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x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

X200/X201/X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300/X301 series specific matters only.
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Thinkx220
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x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#1 Post by Thinkx220 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:53 am

Hello all,
I just want to say hello to everyone here as this is my first post in this forum.
I am a proud owner of a X220 for many years. The issue I got is the classic intermittent issue of a jumpy trackpad.
I have tried absolutely everything have extensively research over the web for solutions, what I have so far tried:

1- I have dissembled and assembled the trackpad.
2- new windows 10 installation
3- latest official Lenovo bios v1.46
4- Lenovo 8.1 trackpad firmware installed. Apparently this got a bug fix for this particular issue of a jumpy trackpad. It didn't resolve in my case.

Nothing seems to resolve this issue. As this is a highly intermittent problem. I have been living for a while with this issue causing me a lot of trouble every few days.
The laptop can work for several days without issues for then totally out of the blue it starts and the trackpad becomes irresponsive and jumpy all over the screen open and closing application deleting and moving files without I have any control via the tracking pad or even when an external USB mouse is connected, nothing seems to explain what triggers this issue. When it starts the laptop could be idling or I could be using it.. When it happens it can be catastrophic and mess up all the work I am doing, loosing files moving things to wrong places.
When it happens the only solution to restore normal functionality until it happens again is to reboot the laptop.

It breaks my heart to have to let this laptop go. Even if old I still like the feel of it and apart from the trackpad issue it performs still very well. After have read online I tough It was a software related but but have tried so many things I am now inclined to think it must be hardware related.
Any suggestions would be highly appreciated
Thanks

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#2 Post by dr_st » Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:14 am

Welcome to the forum. :)

This is very strange behavior indeed.

My first question - how did you determine it is due to the trackpad, and not, for example, the trackpoint? Have you tried leaving the trackpad disconnected / disabled in the BIOS, and verified that the issue goes away?

As strange as it sounds - I would consider the possibility that someone is hacking you through malware. You mentioned a fresh install didn't resolve the issue, so that makes it even more unlikely. The easiest way to check is to disconnect the internet entirely as soon as it starts, and seeing if it stops.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:09 am

Other things to try:
- boot from a "life-Linux" via USB-stick or external DVD and check if problem exists in Linux
Also:
- disconnect the trackpad, check trackpoint and external mouse functionalities
- replace palmrest if it works when pad disconnected
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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#4 Post by Thinkx220 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:17 am

Just a bit more of context on this issue. I bought this laptop used from a second hand IT recycling company around 5 to 6 years ago and since when I bought this issue was present. It took me a week to first notice because as I sad it is a highly intermittent issue and as I got the laptop from a good price at the time I decided not to bring it back for refund. After I read few forums on this trackpad bug on the x220 I was expecting Lenovo to come up with a solution for the x220 which apparently they did with their trackpad 8.1 firmware.
I decided to keep the laptop and find a solution over time which I never managed to.
Virus is highly unlikely if not impossible as the operational system and the hard drive has been upgraded to an SSD and nothing resolves the problem. 2 new ram 4+4=8 ram modules have also been installed recently and the problem persists . I am almost 100% sure it is a hardware issue but because it can take days until it occurs it is very difficult to pin point where the problem is. To disconnect the trackpad until it occurs I would need to leave it disconnected for a good week. And I may still not be able to be sure where the problem is.
The trackpad and track point kind of responds but extremely erratic making it absolutely impossible to use. The best way to described is that the cursor starts to flickering and flashing highlighting texts or folders completely erratically. Please note that when the problem is not there or after I restart windows the laptop works perfectly, trackpad and track point are fully functional and laptop presents no other issues.
Given the cost of a trackpad and that this is a very old laptop It may not be worth it to fix. I wish the problem would be in the wifi card(N) or Bluetooth 3.0. Both are obsolete old technology which need to be upgraded. The original 3.0 Bluetooth doesn't work in this laptop with the original windows 10 drivers and the original driver was developed to run on windows 7. I wonder if it could be some sort of hardware driver incompatibility but again these are all originals and no hardware issue found in device manager. Another possibility was about an issue with the 90W power supply but again not confirmed.

