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Thinkpad R40 Ethernet doesn't work, Wireless does

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February 6, 2008 4:31:08 PM

We have an IBM Thinkpad, R40, model 2681-4GU.

I am a 20+ year programmer, system builder & tech specializing in system forensics and system security compromising.

This laptop computer has me stumped.

This laptop lost it's ability to use wired / motherboard Ethernet based networking. The computer will show "A network cable is unplugged" on rj-45 connections. When the on board rj-45 port quit working the following steps were taken:
1. Device Manager showed Intel Pro/100 VE working properly.
2. Several different patch cables were used to verify cables not the cause.
3. HiJackThis showed nothing unusual, no hidden toolbars or background processes running.
4. A series of complete virus, spyware / malware scans were performed, nothing found.
5. A newer BIOS version was found so BIOS was updated to latest version from IBM.
6. Newer drivers were available so the drivers were checked and updated from IBM and Microsoft.
7. A 3Com PCMCIA 10/100 card was installed and Device Manger showed it was working properly but the systray showed "A network cable is unplugged" on the rj-45 connection.
8. A wireless USB device was installed and it connects properly.
9. The computer has be wiped clean and a new XP Pro image was installed and tested with same results.
10. Updates applied to the system with the same results.
11. PCMCIA slots are functioning properly with other plugged in devices.
12. Installed a Linksys USB10T rj-45 in a USB port and it can now attach to a wired network.
13. The IRQ 11 is shared by several devices with different addresses for each

Have you heard of this happening? How can a system block motherboard based rj-45 ports but not wireless or USB? Any thoughts on how to restore the motherboard based port to active status so the rj-45 can be used?
February 6, 2008 8:23:54 PM

Given everything you've done, sounds like the Lan is bad.
February 7, 2008 3:13:22 AM

Given this is a laptop with the built in LAN, do you know of a testing method for the port and also, why would a working / tested PCMCIA LAN card not work when installed? Is there logic in the BIOS not accepting motherboard attached / based LAN ports?
Related resources
February 7, 2008 10:03:53 AM

There is usually an option to disable onboard Lan in the BIOS fi that's what you're asking
March 2, 2008 7:53:16 PM

Testor,

I have the same ThinkPad R40 – 2681-L7U, and am having the exact same problem with the Ethernet Port. This computer was used by my mom and it got very little use. I am unsure when if ever the Ethernet cable was used because when I aquired it last week, it was running off a Netgear 401 wireless PICMA card. Ok enough about its history, here is what I have learned after wasting a tremendous amount of time with this problem.

1. Reinstalled from the computer’s backup parititon - XP pro (no service pack)
2. Installed from the Netgear Website, the driver for the Netgear Wireless 401 PICMA Card. (Because the Ethernet port wasn’t working) I downloaded this on another machine and transferred via USB drive.
3. Using the Netgear card, did all XP updates first – SP1, SP2, and all the other upgrades except for Explorer 7.
4. Installed Microsoft .NET 2.0 and then upgraded it to SP1 (or whatever it was named). After all updates to XP SP2, Micorsoft ask for no more updates!
5. Next, updated the Lenovo ThinkVantage System Update to latest off their website. Using that software, installed all the new drivers form the Lenovo website. When I was complete here is what was left from the ThinkVantage Software window:
a. 0 critical ones left
b. 0 Recommended ones left
c. 5 Optional ones left.
i. Active X
ii. Adobe Flash
iii. ThinkPad Embedded Controller Program Update (ThinkAdvantage has installed this and I think I have updated the H8 bios – 1.27 It hink - but it is still listed here. Am I doing something wrong?)
iv. IBM Thinkpad Audio Features (ThinkAdvantage won’t install this)
v. RecordNow by Sonic (ThinkAdvantage won’t install this)
6. I uninstalled the Netgear Wireless card 401 software.

Ok why tell all of this? Because I have added absolutely nothing else, and I too can not get the Ethernet Cable to be recognized. I have used 3 different patch cables, all work in another PC connected to my Linksys Router WRT54, but do not work on the IBM Thinkpad R40. However, I have discovered one thing.


I uninstalled the Windows XP Ethernet driver using the device manager, and I downloaded from another machine from the Intel website - Intel PRO/100 VE Desktop Network Adapter driver (PRO2KXP). Used the easy install wizard. Now with this software installed, using the device manager for the Ethernet port, there are a few new tabs. Of primary usefulness is the LINK SPEED tab. Using it, I was able to get the computer to at least flash the Ethernet ports green and yellow LEDs. NOTE here is the process because it didn’t work simply after the install:
1. Remove old driver
2. Install driver
3. REBOOT
4. Link Speed>>>>Diagnostics button>>Hardware Tab>>Run Test (This is the first sign anything works)
5. REBOOT
6. Link Speed>>Identify Adapter button>>Start (now the green light flashes) (NOTE This 2nd test will not work if you didn’t do the Hardware test first.)

So what is the final result from this? Really nothing because the damn Ethernet Port still does not work. The motherboard seems to see the port and it seems to be availalbe. Although with the XP driver, I got no LED lights to light up ever; However you can ping the port and you get a good response – at least that is what the Lenovo site said – sorry, oh yeah I forgot, I pinged it while I had the XP driver installed at 127.0.0.0) The ping also works with the Intel Driver. So it looks like perhaps it’s a bad pin? None look bad staring in with a flashlight. Sometimes these ports are finiky with the Ethernet cable but usually enough pushing and prodding causes at lease the green LED to come on once…After 8 hours of testing (I told you I have been wasting a tremendous amount of time) I did not see that once.

