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Bizarre IBM Thinkpad T30 lockup

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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February 25, 2009 3:13:50 PM


Alrighty, I do have a particularly strange issue that I want to throw out there although I'm still in the works of fixing it. To start off, yes this thinkpad T30 has fallen victim to bad engineering and does for a fact have a broken RAM slot(I soon found out this was typical of the T30). Directly to the issue, the computer randomly locks up. When it locks up, sometimes strange things occur. Sometimes it will be a plain frozen screen. Sometimes, it will 'freeze' but rather the video becomes very blurry and moving the mouse 'jutters' the last area it was in, but doesn't move anywhere. What I have done so far, swapped HDD, still happens, removed the CD-ROM, still happens, fresh install windows, still happens. Updated to latest embedded controller and BIOS, still happens.

What I did this morning however, seeing once the laptop is 'warmed up', (according to speed fan the CPU idles at around 50C) is take apart the heatsink fan assembly and redo the thermal grease. Right off the bat the normal 'cold' temperatures were even cooler. I tried running prime95, Large FFT, but only could get in 10 minutes before having to go. Even then it didn't even hit the 40's C by then.

I should note too that running ATItool will for a fact crash the laptop as well when scanning for artifacts(the GPU does get extremely hot to the touch). However there was no stock heatsink for the GPU, just some strange plastic piece over the GPU. (Guessing for anti-grounding out purposes).

So possibly, and hopefully it was just a heat issue, but I wanted to still through this out there in case anyone ran across a randomly freezing thinkpad T30. Thanks.

February 26, 2009 6:25:37 PM

yes it's a heat issue and not only that a chip issue too with the GPU. however freezing also is to do with the RAM when it comes lose, out, or old. T30 toshiba is old technology by now I recon these are the pentium 3 generation which I don't think is worth wasting time over.

why don't you try put a cooling source under the laptop (a cooling board, a car's air conditioner, a house air conditioner, a house fan, or inside a fridge) for a while and see if that makes any diffrence...it's weired but it's part of test in the end.
February 27, 2009 1:02:49 AM

Hey again, thanks for the reply. After extensive testing the cpu appears to have retained the same temps, or speed fan is giving me whack results. At any rate as well I forgot to note that sometimes the laptop, when the power button is pressed, will not initiate a POST, the fan will spin, power button goes on, but no post/display...nothing. Power it down, try again, most of the times it will start right up. Also I ran Large FFT for 3 hours and it was just peachy, worked and everything. The only thing I can really get consistently right is crashing through the artifact scan in ATItool. Also when I move it a certain way(sometimes) the screen will get a lot of colored lines and go away when I put it back the way it was, without freezing. I swear its the strangest, honestly a mobo replacement would more than likely solve this, but wouldn't be worth it ....Of course right after I have the guy buy a new AC/adapter. The old one was 'sparking' and this thing was dropped more than once(multiple cracks on the casing, grill broken open where cpu fan exhaust is. Any other suggestions?
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March 1, 2009 12:19:30 AM

buy a new laptop.
March 2, 2009 11:50:22 AM

cheaptofix said:
buy a new laptop.


Cool, ya, I would like this please, obviously all the options. I prefer cash but a check will do. ;) 

Back to reality...

So, In case anyone comes across this thread in the one in a million chance and has the same problem with this ancient relic, known as the IBM thinkpad T30, I recently jammed an old GPU heatsink on top of the GPU chip of the motherboard. Fortunately there was a nice amount of room for the heatsink since it was pretty low profile. Well, its actually pretty snug buts OK since we wouldn't want a conductive heatsink floating around inside. Since this ghetto fix I ran it, moved it around to see if it would respond to 'shock' locking, ran some torture tests, like ATItool. Which was pretty interesting, as it still locked up, but it took about three minutes as opposed to the <30 seconds it normally would take. I should note to that the entire heatsink felt like solid block of molten metal so there is/was a heating issue with the GPU chip.

Naturally though this still not may be it. I'll soon give it back to see if the guys kid could get it lockup again. Time will tell and I'll keep posted.
March 29, 2009 1:57:28 AM

I was excited to find this thread. I have an IBM ThinkPad A31 that is having the same issues as your ThinkPad T30. I don't know if the root of the problem is the same for both of these computers, but the symptoms are the same. I know there are other posts about these ThinkPads freezing or locking up but none have an answer to the problem. I would really like to get to figure out what it is.
April 1, 2009 5:16:48 PM

I actually just called the guy back (again, after a month since he never called me back, must not really miss it) to see if he will come get it and have his daughter try it out. I haven't played with it much since last I posted but so far it seems the most stable with the heatsink jammed on top of the GPU. Give it a try on yours, if it allows due to size/fitting etc.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
October 22, 2009 7:38:34 PM

I too have the A31 and have just recently started having these same problems. Just as the other A31 user said, I am thrilled to have found this thread and I will spend some time today taking apart my thinkpad. I just need to find a good dismantle guide. :-)
John
October 23, 2009 4:48:37 PM

I do have some sad news. The guy who owned the laptop called me a couple/few months back to see if it was all set. I went to start it up (after sitting for months) and not a single thing would happen to it (No sign of life at all, no beep, blink, post). I wish you better luck.
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