I installed a new battery on my Thinkpad X1 Carbon

I fell in love with Thinkpads since I got my first one in 2005: it was the T42 model. It worked well under Linux, a rare feat for a laptop at the time. Its keyboard was superb, with a satisfying tactile feedback, and a crisp quiet click. It was the best keyboard I ever used back then. I unfortunately had to give this Thinkpad back when I quit my job to move to Canada in 2007.

A few years later I got a used X61, I replaced its internal HDD with a must faster SSD drive, this gave the laptop a new lease of life. I used it for a few years before giving to one of my brother attending university.

In 2013 I bought the then brand new Thinkpad X1 Carbon 1st generation. I loved it when I first saw it, it was like a MacBook Air, but in black with a somewhat open hardware, and a decent keyboard. Initially a full battery lasted 6 hours.

Nine years later, the battery has aged. It held about 60% of its original capacity, but I would get at most a couple of hours out of a single charge. The laptop felt sluggish and ran hot under load. I assumed this was because the software running on it was more expensive to execute than what it ran back when it was new. My X1 Carbon was sparsely used in the past few years, because it was unpleasant to use: slow, toasty, and dead in two hours.

A few weeks ago I decided to get a new Thinkpad as my work laptop. I settled on a used X270, that I’ll talk about in a later post. I got a new battery for the X270, and I saw that the store also sold batteries for my X1 carbon, so I ordered one for 55 CAD plus shipping to try to revive my aging device.

Before I got the battery in the mail I cleaned the outside of the Thinkpad and vacuum-cleaned it to suck much dust out before opening it. To my surprise the laptop performed better after this quick clean: the machine felt snappier, cooler, and the battery lasted a bit longer. I believe the accumulated dust impeded the cooling system, and cleaning it made the laptop work better overall. The cooling was more efficient, saving some energy, and the processor had more headroom to clock up when needed. Less fans spinning, less laps roasted, and less energy wasted. \o/

Once I got the package with the batteries in the mail, switching the old battery with the new one was relatively easy. I followed the instructions from Ifixit, and 15 minutes later the new battery was installed.

After a couple of days of use to let the battery calibrate, the laptop is back to full health. I get between 4 and 6 hours of battery time, and the computer feels responsive and cool. I did the upgrade a week ago and I’m still delighted to use this old friend of mine again.

Replacing the battery on your devices is one of the best ways to preserve the environment, and get more utility out of your electronics.