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Coreboot, T420, I7-3720QM - Shutdown issue

T400/T410/T420 and T500/T510/T520 series specific matters only
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Luke-E
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Location: Chester-le-Street, United Kingdom

Coreboot, T420, I7-3720QM - Shutdown issue

#1 Post by Luke-E » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:35 pm

Some time ago I flashed Coreboot onto my T420 via the instructions on https://www.coreboot.org/Board:lenovo/t420
This wiki also listed the I7-3720QM as tested, which is what I installed.

I have an issue where the machine will shut down suddenly under any sign of stress, mainly when on battery power. I've been running Linux's Stress command with various options and when on AC I can run 'stress -c8' for a prolonged period before it shuts down (The temperatures also reach <95C at this point which I can understand causing a shutoff)

However on battery power, I can rarely even log into the device without it powering off. If I boot it with a charger plugged in, and then remove it, 'stress -c2' can cause it to shutdown almost immediately. I have even tried using Linux's cpupower commands to limit the frequency to the lowest setting (from around 3.6GHz max to 1.2GHz) and it will still shut off almost instantly.

Does anyone have any experience with this and can suggest what else to do? I had assumed this was a temperature or power draw issue but I can't understand why this would happen so quickly with the CPU limited this harshly. I can only assume:
- I'm missing something else that is causing this (Could Coreboot be a cause? I used one of the images uploaded to the Wiki)
- Something else is overriding the limiting I am applying, I have tried different Linux distros however and can't see any obvious signs of this.
- It IS still reaching dangerous temperatures/ excessive power draw before I can see the results onscreen.

If any other information would help I am happy to provide it. This is not something I am particularly experienced with, but as this is the only laptop I currently have I am trying my best to save it instead of replacing it.

Thanks for any help.

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Re: Coreboot, T420, I7-3720QM - Shutdown issue

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:47 pm

I've found T420's cooling to be pretty bad for cooling the quad cores, even with a T430 DGPU HSF unit modded in it still sucked big time. With a stock heatsink, even with the base i5 2520m it can work itself up to 95C then start thermal throttling. :roll:
lenovo T420 i5 2520m 16GB QHD w/ eGPU GTX 960
lenovos T520 i7 2720qm 8GB FHD, T420s i5 3320m 8GB QHD, T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD, T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD w/ Optimus, S1 Yoga i7 4600u 8GB FHD
IBM X601 Tablet L7500 8GB SXGA+
Enable 2 finger scroll on old Synaptics touchpads.

RealBlackStuff
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Re: Coreboot, T420, I7-3720QM - Shutdown issue

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:01 am

From what you describe, I'd rather aim at an almost-dead battery.
Still NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff).
Ireland is on FULL lockdown until Easter 2021!
Covid-19: Stay safe, so Mask it or Casket!

Luke-E
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Re: Coreboot, T420, I7-3720QM - Shutdown issue

#4 Post by Luke-E » Tue Sep 29, 2020 1:12 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:01 am
From what you describe, I'd rather aim at an almost-dead battery.
That could be a possibility, I've had the battery for a while. Would that cause a total shutoff though? When it does shut off, I can wait a few seconds and power it back on.
Is there a good way to test the actual "life" of the battery? It's hard to get a grasp of it's capacity with the issues I'm having.

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Re: Coreboot, T420, I7-3720QM - Shutdown issue

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:41 am

Still NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff).
Ireland is on FULL lockdown until Easter 2021!
Covid-19: Stay safe, so Mask it or Casket!

m11k
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Re: Coreboot, T420, I7-3720QM - Shutdown issue

#6 Post by m11k » Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:49 pm

I have coreboot installed on an X230 and T430 (pre-ivyrain, using an external SPI flasher), but I have not experienced this shutdown issue personally.

Do you have tlp installed? You can use

Code: Select all

sudo tlp-stat -b
to show some battery statistics. You can also use TLP to set battery thresholds, and this seems to work with recent coreboot versions (it didn't work when I first installed coreboot a year or two ago). It may also be worthwhile to do a battery calibration. TLP doesn't directly support recalibration after installing coreboot, but you can still do this using ectool, which comes with coreboot. See https://www.coreboot.org/Board:lenovo/x ... _batteries.

Another thought would be an issue with the ME, however that seems unlikely since it works when plugged into AC. I thought that there was some sort of timer in the ME that would turn off or reboot a system after 60 seconds if some other ME function hadn't started. I'm not sure why you needed the ME binary linked to from that URL. I just followed the usual coreboot procedure where you dump the SPI flash, run me_cleaner on the binary, extract out the necessary flash regions using ifdtool, extract the VGA bios using UEFITool, and then build coreboot using the pieces you extracted.

The only strange coreboot issue I've had is that the keyboard doesn't work until after the Linux kernel has loaded. It seems like a coreboot configuration issue on my end though as upgrading coreboot on my X230 resolved the issue, but didn't resolve it for the T430. I need to go back and check the configuration I'm using to build coreboot.

iam4722202468
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Re: Coreboot, T420, I7-3720QM - Shutdown issue

#7 Post by iam4722202468 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:13 pm

I had a similar problem to this with my T420. I have an i7-3740qm and 1440p display, so the laptop draws a lot of current while under load.

The problem is most likely due to voltage sag, when you pull lots of current from the battery the voltage can get pulled below the 10v needed to keep the laptop running and the laptop shuts off. The original battery and third party batteries aren't designed to have a large amount of power being drawn from them. Capacity of batteries normally factors this is, but with an older battery voltage sag might be more of a problem. To check if this is actually the problem you could check voltage with a multimeter while under load and see if it drops below 10v. You can also take out the battery completely and run just on AC power, and see if the problem still occurs. If it does, then it might be a motherboard problem. I haven't experienced this problem since building my own battery, so the battery is most likely the problem.

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