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My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

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Deb Suran

My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#1 Post by Deb Suran » Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:23 am

There are some known issues with the A2x series, here is the list of things to try if you have intermittent power problems.

1) Take the battery out and try using just the AC adapter.
2) Unplug and just use batter power.
3) Re-seat the RAM chip(s)
4) Replace the CMOS battery (it's tucked under the edge of the case in the other compartment).
5) Re-seat the CPU chip. This is more involved than any other operation, you'll need to pick up the Hardware Maintenance Manual (PDF) and print it out. The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow, although you can help yourself out a bit by writing down which type of screw you remove as you progress through the process of dismantling your ThinkPad. It makes putting it back together go a little faster.

If none of that worked, your motherboard is probably toast. Sorry! The A2x-series seems to have a higher failure rate than other models, I read somewhere that one or two power management chips on the mobo are failure-prone.

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#2 Post by betabily » Fri Nov 25, 2005 8:11 pm

Also, remove the ethernet/modem combo daughter card. Thats what revived my dead T-21.

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#3 Post by AlphaKilo470 » Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:06 pm

I have an A21m that turns off at random without warning and I'm pretty sure the fan has something to do with it. The fan will run at full speed in the BIOS but then cut off after and never come back on. After a while the system jsut shuts off, without the fan ever coming back on. I'm not sure why the fan is staying off though, I think something that has to do with power management is broken.
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#4 Post by david9 » Tue Mar 14, 2006 1:01 am

I have an A20 Battery going cheap ($40.00us) plus ($16.00us shipping)
please email: therealcableguy@hotmail.com

This WILL solve your BIOS problems permanently!!!

Upgrade or back flash it does not matter with a GENUINE battery!

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#5 Post by agarza » Tue Oct 31, 2006 7:11 pm

That's weird. I've owned a A22e since 2001 and I haven't had any problems, except the hard disk was damaged and was replaced under warranty (the last day I called support, that was the expiration date of the 1-year warranty :shock: )

My A22e has served me well and now is in hands of my father. Still the cover is very tightened that you need to hold with one hand the palmrest and then lift up the cover
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#6 Post by Mathdoc » Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:17 pm

I have a power problem with my recent purchase of a Thinkpad A21p The hard drive had been completely wiped clean before I bought it. I was not able to keep the power on for more than 5 minutes whether I used the power cord and battery or the power cord without the battery. However, since the battery was charged when I got it, I was able to install the operating system and lots of software just on the battery alone. Once the battery lost all its charge I have never been able to get the laptop to stay on more than 5 minutes.

I have tried different power cords and I have bought a docking station and nothing makes a difference. I will try steps 3 and 4 above. Any one have this problem begin right after the hard drive was wiped clean with software? (Not sure exactly how it was wiped clean but I know it was not the standard way.)

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#7 Post by BillMorrow » Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:36 pm

Mathdoc wrote:I have a power problem with my recent purchase of a Thinkpad A21p The hard drive had been completely wiped clean before I bought it. I was not able to keep the power on for more than 5 minutes whether I used the power cord and battery or the power cord without the battery. However, since the battery was charged when I got it, I was able to install the operating system and lots of software just on the battery alone. Once the battery lost all its charge I have never been able to get the laptop to stay on more than 5 minutes.

I have tried different power cords and I have bought a docking station and nothing makes a difference. I will try steps 3 and 4 above. Any one have this problem begin right after the hard drive was wiped clean with software? (Not sure exactly how it was wiped clean but I know it was not the standard way.)
a few essential test need to be done..

is your AC adapter working..? i.e. have you tested it with a volt meter..?
if it IS working,
does the A21 show it is being powered by the AC adapter..?
if not, is the connector making good contact with the female connector in the thinkpad..?

it looks like the battery is not being charged because there is a fault with the thinkpad charging circuit or the battery..

what OS did you install..?
do you have the power manager applet..?
what does it show about the battery..?
Deb Suran wrote:If none of that worked, your motherboard is probably toast. Sorry! The A2x-series seems to have a higher failure rate than other models, I read somewhere that one or two power management chips on the mobo are failure-prone.
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#8 Post by Mathdoc » Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:38 pm

Thank you for your response.

Yes the Ac adapter is working and I have tested it with a volt meter. Windows 2000 is installed and the A21 shows it is being powered by the Ac adapter for about 5 minutes and then shuts off. Without the battery installed I have been able to keep it going for about 15 minutes. When the battery and adapter are both installed I can sometimes get the power on by taking out the battery and then installing it (lasts about 5 minutes).

When the battery had a full charge and I was running the laptop on just the battery, the strength of the battery was displayed on the task bar. I did not think that the motherboard was toast since the laptop ran fine on just the battery.

