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What's killing my X1?

X1/X1-Carbon (X1Cx)/X1-Extreme (X1Ex) series and later, specific matters only
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Mightyena
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2015 3:58 pm
Location: London, England

What's killing my X1?

#1 Post by Mightyena » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:03 am

Hi there,

So I have an original X1 (1291-CTO), the pre-carbon model with the i5-2520M. Had it for around a year now, until not long ago (must have been around early November) it died on me. Was just sitting on my desk, when it shut down and all lights went out. Unplugged the charger/battery, and then reconnected the charger, and the green LED by the charging port, and the one on the fingerprint reader lit up. Pressed the power button and the fingerprint LED went out, nothing else happened. Now plugging in the charger only causes the LED by the port to light up, but no other signs of life.

I assumed this was some catastrophic motherboard failure, so found a replacement board, installed it, and all was well once more...

Until it suddenly wasn't, and it did exactly the same thing again. Well, this time I put it to sleep, and in the morning it was off, unresponsive to the power button, and the only sign of life was the little green charging LED. Tried unplugging all batteries, both internal and CMOS, holding down the reset button, reseating everything with a socket, bargaining with it, threatening it. Nothing convinced it to come back to life.

Now, about a week ago, I saw another one on ebay, and since I quite like it (I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it, the X1 is about equal parts brilliant and terrible), I decided to buy it. The 8GB RAM and SSD probably helped that decision.
Anyway, when it arrived, everything seems to be woking properly, but it's in much worse physical condition than my old unit - it has a US keyboard (that feels mushy and horrible, like someone poured a jar of jam down it), the paint is scuffed off the hinges, the touchpad is a little sticky, and the lid is... hard? It kind of feels like the same texture as the rubberised finish, but made of hard plastic instead.

I want to swap over the lid,palmrest and battery from the old machine, but I daren't until I know what's been killing the motherboards - I don't want to swap it over and have a third one die. Does anything stand out as being the culprit to you knowledgeable types?

PS: additional info, when I first got it, the right trackpoint button didn't work, so i got a new keyboard, which fixed it. Then a couple of weeks later that keyboard also had its right button stop working too. Don't really want to buy another now though, since keyboards for it are about £80 on ebay! Maybe the machine is just haunted...
In regular use:
T440p, T420, X230, X1

Part of the collection:
T61p, X201, X220, X300, X301, X100e, T61(14"), T61(15.4") 2xX200

Pending TLC:
T60, X240, T440

RealBlackStuff
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Re: What's killing my X1?

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:22 pm

That's sad to hear.
My daughter has an X1 (1294-AY2), that she only uses to watch TV with.
She only has wifi in her apartment, so she watches the likes of Hulu, Amazon, Netflix etc. through the laptop,
which is hooked up to the TV via HDMI (that HDMI is the reason she wanted it).
She also has a work-supplied fruit-machine :BAAAD!: , which she uses for all other computer stuff.

One thing comes to mind: the X1 needs a 90W charger to function properly.
Are you using a 65W by any chance?
Have you tried your 'new dirty oldie' with another charger?
Because I think your charger may have caused those problems with the other machine.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And pigs CAN fly!
Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

Mightyena
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2015 3:58 pm
Location: London, England

Re: What's killing my X1?

#3 Post by Mightyena » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:45 pm

The main charger I'm using is the 90W one that came with my T420, and yes I've used it with the new one for about a week now, and the T420 for about 6 years, though I usually alternate between about 3 or so chargers that stay plugged in in various rooms.

Interesting that it requires a 90W adapter, I would have guessed it could run fine on a 65W since it seems to be pretty similar inside to an X220
In regular use:
T440p, T420, X230, X1

Part of the collection:
T61p, X201, X220, X300, X301, X100e, T61(14"), T61(15.4") 2xX200

Pending TLC:
T60, X240, T440

w0qj
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Location: Hong Kong

Re: What's killing my X1?

#4 Post by w0qj » Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:12 pm

Just to ensure everyone's on the same page:

I believe OP's X1 with i5-2520M (circa 2011 CPU) was the original X1 model launched in 2011.
OP did clearly state that his X1 was "pre-Carbon" model.

ie: OP is not referring to X1 Carbon (1st Generation), which was first launched in 2012.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinkPad_X_series#X1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinkPad_X1_Carbon
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

RealBlackStuff
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Re: What's killing my X1?

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:59 pm

What makes you think I was NOT talking about an X1?
(FYI: the X1C doesn't have HDMI).

w0qj
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Re: What's killing my X1?

#6 Post by w0qj » Tue Dec 25, 2018 10:00 pm

Hey, do take it easy!

Real ThinkPad expert veterans like you can distinguish different models easily!

I myself got confused with OP's X1 (circa 2011).
I originally missed OP's reference to the original X1 (circa 2011).
I actually thought OP was referring to X1 Carbon Generation 1 or Generation 2 (circa 2012 & circa 2013 respectively), which was incorrect.
My bad.

Just thought others like me might make this same mistake in identifying OP's X1 model.
RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:59 pm
What makes you think I was NOT talking about an X1?
(FYI: the X1C doesn't have HDMI).
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: What's killing my X1?

#7 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Tue Dec 25, 2018 10:48 pm

There is a reason they are labeled

X1
X1C
̶X̶1̶C̶2̶ Piece of Sh*t
X1C3
etc...
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.

RealBlackStuff
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Re: What's killing my X1?

#8 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:47 am

One other 'trick' to maybe bring some life back in the X1:
remove main battery and charger, hold down the power button for 20 seconds, then insert only charger and try to boot.
Also, if you remove RAM and then try to boot, does it beep 1-3-3-1?
If yes, there is still life in it!
Lovely day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And pigs CAN fly!
Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

Mightyena
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2015 3:58 pm
Location: London, England

Re: What's killing my X1?

#9 Post by Mightyena » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:36 pm

Yeah, this has lead to confusion in the past. Since the X1 was pretty rare most people automatically assume I mean the X1C...

RBS, that was one of the first things I tried. In both situations (main+CMOS batteries and charger out, left overnight, then hold down power for 30 seconds, replug CMOS and charger) and removing RAM, nothing happens when I hit the power button. No lights, no fan. Just the little green charge LED on the back.

So you think it would be OK to swap over the keyboard, lid and palmrest/touchpad from the old machine?
In regular use:
T440p, T420, X230, X1

Part of the collection:
T61p, X201, X220, X300, X301, X100e, T61(14"), T61(15.4") 2xX200

Pending TLC:
T60, X240, T440

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