Using Lenovo Power Manager With Non Genuine Battery…   May 9th, 2010

I’m now on my third battery with my Lenovo T61p, my only criticism with what is otherwise an absolutely fantastic machine.  The first two batteries were both genuine, the most recent a much cheaper, generic sourced one.  The first battery that came with the system was a fairly typical 6 cell offering, nothing unusual there and it lasted for around 1 year; ironic really, it always seems with laptop batteries that they suddenly decide to loose their charge after the one year warranty has expired.  I wasn’t too upset about this actually, mainly because I had always regretted not getting the 9 cell with my machine so it was an ideal opportunity to upgrade and secondly, being mainly office based where my machine sat in a docking station all day being charged to 100% I wasn’t too surprised it had come to an untimely end.

Now normally, I like to run my systems very ‘Zen’, ditching all of the manufacturer bloatware that comes pre-installed these days, but I decided when I bought the 9 cell battery to install the Lenovo Power Manager software, by now in version 3.  For those who are not aware of what this does, it enhances the ability to control and monitor all aspects of the machines power usage; this is especially so of the battery and the way its charging cycles are handled.  One of the features that I was most interested in was the ability to dynamically change the charging thresholds of the battery and thus improving its longevity. In essence, this works by changing not only the threshold at which the system allows the battery to be charged, but also the level at which the charge stops; so for example the system may determine to stop charging the battery when it reached 96% charge.  The idea of course, is that this is better for the batteries health and it ‘should’ last longer.

All was well, I had this and other settings customised just how I like them when I was greeted with a warning to tell me that my lovely battery had a fault and could no longer be used; the fault was terminal.  Most annoying was that the battery was still holding more charge than a 6 cell, even though it had well over 100 charging cycles, the battery should have been good for some time yet!  Frustrated with the cost of genuine batteries from Lenovo, I started to look at other options and did some research on generic batteries.  Finally, I decided that for a cost of £35 including delivery for a brand new 9 cell battery, it was wroth taking a punt and duly placed an order.  Herein lies the problem.

Lenovo have cunningly engineered into the software a warning which keeps popping up to tell you that you are not using a genuine battery along with the usual warning about the effect this may have on your warranty and a rather scary disclaimer which in not so many words, tells you that you may spontaneously combust if you do not throw the battery in the bin straight away and buy one directly from them.  Ironically, when you click OK for what seems like the hundredth time and acknowledge the warnings to enter the software, the battery information shows amongst other things that the part number is ‘COMPATIBLE‘ and the manufacturer is ‘SANYO‘; but hang on a minute, don’t Sanyo make the genuine batteries for Lenovo anyhow?  It seems to me that Lenovo are just abusing the software to boost their after sales, something which I will not be tricked into and something which I think is unfair given the rubbish quality of a lot of their own batteries (namely the Sanyo ones it would seem, I wonder how long this one will last).  I’m sorry Mr Lenovo but your ruse will not be working on me.

So that left me with the problem, just how do you go about continuing to use the otherwise excellent Power Manager software but without being nagged every 5 minutes to buy a new battery and fooled into thinking that you are about to blow up?

Turns out that the solution is actually painfully simple.  After doing some research on Google I first started but doing some registry edits and denying certain services the authority to run, this should according to the research I came across work; not by fooling the software into thinking it was a genuine battery but by stopping it from being able to display the warning messages from being displayed.  Sadly though, it didn’t work even after trying numerous different hacks.

It was then that I had a thought, they often say that it’s the most obvious solution that works.  The Power Manager software itself comes essentially in two parts, firstly the system software and secondly, the extra toolbar which runs in the system tray that shows you a graphical representation of the charge you have left and, importantly, is where the warning messages are displayed so prevalently.  So I wondered, if I simply right clicked and removed the Power Manager toolbar, would that allow the software to still run and do all of the behind the scenes stuff to keep my battery in good condition without the warning messages being displayed.  It turns out that it does.  By disabling the toolbar, you are still able to access all of the Power Manager features by right clicking the default Windows power icon in the system tray instead (or via the Control Panel), meaning that you are able to configure power options and battery options just as before.   Of course you do loose the Lenovo power icon in the system tray but I was never a huge fan of that anyway and it did nothing that the Windows power icon doesn’t.  The end result is that I am now using a non-genuine battery quite happily with Lenovo Power Manager but without all of the annoying warnings and attempts to sell you a new battery.