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#9 Post by rkawakami » Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:50 pm

Could be a thermal problem. Download a copy of MobileMeter from here:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Sys ... eter.shtml

Run it and report the temperatures of the CPU when first turned on and when it shuts down.
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#10 Post by frankiepankie » Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:42 pm

I have a A21m sitting here, which sometimes instantly reboots at bootscreen, all lights go on/off, i hear the DVD drive spin up/down, HDD on/off, all like a madman :shock:

How can i fix this?

I tried using only AC > same
Battery only > Same
Reseat ram > same
reseat CPU > same
Didn't replace the CMOS because i measured it with a multimeter, and it was fully charged :)

A sidenote: It doesn't always act this weird, sometimes it will work without a problem.
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#11 Post by SMA » Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:49 pm

Try removing the MiniPCI card - if any.

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#12 Post by frankiepankie » Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:57 pm

Tried it, didn't work.

MiniPCI is a Xircom modem+ Intel 10/100, but i'm not sure.

It is not a buggy 3COM where people are having troubles with.
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#13 Post by tectron » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:12 am

I have a a22m that is totally dead no lights no sounds, nothing. I have ruled out the ac adapter by trying to power it up with one of the lab supplies here at work, still dead.

Now I have seen some places that repair think pad motherboards, so there is undoubtedly some components that commonly fail. I have googled the a22m to death trying to find a tutorial, pictures or anything about doing component level repair but I haven't found anything.

I have a bunch of surface mount equipment at my disposal and would like to get as much info as I can before I tear it apart and start trying to fix it myself. If anyone has any good links pertaining to those matters, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#14 Post by brusa » Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:23 pm

Hi all,

New here and first post.

I had from a friend an old A21e that used to be my backup machine for short time works.
Linux on it or Win depending on what I'm in the need for but does not matter.

Last time I turned it off it was linux xubuntu (but still think it doen't matter)

After a little while (two or three moths) I tried to turn it on. It just did not strat.

Battery was completly out, yellow light, but it's old and does not survive more than 20 min.
Anyway it was loaded by the AC adapter in about 30/40min going regoularly yellow to blinking green to green
So I'm not sure the motherboard is gone.

Any way still does not work you can Just hear the floppy trying to move and then nothing. In case you do it on battery the speakers give a low "click" and that's it.
When I try on AC adapter if I press the start button the battery light turns of for a second and then back to green (if battery is in)

Any idea? I removed mini-pci ram disk and DVD, did not help. Open it completly and changed the CPU thermal compound.

Still missing to change the cmos battery (by now I removed it) you think that can make the point?

Thanks a lot

Brusa

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#15 Post by dz1sfb » Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:56 pm

Hi All,

I have an A22m that does not want to start up most of the time now. I usually am doing a little dance with to introduce some inertia to help the HDD. This seems to help, but someone told me that my HDD is going bad. This made sense to me, so I bought a new one and am now attempting to clone the HDD. I am still having issues with that process, since there does not seem to be enough power at the USB port to support this operation.

After reading what has happened to others here, I am begining to wonder if it is the HDD at all.

Any and all input would be helpful.

Ken :D

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#16 Post by targa » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:48 am

Hi,
I'm using a A21m for a while now, since some weeks it suddenly shuts off.
I'm running on battery+power supply (battery backing up the weak power supply plug so if sometimes beeps power supply on/off)

Any hints where to check first ?

I have a 3COM MiniPCI Network card built-in, 256 MB SODIMM.

/Tomas

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#17 Post by bravo3 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:45 am

Sounds just like what happened to mine. So it could be a power management chip or something eh?
A21e(Bricked and spare parts bin) :cry: , iSeries 1124 (tech support for my bro) , 600x(an Ubuntu convert) and an 2 X100e's(bricked until I could figure out how to re-solder the CPU back on to board without making damage with my soldering gun) and T60 (shadow display on LCD) :?

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#18 Post by mommo24 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:23 pm

Hi Everyone, Now I will write down, my history with my A20m, it will be long, so have a good read! 8)

I got this laptop for free, actually the company where this A20 were used went bankrupt, and my Father "saved" this one for me. It was 2 years ago, and my A20 worked fine for 1 year of use, then it started to freeze randomly, had power on issues, So I just stopped using it, and recently i had some freetime, an actually my hobby is microelectronics, so i was curious what the problem is. Total diaster, when i powered up, Lcd lit up, had white screen with lot of thin horizontal lines(Like a GPU problem), nothing else worked, no hdd spin up, nothing just white lcd+ power on led.
So first I thought this should be a BGA error under the gpu, so disassembled the machine, tried to push the graphichs chip, but nothing happened, same as before.
After 5-6 tries the system booted, but freezed as always. Tried flexing the motherboard at different locations, result was, that sometimes it booted sometimes nothing just power on led. So still no idea where is the problem.