One last note, I did make the computer use the modem to dial out. I think I read while working on this problem that the modem and Ethernet port were part of the same hardware, so I just wanted to make sure it was working. I don’t have anywhere to dial to so can not test the TCP/IP portion of all of this, however, the Thinkpad did dial out successfully to my voicemail (I heard my message through the speaker)


Well if anybody comes up with a cure let me know. Probably should have just bought an USB to Ethernet adapter for $20 bucks and saved myself the time wasted and headache.

Doug
dw1046@mac.com
July 4, 2008 1:14:23 AM

This one was very frustrating for me too.

I have a X30, that has worked great for years.

one morning the "think vantage" was on my screen after "sucessfully updating my machine" yippee.

However the Lan card was surprisingly dead.

and...... the computer would no longer but because of a hardware conflict.

Disabling the lan card helped and then a flash reset of the lan rom allowed for turning the card back on booting the machine.

however the lan would show connected but would not allow any traffic. very very very much an inconvenience as I need my hardwired LAN card for programming.

after about eight weeks of using a wireless card, I reviewed the LAN card config again and for giggles put in a locally administered MAC ID and VOILA. everything is good.

sorry to be so long winded but I just hope someone is able to avoid tossing a laptop in the trash because of a helpful lenovo patch.

cheers

L
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 22, 2009 8:15:36 PM

I've had this problem on two thinkpad X61s models. The first laptop went back to Lenovo and they replaced it, then second laptop I've just fixed with a two minute call to their support line!

Go into BIOS Setup (F1 key on boot up), go into 'config' and then 'network' and press F9 to reset the BIOS to its original settings. Then F10 to save and reboot and... presto... the Ethernet info worked again.
Apparently, the BIOS gets corrupted according to the Lenovo support guy.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
April 23, 2010 6:40:11 PM

Hello. As I heard from servise there is problematic hardware part with integreted net card. More precizly, relay that is responible for recognazig if cable is pluged or not - is broken. All software test result OK, but unfortunetly this part is not software controled. So, you can say googbye to your integretd network card or to replace this part or to by external USB - net card, or to use wireless as I choose. All the best. :pt1cable:  (ixy)
August 28, 2011 5:19:33 PM

Hi, I have a similar problem on my brand new Thinkpad T520.
I installed Windows 7 SP1 with all Microsoft and Lenovo Updates.
When I plugin the LAN cable the lights in the port don't turn on
and Windows says: no cable connected.
If I unplug and replug the cable 10, 20 or sometimes 30 times it
works all of a sudden. If I then unplug again and replug it somestimes
works again a few times until it stops working again.
There is not much logic to this behaviour and usually LAN does not work
when I need it.

The problem also occurs when I press F12 to enter entwork boot.
Windows is not started then, so it seems to be a hardware problem.

I went to Lenovo service and they replaced the motherboard.

On the "repaired" machine I tested after entering network boot and
everything seemed fine.

Then I installed everything again, only to find out that its broken again.

I am really frustrated and I don't know what to do, since Lenovo does not
seem to be able to fix it. Any advice?
I tested
November 19, 2011 12:03:07 PM

Ah well, better late than never.

I'm also a programmer. I looked at three other R40s (2681) with the same dead LAN (or so it seems) issue. All were fixed after resoldering the IC located on the main board adjacent to the LAN port. Seems the solder used in many R40s (version 2681 anyway) was very brittle (lead-free) and easily fractured after moderate impact or flexing of the main board. I am willing to bet this fix will serve 95% of the dead R40 LANs out there.

Hope this helps. So don't throw these out with the bathwater. Just replace the hot running Celeron CPU (if you have one) with an intel 4-M (on ebay, cheap), max out on the RAM (at least 1 GB), watch out for those those vampire apps and your R40 will run like a cheetah. These laptops are a JOY to work on. Wish they were made this way today. You will have to pull my R40 from my cold dead hands.



testor15 said:
We have an IBM Thinkpad, R40, model 2681-4GU.

I am a 20+ year programmer, system builder & tech specializing in system forensics and system security compromising.

This laptop computer has me stumped.

This laptop lost it's ability to use wired / motherboard Ethernet based networking. The computer will show "A network cable is unplugged" on rj-45 connections. When the on board rj-45 port quit working the following steps were taken:
1. Device Manager showed Intel Pro/100 VE working properly.
2. Several different patch cables were used to verify cables not the cause.
3. HiJackThis showed nothing unusual, no hidden toolbars or background processes running.
4. A series of complete virus, spyware / malware scans were performed, nothing found.
5. A newer BIOS version was found so BIOS was updated to latest version from IBM.
6. Newer drivers were available so the drivers were checked and updated from IBM and Microsoft.
7. A 3Com PCMCIA 10/100 card was installed and Device Manger showed it was working properly but the systray showed "A network cable is unplugged" on the rj-45 connection.
8. A wireless USB device was installed and it connects properly.
9. The computer has be wiped clean and a new XP Pro image was installed and tested with same results.
10. Updates applied to the system with the same results.
11. PCMCIA slots are functioning properly with other plugged in devices.
12. Installed a Linksys USB10T rj-45 in a USB port and it can now attach to a wired network.
13. The IRQ 11 is shared by several devices with different addresses for each

Have you heard of this happening? How can a system block motherboard based rj-45 ports but not wireless or USB? Any thoughts on how to restore the motherboard based port to active status so the rj-45 can be used?

February 20, 2012 5:16:28 AM

Hi I think my t41 is having the same problem except i can't seem to figure out which chip i need to reflow. Is it the intel network controller (a bga) or one of the TSSOPs that closer to the pin?

I would really appreciate any help on this THANKS :) 
!