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X62: SATA interface unresponsive, rest of the machine works fine

Old(er) Thinkpads with New(er) Intestines: X62 / T50 / T70 / etc.
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twisting_edge
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Location: Larchmont, NY

X62: SATA interface unresponsive, rest of the machine works fine

#1 Post by twisting_edge » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:27 pm

I recently purchased an 3rd batch X62 motherboard and installed it. See viewtopic.php?f=80&t=122926&start=30#p803169.

I can boot the system off a USB (64 bit Lubuntu), and everything except the disk seems to work fine, keyboard, trackpoint, screen (didn't try sound). Wireless was reporting very poor reception, even though I was close to my router, but that could be the house. It is a side issue until I get the drive straightened out.

There appears to be no disk, even though I have plugged one in. In fact, I tried two: a Kingston SSD and the original mechanical HD from the X61 the SSD usually lives in. My X61 successfully booted off both drives (each has Lubuntu installed). The X62 doesn't seem to see either of them. The boot order options shows a blank screen in the X62's BIOS, or just the USB (if present). I've restored the BIOS factory defaults a few times.

I removed the motherboard and partially removed the daughtercard. Shining a bright light between the two, I could verify all the pins were straight (pulling it out only verifies the pins *were* straight before you put it back in). I read somewhere of SATA issues with the X62, and that it was recommended you put extra insulation on the bottom of the daughtercard. Mine had a piece of masking tape there, but the points of the pins (the part on the back of the card) felt pretty sharp through the tape, so I placed more insulation on them (if there was a short, the damage may already have been done).

One deviation from the instructions I made was installing the shiny metal shield, not much thicker than a very heavy foil, that covers the opening in the battery bay next to the fan. That shield was present in the X60 I was installing in, and I assumed it was an oversight in the instructions. Without that shield, the LCD cable is exposed in the battery bay.

I'm hoping this is a BIOS issue, although the motherboard did come off eBay, so it may be faulty.

I took pictures of all the BIOS screens, these are just the ones that seemed more relevant. There's nine images in total.
http://verdomde.net/xfr/tpf/DSC02782.JPG
NOTE: Serial ATA Ports 2 & 3 looked just like 1, pictured above.
http://verdomde.net/xfr/tpf/DSC02784.JPG
http://verdomde.net/xfr/tpf/DSC02789.JPG
X22, X32, X40, X41, 3 x X61, W530 - all run just fine, X32 is 1.7GHz/2Gb - surprisingly functional
Daily driver: X41 - the W530 is a work machine foisted upon me by my employer
I'm not actually a ThinkPad junkie, it just worked out that way.

fatpolomanjr
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Re: X62: SATA interface unresponsive, rest of the machine works fine

#2 Post by fatpolomanjr » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:58 am

I know there was an issue with flashing the 1210 BIOS (meant for 3rd batch) onto the first batch X62:

https://forum.51nb.com/forum.php?mod=vi ... a=page%3D8

"2.5-inch disk solid state does not recognize the situation"

But I haven't heard about SATA drives not being recognized with other combinations of BIOS and X62 batch. If you do in fact have a 1st batch X62 then I hear the best BIOS / EC combination to use is the July 2016 version.
T70 | 15" UXGA LED with RealBlackStuff LED-Cable-Mod | i7-7700HQ | Windows 10
X62 | 12.1" SXGA+ Xiphmont LED | i7-5500U | Xubuntu / Windows 10
T61F | 14.1" SXGA+ Xiphmont LED | T9500 | Windows 10

NonesensE
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Location: GF/BS/OHA, Germany

Re: X62: SATA interface unresponsive, rest of the machine works fine

#3 Post by NonesensE » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:51 am

If you plug the hdd or ssd in and start from USB, can you see the ssd/hdd after boot in the live OS? If so, it's probably an issue with the boot configuration (csm/uefi). Clean install iis recommended.
Sometimes coming over from the German forum...
X62s 3rd batch, [s]T61[/s] T70 14" 4:3 1st batch

xiphmont
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Re: X62: SATA interface unresponsive, rest of the machine works fine

#4 Post by xiphmont » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:33 pm

I just pulled out the second of my 2nd batch (3rd batch? Not sure which) X62 mobos to install, and the primary SATA channel failed during an OS install (the channel connected to the 2.5" bay) after some amount of heatsink fettling. Previously, it appeared to work properly, now it does not see 90% of disks at all. I have one SSD that will still be detected, but only if the interface is pegged to Sata-I (Gen1) speed in the BIOS.

The symptoms are the same as yours, though the interface worked briefly. The other SATA channels appear to be working properly. Its brother board, a consecutive serial number, is still functioning properly on all channels.

Re-routing the mostly-dead sata channel through twisted pair directly off the pads next to the processor package didn't fix anything, so it's not due to channel 0 being routed right under the VRM (!!) or a fault in the internal motherboard layers. Power to the bay looks fine on a scope, and using an alternate breakout board also solved nothing.

So either the i7-5500u fried a SATA channel, or the processor soldering job is flaky. On the theory that the processor was soldered using the newer LTS (low temp solder) technique with bismuth paste plugs (inspecting with a stereo microscope, it sure looks like an LTS plug job), I tried a low-temp reflow at 180C. The plugs appeared to have re-melted when I inspected afterward, but no improvement to the SATA problem.

So... either conductive debris from the original reflow is stuck under the package, I'm wrong about the bismuth solder, or the Broadwell itself is damaged. Or, this is a weird BIOS failure, but I'm still guessing hardware.

I wasn't brave enough yet to try replacing the processor package, as the board is still otherwise functioning properly. But if anything else acts up, I'm going for soldering a new processor (and inspecting the previous reflow job).

TL;DR: I think this is a hardware failure that is happening on some X62 boards.

Monty

twisting_edge
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:32 pm
Location: Larchmont, NY

Re: X62: SATA interface unresponsive, rest of the machine works fine

#5 Post by twisting_edge » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:46 pm

This project's just been sitting on my bench for months with zero progress. Time for it to go away. I need the space back.

Before I dump the board into a drawer, I thought I'd try flashing the BIOS. Issue: all the hits I get looking for x62 BIOS updates are in Chinese (no real surprise). Does anyone know where to find the appropriate tools for a 3rd generation x62 motherboard or even if they exist? I am not up to connecting wires directly to the motherboard to flash the BIOS (not without painfully explicit instructions, in any case). I need a software fix.

If anyone wants to buy the motherboard, BTW, I'm open to offers. Needless to say, I will *not* warrant suitability for any use. I can fire up the machine and verify functionality like the video output, trackpoint, keyboard, etc. It boots off the USB just fine, and I think there's another port in the middle of the board for a card reader. You could probably boot off that if you wanted.
X22, X32, X40, X41, 3 x X61, W530 - all run just fine, X32 is 1.7GHz/2Gb - surprisingly functional
Daily driver: X41 - the W530 is a work machine foisted upon me by my employer
I'm not actually a ThinkPad junkie, it just worked out that way.

xiphmont
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:46 pm
Location: Jaffrey, NH
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Re: X62: SATA interface unresponsive, rest of the machine works fine

#6 Post by xiphmont » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:50 pm

Weird, I was going to send you a PM yesterday offering to buy the board, and simply forgot. I want to debug more thoroughly...

PMing now.

Monty

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