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Thinkpad won't start!


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9 replies to this topic

#1 RussF92767

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 03:57 PM

The very same Thinkpad I was tinkering with a few weeks ago won't start... ...I upgraded the memory to 512 and ran it for a few days, no issues what so ever. Powered it up, powered it down, restarts, no problem. I went to turn it on for a final run though and now it won't start at all. From powered off/green battery light if press the power on button the screen will flicker and the green light goes out. I hear a noise in the upper left hand corner that sounds like the fan engaging for a second or two, but then it quits. In order to get the green light to go back on I have to unplug the adapter and plug it back in. The green battery charge light goes right back on. If I remove the battery and try to start it, same problem (only no green battery charged light). If I try to start it on battery only, same thing, but the battery barely holds a charge to begin with. I was told this problem was "intermittent" before, but occasionally it would start. Now the problem is constant and it won't start at all. I can't even get into the BIOS screen! Like I said, it ran fine for days with the upgraded memory. I did not flash the BIOS. I did not perform any hardware upgrades. Thinking it could be bad memory, I switched out the new memory for the old, same problem. Any ideas? I suspect the battery and or power adapter or both. I've been told that batteries in old computers acted like a giant capacitor that if the battery is useless it can make the computer difficult to operate. I have no means of testing my theories short of buying new ones of both (yes, I have a voltage meter). Internet searches have not been useful. :smack:

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#2 paws

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 02:45 AM

Hi, it sounds as though the power supply (A/C adapter) is the first suspect to check out..... 1 Put a meter on it, and see what the output is...report back and we will advise. 2 Make sure the power connector into the computer is going right the way in and connecting properly (That's the connector on the wire on the end of the power supply that plugs directly into the computer.) Try the "wiggle" test ...move it gently up and down and around and around and in and out to see if you can get it to make a good contact. 3 Try a known good working power supply (you will need to find a chum with a similar machine) or a friendly neighbourhood computer technician. Repeat the wiggle test as above. ( In explanation, the power socket that fits into the motherboard and accepts the power supply connector is fairly weak and sometimes comes unsoldered from the motherboard...especially if it has been in and out a lot, or an unfair strain has been put on the wire... The wiggle test can sometimes find the correct position for it to make the connection...... If that is so in your case, then the actual replacement part costs GBP 3 (not much different in USD) but takes about 3 hours or so to replace.... and labour costs on elderly laptops is often fairly high!..... it's a simple job for a handy person with reasonable soldering skills (on electronics boards) to do..but does involve a complete strip down of the machine to get at the mobo and that's what takes the time and then of course it needs to be rebuilt.... Let's hope it's just a faulty power supply A/C adapter (the black brick) as these can be replaced quite cheaply. Regards paws

Edited by paws, 06 March 2011 - 02:50 AM.
typo

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#3 RussF92767

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 07:05 AM

My research indicated the following possible problems: 1) Power cord failure ($10 +/- fix) 2) Battery failure ($20 +/- fix) 3) Hard drive failure ($20 +/- fix) 4) Loose cable (hours disassembling and reassembling the computer, tightening everything back up...grrr....) 5) Motherboard failure (It's toast. Look for a new computer) One site said to check the "coin battery", but it wasn't having any problems tracking the day and time, so I doubt that is the issue. My guess is that is is 1, 2 or 5. The question is do I want to soak $30 to $50 into finding out what the problem is when new(er) laptops are inexpensive. This one is 10 years old. I could move to a used one that is only 5 years old from eBay and save a small fortune, scrap this one for parts back on to eBay, recoup my losses and possibly even upgrade that one in the process...

#4 paws

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 07:15 AM

Hi I would follow the items 1 2 and 3 in my previous post.... these don't cost anything! Regards paws
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#5 RussF92767

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 01:39 PM

1) Put meter on it and the output was 16 V DC, which is exactly what it is supposed to be; 2) Power connector doesn't feel like it has any wiggle to it. When I plug in the adapter, it feels tight and solid. Unfortunately the only way I am going to do #3 is to buy a power supply...I don't know anyone with this model. So, I am willing to bet it is not the power supply, leaving the battery, "loose cable" or motherboard as the hard drive checks out fine...unless you have some other ideas (which I hope you do...) Its a IBM Thinkpad A21p, which I don't think I posted in my original message. Any ideas?

