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X220 Motherboard (completely removed from housing) Thermal Sensing Error

X200, X201, X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300, X301 series specific matters only.
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X220 Motherboard (completely removed from housing) Thermal Sensing Error

#1 Post by scragnoth » Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:26 am

Another tale from my X220, one day it just died (wouldn't turn on anymore), so I disassembled it and looked for anything on the board, couldn't find anything and put it away, still disassembled.

Now with some extra time on hand I got the parts back out, removed all the black tape from the board (since there was gunk sticking to it) and cleaned it with q-tips and isopropyl alcohol. I just reconnected the power port, keyboard and fan and it, low and behold, turned back on. I got a display out (the display on itself died before the same happened to the whole machine so I ran it only with an external display), connected the VGA and then I got the splash screen, but shortly after a "Thermal sensing error". Good, I thought, just replace the thermal grease (I removed the fan assembly as well while I cleaned it and just stuck it back on as it was for the very first test). So I put some Arctic MX-4 on it, but the error persists. I checked if all the screws were tight by removing it and putting it back on, but still...

It's more like an exercise, would be nice to get it back up and running, since it's still better hardware-wise than the PC I'm running now.

Could that Thermal sensing error show up just because the board isn't installed in it's housing? I also checked the fan itself, it can spin freely (which it does, very fast and noisy, before it shuts off) and there is barely any dust on it.

Certainly not as bad as on that GPU fan from my desktop where the fan was clogged up so the card just stopped sending an image to my screen at some point after I turned the PC on. The same thermal grease resolved that issue...

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Re: X220 Motherboard (completely removed from housing) Thermal Sensing Error

#2 Post by lulujyc » Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:38 am

Sounds more like a thermal sensor or EC problem.
X61HK (8250u, SXGA, 16+512+1t, macOS)

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Re: X220 Motherboard (completely removed from housing) Thermal Sensing Error

#3 Post by scragnoth » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:25 pm

Thanks, lulujyc. But what can I look for? I tried finding out where those thermal sensors are but I had no luck. To reassemble everything as a laptop I ordered myself the X230t motherboard already, but it would still be a nice exercise if I can fix the X220t-motherboard.

Yes, I'm sorry, it's indeed the X220 tablet motherboard. But I'm very certain that X220 and X220t motherboards are identical in that regard...

Another idea that came to mind recently why it would produce the Thermal sensing error is that I used normal thermal compound on the chipset instead of the heat pad which was there originally. But I think that's very unlikely.

I also ran into some issues with the X220t screen assembly being incompatible with the X230t motherboard, but it could be solved by ordering the LED cable for the X230t separately, disassembling the X220t assembly, removing the stock LED cable and replacing it with the X230t one, since on the ends inside the screen all connectors are identical between the two cable versions. Only on the end that connects to the motherboard, the X220t cable has 30 contacts, while the X230t one has 32.
I already did the swap, it works (I get a display and the LEDs on the screen light up), but the old keyboard won't work at all. I covered the three contacts as advised here: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Install_C ... _ThinkPads but pressing any buttons does nothing. The laptop starts by itself after I plug the power cable in.

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