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X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

Old(er) Thinkpads with New(er) Intestines: X62/T50/T70/X210/X330 etc.
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jamesfawcett
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X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#1 Post by jamesfawcett » Fri Apr 05, 2024 9:00 am

Hi everyone.

I'm on my third X2100/X210 now, 4th batch 10710u, I've got a strange issue where if I shut down the OS and leave the machine without the power cable plugged in, but main battery connected, it seems to lose all bios settings after e length of time (couple of days or so). When the bios clearing has happened, the only way to get the X2100 to boot up is to disconnect the battery and plug it back in.

It's not a big issue I seem to have memorised now where all the settings are copying the recommended XY-Tech settings, it's a bit annoying because it also clears the NVRam so my startup disk is reset back to default too.

If I leave it plugged into a mains charger, it's fine. I've replaced the bios battery with a brand new one.

I am thinking of selling this laptop soon and would like to make it perfect, so it would be good to fix this annoyance.

Any suggestions welcome, thank you.

Thanks
James

RealBlackStuff
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Apr 05, 2024 10:59 am

How about replacing the CMOS battery?
Sounds like yours is dead.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

jamesfawcett
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#3 Post by jamesfawcett » Fri Apr 05, 2024 1:30 pm

I've tried two CMOS batteries from two different sellers, it does the same with both unfortunately. Sorry I should have mentioned that. It does sound like it's the CMOS battery though doesn't it! Especially as it's only after it's sat dormant. I'm just using standard X201 CMOS batteries from ebay.

kfzhu1229
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#4 Post by kfzhu1229 » Fri Apr 05, 2024 2:42 pm

I don't own these but I believe a more "silly" testing method is if you have a bench power supply go and supply 3V to the cmos battery connector and read the power draw. If what you're suggesting is that the CMOS battery runs empty after just a few days (and that the CMOS battery is actually depleted after that said few days with say like only 1V remaining), it could be a very bad omen being that the CMOS circuit inside the chipset is partially shorted, in which case the power draw would read a few hundred mA and up... Just pointing out that unfortunately from what I see online such kind of fault can have the potential to be very fatal faults...
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Precision M4300 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

jamesfawcett
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#5 Post by jamesfawcett » Fri Apr 05, 2024 3:59 pm

Great idea - Do you happen to know what the voltage would be for a "good" cmos battery after a few days storage? I'll leave mine over the weekend then grab the multimeter and I'll start by seeing if I have a parasitic drain. I can compare to my original X201's CMOS battery too.

kfzhu1229
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#6 Post by kfzhu1229 » Fri Apr 05, 2024 5:05 pm

jamesfawcett wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2024 3:59 pm
Great idea - Do you happen to know what the voltage would be for a "good" cmos battery after a few days storage? I'll leave mine over the weekend then grab the multimeter and I'll start by seeing if I have a parasitic drain. I can compare to my original X201's CMOS battery too.
A highly charged CMOS battery is 3V and up. On a typical laptop CMOS it will start to have difficulty with remembering things once your voltage is like significantly below 2V
Maybe it's an even better idea for you to have two identical rebuilt/replacement CMOS battery packs never used, plug one in that mobo and one inside a regular X2xx, and see 4 days later just how much more drain your mobo drew vs the thinkpad motherboard.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Precision M4300 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

jamesfawcett
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#7 Post by jamesfawcett » Sun Apr 07, 2024 3:03 pm

Great idea! It's so easy to swap that I will try the same battery in both my original standard X201 and my X2100.

I wanted to test the voltage today after leaving it unplugged all weekend, but unfortunately (or fortunately!?) it hadn't lost settings.

I use this X2100 a hackintosh machine running Mac OS Sonoma, and I'm wondering now if it's something to do with the shutdown procedure. Something I did differently on Friday was I booted into Windows before shutting down.

I'm going to try trigger the fault again and test the same battery in both machines, I'll post my findings when I never news, thanks for your help :)

jamesfawcett
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#8 Post by jamesfawcett » Fri Apr 12, 2024 3:16 am

I'm struggling to reproduce the issue now. I swapped the BIOS battery, and the old battery had 3.11v so I think that rules it out being flat? I learnt something new too, I didn't realise the BIOS batteries were not rechargeable, I thought the machine charges them whilst it was powered on, but infact they seem to have a life span of 5 years?

kfzhu1229
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#9 Post by kfzhu1229 » Fri Apr 12, 2024 2:34 pm

jamesfawcett wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2024 3:16 am
I'm struggling to reproduce the issue now. I swapped the BIOS battery, and the old battery had 3.11v so I think that rules it out being flat? I learnt something new too, I didn't realise the BIOS batteries were not rechargeable, I thought the machine charges them whilst it was powered on, but infact they seem to have a life span of 5 years?
The CR2032 is indeed not rechargeable. Most of the time tho the manufacturers will use those kind of coin cells optimised for long lifespan and also most laptops will not use the CMOS battery for date and time when the laptop has charger power or powered on, or in the case of Dell and HP laptops, also when there's a working battery attached.
If you want something that's rechargable there is the ML1220 rechargable cells (much smaller in size, often times found soldered on motherboards, Toshiba loves to use them)
Well, then I guess it is possible that the laptop's CMOS had some corrupted information from the previously bad CMOS battery that needed a full disconnect of power to fully reset?
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Precision M4300 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

jamesfawcett
Freshman Member
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2021 9:45 am
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#10 Post by jamesfawcett » Wed May 08, 2024 5:26 am

Right so just to update this - I've figured out a bit more about what's happening.

If I leave the machine for a long period of time without the mains power connected, when I power it back on there is a 20 second wait before it starts up. When this happens, I have previously been then taking out the battery thinking that it needs resetting. I didn't realise that it would eventually turn on. I think it must be BIOS related, and my action of taking out the main battery whilst it's doing something in the background, has been possibly corrupting/wiping the bios?

I've not removed the main battery since and I've been waiting for it to complete whatever it's doing, and everything has been perfect.

I found this link https://www.xyte.ch/2021/12/14/x2100-me ... E%20issue. relating to a soldering fix for ME, but mine is a 4th batch motherboard so I don't think it applies to me - can anyone confirm? It does seem to match my symptoms!

flyingfishfinger
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#11 Post by flyingfishfinger » Wed May 08, 2024 4:07 pm

I've also often had the "long pause before BIOS" issue. When I was playing around with coreboot in particular it seemed to be the RAM retraining issue. I've had times where it did not happen, but I have no clue what those times corresponded to. I gave up chasing it after a while, since everything else seems to be fine.

jamesfawcett
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Re: X2100 loses bios settings if left unplugged

#12 Post by jamesfawcett » Fri May 10, 2024 3:48 am

flyingfishfinger wrote:
Wed May 08, 2024 4:07 pm
I've also often had the "long pause before BIOS" issue. When I was playing around with coreboot in particular it seemed to be the RAM retraining issue. I've had times where it did not happen, but I have no clue what those times corresponded to. I gave up chasing it after a while, since everything else seems to be fine.
How do you feel about doing the solder mod? I have seen that you can achieve the same by modifying the sound board rather than soldering straight onto the motherboard. I have a spare X201 for parts, I am tempted to do it - but also like you say, now I know that everything works fine despite the occasional long wait, I'm tempted to leave it.

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