#6 paws

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:23 PM

Hi Ok Next step, see if you can get it to boot into Linux Puppy, you will need to download the iso and burn it to Cd as an image (a copy won't do) let us know how things go...... if they dont go.... then it's likely bad news........ :( Regards paws
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#7 appleoddity

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 08:04 PM

I too thought it was the power adapter after reading the posts. I can tell you for sure, it is not the battery, and it is not the hard drive. I am not going to take up time reiterating everything you said that makes that obvious, but lets just say you already did a process of elimination. So, it is neither of those two items. Now, a simple check with a meter on the power adapter is no good. You say it powers on for a quick second and shuts off. This would typically indicate a motherboard issue, however, because you said that the light goes out, and only comes back on when you unplug the adapter and plug it back in, it makes me think it could still be the adapter. The test with a meter is no good because it sounds as if the power adapter may be putting out power until a load is put on it, at which point it shuts off. Your best bet is to try a different power adapter because there is no easy way to check the power adapter under a load unless you have more advanced electrical knowledge and/or are willing to disassemble the laptop and check the voltages at the jack while it is plugged in. Power adapters can be had for cheap. You get what you pay for so there isn't a chance in the world I would buy one of these cheap adapters that will probably melt and burn your house down within a couple of weeks. A good one will cost you around $30 on Ebay. So, it would be my suggestion that you simply take the laptop to a service center and kindly ask them to plug it in to see if it will power up on one of their universal adapters (or equivalent adapter). Seems how it should only take 30 seconds, I don't believe any reasonable, self-respecting technician/company would charge for that. Otherwise, you can purchase a universal adapter from a big box store and test it out, and take it back if you decide it doesn't work. NOTE: If you get the same results with a known good adapter you are probably looking at motherboard failure. However, you cannot be sure until you unplug all devices that could be causing an issue, such as memory modules, hard drives, cd-roms, wireless adapters, modems, etc. These all can usually be accessed and removed quite simply in order to see if it effects the ability of the motherboard to power on. It could be a bad device plugged into the motherboard causing all your issues.

Edited by appleoddity, 02 April 2011 - 08:06 PM.

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#8 RussF92767

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 07:23 PM

Well, back on this one... ...I thought it was dead. It sat in my basement for about two months before I decided to do some cleaning out. I thought I would give this one last whirl before I started breaking it down and parting it out. I plugged it in and it booted to the BIOS "Set Time and Date" screen! So, I set the time and date and got a full boot from it. I started updating the OS and thought I would see how long it lasted. Thirty updates later a reboot was required. It went to reboot and I was back to it "blinking" again when I tried to turn it on... So I am no longer thinking it is the motherboard. I am thinking it is the coin battery now. It is a $5 fix if that is all it is. Considering the computer is over ten years old now, this would prove to be a likely candidate, no?

#9 paws

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:41 AM

a " spent" coin battery will cause the machine to forget the date and time, however it doesn't usually stop the machine from booting
Here's the instructions on how to get at it....
http://www-307.ibm.c...IGR-4YQNTP.html
Regards
paws
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#10 RussF92767

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 12:40 PM

Well, the other culprit(s) could be the battery itself or the motherboard. The laptop had NO charge whatsoever...it was completely drained. The battery charged over the duration of the updating of the OS. It could be that the battery is completely shot now. I have read that on the A2* series that the battery was necessary to complete a circuit and that if they battery is faulty this could result. I am reluctant to try the battery because the cost of a new battery alone exceeds the value of the computer ($30 to $40). I think if it was strictly the motherboard it would have never started period. I am back to considering parting this out and setting of the parts for a new machine...might not be such a bad idea in the end.

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