Take a look at our
ThinkPads.com HOME PAGE
For those who might want to contribute to the blog, start here: Editors Alley Topic
Then contact Bill with a Private Message

Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

Want to know HOW TO..? Have a FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION..?
If you can't find it here, tell us and we'll publish whatever you need
Post Reply
Message
Author
Bibin
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:07 am
Location: Brooklyn, New York

Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#1 Post by Bibin » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:29 am

So I don't have a heat gun nor any other necessary tools to reflow my T40's Radeon 7500, so I came up with what seems like a fully functional solution. That said, if you mess it up, it's not my fault.

I just got this Thinkpad T40 for free because it was not working. I would power it on, and I would get nothing. Fans spin, CD and HDD spin up, lights light up, charging beep works, but nothing on screen or through VGA out. On occasion, it would show the IBM logo, and get through the boot process to then crash shortly after.

I immediately realised this must be a case of poor BGA soldering (that's Ball Grid Array, a process in which small balls of solder are preattatched to chips, and then heated so they bond to the motherboard.) This is a common problem with this laptop, as well as other laptops. In fact, a lot of ATI Radeon 7500 and 9000 based laptops suffer from this, like the HP dv2000 I think (not sure if this is the right number)

Anyway, onto business. I realised that flexing the case produced good results sometimes, and since I don't have a heat gun nor a cup of alcohol to reflow the solder with, I thought of some alternate solutions. This one seems to be working great and I have not had a single crash during it's new use (I bring this same laptop to and from school every day, and it's had no trouble). I thought that I should insert something on top of the video chip to apply pressure.

First step! Take off the keyboard. Do so by removing the screws outlined here:
http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn18 ... /Step1.jpg

Once it's off, look towards the lower area above the track pad for the ATI chip. There is an orange ribbon cable overlapping it. Do not remove this cable, it is fine where it is.
http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn18 ... /Step2.jpg

Now, we need to build a spacer. I found out that this configuration seems to be the perfect height and size.
I stacked an old CF card, followed by an SD card, followed by a Memory Stick Duo card, all taped together. Put them with the physically biggest card on the bottom and the smallest on the top. Do be sure to do this part right because if it isn't the right thickness it won't help at all.
http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn18 ... /Step3.jpg

Put it on top of the orange ribbon cable, on top of the ATI chip like so:
http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn18 ... /Step4.jpg
Put some tape on the white ribbon cable connector and the spacer to keep it from sliding around.

Tightly screw the keyboard back in, and you are good to go!
http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn18 ... /Step5.jpg

Hope this helps some other people who can't be bothered to reflow their video processors :P

Note from Admin: Nice try, but no pic warning and images >50k = no images. Read the forum rules.
Give your T43/T43p/R52/X41 the SATA it deserves! http://mikejmoffitt.com/sata

middleofsweden
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:35 pm
Location: Shanghai, China (for one year)

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#2 Post by middleofsweden » Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:41 am

just curious.. How much memory have you ugraded your T40 with now :wink:
I have a theory that we arent messing with computers. It is the computers that are messing with us.

Orclas
Sophomore Member
Posts: 192
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 4:12 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#3 Post by Orclas » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:35 am

Seeing that this thread is in the FAQ section, I hope I wont be accused of thread necro although the post is from 2009.

I am starting to have the GPU problem on my T40 and it's getting worse. Since I really hesitate to part with my long old friend (but on the other hand also hesitate to spend reflowing bucks) I have one simple question:

How long term is this solution? Works for years? Stably so?
T61 (8895-2FG) T8100/Intel X3100/SXGA+/Intel 320 SSD/4GB/Win7 x64 Pro
T400 (retired, couldn't quite stand it)
T40 (retired and missed)

RealBlackStuff
Admin Emeritus
Admin Emeritus
Posts: 19446
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:17 am
Location: Mt. Cobb, PA
Contact:

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#4 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:57 am

Not to discourage you, but that is only a temporary solution, which may work for an hour, a day, a week, a month or longer...
You won't know till you try, this costs you nothing and you have nothing (more) to lose.

Should you want a replacement mobo, see the website in my signature or PM me.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

johnnycanuck
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#5 Post by johnnycanuck » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:30 am

Realize I'm digging up an old post from 2009 so don't expect OP to see this. I'm wondering if anyone knows the height of the "spacer" that the OP created with the 3 flash cards described in the post as:
1. Compact Flash 2. Secure Digital 3. Memory Stick Duo.

