X200 - Fan Works Intermittently *SOLVED*

X200, X201, X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300, X301 series specific matters only.
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prgtrdr
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X200 - Fan Works Intermittently *SOLVED*

#1 Post by prgtrdr » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:28 am

I've read a lot of posts about this problem, which seems fairly common.  I thought I'd try posting here with a list of all the steps I've tried in the hope that someone comes up with a solution.
 
About a year ago my X200 (7454-96U) started exhibiting this behavior:
 
When I restart the system, either from full power-up or wake/resume, the CPU fan does not start approximately 1 out of every 3 times. The other 2 times the system starts normally and the fan operates as exepected.  When the fan doesn't start the system eventually heats up to the point I have to power down, then restart.  If I power up immediately, the BIOS displays "Fan Error" and halts before starting Windows.  If I let it cool off, then power up, the fan usually starts correctly, Windows boots and all works well.  Until the next time I restart.
 
I've tried all of the following suggestions made on the forum:
  • * Installed the latest BIOS firmware (3.22  7XET72WW.)
    * Reset all BIOS settings to factory defaults. 
    * Changed/enabled some of the BIOS security settings.
    * Installed TPFanControl utility.  When the fan doesn't start this program has no effect.
    * Replaced the fan with a new one (and cleaned/dusted heat sink, etc.)  This was quite painful and entailed disassembling the entire machine.
I'm not sure but this behavior may have started after a previous BIOS update.  I have researched trying to restore an older version of the BIOS just to see if it made a difference, but the old images don't seem to be on the Lenovo website and I don't know if it's even possible to do this or how.

I believe it has to do with the BIOS (rather than Windows) because the fan should start immediately on power-on when the CPU is hot, and it doesn't. Also, it feels like a software/BIOS error rather than hardware because of the intermittent nature--if hardware you'd expect the fan to not work at all, or make a lot of noise. But it works just fine sometimes.
 
Does anyone have any other ideas I can try?  I really love this notebook and don't want to trash it but this problem is making it very hard to use.
Last edited by prgtrdr on Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: X200 - Fan Works Intermittently

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:07 am

Welcome to the Forum.

On Lenovo's website, all you need to do is scroll down to see older versions.
For X200 go here: http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/product ... s/ds015007

If you need a BIOS with wifi-whitelist removed, go here: http://rgho.st/46769347
Just in case, before you install this, scan it for any "bad boys"!

The fans on these machines are tiny, and some sellers sell junk, so you might need to replace it yet again.
A standard "trick" is to switch the machine off, remove battery and charger, then hold the power-button down for about 20 seconds.
This resets the laptop, in that it discharges any capacitors in the power circuit.
Put charger in first, try again.
If OK, add the battery.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

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

prgtrdr
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Location: NY, NY

Re: X200 - Fan Works Intermittently

#3 Post by prgtrdr » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:26 am

RealBlackStuff wrote: On Lenovo's website, all you need to do is scroll down to see older versions.
For X200 go here: http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/product ... s/ds015007
Thanks for the ideas.

Looking back through the archived BIOS Readme files, the only one that looks like it involves the fan was 3.11 ECP 1.06 ("- (New) Improved the speed control of cooling fan.") I'm thinking that change may have caused the problem so I'd like to go back to 3.10 ECP 1.04. But the archive URL you listed only goes back as far as 3.13 ECP 1.06. Anywhere else I can look?

I'm pretty sure the new fan I installed was genuine Lenovo/IBM. Had the exact same markings, tabs, etc., as the original. And it does work some of the time, just like the original did.

I'll try the power button trick and report back.

prgtrdr
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:17 am
Location: NY, NY

Re: X200 - Fan Works Intermittently

#4 Post by prgtrdr » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:35 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:A standard "trick" is to switch the machine off, remove battery and charger, then hold the power-button down for about 20 seconds.
This resets the laptop, in that it discharges any capacitors in the power circuit.
Put charger in first, try again.
If OK, add the battery.
Unfortunately, the power button trick did not work. I will continue trying to find an older BIOS.

prgtrdr
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:17 am
Location: NY, NY

Re: X200 - Fan Works Intermittently *SOLVED*

#5 Post by prgtrdr » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:47 pm

Okay, I've got some good news to report!

I went back through the old BIOS images and found version 7XET60WW (3.10/ ECP 1.04 ) which was the last update before 3.11/ ECP 1.06). The reason I settled on this is because 3.11 included this change: " (New) Improved the speed control of cooling fan." I'm guessing this change is what caused the fan problem (but not sure.)

The URLs for this image are:
https://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/p ... uj37us.txt (description text)
https://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/p ... uj37us.exe (32-bit installer)
https://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/p ... uj37u6.exe (64-bit installer)

Anyway, since flashing the older BIOS I have had absolutely no fan problems at all. Works every time. If it stops working I'll get back on here and leave a message but for now, I'm feeling pretty good about it. I am now running Windows 10 (despite Lenovo not supporting it) with 8GB RAM (despite Lenovo not supporting it.)

Note: a later version may also work but I don't have the time to play around with it. But I advise everyone who's experiencing fan problems on an X200 to please try this first and report back on your experiences.

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