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T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

T400/T410/T420 and T500/T510/T520 series specific matters only
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cfixer
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T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#1 Post by cfixer » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:55 pm

Hi everyone at Thinkpad.com :)
admin correction: it is thinkpads.com, with an "s".. :)

I have a odd situation with a T410s and need help so i included some photos. Some help would be really nice since it would be nice to get this old relic back to life.

The problem
When i press power button on keyboard it stays on (stays green) , the fan starts spinning and the Webcam light flashes for a second and then it goes out and the fans go out too.

The keyboard power button keeps being green and there is a light on the LCD board that is also keeps staying green



What i have tried so far.
  • 1. Remove battery and turn on with charger only

    2. Remove charger and turn on with battery only

    3. Unplug Cmos battery but it's the same.

    4. I tried removing RAM, one block at a time.
What else can i do?

Is there a way to test it without keyboard? I've never tried to start a laptop without keyboard and don't know which two pins to connect.

Could it be the HDD? I would need another to test it,

Photos of the T410s Disassembled

https://ibb.co/1vrm4R8

https://ibb.co/3Ydqdd7

Please help!

atagunov
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Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#2 Post by atagunov » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:11 pm

cfixer wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:55 pm
Is there a way to test it without keyboard?
Easy for me, I put my half-disassembled X230 on 4337 docking station and then I can use the power button on the dock. Otherwise I don't know how to make a disassembled Thinkpad boot either.
cfixer wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:55 pm
Could it be the HDD? I would need another to test it,
Extremely unlikely, but it's trivial to test without HDD - just remove it. Your fault happens a lot earlier than HDD would get involved it seems. A healthy Thinkpad will output some error without HDD to the screen. You will also be able to go into BIOS with a healthy Thinkpad regardless of HDD presence. Tried entering BIOS? Think pressing blue Thinkvantage button during boot should normally get you there.

Do you get any beeps at all?
X230 beeps with the speakers, so you may get no beeps if speakers are not connected.

It's worth trying to start with just 1 RAM stick if you have two. It's worth trying a different RAM stick if you have any spares. It's worth to play with moving that single RAM stick you boot with between RAM slots.
It's worth trying without RAM at all - a healthy Thinkpad should give you some beeps.

Are we sure it's not a display fault? Probably an external monitor would help to exclude this possibility.

It does sound like a CPU or motherboard failure unfortunately. Fortunately they shouldn't be expensive on ebay/aliexpress/toabao these days..

I actually got this device to help me diagnose cases like yours but it needs to be plugged into LPT port. I never yet used this device but my expectation was I'd need to put problematic Thinkpad into a dock and connect the device to LPT port on the dock.
X220, 2 *T520

cfixer
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:48 pm
Location: Risskov, Denmark

Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#3 Post by cfixer » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:27 pm

Update: I took a bold move, removed it completely from the casing, rinsed it with a toothbrush especially around DC in board since it was greasy and dusty, Also the fan was clogged with dust, unplugged most things (also wifi card etc). I suspect something in the casing was shorting the circuit perhaps a metal plate for the HDD that looked like it was misplaced and touching circuitry board? The bold move was plugging in the DC power plug with power on
And it came on but went out after 2 minutes.
https://ibb.co/xznFWDm

atagunov: Thank you for the Docking station tip!! :D 8) So are there docking stations that work for all Thinkpads?
Regarding the POST analyzer: Thank you i did not know such tools exist, do they work on most laptops (universal?)
If you know of other useful diagnostic tools please let me know i do plan on repairing a few thinkpads for people some time in the future :)

atagunov
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Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#4 Post by atagunov » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:43 pm

cfixer wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:27 pm
I took a bold move .. rinsed it with a toothbrush ... since it was greasy and dusty ... The bold move was plugging in the DC power plug with power on
Bold indeed, I wouldn't have the courage :) I hope you had dried it really well before plugging in power..

