Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

Older ThinkPads.. from the 600, the 7xx, the iSeries, 300, 500, the Transnote and, of course, the 701
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goldeneagle
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Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#1 Post by goldeneagle » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:52 pm

Just wanted to see if anyone's picked up a vintage ThinkPad on ebay and opened the box to find a computer that smells like a Las Vegas casino ashtray.

This computer is REALLY bad. I gave the exterior a twice over with a rag and Windex, but it's still pungent. I'm currently sick and can't smell otherwise, but I can sure smell this computer (755CD that actually works). I hate to imagine how it'd smell if I wasn't sick...
Historic ThinkPads owned:
300, 360C, 360CE, 360CSE, 510CS, 560, 560E, 701C, 701CS, 730TE, 750, 755C, 755CE, 755CD, 760ED
Newer ThinkPads owned:
T520, W520, X220 Tablet

MikalE
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Re: Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#2 Post by MikalE » Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:18 pm

The cigarette smoke along with all of the tar suspended in the smoke has permeated every nook and cranny of your system I'm afraid.

Just cleaning the outside of the case will do little to help though it may remove the tar film that undoubtedly has developed on the outside.

I would suggest a few shots of Ozium in the fan intake, but this might be risky. You might also get a solid can of the stuff and pull your case apart and after cleaning everything you possibly can get to, chip off a few small pieces of the Ozium solid and attach them to parts in the clear of the inside of the case and hope it will eliminate the odors.

I'm a seven year ex-smoker so I know exactly what this smells like. Fortunately I didn't start buying laptops until after I had quit.

I don't have any other suggestions except to tear it down to the chassis and clean everything.
T510 i5, T510 i7 4349-A64 - T520 i7 4242-4UU, technically a CTO now.

T520: i7-2760QM(2.40GHz),16GB RAM, 500GB SSD/500GB 7200 RPM Drive, 15.6in 1600x900 LCD, 1GB NVIDIA, DVDRW, Smartcard reader, media card reader, FPR, Win10 Pro64, whitelist BIOS, Ultimate-N 6300 AGN, German KB, Bluetooth 4.0.

goldeneagle
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Re: Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#3 Post by goldeneagle » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:27 pm

MikalE wrote:The cigarette smoke along with all of the tar suspended in the smoke has permeated every nook and cranny of your system I'm afraid.

Just cleaning the outside of the case will do little to help though it may remove the tar film that undoubtedly has developed on the outside.

I would suggest a few shots of Ozium in the fan intake, but this might be risky. You might also get a solid can of the stuff and pull your case apart and after cleaning everything you possibly can get to, chip off a few small pieces of the Ozium solid and attach them to parts in the clear of the inside of the case and hope it will eliminate the odors.

I'm a seven year ex-smoker so I know exactly what this smells like. Fortunately I didn't start buying laptops until after I had quit.

I don't have any other suggestions except to tear it down to the chassis and clean everything.
I'm thinking of going the teardown route as well. I've been an ex-smoker myself for over a year and a half, but I never smoked in the car or around my computers, and this ThinkPad is unreal with the smell.

It's so hard to find a 755CD, so I don't know what the seller on ebay will be able to work out. The condition, except for the stench, is better than described on the plus side.
Historic ThinkPads owned:
300, 360C, 360CE, 360CSE, 510CS, 560, 560E, 701C, 701CS, 730TE, 750, 755C, 755CE, 755CD, 760ED
Newer ThinkPads owned:
T520, W520, X220 Tablet

ZaZ
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Re: Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#4 Post by ZaZ » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:06 am

Yes, I have. I once got a ThinkPad via that looked like it was used in a digital sweatshop where they chain smoked, though it was supposedly in great condition. Needless to say, I disputed it and won, though I had to pay return shipping, which I was glad to do.
E7440

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Re: Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#5 Post by pidjones » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:28 am

You might put it in a box with an ozone generator. Servepro uses big ones to deodor after house fires. Warning that ozone is hard on plastic, however.

goldeneagle
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Re: Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#6 Post by goldeneagle » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:59 am