At that time i dig up every info about these Thinkpads, I've read about Blink of death, 0175 Crc1 bios errors, ADP3421 chip issues(btw. my motherboard dont have this IC).

So i was totally clueless, couldnt locate the problem, lots of power ons, different symptoms, but it was clear, that somewhere there is a faulty soldering, I just couldnt locate it, keyboard was in the way, i had no room to touch or to apply some force on different components.

And more problems to come........ As a result of trying to power on the machine lot of times, but obviously it freezed many times during Post screen, Yes i killed the BIOS chip. CRC1 Here i come. Sadly I couldnt find an A20m Dump. Found an A21 bios, which wasnt worked, got some RFID Serialization error....
Two days passed, and my idea was that I try to flash as many bioses as i can find, and a huge surprise: Someone posted his A22m dump, He wanted someone to reset his SVP Password. And Boom that Bios worked just fine in my A20.

After flashing the bios, the original problem still existed, freezing, shutdown randomly, When pressing power button, nothing happens, only Power on led worked.
Plus got Crc1 errors many times, needed to flash bios constantly :D

If i remember correctly last time when i flashed the bios i made a support under the left bottom corner of the motherboard(to avoid shortcutting the wires from the eeprom), And surprisingly the Laptop started to work somewhat normally, but still was a bit unstable :o I've immediately Put the HDD back, tried to power on, and guess what? Blink of Death power led lit up for a second... When i removed the HDD its worked again.

So it was clear that somewhere
1.there is a Faulty soldering
2.if i put Hdd in it, it wont power up,Bod(maybe not enough power, so the mainboard just shuts down)
Its got interesting, managed to put keyboard out of the way, and applied force on different components especially around the power circuit(where the battery connects), as it seemed that the board has power issues

Miracle: no errors, everything worked fine, windows booted.
actually i just put a thin layer of paper under the mainboard(Link), so when putting everything back, the motherboard has a little tiny flex and its enough. Haven't seen any problems when inspecting the board.(To be honest i dont have the patience to resolder everything, nor have time.) At the end every known issue was related to a bad soldering

Today is the 5Th day my laptop is working flawlessly.
Did HDD defragmenting, took more than 5 hours-Passed
Did Windows reinstall on a different HDD-Passed

Here is a little image, where the problem located, if someone interested.

Sorry for the long post, also for my english, Im just really happy that after all of these problems finally my A20 is working again.And i love it.

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#19 Post by hlyh1230 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:16 pm

sorry...i hv this other model r51..last week when i was watchin movie the lappy suddenly shut off... i smelled burnt at the bottom of the lappy.
when i took it off,both ram the labels were already melted a bit...
nw i cant boot it...when i plug in ac source,power led indicator doesnt light up.so does when i boot it with batt only...
nw,is the mobo toasted already?

coz i heard one small weak beep when i press on button with only battery..i dun think it's from any beep codes i recognise ..
desperately need help,thx...

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermitte

#20 Post by geka3250 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:04 pm

Hi people!
I successfully repaired A21m with sudden powering down problem(sometimes at POST or just blinking LEDs, always at OS boot). The problem is fault vCPU PWM ADP3421 and its driver ADP3410(bottom of motherboard at VRM section). Resoldered them with working ones by heatgun. Now laptop newer shuts down and passing any stress tests.
Maybe this info can be helpful :)
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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#21 Post by CrazyDesigner » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:36 pm

New owner of a A22m and have not had any issues yet. I don't think it will have any for a while at least. It was used in the school system. Was used a lot from how warn down the pointer nub is. My only complaint is the new power bricks nub is slightly to small and keep falling out of the socket. Good to know what to look out for.

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#22 Post by fatkatsupra1 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:44 am

Removing the mini-pci card allowed my A21M to boot consistently now. No need for ethernet with my pcmcia wifi card.

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#23 Post by Bondi » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:05 pm

fatkatsupra1 wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:44 am
Removing the mini-pci card allowed my A21M to boot consistently now.
It worked for me as well.
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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#24 Post by fatkatsupra1 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:54 pm

I have a A20M that just would not boot for anything a couple weeks ago. I disassembled everything, tried powering it on just the battery and just the AC cord to no avail. So I put it away for a few weeks and pulled it out this morning. It booted first time from the battery and now I am scared to turn it off! Normally I will press the power button and some lights will flash and then nothing. Cool computer - just not cool boot problems.

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Re: My A 20/21/22 won't power on reliably/reboots intermittently

#25 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:44 am

Check 4 posts back (by geka3250) where you might find the problem.
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