BTW I heard that some guys involved in manufacturing boards (unrelated to Thinkpads, just some electronic devices) used water washing followed by IPA washing. They used IPA only to remove water. Apparently it washes away water and then dries quickly. To stress it again I wouldn't have the guts to do this myself on a Thinkpad.
cfixer wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:27 pm
So are there docking stations that work for all Thinkpads?
Regarding the POST analyzer: Thank you i did not know such tools exist, do they work on most laptops (universal?)
Unfortunately no, there are several versions of docking connector. I originally thought T410 would use the same dock as T61, e.g. 2504 or 2505. 2504 and 2505 do have LPT ports. Actually officially it's called "parallel port" I guess. But I was wrong. T410 apparently is using the same dock as X220/T420/T520/W520/X230/T430/T430/T530/W530. Apparently it's using 4337 dock and friends. Same as the one I'm using now. And 4337/friends don't have LPT port any more :(

Things may still work for me since I purchased 2505 dock and POST analyzer to use them with T61 main boards. But this POST analyzer apparently will not help you at all. I don't know what its equivalent is for T410/T530 era. :( I only learned about POST analyzer from a casual mention by somebody on this forum.. Unfortunately this is all I know on the subject.. I would expect it to work on any motherboard that natively supports an LPT port be it a laptop motherboard or a desktop/server one. There are newer POST analizers offered on ebay. These plug into a PCI Express slot on modern desktop/server motherboards. However I don't see a way to use them with a T410 either because it doesn't have desktop-style PCI-Express slots..

Actually it's interesting.. Thinking logically it should be enough for us to connect that POST analyser to one PCI Express lane.. And I just found this. It seems like it may fit into mini PCI Express slots, such as those where you plug WiFi or WAN cards on Thinkpads. I'd probably check AliExpress for a cheaper equivalent, but it's encouraging that those devices actually exist.

Its intriguing that washing the device changed it's behavior. I would still suggest looking carefully for beeps. If the fan still spins.. I really really hope there's no water any more anywhere
X220, 2 *T520

atagunov
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Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#5 Post by atagunov » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:41 pm

Okay, here's the cheaper way to purchase this POST analyser that probably fits into WiFi card slot: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32852737392.html
BTW I still don't know where to get numeric codes from for this device :) So even if it works for I won't be able to figure out what it is that it's telling me
Of course it only makes sense to use it if fans still spin. If the motherboard is entirely dead with no flash of light then.. it's probably different ways that are needed
X220, 2 *T520

cfixer
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Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#6 Post by cfixer » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:04 pm

Hmmm still haven't solved the problem: Sometimes it turns on, sometimes it wont. Very strange, it seems very random.

Atagunov: Thank's for the POST Diagnostic link. I did purchase the last one you linked to, i hope this can help me with further diagnostics. I really appreciate it :D
Regarding Thermal paste: Can too much thermal paste cause a laptop not to boot?
Are there any common hardware for laptops that has to be connected in order for a laptop to boot? I disconnected keyboard, Wifi-card - the antennas, SSD and a strange little card that sits in the side of the laptop (some expansion card i guess or dummy card).

atagunov
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Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#7 Post by atagunov » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:26 pm

cfixer wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:04 pm
Regarding Thermal paste: Can too much thermal paste cause a laptop not to boot?
The thermal paste in use some 10 years ago (like Arctic Siler) is conductive. Applying too much of it and having part of the paste squeeze out where it shouldn't be and shorting something on the motherboard can well cause an issue. However if none of the thermal paste has made its way into unexpected places or if it is a modern non-conductive thermal paste excessive amount of it shouldn't prevent booting
cfixer wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:04 pm
Are there any common hardware for laptops that has to be connected in order for a laptop to boot? I disconnected keyboard, Wifi-card - the antennas, SSD and a strange little card that sits in the side of the laptop (some expansion card i guess or dummy card)
I would say it should still boot even with everything disconnected. In the worst case you should see an error message on screen. When it fails to start does the fan spin? Do you hear any beeps? Does the screen remain entirely blank? The CPU is in a socket right?.. It's a bit bizarre but I suppose you could try to take it out and re-insert on the off-chance there's a poor contact in the socket somewhere.. it's me just fantasizing, but why not?..

To be honest this is rather old hardware we're talking about and it could have developed various faults. Have you tried searching for a replacement motherboard on ebay? It may be just not worth your time trying to fix this one if a replacement is cheap enough. You could also check AliExpress, though it will be a lot slower obviously.. BTW on AliExpress it's possible to chat with sellers, so you can double-check if they have the motherboard you need.
X220, 2 *T520

cfixer
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Location: Risskov, Denmark

Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#8 Post by cfixer » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:37 pm

I did notice two things

1. It only works when CMOS battery is disconnected. If i connect Cmos it might work on first boot, but it still says "Timing error" and after that it won't boot again,
2. When i connect the Keyboard (with CMOS battery disconnected) it also won't work. I think power button might be stuck.


