HP 6710b Battery Problem

Posted in Geek Stuff by dave on November 26, 2008 4 Comments

In perusing the daverea.com traffic stats, I’ve noticed a lot of folks arriving here from searches for various permutations of “Linux” and “HP 6710b”, probably attributable to my ongoing log of my experience running Ubuntu Linux on my very own 6710b business notebook.

Lately, I’d been experiencing a peculiar battery problem on my 6710b, so – despite their being completely unrelated to my use of Linux aboard the machine – I decided to add the symptoms and solution to the page. Here’s an excerpt…

Over the past few months, I’ve been noticing an increasing propensity for my 6710b’s battery light to flash yellow, rapidly, whenever the machine is turned off and the AC adapter is unplugged. As it began to occur more and more frequently, it became quite an annoyance – the machine can’t be turned on in this state, despite the fact that the battery has a full charge and will happily operate the computer if the AC adapter is removed at runtime.

[...snip...]

On returning to the line, [the tech] advised me that HP would be sending a replacement battery, but if this didn’t fix the issue, I’d need to load Windows in order to use the battery diagnostic utility.

The new battery arrived in the mail the next day – kudos to HP for sending it overnight air – and I gave it plenty of time to warm up (from the 35°F ambient outside) and an overnight charge. The next day, upon shutting down and removing the AC adapter, I got the same symptom: rapid-blinking yellow battery light.

Before calling back HP tech support or – gasp! – loading Windows, I thought perhaps a BIOS update might be in order.

[...snip...]

I burned [the BIOS update] to a CD and used the straightforward installer to flash it onto the motherboard.

From that point on, the 6710b has not exhibited the rapid-blinking yellow battery light after the machine is shut down and the AC adapter disconnected.

You can read the full accounting of my adventures with HP tech support, as well as find a link to the required BIOS update, over at the Linux on an HP 6710b page.

Comments
  • NonTechNonGeek:

    I have had a 6710b for a year now – same battery problem arose 1 week after delivery. Called out engineer – annoyingly he switched on and off, on reboot all was well. Next day problem returned. Had already lost will and have lived with using my laptop only with mains power!!! One year on I have logged on to purchase a new battery and found this blog – hereby contribute. Rubbish batteries HP – get it sorted!

  • dave:

    Hi NonTechNonGeek – have you tried the BIOS update? I can send you an ISO file if you’d like.

  • sangstar:

    hey I have the same issue, same laptop but running windows XP.

    I updated the BIOS with the one from HP’s website dated January 2009, however still have the same problem..

    Can you help?

    • dave:

      Hi Sangeeta- Wish I knew more about the root cause of this problem, but it seems to be something related to the way the machine connects to the battery. I’ve gotten the blinking yellow light occasionally even after doing the BIOS reflash, and remove/reinserting it a few times usually does the trick. I’m not sure what gas-gauge chip they’re using in the battery packs, but it seems to have some kind of communications glitch which causes the BIOS to default to the “replace-battery” condition when the glitch occurs…

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