ZaZ wrote:Yes, I have. I once got a ThinkPad via that looked like it was used in a digital sweatshop where they chain smoked, though it was supposedly in great condition. Needless to say, I disputed it and won, though I had to pay return shipping, which I was glad to do.
I ended up disputing this one as well, and the return got decided on by ebay in my favor. The seller offered me 50 bucks to keep it, but even after airing out for 2 weeks, it still stinks. This computer redefines chain smoking - more like the brink of a lung cancer diagnosis. The sad part is the condition is pretty good, much better than the auction describes anyways.
Historic ThinkPads owned:
300, 360C, 360CE, 360CSE, 510CS, 560, 560E, 701C, 701CS, 730TE, 750, 755C, 755CE, 755CD, 760ED
Newer ThinkPads owned:
T520, W520, X220 Tablet

aptivaboy
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Location: Trabuco Canyon, California

Re: Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#7 Post by aptivaboy » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:06 pm

Yup, happened to me. I am fortunate in having a covered balcony so I opened everything up - battery compartment, CD drives, everything - and just let it air out for a couple of weeks. I also cleaned it thoroughly and was able to get the odor manageable, but never completely gone. Wow, what a horrid stench.

Who in their right mind would ever smoke? I just don't get it.

MikalE
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Re: Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#8 Post by MikalE » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:17 pm

Unless you grew up in that era of 'fashionable smoking' you probably wouldn't understand.

A lot of us from that era wish we hadn't started but didn't figure that out until something bad happened or was diagnosed with something that was going to be bad.

I quit seven years ago and I wish it had been longer. But I'm relatively OK after surgery. A lot of people aren't as lucky as I was.
T510 i5, T510 i7 4349-A64 - T520 i7 4242-4UU, technically a CTO now.

T520: i7-2760QM(2.40GHz),16GB RAM, 500GB SSD/500GB 7200 RPM Drive, 15.6in 1600x900 LCD, 1GB NVIDIA, DVDRW, Smartcard reader, media card reader, FPR, Win10 Pro64, whitelist BIOS, Ultimate-N 6300 AGN, German KB, Bluetooth 4.0.

Puppy
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Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Re: Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#9 Post by Puppy » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:18 am

aptivaboy wrote:Who in their right mind would ever smoke? I just don't get it.
I can understand it. This country is the last one in EU where no smoking ban applies. You can find several non-smoking restaurants in big cities but music clubs for instance are hopeless. That's why I travel for concerts to Germany, Poland or Slovakia where the smoking ban works.

On the other hand this is one of few advantages of being anosmic :) I lost my sense of smell and taste two years ago after an upper respiratory infection, there is no treatment and probability of recover is almost zero now (first month it was total disaster for me because wine tasting was my hobby for past 15 years but now I can live with that). So I could use such machine without being bothered by the terrible smell I hated all my life.
ThinkPad (1992 - 2012): R51, X31, X220, Tablet 8

sebileis2017
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Re: Getting the smell of ashtray off an ebay acquisition

#10 Post by sebileis2017 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:37 am

MikalE wrote:The cigarette smoke along with all of the tar suspended in the smoke has permeated every nook and cranny of your system I'm afraid.

Just cleaning the outside of the case will do little to help though it may remove the tar film that undoubtedly has developed on the outside.

I would suggest a few shots of Ozium in the fan intake, but this might be risky. You might also get a solid can of the stuff and pull your case apart and after cleaning everything you possibly can get to, chip off a few small pieces of the Ozium solid and attach them to parts in the clear of the inside of the case and hope it will eliminate the odors.

I'm a seven year ex-smoker so I know exactly what this smells like. Fortunately I didn't start buying laptops until after I had quit.

I don't have any other suggestions except to tear it down to the chassis and clean everything.


I have to agree, the best way to get rid of the smell would probably be to take the entire system apart and clean every component that you can. If possible remove any electronics from the casing and wash out the plastic, it is time-consuming but can make a huge difference. If it has a CPU fan (I am not familiar with the 755CE) then be sure to clean that out too. It's hard to clean a circuit board but you could use some compressed air on it and that may help. There's probably other tips and tricks that can be found online, but that's what I would suggest.
Daily Driver: T420, 2.6 Ghz Core i5, 8GB RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB SSD
Secondary laptop: X61, 2.00 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, SanDisk 120GB SSD
Other ThinkPads: T60, T61, T400, T410, X201
For parts/retirement: T41, T43, R51
Non-ThinkPad laptops: MacBook 4,1; MacBook 5,1

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