp_smapi && modprobe tp_smapi

    Cheers and thanks for all of the information!

    -Garrett
    Last edited by yaneurabeya; August 13th, 2009 at 09:56 PM.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Re: HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad's Battery (tp_smapi)

    Quote Originally Posted by Porter Doran View Post
    Just how damaging to a battery is keeping it fully-charged? Would it really ruin a battery in, say, three months? My T61, which really is brand-new, has been kept mostly fully-charged. Last week Ubuntu popped up a notification that my battery seems to be damaged and cannot be charged more than half-way. Since then, I've noticed my laptop running out of battery power in -- oh -- fifteen minutes. An alarming thing for a new laptop! Any advice? (I am running 8.04.)
    Li ION batteries have a bad tendency to develop memories, but they aren't as bad as some other battery technologies (NiCd's, anyone ?). Here's a piece of advice I learned from a fellow tech after killing 2 Macbook batteries (2nd one after 6 months `use'):

    1. Habitually charging batteries on a `schedule' / pattern will kill a battery quicker, e.g. drain, then fully charge, then fully drain, or maintain a full charge (common mistake) etc. Randomizing their charging helps.
    2. You should cycle the battery at least once a week if you use it regularly, e.g. go from 0% to 100% (not literally), from 50% to 100% to 50%, etc. Batteries will only cycle so many times though before wearing out, and there's no way to get around that point.
    3. Do not leave the laptop on standby for extended periods of time (my issue with my Macbook >.<). Shutting down the laptop is critical if it's going to sit for more than a few days.
    4. Try to keep the percentage before shutting down above 50% if at all possible. The charge in the battery will naturally dissipate over time, even when shutdown as there are parasitics in your laptop (inherent capacitors, inductors, and resistors).

    Lenovo's thinkpad powermiser app does some interesting things with the battery, randomizing the charge and discharge cycles and what not, from what I understand. My mentor has been using the same battery for the past 2 years and it's held strong at 4 hours capacity.

    My battery on the other hand is 1.5 years old and I only have 1.5~2.0 hours charge left on its current power settings, because I used to keep it plugged into a dock 24/7 (-_-)... My 3rd Macbook's battery is now 7 months old and still holds a 4.5 hour charge however.

    HTH,
    -Garrett
    Last edited by yaneurabeya; August 13th, 2009 at 10:09 PM.

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