I'm asking because if I look at form factors (specifically the heights of these cards), I see height differences depending on the model of the card e.g.
1. Compact Flash -> CF-I (3.3 mm) or CF-II (5.5 mm)
2. Secure Digital -> SD (straight forward because I just see 1 type; 2.1 mm)
3. Memory Stick Duo -> MSD (2.8 mm) or MSPD (PRO Duo 1.6 mm) or MSPDX (PRO-HG Duo, also 1.6 mm)

If I assume CF-I + SD + MSD ... I get a height of 8.2 mm
If I assume CF-II + SD + MSPD ... I get a height of 10.4 mm
etc. (different possible combinations).

I'm not expecting a response to this long dead post, but if someone happens to notice this and has a comment I'd appreciate it. Of course I realize it's a Rube Goldberg kind of "fix", but I'm just trying to resurrect a T41 that's been out of commision with the GPU problem for over 2 years and I'm only prepared to try a "cheap & easy fix".

(If this one doesn't work, plan B might be another one I found that simply uses a fancy epoxy glue (billed as high tempearture and non conducting) to keep the GPU "glued" to the MOBO and try to prevent flexing and breaking the connection).

Thanks.

RealBlackStuff
Admin Emeritus
Admin Emeritus
Posts: 19446
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:17 am
Location: Mt. Cobb, PA
Contact:

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:47 am

Hi Johnny and welcome.

The height of whatever shim you want to try needs to be found out experimentally.
The CF card used in the picture is a CF-I, but height might vary between brands.
A stacked height of 10.4mm is definitely too much, so 8.2mm might be the better choice.
Of course you can use any piece of wood, carton, plastic, hard board, MDF, whatever in the proper size.
Apart from what you use, it will always be a temporary fix, IF it works at all.
Putting glue around the GPU is not going to help at all.
It won't put any pressure on the GPU, and if any flexing happens, the glue will not prevent the GPU's movement.
We are talking less than a hair's width of movement here!
Hence my suggestion: work out a shim of the correct size, but don't expect a miracle.
If you could live without sound, I have a suitable professionally reballed motherboard, which also received new Southbridge and audio chips, but audio seems not to work.
Everything else is OK though.
I have it up for sale for $50.- shipped within USA, but if you make me an offer I can not refuse... (via PM)
See also www.theboardroom.info/stock.htm
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

johnnycanuck
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#7 Post by johnnycanuck » Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:00 pm

Thanks for your input RealBlackStuff. I was leaning toward your suggestion of material anyway (e.g. any piece of wood, carton, plastic, hard board, MDF etc.) and I'll give it a shot using a height of 8.2 mm for starters. Thanks. John

johnnycanuck
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#8 Post by johnnycanuck » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:32 am

Well I'm a very happy camper. I appear to have resurrected my IBM T41 (2373-7FU) with an ATI Radeon Mobility 7500 GPU from the unusable shelf that I've had it on for the last couple of years. I put it on the unusable shelf because of an apparently pretty common issue related to this ATI GPU chip in the T4x models.

My particular symptom: a few minutes (at most maybe an hour) after a boot, I had started to notice that the display image would start to "tear" and as soon as it did, the machine locked up and needed to be powered off/on to recover. But even after a reboot, it would soon run into the same problem. (Additionally in my case, sometimes after I tried to reboot, it wouldn't boot, but I noticed that if I flexed the base of the machine a bit and powered on again, it would boot).

Anyway, my "fix" for my GPU issue, was even cheaper and easier than I was hoping it might be (your mileage may vary).

I was prepared to make a "spacer" as per the instructions provided by OP, but decided to just use a little square of wood I cut from a lumberyard shim shingle (~35mm x ~35mm x ~8.2mm). However when I flipped open the keyboard, on my T41 I saw what I guess was the CMOS battery sitting on top of the GPU and ribbon cable that OP's pictures didn’t show. So when I tried to use my 8.2mm high block of wood, I realized that there was no way I'd be able to get the front of the keyboard back to it's normal position to screw it back into place (i.e. the thickness added by the CMOS battery made an 8.2mm thick spacer, far too thick).

So my fallback was to simply take a bunch of the tiny PostIt note slips of paper, fold them into quarters and pile enough of them together (with a bit of tape to hold the stack together) so that when I put the stack on top of {the CMOS battery + ribbon cable + ATI GPU chip}, I could see that when I tried to close the front of the keyboard, it was bulging up just enough to make me believe that the screws would compress the stack further, pull the front of the keyboard down into its normal position and most importantly result in some pressure being applied to the contacts between the GPU and the motherboard.

As soon as I did this, I no longer had my symptom. I ran the Orthos CPU Loader tool overnight and it ran like a champ. Then I loaded over 2000 images into Picasa with it’s face recognition software turned on and again no sign of a symptom.

