Thinkpad T20 problems - Power and crashing


N

Nick

Hello,

I recently "inherited" a T20 from a family member who said it was
broken. I checked it out and it does have a couple problems. First, the
battery holds no charge. If you try to run it on battery, it will last
about a second then die. Second, it experiences random crashes in the
form of the Blue Screen of Death. Sometimes it will crash immediately,
sometimes it will work for a long while and then crash. But whatever the
case, it crashes whenever it feels like it.

For the crashing problem, I figured it was the memory, as has been my
case in the past. I ran Memtest86 on it, but it tested clean. So I
continued to use the machine, and it crashed again after a while, so I
ran Memtest86 immediately after, and immediately Memtest started giving
errors. I powered off, waited a minute, rebooted and tested again, but
this time it was fine. Since I did get errors though, I decided to
replace the memory chip. I did so with a brand new chip, but I'm still
having the exact same problem. Sometimes it crashes, sometimes it
doesn't. Sometime Memtest errors, sometimes it doesn't. I'm stumped.

As for the power problem, I figured it was simply a dead battery. I got
a replacement battery, but this battery won't charge either. With the
new battery, when you plug it into the AC, the battery light just
flashes orange, rather than staying a solid orange. With the old
battery, if you plugged it in with the machine powered off, the battery
light would turn solid orange or solid green until you booted up, at
which point it would start flashing orange. So I'm guessing it's more
than the battery here.

Is there anything else I can do for either of these problems, or is this
system effectively hosed? Any feedback, suggestions, advice would be
appreciated.

Nick
 
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C

* * Chas

| Hello,
|
| I recently "inherited" a T20 from a family member who said it was
| broken. I checked it out and it does have a couple problems. First,
the
| battery holds no charge. If you try to run it on battery, it will last
| about a second then die. Second, it experiences random crashes in the
| form of the Blue Screen of Death. Sometimes it will crash immediately,
| sometimes it will work for a long while and then crash. But whatever
the
| case, it crashes whenever it feels like it.
|
| For the crashing problem, I figured it was the memory, as has been my
| case in the past. I ran Memtest86 on it, but it tested clean. So I
| continued to use the machine, and it crashed again after a while, so I
| ran Memtest86 immediately after, and immediately Memtest started
giving
| errors. I powered off, waited a minute, rebooted and tested again, but
| this time it was fine. Since I did get errors though, I decided to
| replace the memory chip. I did so with a brand new chip, but I'm still
| having the exact same problem. Sometimes it crashes, sometimes it
| doesn't. Sometime Memtest errors, sometimes it doesn't. I'm stumped.
|
| As for the power problem, I figured it was simply a dead battery. I
got
| a replacement battery, but this battery won't charge either. With the
| new battery, when you plug it into the AC, the battery light just
| flashes orange, rather than staying a solid orange. With the old
| battery, if you plugged it in with the machine powered off, the
battery
| light would turn solid orange or solid green until you booted up, at
| which point it would start flashing orange. So I'm guessing it's more
| than the battery here.
|
| Is there anything else I can do for either of these problems, or is
this
| system effectively hosed? Any feedback, suggestions, advice would be
| appreciated.
|
| Nick

For starters, you could try replacing the CMOS battery. A new battery
should put out ~3.2V. There are a lot of used CMOS batteries for sale on
eBay - "pulled from working systems".

This vendor sells new CMOS batteries for a reasonable price:

http://cgi.ebay.com/New-IBM-Thinkpad-600-600E-600X-CMOS-BATTERY-02K6502_
W0QQitemZ5241101118QQcategoryZ31534QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Check the voltage output on the AC adapter. D/L the IBM Hardware
Maintenance Manual for more info:

http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-4UYM
3F

BSOD could be a software problem. What OS are you running?

Check out the forum at thinkpad.com:

http://forum.thinkpads.com/

That should give you a start. Good luck.

Chas.
 
N

Nick

* * Chas said:
For starters, you could try replacing the CMOS battery.

Thanks for the info. Replacing CMOS battery might be a good idea. I've
noticed that the machine does not keep track of the time accurately,
which is usually an indication of CMOS battery failure. Just wondering
though, would a faulty CMOS battery really cause either of the problems
I am experiences?
Check the voltage output on the AC adapter. D/L the IBM Hardware
Maintenance Manual for more info:

I'll have to get a voltage checker for that, but it's worth a shot.
BSOD could be a software problem. What OS are you running?

I'm almost certain it's not software. I've tried Windows 2000, Windows
XP, and Linux, all from fresh installs, and all have the same kind of
problem (Windows BSODs, Linux kernel panics).
Check out the forum at thinkpad.com:

http://forum.thinkpads.com/

That should give you a start. Good luck.

Chas.

Will do. Thanks for the tips.
 
M

mike

Nick said:
Hello,

I recently "inherited" a T20 from a family member who said it was
broken. I checked it out and it does have a couple problems. First, the
battery holds no charge. If you try to run it on battery, it will last
about a second then die. Second, it experiences random crashes in the
form of the Blue Screen of Death. Sometimes it will crash immediately,
sometimes it will work for a long while and then crash. But whatever the
case, it crashes whenever it feels like it.

For the crashing problem, I figured it was the memory, as has been my
case in the past. I ran Memtest86 on it, but it tested clean. So I
continued to use the machine, and it crashed again after a while, so I
ran Memtest86 immediately after, and immediately Memtest started giving
errors. I powered off, waited a minute, rebooted and tested again, but
this time it was fine. Since I did get errors though, I decided to
replace the memory chip. I did so with a brand new chip, but I'm still
having the exact same problem. Sometimes it crashes, sometimes it
doesn't. Sometime Memtest errors, sometimes it doesn't. I'm stumped.

As for the power problem, I figured it was simply a dead battery. I got
a replacement battery,

YOu didn't say "new battery"??? You sure the replacement isn't bad too?

For the crashes, is the fan working?
mike


but this battery won't charge either. With the
new battery, when you plug it into the AC, the battery light just
flashes orange, rather than staying a solid orange. With the old
battery, if you plugged it in with the machine powered off, the battery
light would turn solid orange or solid green until you booted up, at
which point it would start flashing orange. So I'm guessing it's more
than the battery here.

Is there anything else I can do for either of these problems, or is this
system effectively hosed? Any feedback, suggestions, advice would be
appreciated.

Nick



--
Return address is VALID but some sites block emails
with links. Delete this sig when replying.
..
Wanted, PCMCIA SCSI Card for HP m820 CDRW.
FS 500MHz Tek DSOscilloscope TDS540 Make Offer
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Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below.
MAKE THE OBVIOUS CHANGES TO THE LINK
ht<removethis>tp://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Monitor/4710/
 
N

nkessler

mike said:
YOu didn't say "new battery"??? You sure the replacement isn't bad too?

For the crashes, is the fan working?
mike

It certainly appeared to be a brand new battery. Came sealed and
everything.

As far as I can tell the fan is working. I can hear it and I can feel it
if I put my hand near the vent.
 
A

anoop

Nick said:
As for the power problem, I figured it was simply a dead battery. I got
a replacement battery, but this battery won't charge either. With the
new battery, when you plug it into the AC, the battery light just
flashes orange, rather than staying a solid orange. With the old
battery, if you plugged it in with the machine powered off, the battery
light would turn solid orange or solid green until you booted up, at
which point it would start flashing orange. So I'm guessing it's more
than the battery here.

Try the following and see if it helps.
- Remove the battery and power supply.
- Hold the power button down for a minute.
- Put the battery and power supply in and turn it on.

I have a T20 and this helped me. If it does help, report back
and I'll tell you about some more weird behavior.

Anoop
 
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C

* * Chas

| * * Chas wrote:
|
| > For starters, you could try replacing the CMOS battery.
|
| Thanks for the info. Replacing CMOS battery might be a good idea. I've
| noticed that the machine does not keep track of the time accurately,
| which is usually an indication of CMOS battery failure. Just wondering
| though, would a faulty CMOS battery really cause either of the
problems
| I am experiences?

The time problem is a give away for a bad CMOS battery. These batteries
energize the startup circutry as well as power the onboard clock chip
and CMOS BIOS chip.

You can get a new replacement CMOS battery from the eBay seller that I
referenced for $10.95 plus shipping.

