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Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

T20-T23 Series and T30 specific matters only. NOT for T25-Retro.
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PixelTopics
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Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#1 Post by PixelTopics » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:36 am

Good day all,

This seems to be a fantastic forum so I decided I'd give it a shot trying out your expertise.

I recently got a ThinkPad T21. I installed Windows 98SE and had a blast playing Warcraft 2 for about an hour. I had just quit playing when the computer went completely black and rebooted itself.

After I let the computer sit for a while unplugged the following happens.

1. It starts but pre-IBM ThinkPad splash screen it gives me a long beep followed by two short beeps.
2. ThinkPad splash screen appears
3. It gives me the CMOS battery error codes (new battery ordered)
4. It boots to bios to set time

After setting time proceeded by hitting Save & Exit the computer restarts but the screen is black and it gives no beeps or sounds.

How should I proceed with troubleshooting?

Thank you for all your help.

ajkula66
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#2 Post by ajkula66 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:35 pm

Welcome to the forum!

I would wait with any diagnostics/suggestions until you have the new CMOS battery in place and are able to observe the behaviour of the machine. Please give us an update either way.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

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PixelTopics
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#3 Post by PixelTopics » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:23 pm

ajkula66 wrote:Welcome to the forum!

I would wait with any diagnostics/suggestions until you have the new CMOS battery in place and are able to observe the behaviour of the machine. Please give us an update either way.
Certainly will do.

While waiting for the CMOS battery to arrive I observed the following. There were a couple of error codes flashing at startup for about two seconds before entering the BIOS (stage 3 as described). I managed to get a screenshot of that using my phone and it's displaying the below message.

ERROR
0271: Check date and time settings
ERROR
0521: System CMOS checksum bad - default configuration used
ERROR
Resource Conflict - Allocation error static node # 01

Number 1 and 2 listed are clearly the CMOS issue but I am unfamiliar with the 3rd Resource Conflict error. Any idea as to what that can be?

Anyhow, this time after setting the time and date again the computer - to my surprise - started. It allowed me to install and play Red Alert for about an hour before the entire procedure as described above repeated. This behavior just seems odd to me.

This time though I will wait for the new CMOS battery before I try anything else. I'll give an update at that point.

PixelTopics
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#4 Post by PixelTopics » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:05 pm

So, with the caveat that my opportunity for using the computer has been limited over the past couple of days I can only say that changing the CMOS battery has proven to be a success.

If anything this thread became more of a self diagnostics thread and can serve other people with strange acting T21s.

Changing the CMOS battery is really everything on these machines.

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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:48 am

Since it is not exactly a "young'un" anymore, cleaning up the fan of dust bunnies and replacing the thermal paste might also be helpful.
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#6 Post by PixelTopics » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:30 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:Since it is not exactly a "young'un" anymore, cleaning up the fan of dust bunnies and replacing the thermal paste might also be helpful.
Yes, I'm starting to believe it's a heat issue of sorts. Today was the first day I really got to run it for a lengthy time and it happened again. The screen went black, and nothing worked except for a forced reboot. After another 5 minutes of running the machine the same thing happened again.

Is there a good guide available for the T21 on how to cleaning up the fan/dust bunnies and replacing the paste?

Thanks much -

BillP
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#7 Post by BillP » Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:34 pm

PixelTopics wrote: Is there a good guide available for the T21 on how to cleaning up the fan/dust bunnies and replacing the paste?
Thanks much -
To replace thermal paste you need to remove the fan assembly. The hardware maintenance manual available at https://thinkpads.com/support/hmm/thinkpad-hmm.html tells how.
ThinkPad T60 1951-43U (with many upgrades)

PixelTopics
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#8 Post by PixelTopics » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:10 pm

I removed the fan assembly, which was fairly clean to begin with, and noticed there were very little to none thermal paste left. I cleaned it off and applied a new layer Arctic Silver 5. However after starting it up again the problem re-appeared. It simply shuts down, acts like it wants to re-boot, but the screen remains black. If doing a forced reboot it starts again only to shut itself down again after a couple of minutes.

Another thought I have is the charger itself? The battery on this thing is dead but I use the original IBM AC Adapter DCWP CM-2. Is there a possibility the AC Adapter could provide too little power to the computer and therefore cause this issue?

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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#9 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:16 pm

More likely it's the beginning of the BOD (Blink Of Death).
Plenty forum posts about that.
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#10 Post by PixelTopics » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:21 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:More likely it's the beginning of the BOD (Blink Of Death).
Plenty forum posts about that.
I've read a few threads on the BOD problem but this doesn't sound like the typical symptom. I may be wrong of course but the way the computer attempts to reboot itself doesn't sound like many of the explanations I've heard before.

I just want to be able to rule out every single option before calling the laptop a $200.00 and three week's worth of door stop.

Thanks guys for acting like a support plank on this.

ajkula66
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#11 Post by ajkula66 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:07 pm

PixelTopics wrote: Another thought I have is the charger itself? The battery on this thing is dead but I use the original IBM AC Adapter DCWP CM-2. Is there a possibility the AC Adapter could provide too little power to the computer and therefore cause this issue?
What happens if you physically remove the dead battery and attempt to run the system on AC power only?
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

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PixelTopics
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#12 Post by PixelTopics » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:27 pm

ajkula66 wrote:
PixelTopics wrote: Another thought I have is the charger itself? The battery on this thing is dead but I use the original IBM AC Adapter DCWP CM-2. Is there a possibility the AC Adapter could provide too little power to the computer and therefore cause this issue?
What happens if you physically remove the dead battery and attempt to run the system on AC power only?
The same thing happened here after about 10 minutes of runtime. Is there a known issue with the power adapter?

ajkula66
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Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#13 Post by ajkula66 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:47 pm

PixelTopics wrote: The same thing happened here after about 10 minutes of runtime. Is there a known issue with the power adapter?
No. I just wanted to take the dead battery out of the equation as a possible culprit.

That machine is either overheating or has some sort of a motherboard problem IMO.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

AARP club members:A31p,T43pSF

Abused daily: T61p

PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

PixelTopics
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Location: Overland Park, KS

Re: Troubleshooting / ThinkPad T21 boot issue

#14 Post by PixelTopics » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:04 pm

ajkula66 wrote:
PixelTopics wrote: The same thing happened here after about 10 minutes of runtime. Is there a known issue with the power adapter?
No. I just wanted to take the dead battery out of the equation as a possible culprit.

That machine is either overheating or has some sort of a motherboard problem IMO.
Thanks for your input. At this point I would say I agree with you. It's definitely a motherboard issue of some sorts. The fan is in nice condition, runs smoothly and the computer is clean inside. A little disappointing but that's life.

I'll keep using the little gray cells and post any news here. BOD is definitely a concern but I really don't think that's the case with this one as the symptoms don't match.

Any other ideas and thoughts are appreciated as always.

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