Atagunov: Yes i do feel like i'm spending too much time on it. I often have a hard time letting go of things i set onto fix. Maybe i could try to get a new CMOS or swap my CMOS in a X220 and keyboard to see if i'm lucky. Or get a keyboard and CMOS from ebay / aliexpress and if there is no luck i guess it would be a whole new motherboard.

There are no beeps, only if i place Memory models incorrectly (crooked or displaced) then i get the 1 3 3 1 beep code but i placed them correctly so no beep code.

atagunov
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Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#9 Post by atagunov » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:55 pm

I think for playing around you can borrow a CMOS battery from a different Thinkpad. It should be same connector I think. The only issue with using a CMOS battery from a completely different model is that it may turn out to be too large to fit into your Thinkpad :) Otherwise it's just a 3V battery, which you can check with the simplest of multimeters btw.

I'm a bit puzzled by the keyboard being connected preventing startup.. Completely unjustified speculation but I have a hard time believing there is anything wrong with the keyboard.

I'm inclined to think a full motherboard replacement might be the best way to fix it. Or you could try to sell the whole thing as "for parts or not working" for a few $$... and somebody else will swap the motherboard :)
Last edited by atagunov on Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
X220, 2 *T520

atagunov
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Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#10 Post by atagunov » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:57 pm

Here's a £17 + delivery motherboard which might fit on UK ebay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/283990610117 It seems the sale even includes some sort of CPU with it.
Maybe you can find something with cheaper/simpler delivery nearer to you
X220, 2 *T520

cfixer
Posts: 13
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Location: Risskov, Denmark

Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#11 Post by cfixer » Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:56 pm

You have been of really good help thank you so much! I'm excited to try the POST analyzer tool.
May i ask you these two questions?

Do you know where to get any of the black tape that's on the motherboard (what's it called?)? I just removed it from under the CPU and from the motherboard and saw a bunch of old Thermal paste linking multiple capacitors together next to the CPU.
Photo of leaking thermal paste: https://ibb.co/sPQCdcy

Also do you know what this gelly substance on top of (some kind of Chip /CPU) is? It feels wet and gelly-like :) I took a photo here
https://ibb.co/nLXpYgk

I really have a hard time letting it go and really want to fix it, even if it requires soldering, but might have to let it go and buy a new motherboard.

atagunov
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Re: T410s no power- complete disassembly with photos. please help

#12 Post by atagunov » Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:16 pm

cfixer wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:56 pm
Do you know where to get any of the black tape that's on the motherboard (what's it called?)? I just removed it from under the CPU and from the motherboard and saw a bunch of old Thermal paste linking multiple capacitors together next to the CPU. Photo of leaking thermal paste: https://ibb.co/sPQCdcy
I've always heard it referred to as "mylar". I'd probably be curious where to get new mylar as well, but I've never needed new so far. Old mylar can usually be re-attached back. It's multi-use not single-use :)

The excess of the thermal paste on the CPU can be cleaned off with a high % IPA. Tens of years ago dad was actually using medical spirits for similar purposes. I think it's just as good but these days harder to get. I think your CPU doesn't really need much more protection compared to what we see in the photo. Make sure to use modern non-conductive thermal paste. Arctic MX-4 seems like a common choice, Noctua NT-H1 is probably a fancier choice and Phobia Nanogrease Extreme is the fanciest I'm aware of.. something like these, non-conductive. Not outdated Arctic MX Sliver. If you end up still using this CPU again and can/want to re-attach old mylar there no reason not to do it either.

Re the problem you're fixing, cadillacmike68 has said quite well today in a neighbour topic:
This is why I have more than one of any series. I can swap out known good items to see where the problem goes or stays.
If you had a 2nd T410 diagnosing the trouble would have been easier :) Though I still suspect it's the mobo
cfixer wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:56 pm
Also do you know what this gelly substance on top of (some kind of Chip /CPU) is? It feels wet and gelly-like :) I took a photo here
https://ibb.co/nLXpYgk
Think you're looking at a thermal pad and in pretty sensible condition. I have just purchased these to use in maintenance of my Thinkpads. The thing also transfers heat from the chip to the heatsink - like thermal paste - but unlike thermal paste it also fills a gap between the chip and the heatsink. The chip is probably one of the hotter ones too.. I wonder if it is by any chance your video card..
cfixer wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:56 pm
I really have a hard time letting it go and really want to fix it, even if it requires soldering, but might have to let it go and buy a new motherboard.
He he there are definitely tricks to soldering itself, but first of all guys like you and me would need to know what to solder! Honestly I don't have any skill in fixing complex electronic devices like these motherboards..
X220, 2 *T520

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