If that fixes the start problem then you can work on the BSOD. The CMOS
doesn't usually have any effect on a PC once it's running.

Chas.
 
N

Nick

anoop said:
Nick wrote:

Try the following and see if it helps.
- Remove the battery and power supply.
- Hold the power button down for a minute.
- Put the battery and power supply in and turn it on.

I have a T20 and this helped me. If it does help, report back
and I'll tell you about some more weird behavior.

Anoop

I tried it, but it didn't make any difference. Thanks for the tip anyway.

I'm going to try Chas' suggestion and replace the CMOS battery. Can't
hurt anything (except my wallet, seeing as those con artists on eBay
charge $10 for shipping something that weighs a few grams).
 
S

Sweater Fish

Nick said:
I'm going to try Chas' suggestion and replace the CMOS battery. Can't
hurt anything (except my wallet, seeing as those con artists on eBay
charge $10 for shipping something that weighs a few grams).

Don't you just love that? I've got no problem with people charging a
bit extra just to make sure they're covered and even recoup the
rediculous fees eBay and Paypal charge, but keep it within reason,
boys.

Anyway, your problem sounds like it could be related to the way power
is passed around within the system. A blown resistor or something
along those lines. The memory could go wanky if it was receiving an
unsteady stream of power and the battery charging problems could also
certainly be related. I don't have enough experience with this stuff
to give you any more clues, but that's what it sounds like to me. It
could certainly also be the external power supply itself, though I'm
not sure how that could cause the memory problems...it might, though.


....word is bondage...
 
N

Nick

Sweater said:
Don't you just love that? I've got no problem with people charging a
bit extra just to make sure they're covered and even recoup the
rediculous fees eBay and Paypal charge, but keep it within reason,
boys.

Anyway, your problem sounds like it could be related to the way power
is passed around within the system. A blown resistor or something
along those lines. The memory could go wanky if it was receiving an
unsteady stream of power and the battery charging problems could also
certainly be related. I don't have enough experience with this stuff
to give you any more clues, but that's what it sounds like to me. It
could certainly also be the external power supply itself, though I'm
not sure how that could cause the memory problems...it might, though.


...word is bondage...

Hmmm. So if what you say is true, the only thing I can really do is
replace the system board. Almost sounds like more trouble than it's
worth. I saw a few T20 system boards on eBay for about $50, which isn't
too steep, but I wonder if they would work in my T20, which is a
2647-46U. The ones I saw were from slightly different models. Is this
stuff interchangeable?

Anyway I bought a new CMOS battery from eBay, so once it arrives we'll
see if that has any impact.
 
B

Bruce Markowitz

OK, this is a common problem on the T20. The fan/heatsink does not
make proper contact with the heat lug on the CPU. There is a thermal
pad, but eventually it falls apart.
1. you need to remove the fan assembly and either replace it with one
from a T21 or T22
or
use a small metal shim and some thermal paste to take up the gap and
re-insulate the CPU

Next
ERASE the hard drive and re-load Windows from scratch. Now you can at
least start to diagnose the problem
As to the battery:
Someone sold you a dead battery. it is so common on Ebay. IBM batterys
do not have a long shelf or service life.
 
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N

nkessler

Bruce said:
OK, this is a common problem on the T20. The fan/heatsink does not
make proper contact with the heat lug on the CPU. There is a thermal
pad, but eventually it falls apart.
1. you need to remove the fan assembly and either replace it with one
from a T21 or T22
or
use a small metal shim and some thermal paste to take up the gap and
re-insulate the CPU

Next
ERASE the hard drive and re-load Windows from scratch. Now you can at
least start to diagnose the problem
As to the battery:
Someone sold you a dead battery. it is so common on Ebay. IBM batterys
do not have a long shelf or service life.

Thanks for the advice. I took out the fan assembly like to said and saw
that "thermal pad", but it looked like it was a-ok. It wasn't falling
apart at least. I'll try your idea of using some thermal paste though
and see if it makes any difference.

As for the battery, the seller has agreed to take it back, test it, and
provide a replacement if indeed it is a bad battery. Otherwise he said
he'd give me a refund. The battery looked brand new though. Oh well.
 