I had been quite prepared to do the “gpu reflow” technique (i.e. completely dismantle the TP and use a heat gun & infrared thermometer on the ATI chip) so I’m obviously very happy that I’ve avoid that drill (and possibly cause a bigger problem) with just a bit of time and a few PostIt notes. :D

PS: I’ll try to remember to come back and update this at some point, if my “fix” starts to act up again.

Arf the Lab
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:10 pm
Location: USA

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#9 Post by Arf the Lab » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:56 pm

A little over a month ago I started having GPU problems with my beloved T40. Not willing to discard it, I tried this fix. So far it's been working 100% with no issues whatsoever. Thus I too can recommend this method to other people who "can't let go" of their favorite Thinkpad.

Bibin
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:07 am
Location: Brooklyn, New York

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#10 Post by Bibin » Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:37 pm

I'm a little startled that this "fix" has been discovered six years later! I posted this as a youngin in High School. RBS is correct that this is really a kludge solution and not a good fix, but if it is any confidence to anybody here, that T40 still works today. I suppose if you can't access a heat gun or reflow station this is better than nothing.
Give your T43/T43p/R52/X41 the SATA it deserves! http://mikejmoffitt.com/sata

sdfox7
Freshman Member
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:06 pm
Location: Danbury, CT

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#11 Post by sdfox7 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:26 am

This is an old thread, but I would like to confirm that this type of solution definitely works.

I was working on a T4x a few weeks ago; the video would go black while the machine would continue to run. I assumed the graphics chip was failing, but decided to give this method a chance.

I placed enough spacers/shims to create slight pressure between the keyboard and south bridge, and the issue has gone away. Again, weeks have gone by and the issue has not recurred.
IBM ThinkPad 600E 2645-8AU (Win98), T23 2647-4MU (Win2000), T41 2373-7FU (WinXP)
My name is Stephen Fox. I am a '18 BBA and '20 MBA student at WCSU.
Disable Google Chrome End of Support Infobar on Windows XP/Vista

Athena
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:30 am
Location: Athens, Greece

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#12 Post by Athena » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:42 am

I just did what you instructed (cut some old plastic cards and stuck them as in your attached photos) and wow!!! I was able to use my thinkpad again after 2 months of comes and goes to various service experts who, among others, suggested motherboard replacement!!! which, apart from being expensive, is also difficult due to the rarety of the spares.
Words are not enough to thank you for saving money and (more) time thanks to your advice. I know, some underline that it is a temporary solution, but I am gratefull for using it again after such a long time of idleness, no matter how long it will last. :banana: :bow: :D

sdfox7
Freshman Member
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:06 pm
Location: Danbury, CT

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#13 Post by sdfox7 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Athena wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:42 am
I just did what you instructed (cut some old plastic cards and stuck them as in your attached photos) and wow!!! I was able to use my thinkpad again after 2 months of comes and goes to various service experts who, among others, suggested motherboard replacement!!! which, apart from being expensive, is also difficult due to the rarety of the spares.
Words are not enough to thank you for saving money and (more) time thanks to your advice. I know, some underline that it is a temporary solution, but I am gratefull for using it again after such a long time of idleness, no matter how long it will last. :banana: :bow: :D
Athena

My board ultimately failed in February, even with my temporary fix from August 2106. Still, I got six months out of it. I ended up purchasing a one-owner T41 laptop to replace it. Of course, this will eventually suffer the same fate, but I'm using this machine in a stationary area, which means it will not go through the same chassis flex issue.

You may get six months out of the fix like I did, depending on conditions such as pressure effectiveness, and also the external environment. Higher temperatures will make the problem worse; if you can keep the machine in a relatively cool working environment you may get longer life. Again, as you yourself stated, this is a temporary fix delaying the inevitable.

Even though I replaced this machine, I find my T23 a bigger joy to use since it doesn't have the lead free solder, and is not affected by this issue.
IBM ThinkPad 600E 2645-8AU (Win98), T23 2647-4MU (Win2000), T41 2373-7FU (WinXP)
My name is Stephen Fox. I am a '18 BBA and '20 MBA student at WCSU.
Disable Google Chrome End of Support Infobar on Windows XP/Vista

kfzhu1229
ThinkPadder
ThinkPadder
Posts: 1166
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:59 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Cheap and easy GPU fix for T40/etc.

#14 Post by kfzhu1229 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:50 pm

Well a T43 doesn't suffer nearly as badly, but it does run quite hotter. I personally have 3 T43/p and none of them have ultimate failure yet.
Also I have a T42 manufactured in 2006, so it should be less prone to this kind of immature lead-free technology problem. Torture that one if you want, as I stopped using it after I got my hands on my T43, because the Radeon 7500 was a real bottleneck for my uses.
_________________________________
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
2xT43 14.1" 2.26 SXGA+ 2gb 1*fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
Flexview UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “** HOW TOs & FAQs **”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests