Adding USB-C Charging to an old ThinkPad

Long after humans reduce this planet to an inhospitable wasteland, cockroaches and my Lenovo ThinkPad will continue to survive.

My only gripe with my almost decade old laptop, is the charger. It has a standalone charger, and I can’t charge it on USB-C.

Way back in when Lenovo took over from IBM, the barrel jack style charger that ThinkPads had used was replaced with a slimmer rectangular charger port, to allow for more slimmer laptops. You can get adapters to allow you to use your old chargers with the new(er) laptops, and luckily for us, this means we have a cheap and readily available source of male slimline charger plugs, without having to resort to cutting up a charger.

And for a few bucks online, you can buy USB-C Power Delivery converters that you plug USB-C into one end of, and get out 20v on the other side…

So I combined the two; USB-C to 20v adapter on one side, and a cut up barrel-charger to slimline charger adapter on the other using the male slimline charger plug.

And bingo, just like that I’ve got a USB-C charging capability for my Thinkpad.

After potting in silicone, I’ve got something that can go in my backpack and allow me to charge my laptop on the go with a USB-C charger, for under $5 of parts.

2 thoughts on “Adding USB-C Charging to an old ThinkPad

  1. It would be helpful if you mentioned which ThinkPad model you have.
    I assume it’s one of the newer ones with the rectangular power jack.
    I’m planning to make a similar adapter for my X230, which uses a round barrel jack. Looking for parts now, but it should be possible to do similar as what you did.

    1. Thanks, Nick!

      I think the article was very helpful as provided, and I’m going to follow your advice.

      Gene, you don’t have to assume the port is rectangular, because the second picture shows the rectangular charger and the third sentence in the article mentions the “rectangular charger port.”

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