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I own a Lenovo Legion Y545 laptop, which uses a fairly massive 230W power adapter. I will be traveling to the US soon and would really like to be able to use my PC for more than the few handful of hours the battery will last...so I need to charge it.

The issue is that aircraft plugs are limited to 60-70W. My original plan was to just accept this lower rate of charge: a kill-a-watt meter has confirmed that my unit pulls under 60W anyway for the type of stuff I'd be doing anyway (I'm not planning on doing intensive 3D gaming or anything)...and figured that worse comes to worse I can simply let the unit sit powered off for a bit while it charges.

The problem is that this doesn't work: no matter if the device is on or not the breaker will trip and the outlet light will switch off. This has happened on multiple aircraft. My only guess as to why this happens is because of inrush current when plugging the device in.

I've also tried to use a compatible 60W adapter bought third-party and this doesn't work either because my laptop spits out an error about power input being too low.

Honestly I'm just wondering if there's anything I can do at this point...

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    Could you buy a charger with the same plug but a lower wattage that you could use during flights? Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 16:04
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    I think Lenovo does provide an "aircraft mode" on Vantage that may help (not sure on your system though)? I have such an option on my ThinkPad X1 Yoga. Also, does your system have power delivery (i.e, can charge via USB-C)? If so, you can simply get a generic 65-watt power adaptor which should work. I'm guessing that the answer to this is no. Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 18:43
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    The message stating that the charger is not powerful enough is just a warning, isn’t it? It shouldn’t prevent your computer from running and at best still charge the battery (though at a much slower rate) or at worse have it discharge more slowly.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 20:51
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    @mkennedy: Power banks over 100 Wh are forbidden on aircraft so that won't get you very far. Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 4:38
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    Take a book or an ebook reader for the flight, instead of the laptop ? Its only a couple hours; you could even nap for the flight.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 22:56

2 Answers 2

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Install Lenovo Vantage / Lenovo Commercial Vantage.

That way you gain access to a setting 'Airplane Power Mode':

enter image description here

I would also recommend you charge the laptop to 100% (in case you have the Battery Charge Threshold enabled).

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    Awesome! Someone at Lenovo was thinking. That brand is always impressing me.
    – user27701
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 14:17
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    @user27701 Try Lenovo Commercial Vantage first. That one doesn't have ads.
    – Anemoia
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 22:06
  • n.b. Lenovo's battery airplane mode disables charging entirely while the computer is on. So you'll be running only from battery. With Lenovo's battery airplane mode on, when the computer is sleeping, or hibernated, or turned off entirely, the battery will charge, slowly (I've measured mine with a watt meter - it keeps the draw to between 30W - 35W). But you will still only be able to computer for as long as you have battery, and then again after the battery has re-charged (slowly) while off/hibernated/sleeping.
    – Jay Libove
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 18:29
  • @JayLibove that doesn't make sense. It will slow down the pull to 30-35watt. So as long as your computer uses less than that the battery will charge. Now, with a 230watt adapter capacity I'm assuming my laptop uses WAY more and this will merely slow down the discharge.
    – Anemoia
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 19:04
  • @Anemoia I agree with you that it shouldn't make sense. But my meter doesn't lie, and Lenovo says it explicitly: support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/…
    – Jay Libove
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 20:19
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As someone that used to travel with a laptop that uses a 130 watt power supply, I feel your pain!

Whilst your kill-a-watt meter may only show 60 watts, the actual usage will almost certainly burst above that amount for short periods - especially if the laptop is not fully charged at the time (charging + using it will use even more power).

It may be possible to get it working by following these steps :

  • Disconnect the laptop from the charger
  • Plug the charger into the socket. The breaker will trip
  • Remove the charger from the socket and wait a few seconds. The breaker should clear
  • Repeat the 2 steps above a few times. It is possible that after a few attempts the breaker will NOT trip
  • Connect your computer to the charger

Most chargers will retain a small amount of charge when disconnected, and the above steps seems to build up this charge over a few attempts, finally getting to the point where the current it draws when plugged in is lower than the breaker limit.

Even if you can get this to work, it's very likely that when you plug in the computer it will still blow the breaker - especially if the laptop isn't fully charged.

Using a lower wattage power supply as you've suggested may still work, even if your computer gives a warning. It obviously won't charger the computer as fast as the real charger, and may not charge it at all when in use (or even possibly still discharge the battery - although at a much slower rate than on battery alone). I ended up using this exact approach with my laptop - I travelled with both the 130 watt power supply for normal use, and a smaller 65 watt USB-C power supply which I could successfully use on planes. When using the 65 watt power supply I would get the error you referenced, and the laptop would basically not charge at all when also being used, but the battery would not discharge.

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