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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:31 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:51 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Asheville, NC
Two months ago my USB ports degraded to 1.1, and I started getting the message about devices working faster in a 2.0 port. This was two weeks after I tried someones MP3 player, when they said it wouldn't work in their computer, and I got a message that the device was drawing to much power, and the USB port has been disabled to prevent damage. The ports still worked for me after that, but I thought the failure (to 1.1) two weeks later might be related. Then I read about the Southbridge problems - a design flaw where static can do damage when plugging devices in, and the flexing problem. I bought a PC Card to get USB 2.0 back. All seemed fine for two months of daily use. Three days ago I turned on the computer, and the two lights on the left came on for a moment, then the crooked-Z green light came on, but nothing else happened. I turned it off/on and it worked. The problem happened again, and this time I had to flex the computer to get it to start. Then it started dying while it was on, it would just freeze, and the mouse and keyboard wouldn't work. Right now I am pressing down between the "Access IBM" key and the "Esc" key (typing with one hand + another thumb) to keep it running. I have tried different pressure points and twists, and pressing under the touch pad (where I read the Southbride is) doesn't do anything. I previously found that applying twisting pressure around the USB ports worked, and for now just pressing down where I am works. I let go, and I have to cycle power on the computer.

Should I send this in and spend $30 getting the Southbridge reballed? (E-bay - gpumedics). I asked them if they'd put in a new Southbridge chip if I included it, and they will as they remove the chip during the process anyway. (I'm worried there may also be static damage to it.) What is the part # of the chip, and where do I get one?

I don't get the R51 replacement board suggestion on this forum - it's cheaper to just by an R51 than to by both the R51 motherboard and an LCD display that will work with it, and a lot less work.

UPDATE: Pressing in the place above no longer works. Now I have the top left corner sitting on 1/2" high piece of plastic, and I'm pushing down on the bottom left corner.

Thinkpad T41 2379-DJU; all latest drivers; Bios 3.23; 1GB Ram; Windows XP Pro SP3 w/all updates.
www-307.ibm.com: Original description: P M 1.6GHz, 256MB RAM, 40GB 5400rpm HDD, 14.1 SXGA+(1400X1050) TFT LCD, 32MB ATI Radeon 9000, 16x10x24x/8x CD-RW/DVD, Intel 802.11b wireless, Modem, 1Gb Ether, UltraNav, Sec Chip, 6 cell Li-Ion Batt, WinXP Pro


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:31 pm 
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ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder

Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:19 pm
Posts: 1099
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Welcome to the forums.

The USB problem is due to the Southbridge (SB) becoming unsoldered. It's also possible that the other symptoms you're describing are also SB as well.

The SB controls a lot of devices - USB ports, keyboard, ethernet, wi-fi, audio, hard disc, etc, so if any one of those isn't working it's probably going to be SB.

Regarding static when the chip's removed, a good reflowing / reballing company should be observing static precautions, and have the proper anti static equipment etc.

The part number of the chip: Intel FW82801DBM (note the last three letters since there are other chips with the same numbers but different end letters.

You can buy them on eBay. We use Osstore001 who we've always had good service from.

Having said that, it shouldn't be necessary to fit a new chip since it sounds like your old one just needs reflowing / reballing.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:51 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Asheville, NC
Thanks. I knew the SB caused a USB problem like this, but I didn't know if the SB would also lock up the computer, but I read the GPU problem would. One chip to get reflowed...

I didn't mean the SB could get static damage while taking it out, I was referring to the design flaw where plugging in a USB device could (rarely) damage the SB. See this: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Problem_with_USB_2.0 - "As a result there is a (small) risk that when plugging in or removing a USB device causes damage to the chip."

So - I thought maybe static damaged the SB, and the computer locking was from the GPU. But now it sounds like it's most likely that the SB just needs reflowed.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:25 am 
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ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder

Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:19 pm
Posts: 1099
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Sorry for the misunderstanding - yes you're right in that it could be that, but to my knowledge I've never seen it myself.

I'd try having the SB reflowed / reballed first.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:51 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Asheville, NC
Someone on another forum thinks the Southbridge can't be the only problem. "I've seen a bad SB freeze the machine at the splash screen, but not before that. I don't believe it's possible for that to happen, given the way hardware is loaded from the BIOS." When it doesn't start up, the hard drive light never comes on, which always happens right before the splash screen (IBM logo) appears.

Have you ever seen a bad SB keep the computer from getting to the splash screen?

BTW- the computer is working fine today. It seems to work better on my lap than on a flat table.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:34 pm 
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ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder

Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:19 pm
Posts: 1099
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Yeah we see it all the time - quite often there's no display but all the lights come on except the HDD light. If the laptop turns off straight away when you press the I/O button, 9 times out of 10 it's the SB chip.

This compares with blank screen and the I/O button has to be held down for around 5 seconds to turn off; in this case it's usually the GPU.

For instance yesterday we were doing a couple of T42p Thinkpads and both the SB's showed the instantly off symptoms.
Having sorted that first symptom out, on one of them we then moved to the 5 secs off and had to reball the GPU as well - the main thing was that after all that workboth boards now work fine.