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#5 Post by atagunov » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:35 pm

Thinkx220 wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:53 am
I am a proud owner of a X220 for many years. The issue I got is the classic intermittent issue of a jumpy trackpad.
Hi, isn't X220 prone to jumpy Trackpad when paired with a 90Wt power supply? I think mine exhibits the same issue. I remember reading somewhere that a BIOS update should resolve it but it wasn't worth it bothering about it for me. My X220 trackpad behaves well when on battery. When my X220 is docked I don't care - there's an external mouse :) Otherwise I don't use my X220 plugged.. and I've got an X230 mobo/bottom shell prepared for an upgrade in any case..

Btw 4337 docks are marvellous - cheap as dirt ($10-15?), useful as hell. Take normal PSU you've already got. Allow you to plug in a more ergonomic/mechanical keyboard at home. Make it easy to drive a larger display. Seriously, who on Earth needs a desktop any more?! X220 is totally adequate for day-to-day tasks when plugged into a 4337!!

..So in summary I suggest trying it with a 60Wt PSU and/or upgrading BIOS to latest
Thinkx220 wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:53 am
3- latest official Lenovo bios v1.46
4- Lenovo 8.1 trackpad firmware installed. Apparently this got a bug fix for this particular issue of a jumpy trackpad. It didn't resolve in my case.
Ah.. so no luck here.. I have a suspicion this might be somehow related to embedded controller code (EC) but that's a speculation.. and I have no practical advice besides looking for a way to check EC version and probably flashing an older BIOS with different EC and then this one again.. Well I'm purely fantasizing here, I think a 60Wt PSU is a more likely cure.. If not.. get yourself an X230 mobo and fit it in :) Yes you will have a whole around miniDP connector and you will have to mess with EC mod to accommodate the X220 keyboard but you should get better battery life and possibly a slightly higher CPU score
X220, 2 *T520

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:26 am

Instead of the Lenovo BIOS, I would recommend the McDonnell unlocked BIOS 1.46 with lots of extra goodies.
And follow my above suggestions.
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#7 Post by Thinkx220 » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:41 am

Sorry I have reply to this twice. Please see my reply below.
Last edited by Thinkx220 on Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:18 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#8 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:09 am

After you install McDonnell's BIOS, you could upgrade your wifi and bluetooth to 802.11AC and BT4.0.
A Mini-PCIe Intel AC-7260 like this does the trick: https://www.ebay.ie/itm/114377513862
Make sure it has printed this on the label: Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 and NOT Wireless-N 7260.

If you use a standard 65W or 90W genuine Lenovo charger, you should not have trackpad problems, apparently this only may apply with a 90W slim charger.
NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff).
Ireland is on FULL lockdown till December 2020!
Covid-19: Mask it or Casket!
Check out The Boardroom for Mods and Other Services.

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Location: Folkestone, UK

Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#9 Post by Thinkx220 » Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:55 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:09 am
After you install McDonnell's BIOS, you could upgrade your wifi and bluetooth to 802.11AC and BT4.0.
A Mini-PCIe Intel AC-7260 like this does the trick: https://www.ebay.ie/itm/114377513862
Make sure it has printed this on the label: Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 and NOT Wireless-N 7260.

If you use a standard 65W or 90W genuine Lenovo charger, you should not have trackpad problems, apparently this only may apply with a 90W slim charger.
Thanks for all the recommendations which I will follow. I would like to have the WIFI and Bluetooth upgraded but I read from people who have done this and was getting installation issues with Bluetooth and wifi after the modded bios. So will the ram memory not be running at faster speeds which means the computer will be running at higher temperatures and wondering how that will affect the stability of the laptop overtime and why Lenovo has capped this in the first place at 1330mhz. Apart from trackpad issue my x220 is a solid machine and i am not sure how stable this bios really is. Some people have reported change few settings and brick the computer. Does any settings needs to be changed to upgrade wifi and Bluetooth?
I usually never use dock stations. What I like about x220 is to move it around with me around the house as it is so small dock stations is not something I really use. I wish the resolution of the screen would be higher but again changing display seems a very complex and costly mod for me. By the way my PSU is a genuine 90W. Whats is the slim 90W PSU?

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#10 Post by Thinkx220 » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:17 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:09 am
After you install McDonnell's BIOS, you could upgrade your wifi and bluetooth to 802.11AC and BT4.0.
A Mini-PCIe Intel AC-7260 like this does the trick: https://www.ebay.ie/itm/114377513862
Make sure it has printed this on the label: Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 and NOT Wireless-N 7260.