C

* * Chas

|
| Nick wrote:
| >
| > I'm going to try Chas' suggestion and replace the CMOS battery.
Can't
| > hurt anything (except my wallet, seeing as those con artists on eBay
| > charge $10 for shipping something that weighs a few grams).
|
| Don't you just love that? I've got no problem with people charging a
| bit extra just to make sure they're covered and even recoup the
| rediculous fees eBay and Paypal charge, but keep it within reason,
| boys.
|
| Anyway, your problem sounds like it could be related to the way power
| is passed around within the system. A blown resistor or something
| along those lines. The memory could go wanky if it was receiving an
| unsteady stream of power and the battery charging problems could also
| certainly be related. I don't have enough experience with this stuff
| to give you any more clues, but that's what it sounds like to me. It
| could certainly also be the external power supply itself, though I'm
| not sure how that could cause the memory problems...it might, though.
|

The OP has 2 distinct problems: Start up and Crashing.

The start up problem is very likely due to a weak or dead CMOS battery.
Why? Because he/she said the TP does not maintain the correct time. One
of the things that the CMOS battery does is power the onboard clock chip
which controls the PC's time functions. Another function is to power the
CMOS BIOS chip. It also powers the TP start circuit.

The T0, T21 and T22 TPs plus some of the A series have start up problems
that are probably related to defective capacitors. The symptoms are when
you hit the start button, the HDD and battery lights flash once and
nothing else happens. Replacing the CMOS battery sometimes fixes this
problem. If not, the mainboard is defective and needs to be replaced.

Once the OP determines whether replacing the CMOS battery fixes the
start up problem, then they can work on the crash problem.

Chas.
 
C

* * Chas

| Bruce Markowitz wrote:
| > OK, this is a common problem on the T20. The fan/heatsink does not
| > make proper contact with the heat lug on the CPU. There is a thermal
| > pad, but eventually it falls apart.
| > 1. you need to remove the fan assembly and either replace it with
one
| > from a T21 or T22
| > or
| > use a small metal shim and some thermal paste to take up the gap and
| > re-insulate the CPU
| >
| > Next
| > ERASE the hard drive and re-load Windows from scratch. Now you can
at
| > least start to diagnose the problem
| > As to the battery:
| > Someone sold you a dead battery. it is so common on Ebay. IBM
batterys
| > do not have a long shelf or service life.
| >
| > On Sat, 10 Sep 2005 21:33:14 GMT, Nick <[email protected]>
| > wrote:
| >
| >
|
| Thanks for the advice. I took out the fan assembly like to said and
saw
| that "thermal pad", but it looked like it was a-ok. It wasn't falling
| apart at least. I'll try your idea of using some thermal paste though
| and see if it makes any difference.
|
| As for the battery, the seller has agreed to take it back, test it,
and
| provide a replacement if indeed it is a bad battery. Otherwise he said
| he'd give me a refund. The battery looked brand new though. Oh well.

The original T20 fans have about a 1mm (1/32") or larger gap that the
rubber like thermal pad fills in. The later model fans make contact with
the top of the CPU and require thermal paste to transfer heat. You can
reshape the original thermal pad a little for a temporary fix.

Thermal paste will not fill the gap on the original fan. It will create
a mess and wont provide any heat transfer. Bruce suggested that you make
small metal shim which is a lot of work and could damage the CPU.

Before you do anything else, replace the CMOS battery. There are a lot
of bogus sellers on eBay that sell used batteries for a lot of money.
The person that I mentioned sells new IBM batteries for $10.95 plus
about $6.00 freight. A new battery will put out ~3.2V. Lower voltage
would indicate an old or used battery.

Good luck, Chas.
 
S

Sweater Fish

* * Chas said:
|
| Nick wrote:
| >
| > I'm going to try Chas' suggestion and replace the CMOS battery.
Can't
| > hurt anything (except my wallet, seeing as those con artists on eBay
| > charge $10 for shipping something that weighs a few grams).
|
| Don't you just love that? I've got no problem with people charging a
| bit extra just to make sure they're covered and even recoup the
| rediculous fees eBay and Paypal charge, but keep it within reason,
| boys.
|
| Anyway, your problem sounds like it could be related to the way power
| is passed around within the system. A blown resistor or something
| along those lines. The memory could go wanky if it was receiving an
| unsteady stream of power and the battery charging problems could also
| certainly be related. I don't ha enough experience with this stuff
| to give you any more clues, but that's what it sounds like to me. It
| could certainly also be the external power supply itself, though I'm
| not sure how that could cause the memory problems...it might, though.
|

The OP has 2 distinct problems: Start up and Crashing.