I'm a bad person to ask about this sort of thing since I live with it day in & day out!!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:11 pm 
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Senior ThinkPadder
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Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:28 am
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Location: Albrightsville, Pennsylvania
If Nick says it's possible and that he's seen it, that's good enough for me.

End of story - for now, said "the guy from the other forum"...LOL...

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Collecting SSDI: A31p, T42p

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:51 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Asheville, NC
@poshgeordie: Yes, it turns off immediately when I push the power button on a failed start up. However, if the computer freezes while it's already on and Windows was happily running, then there's the normal delay (4 seconds?) before it turns off. Who would you recommend in the US to reflow the SB?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:59 am 
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ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder

Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:19 pm
Posts: 1099
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Mmm it sounds like both chips need doing - as I said we see this a lot, repair one and it turns out the other needs doing as well! Sorry to be the bringer of bad news... :(

Unfortunately I don't do recommendations for the US since I don't know the companies there. We are trying to work something out for US forum members to get economical repairs but it's a few months away.

I can only suggest searching the forums and decide from that.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:25 am 
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RBS10000
RBS10000

Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:17 am
Posts: 13281
Location: Mt. Cobb, PA USA
I've had a T43 with SB problems reballed by GPU-Medics (formerly Superior Reball).
I was playing 'guinea pig' for the forum when they did the name-change.
Got it back in about a week. Job well done.
Communication with them can be iffy at times (see various threads in the T4x forum), and not everybody seems to be happy with them.
Haven't heard any news or references about them lately...

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:51 pm
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Location: Asheville, NC
Both chips... So the SB won't cause a hang after the computers already up and running? Considering all the stuff it controls, that surprises me. I would expect the turn-off delay after the computer successfully started. At $60 for two chips reflowed, I could get a board for around that price from E-bay if I try a few times, or even a bare T41 if I try a bunch of times, looking at completed sales - and then never pick up the laptop with one hand again (I only did that with the lid closed).


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:29 pm 
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ThinkPadder
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:19 pm
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Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Erynion wrote:
@poshgeordie: Yes, it turns off immediately when I push the power button on a failed start up. However, if the computer freezes while it's already on and Windows was happily running, then there's the normal delay (4 seconds?) before it turns off. Who would you recommend in the US to reflow the SB?


Based on what you're saying here - if it turns off immediately then it's usually the SB.

If the PC freezes when on, and there's a 4 sec delay, then that could well be the GPU.

It's very hard to say 100% that's it's going to be either one or the other, and any decent reflowing company should be able to reflow the SB, test the result and then reflow the GPU if on switch on there's no picture and the laptop takes around 4 secs to switch off again.

Maybe these places expect the average user to suddenly become instant experts on what's wrong with their laptop...

Here we prefer people to send the laptop in saying it's faulty, it does such and such. We then test it and reflow / reball the relevant chip which presents the fault. We then retest and if necessary do whatever's needed next if anything.

I suppose the difference is we don't charge $35 or whatever for a reflow....

I feel that the more I say, the more I'm confusing you - apologies for that!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:51 pm
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Location: Asheville, NC
Ok. It has never happened that boot up failed with a blank screen, and it took 4 seconds to power off - it always powers off immediately when boot up fails. I been through that many times. So I don't know why you are saying that if the tech fixed the SB, and then he found it booted to a blank screen and it took 4 seconds to turn off, he'd then fix the GPU too. It only takes 4 seconds to turn of if the computer had been running fine for a while (Windows loaded) and then froze. My question is could the freezing when the computer has been running also just be the SB?

For example: Sometimes pressing next to the "Access IBM" gets it to boot up. (When it wasn't booting, and was turning off immediately - no 4 second delay.) After 15 minutes I stop pressing on that spot and the computer immediately freezes - the display is still up and looks fine, but the mouse and keyboard do nothing, and the hard drive light never comes on again.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:42 am 
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ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder

Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:19 pm
Posts: 1099
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
It's very difficult to diagnose from a distance and I'm basing my views on what we find every day working on these things.

I was making a more general comment that a good reflowing company should be diagnosing the problem themselves first and carrying out a repair based on that, and if after repair another chip is found to need repairing they should then do that or at least inform the customer it needs doing. I was NOT saying that, you need both chips doing - I was making a general statement.

As a general statement - if you're pressing in the SB area of the case and it stops working when you take pressure off there then it could just be the SB, but it could also be that you're pressing in such a place that it's acting on the GPU .
I'm trying to cover all bases for you but as I say diagnosing from a distance is difficult and can / will lead to misunderstanding.

Sorry to frustrate you- not intended. I was going to say that I'm pouring oil on troubled waters but coming from UK maybe that's no so politically correct at the moment!! :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:33 am 
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Sophomore Member

Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:18 pm
Posts: 226
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
The T41 is suffering from a serious case of the "flex". The Southbridge was the first to go (and it's obvious symptoms are the USB 1.1 downgrade), and when the T41 powers on to a blank screen, that is classic GPU loosening (at an advanced, terminal state). Having to reball two chips is not even worth it. You're better off buying a used, working motherboard.


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