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W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

W500/510/520 and W700/710 series specific matters only
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MSKFAHIM
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W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#1 Post by MSKFAHIM » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:05 pm

Hello,

My ThinkPad W520 shutdown without any warning today. Then as I tried to boot it back up using the power button, I started hearing this periodic low volume but screeching noise coming from a place that sounded like it was close to the fan. I tried to lift the laptop up and get my ears close to the region when I started seeing smoke coming out through the USB ports on the left!

I immediately unplugged the laptop, disconnected the battery and got my HDD out of that machine just in case.

Any clue as to what just happened? I tried testing the power adaptor with a multi-meter and the reading I get is 23.9 volts while the power adaptor says it should be 20 volts. Does that have anything to do with what just happened?

I'd really appreciate some help with how I could go about diagnosing what exactly went wrong and what to do about it.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#2 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:36 pm

The voltage going into the laptop is regulated inside the internal DC-DC board, so that shouldn't have caused it. You could have possibly blown up the fan. You might want to use another external power supply to power the fan and see if it smokes. Otherwise, just clean the USB ports to get rid of the vaping gremlins that live inside :lol: .
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#3 Post by MSKFAHIM » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:40 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:36 pm
The voltage going into the laptop is regulated inside the internal DC-DC board, so that shouldn't have caused it. You could have possibly blown up the fan.
If I blew the fan up, that's actually good news. Much better than me frying something else that's not easily replaceable.

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:36 pm
You might want to use another external power supply to power the fan and see if it smokes. Otherwise, just clean the USB ports to get rid of the vaping gremlins that live inside :lol: .
I'm wondering how I'd actually test that fan at home. Might have to bring that back to the lab.

I really am hoping that it was the fan that burnt out.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#4 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:48 pm

Ive burnt a few fans up before. It could also be some passive component or something. Look on the board to see what is burnt. I doubt it was the CPU or some IC chip.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:39 pm

Fans run on 5V DC, not 20V.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#6 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:50 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:Fans run on 5V DC, not 20V.
Usually not voltage that kills em'. Its usually bonehead me reversing the polarity.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#7 Post by MSKFAHIM » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:26 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:48 pm
Ive burnt a few fans up before. It could also be some passive component or something. Look on the board to see what is burnt. I doubt it was the CPU or some IC chip.
This is what it looks like when I try to turn it on now without the mains connection plugged in:

https://youtu.be/sZUtfroggaM

The HDD isn't in there so of course it can't boot up. However, it's showing some strange behaviour. There's a strange sound coming from the fan and I also heard strange static-like sounds coming from the left speaker.

Also, I did a forced shutdown by holding on to the power button until it shutdown. However, once I do that, the machine becomes non-responsive until I disconnect the battery and reconnect and try again!

I'm too afraid to plug in the adaptor and see what happens!

P.S. Right after I ended the filming, the fan started spinning again although it was turned off and struggling to spin the whole time before that.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#8 Post by MSKFAHIM » Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:39 pm

https://image.ibb.co/gSCdam/IMG_0976.jpg

Dismantled the whole thing and plugged in the motherboard and verified that the plugging in does cause it to smoke.

That's what happened! It's burnt in there.

Now I have to find a replacement motherboard! Any help would be much appreciated.


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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#9 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:41 am

If you have some SMD soldering knowlege, replacing that capacitor shouldnt be too difficult. Otherwise, you will be replacing the mobo.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#10 Post by MikalE » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:31 am

I would replace all four of those to be certain, but it looks like the second from the left is the one that smoked.
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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#11 Post by MSKFAHIM » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:02 am

MikalE wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:31 am
I would replace all four of those to be certain, but it looks like the second from the left is the one that smoked.
Would you guys have any idea as to how much it may cost to get those capacitors replaced? I'm not sure about the cost of such things in the western world. If it's too high, it might make more sense for me to just buy a new motherboard.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#12 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:25 am

Those are all SMD capacitors SC10U25V6KX-1GP (10 uF, 25V).
They probably don't cost more than ~$0.20 each, but labor might be expensive, if you can't do it yourself.
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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#13 Post by thinkpadcollection » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:02 pm

Had a DSL modem's transformer wart go up in smoke when big multi-layer SMD tan capacitor shorted out in power input circuit and there were no fuse to protect transformer. I used a gutted VCR with compatible voltage and fused by design of course for several years afterwards! :)

See if you can have a go at swapping these capacitors?

Cheers, thinkpadcollection

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#14 Post by kfzhu1229 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:51 pm

had capacitors burnt in my A31p like that before (the ones near the cpu), replaced it with capacitor on a dead T41p motherboard with similar size and problem solved.
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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#15 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:20 am

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:51 pm
had capacitors burnt in my A31p like that before (the ones near the cpu), replaced it with capacitor on a dead T41p motherboard with similar size and problem solved.
Did you use a reflow station or a bog standard soldering iron?
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#16 Post by kfzhu1229 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:30 am

my capacitor that burned is one of the bigger ones (the ones beside the cpu) and soldering iron does the job done - though it's a bit sideways.
https://m.imgur.com/a/Lo658
_________________________________
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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

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#17 Post by MSKFAHIM » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:30 am

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:30 am
my capacitor that burned is one of the bigger ones (the ones beside the cpu) and soldering iron does the job done - though it's a bit sideways.
https://m.imgur.com/a/Lo658
Wish at least one of the places in my city would accept the job!

Do you know why capacitors would just randomly explode like that?

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Re: W520: Smoke came out of my laptop!

#18 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:34 am

Because Capacitors suck and can be little p***ks.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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