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Just wanted to say thanks after a BIOS scare

T430 and later, plus T530 and later series specific matters only
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Tanbam
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Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:02 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Just wanted to say thanks after a BIOS scare

#1 Post by Tanbam » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:47 pm

Thank you o everyone who keeps this community going. I’ll be posting a donation after I finish this post.

Recently, I acquired a number of older ThinkPads, some broken, some working, so I have a lot of extra parts. I’ve always liked these machines due to their build quality and ease of maintenance

The first one I got working again was a nice W530. I had to wipe the hard drive and add some RAM (32GB), but I also had to buy a new battery and 170W power supply, about $80 on Amazon. The windows key on the sticker actived fine, so I installed Windows 10 and got it going. Playing around with it, I saw that the temps were pretty high, about 90 degrees idle and >110 under load, so I took it apart and repasted the heat sinks. Now it’s a nice, cool 40 degree idle and around 80 under load. I really like that one.

Next, I got a couple of T530’s up and running and gave them to my kids. They’re pretty happy.

After that, I got an X230 working, so it’s a nice little notebook to take when I travel.

I also got two T430’s, but both were broken. One booted immediately to a gray screen, and the other had a fan error. I figured I could build one working one out of the two, so I started taking them apart yesterday to start swapping parts. Wife was not amused, because she’s tired of these things by now!

The one with the fan error had a fan that was hard to turn by hand, so that was toast. When I took it off, I saw that someone had done this before and had just globbed more paste on top of the old paste and put it back together. It was a huge mess of two different types of paste and it was difficult to clean, but i finally got it taken care of. I was afraid that the gray screen on the other one was maybe a bad GPU, so I didn’t focus on that one too much.

I swapped the fans, put it all back together, and tried booting it up. The power button would light up, the fan would spin, but it would shut down before anything came up on the display. I took the RAM out and it would beep, so I tore it apart again and swapped system boards. Booted it up to the gray screen, but on a whim, I swapped the displays and saw the Lenovo splash screen this time, so it was just a bad display.

I put it all back together and installed Windows, and it all seemed to be going well. I installed Vantage and let it do its updates, then started doing the recommended BIOS update. I watched the update, then saw the reboot and the EC update, then walked away while it started to reboot again. When I came back a few minutes later, I saw that it was powered up, but had a black screen. I tried booting up again, still black. I pulled the battery out and tried again, still a dead machine.

At this point, I was almost convinced that I had a bad BIOS flash, and was a little pee'd. I didn’t feel like ripping it apart again, since I’d already spent a couple of hours on it by now. I did some Google searches, and saw that someone here had seen this before, and it was because of the kind or RAM that was installed. In one of the latest BIOS updates, they removed support for 8500 sticks. I pulled out the stick from the bottom, but it still wouldn’t boot up. I pulled the stick under the keyboard, and got the beeps when I booted up - signs of life! I put the one that was in the bottom into the top, and it booted up! I grabbed a different stick of RAM and put it in the bottom, and it still booted up.

I was going to trash it until I read that post, but thanks to this community, I got my T430 working just fine.

I’ve still got a lot of spare parts from some T/Xx20 machines, so I’m debating doing some keyboard swaps. I’ve also done the EC hacks for the battery checks, so I’ve got a pile of batteries that all work now, some are still at 90%.

w0qj
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Re: Just wanted to say thanks after a BIOS scare

#2 Post by w0qj » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:00 am

GOOD to hear that everything is working fine now!

This is what ThinkPads.com is all about; we are all avid ThinkPad users who are willing to share our experience ;)
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 !

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