I hope someone finds this useful. Enjoy.





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    14 Responses

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    July 6th, 2010 at 1:10 pm
    Richard Says:

    It is possible to patch the toolbar, so that it does not show the warning. Files:
    PWMTR32V.DLL
    PWMTR64V.DLL

    Located around:
    C:Program Files (x86)ThinkPadUtilities

    This is an instruction for a system programmer.
    If the file is patched improperly, then Explorer will constantly crash until the file is removed or reverted.

    For 64-bit version, locate the sequence of bytes:
    74 0D BF 09 00 00 00
    And replace with:
    EB 0D BF 09 00 00 00

    For 32-bit version, locate the sequence of bytes:
    74 0A BD 09 00 00 00
    And replace with:
    EB 0A BD 09 00 00 00

    I don’t know if there are side effects that affect a battery time calculation or power regulation.

    July 6th, 2010 at 1:27 pm
    Mike Says:

    Thanks Richard, an interesting twist on how to overcome the issue.

    July 7th, 2010 at 12:59 am
    Richard Says:

    I’m sorry for not having posted this immediately – the above patch is correct for Power Manager version 3.05.

    For a version 3.25, 64-bit patch looks like this:
    PWMTR64V.DLL (64-bit version):
    Locate:
    74 0B 8D 7A 08 45 33 C0
    Replace with:
    EB 0B 8D 7A 08 45 33 C0

    For a 32-bit version it is still as above.

    Thanks.

    September 3rd, 2010 at 12:47 am
    Walt Says:

    I bot a new battery and removed the IBM pwer manager. Still no luck. Windows won’t charge the battery. I wonder what separates one batt from another in the eyes of the OS.

    September 3rd, 2010 at 1:01 am
    Mike Southby Says:

    Strange, sounds to me as if you may have a faulty battery or bad charging circuit. What model is you laptop and any idea who makes the battery internals?

    December 8th, 2010 at 11:06 am
    Bas Fick Says:

    Hi!

    I have read this interesting article.

    But I am getting the ‘Non genuine Battery’ message also @startup of the machine (WIN7 on a Lenovo ThinkEdge 13).

    Is there any way of stopping this message also?
    (You can press ESC and the system continues to boot but the message continues to appear on every boot.)

    Thanks
    Bas

    August 19th, 2011 at 1:07 am
    Ian Says:

    Great article! I had this issue for a long time. My 9-cell Lenovo battery died on me abruptly. I later bought a 9-cell, Samsung manufactured battery (I bought Samsung because it’s a brand I trust) and I kept getting that balloon! I eventually ignored it but I recently found an option that turns it off… Unchecking “Periodically show messages about battery charge capacity” in Battery > Battery Maintenance shuts down that pop up balloon.

    Anyway, I’ve been using the battery for over a year with no hardware problems (knock on wood). This was it: “High Quality Samsung Cell Non-OEM Replacement Battery for Lenovo ThinkPad T61p 8889 7800mAh 9-Cell”. It was about $80.

    -Ian

    August 26th, 2011 at 10:49 am
    Istvan Velegi Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I plan to buy a 9-cell-battery for my lenovo R500 notebook. Does anyone know whether in power manager the charging treshold option and perform reset button would work with the non-genuine battery? I have read this blog but I haven’t find answer for this yet.

    Thanks in advance.

    Cheers!

    August 26th, 2011 at 1:03 pm
    mike Says:

    Hi Istvan,

    From memory, yes it does, although I am not using my T61p at the moment as I have gone to the dark-side that is Apple Mac! Please let us know you get along when you get your new battery.

    November 14th, 2011 at 7:24 pm
    Istvan Velegi Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve just bought a new 9-cell-non-genuine battery for my Lenovo R500. However, Power manager works well without saying that I have a non-Lenovo Battery.
    I looked at the battery with Everest, and it indicates that it’s also Sanyo though I don’t think so.

    Cheers!

    March 27th, 2012 at 3:51 pm
    Pete Says:

    same problem I have a good non Lenovo battery that won’t charge after updating to new power manager. I’d like to here a solution

    Thanks
    Pete

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