Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sony Vaio VGN/S5VP/B and a low cost battery

I have a Sony Vaio VGN-S5VP/B and I hadn't experienced big problems (not even with Linux), so I was pretty happy with it... the only thing that I don't like is that the battery has an autonomy of only 2 hours (trying to save energy with several means, e.g., in Linux with laptop mode did not help). So I wanted to buy an extended battery (4 hours)... 400 euros!!! That's a little bit too much isn't it? So I tried to look for a cheaper one ebay, and found it! With less than 100 euros I bought a VGP-BPL2 battery! I was pretty happy you might guess.

As soon as I received it I put it into charging and noticed that the battery led on the front was flashing continuously (with the original battery it only flashes once a second); well, I thought, it must be because it's an extended one...

Then, after a few hours I tried to turn on the laptop... first bad surprise: the laptop does not turn on: the power led lights but nothing happens. I tried and tried again, but even with the AC connected, the laptop does not power up if the new battery is present.

I then decided to turn on the laptop without the battery (but with the AC) and then I tried to insert the battery: after a few seconds, under Windows XP, a popup shows up saying that my computer was going to sleep because the battery may be incompatible. Second bad surprise. Notice that at that point I could also remove the AC cable and the laptop stayed on with the battery, so the laptop could use the battery after all.

I then found a post on a blog on the net, http://sarabannerman.blogspot.com/2007/04/sony-laptop-battery-mal-ware.html, reporting a similar problem (with a different Sony laptop model). This post says that "Sony laptops are running a little software program called ISBMgr.exe that generates this error when you insert a generic battery. It appears to be the only purpose of the software, and if you disable the software the generic battery works fine." I then disabled that service from MSConfig, and rebooted and found out that the popup message did not come up again!

At this point, I realized that I could actually use the battery, provided I started the computer without the battery on, insert the battery when the computer had started and then remove the AC power (not very comfortable, isn't it? But at lease, I could use the battery). The taskbar battery indicator (both on Linux and Windows) did not show a correct value, but I could stand that, even though that means that I had remember the amount of time I was using the laptop on battery since the system did not sense the correct charge value.

Then, after approximately one hour and half the computer turns off... well, I said, of course, the battery had finished its power, but the system did not realize that... so I put the battery on charge; in the meantime I was checking another post on the net, http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=20440, reporting similar problems and even worse that their battery was not being charged at all... Third bad surprise: I had the problem too... the continuous flashing was actually an error situation, since the battery was not being charged (the hour I was using the computer on battery I was actually using the charge the battery came with).

I then contacted the ebay seller about the problem and he said he would have asked for information about this issue; he then told me that they actually found out that my laptop model was probably having some hardware locks (the software lock consisting of ISBMgr.exe can be disabled as above) and that there was no way the battery could have been used with my laptop. Fourth bad surprise :-(

Fortunately, the seller offered me to take the battery back and to refund me completely.

So with this laptop I can only buy original (very expensive) battery... SHAME ON SONY! That's the last Sony laptop I'll have!

15 comments:

如月影 said...

oh..what the...

Shame on sony..

Careers at Baker said...

Wow, never thought that sony would put such a program only to disallow generic batteries to run in Vaoi, cheap trick...

Dieter said...

Yes, those "great names" are quite inventive 'bout protecting their stuff, I'd say.

First remark. that "program" does not run under linux does it ? so did you discover in what way does linux not correctly recognize the battery ?

second:
You did not try the (also annoying, I admit) circumvention by charging the battery in (some) external charger ? prior to putting it in the laptop ?

betto said...

I think that linux does not recognize it correctly because bios does not recognize the battery correctly...

using an external charger could surely be the right solution, but unfortunately I don't have one, and didn't find one for sale...

do you know an external charger?

However, finally, I had to buy an original battery :-(

Sony laptop batteries said...

Wow.. For a big company like Sony, Even Motorola doesnt do that for their cellular phones. Not even Nokia for the N96! Sony is the worst company and plus their plasma screen tv's arent as great as the Vizio which is a third of the price!
Sony is too over rated and we most definitely need to put our two cents in with the company!

AC Adapter for Sony FRV GRT 19.5V 6.15A PCGA-AC19V said...

That's amazing!

Gold Guide for World of Warcraft said...

good post :)

ウェブ開発者 said...

how about the WWAN/GPS?

do you think it is very useful with Vaio P pack?

Jimmy said...

I went through the same aggrevation. I was about to trash my va10, but the last battery came with a small cd (BPS9/10) that somewhat improved the acceptance of the generic battery ,something to do with bios.

Ben Kent said...

I'm beginning to wish I hadn't bought a Sony laptop now!

betto said...

Ben, probably now they decreased battery costs...

Anonymous said...

wowwwwwwwww

john said...

That's very weird that their battery for that model only accepts original batteries. Why would they do such a thing? My Sony laptop for college is currently using a 3rd party battery and its actually holding up better than the original.

Glad you got a full refund from the seller. This usually doesn't happen for us buyers since we have to be 'fully aware of everything that happens to anything in the world'.

summerlyra said...

Well, I agree with you there, It is more better if you buy original battery for your laptop so that you can avoid some interruption in your work. It is also important to know how to take care your battery life.

Sony Vaio Akku said...

I have a Sony Vaio VGN-S5VP/B and I hadn't experienced big ... vaioakku.blogspot.de