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Genuine vs fake Lenovo ThinkPad AC Adapter

October 9, 2012

I received a message recently from a chap who  bought a ‘genuine’ Lenovo AC adapter from ebay but was in doubt whether the seller sent him a genuine or a fake product. I asked him to send the adapter to me to have a look. It turned out that the adapter he got is a counterfeit. The follows are pictures I took showing the fake adapter and four genuine adapters.  You may wonder “how can I spot a fake adapter?”. Well, I will give you some hints.


(Click to enlarge)

1. ThinkPad brand.
Most people knew that the ThinkPad brand was originally owned by IBM. In 2005, Lenovo purchased IBM’s personal computer business and acquired the ThinkPad brand.  To avoid losing loyal IBM ThinkPad users, Lenovo kept the “IBM” logo on ThinkPad and related products in the first couple of years (2005, 2006) and then started to use ‘Lenovo’ on all ThinkPad products. The ThinkPad 20V 90W (including smaller 65W) adapters were firstly introduced at the same time along with ThinkPad T60, X60 laptops released by Lenovo.  If you bought an old X60 or T60 laptop which comes with an adapter with the IBM logo, it is probably right. But if you got an T400/T410/T420 or X200/X210/X220 laptop with an adapter which still has the IBM logo on it, that is definitely NOT right.

The first adapter on the left was purchased new recently by the chap and it’s got “IBM” on it, so it is a fake. The second adapter has “IBM” logo and it was made in 2005! This is a genuine one, but I must say it is very rare. Most genuine adapters will look like the other three made in 2008, 2011 and 2011 respectively with “Lenovo” logo.

2. Bar code.
Every thinkpad adapter come with a unique bar code. The bar code has the following format:

11S + model P/N (7 combined digits and alphabets) + serial number (12 combined digits and alphabets).

So the length of the bar code is 22.  Those doggy guys who made the fake adapter obviously failed their math – the fake adapter normally has a shorter bar code. Please count the length of the first adapter in the enlarged picture yourself.

3. Weight
The genuine 90W adapters are made by a few factories in China. They vary slightly in weight bettween 350 and 380 grams. The fake adapters normally are much lighter and weight between 250 and 300 grams due to reduced and cheaper components inside.

4. Cable length
The length of the power cable of genuine adapter is about 180cm(6ft). The length of fake adpater cable is much shorter.

5. Velcro strap
Genuine ThinkPad 20V adapters always come with velcro straps at the power plug end.  The color of the velcro straps is grey.  Fake adapters either do not have velcro straps or have black velcro straps. Note that old IBM branded 16V adapters have black velcro straps.

You may wonder why you should bother about it given that fake adapters probably work well with your laptops. Well, you may notice a variety of logos and icons on a genuine adapter. It means this adapter has passed various tests and meets all the required safe standards. Obviously, the logos and icons on a fake adapter are fake too; therefore they means nothing in terms of safety. There are a few more drawbacks of a fake adapter. I will talk about them later.

The fake adapters are still on sell on ebay, so please open your eyes.

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From → ThinkPad Tips

5 Comments
  1. Joe permalink

    Thank you …. this information is very helpful to me coz I import Lenovo products from China.

  2. Wendell permalink

    A few other things to consider. I have what seems to be a fake “IBM” 16V adapter. The label on the back looks authentic, but the IBM logo on the cover is cheaply printed, there is no LED power light, and the plug doesn’t fit snugly into the jack. It might be helpful to also have a comparison photo of the tops of the units.

  3. BIgQuestion permalink

    I just got a Thinkpad charger (92P1109) with my recently purschased used Thinkpad, and the charger totally looks original, it has all the marks as the original, 22 character barcode, weight looks good, cord-lenght looks good, but it has no lenovo or IBM logo on the sticker/anywhere, and the seller said it’s was a replacement.
    Thanks!

    • A genuine adapter must have either Lenovo or IBM logo printed on the head of the label. Otherwise, it is a replacement made by 3rd party.

  4. Hi, so just to confirm on the barcode, the Model P/N stated in the middle left of the label, will be in characters 4 to 10 after the 11S within the barcode? I believe I unfortunately recently bought a fake 65 W adapter from eBay, the P/N doesn’t match what’s in the barcode (plus two other issues). Thanks

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