If you use a standard 65W or 90W genuine Lenovo charger, you should not have trackpad problems, apparently this only may apply with a 90W slim charger.
You link doesn't work . Would this card be works after installation of moded bios?
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Intel-7260HM ... l&LH_BIN=1

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#11 Post by atagunov » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:32 am

I used to have the issue.
Either on one of my T520 or on my X220.
Definitely never had it when on battery.
Only (sometimes?) when plugged in.
Definitely under Ubuntu and most likely under 18.04

Nothing else is certain..
I don't remember which power adapter it was plugged into nor which of the machines it was.
I even don't remember if it was a 60Wt or 90Wt adapter then.

I just tried to replicate it but couldn't.
I plugged each of my T520 and the X220 into a couple of 90Wt adapters I have lying around and didn't see the issue on a quick test.
I'm under Ubuntu again. One machine under 20.04 other two still on 18.04
I'm actually not sure how a slim 90Wt adapter looks like.. I think all my 90Wt power bricks look about the same. I also believe they are all original..

It does look like trying a different adapter is an option. Only original ones are advised. Probably to maximize the chances of success indeed try to use a different wattage adapter.

P.S. I don't think running RAM faster will increase temperatures. It's normally the CPU or GPU (which don't have in our X220) that gets hot and having a faster frequency RAM bus.. don't think there will be a difference.
Last edited by atagunov on Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
X220, 2 *T520

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#12 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:47 am

Both links work and both items are the correct ones.

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#13 Post by Thinkx220 » Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:34 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:47 am
Both links work and both items are the correct ones.
Sorry. It seems like my browser had a cache issues. now is working and I can see it. Thanks

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#14 Post by Thinkx220 » Sun Nov 22, 2020 7:32 pm

I have not follow the instructions from the you tube video to flash the bios however my computer didn't reboot automaticly after finishing the process. The Flash application just closed itself so i had to restarted manually and could verified that the modded bios is installed and advanced settings visible.
The only issue I can see is that the on/off switch is no longer making the computer sleep when pressing for few seconds if I press for longer then it will switch off but not put in sleeping mode before anymore. Any suggestions?

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#15 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:38 am

Power button On/Off or Sleep is set in the Power Manager.

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#16 Post by Thinkx220 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:00 am

Sorry do you mean in Bios or in Windows? The bios installation went differently than I expected and the one showed at you tube video and wondering if this is OK. I saw in another forum elsewhere someone described exacly what happens with me.
“Finished 1.46 on X220(Lenovo 1.46 previously flashed) and “advanced” menu shows.
X220 is apparently behaving normally since. However at end of flashing (flash bat) a message had appeared quickly three or more times in succession ”verifying BIOS fail! Reflashing”. Eventually the process finished without any particular confirmation message of success or otherwise.
Does this indicate something unrecoverable went wrong or does indicate the flash was eventually successful?"

As mentioned above no other signs of aparent issues so far another small unusual behavior is the lock screen background which no longer change even tought is set to Windows Spotlight it just stays permanently in showing a dune. I could live with this but the on /off button for sleeping mode is a bit of a problem.
RAM speed is showing at comand prompt at 1600mhz which is definetly a bonus! Have orderd a new wifi/bluetoot card as well.
Thanks

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#17 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:37 am

In Windows: Control Panel / Power Options

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#18 Post by Thinkx220 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:04 am

Unfortunatly still doesnt work. I have set to sleep but it doesn't work and on/off still doesn't make computer sleep. Weird as I never change these setting and before the modded bios it always works. some options about shut-down settings are grey out and not possible to change(not sure if these has been like this before). If this is not a well known issue in the modded bios for others I am wondering if something went wrong in the flashing process. As I sad the lock up screen background also doens't work as before. Is it possible to flash again the modded bios or and the worse case scenario return to the lenovo original bios?

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#19 Post by Thinkx220 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:42 am

I just found out by pressing Fn+F4 make it sleeps. I never used it before. However making laptop sleep should be the expected behaviour from on/off by pressing for 1 ~ 2 seconds.

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Re: x220 Intermittent trackpad issue

#20 Post by 31336 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:35 pm

I had an issue like this with another laptop (another brand), and the cause, of all things, turned out to be a faulty AC adapter.
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