The start up problem is very likely due to a weak or dead CMOS battery.
Why? Because he/she said the TP does not maintain the correct time. One
of the things that the CMOS battery does is power the onboard clock chip
which controls the PC's time functions. Another function is to power the
CMOS BIOS chip. It also powers the TP start circuit.

The T0, T21 and T22 TPs plus some of the A series have start up problems
that are probably related to defective capacitors. The symptoms are when
you hit the start button, the HDD and battery lights flash once and
nothing else happens. Replacing the CMOS battery sometimes fixes this
problem. If not, the mainboard is defective and needs to be replaced.

Once the OP determines whether replacing the CMOS battery fixes the
start up problem, then they can work on the crash problem.

Maybe I'm missing a post in the thread or something (possible since I'm
reading this on Google), but I thought Nick said that the first problem
was simply that the main battery wasn't holding a charge, so it was
only able to power the system for a second or so. I interpretted that
to mean that he got the same result whether he tried to run the system
off the battery whether at startup or once Windows had booted up on AC.
And since he had the same problem even after replacing the main
battery, it sounded to me like something in the charging circuit.

If removing the AC after the system has booted allows it to run fine
off the battery and the problem only comes about when trying to boot it
on battery power, then that's a different problem, one I wouldn't know
anything about.


....word is bondage...
 
N

nkessler

Sweater said:
Maybe I'm missing a post in the thread or something (possible since I'm
reading this on Google), but I thought Nick said that the first problem
was simply that the main battery wasn't holding a charge, so it was
only able to power the system for a second or so. I interpretted that
to mean that he got the same result whether he tried to run the system
off the battery whether at startup or once Windows had booted up on AC.
And since he had the same problem even after replacing the main
battery, it sounded to me like something in the charging circuit.

If removing the AC after the system has booted allows it to run fine
off the battery and the problem only comes about when trying to boot it
on battery power, then that's a different problem, one I wouldn't know
anything about.


...word is bondage...

Yes, that's exactly what the problem is. The laptop runs fine on AC
(besides the random crashing part :), just not on battery, and even
though I replaced the battery, it wont charge.

With the replacement battery, charge light flashes orange, rather than
staying solid like it should. However the charge indicator thingie in
Windows say the battery has 87% power but wont go any higher. As soon as
I pull the AC though, the machine immediatly dies.

With the old battery, the charge light would stay solid until you
powered up, at which point it would flash orange. With this battery, the
Windows power indicator says 3% and wont go any higher.

So you think the charging unit is bad? Guess that means a new system
board :( This is getting expensive. Maybe I should just buy another laptop.
 
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C

* * Chas

| * * Chas wrote:
| > <snip>
| Maybe I'm missing a post in the thread or something (possible since
I'm
| reading this on Google), but I thought Nick said that the first
problem
| was simply that the main battery wasn't holding a charge, so it was
| only able to power the system for a second or so. I interpretted that
| to mean that he got the same result whether he tried to run the system
| off the battery whether at startup or once Windows had booted up on
AC.
| And since he had the same problem even after replacing the main
| battery, it sounded to me like something in the charging circuit.

The OP Nick wrote in his 2nd message on 9-10-05:

"I've noticed that the machine does not keep track of the time
accurately,
which is usually an indication of CMOS battery failure."

In many laptops a weak or bad CMOS battery can be temporarily overcome
by connecting the AC adapter allowing the system to boot. I have this
problem in an old Sony laptop. Once the system boots then the CMOS
battery is out of the loop.

The point that I was trying to make is diagnose the problem with the
simplest solution first. If that fixes the failure to start then you've
spent less than $20 and you can move on to check out other problems.

If I turn the ignition key in my car and nothing happens, I don't
replace the starter and generator, I check the battery first.

When You Hear Hoofbeats, Think Horses, Not Zebras.....

Chas.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati - When all else fails, play dead!
 

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