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Need advice diagnosing organ failure on an older ThinkPad

Discussion in 'IBM Thinkpad' started by Farmboy, May 11, 2007.

  1. Farmboy

    Farmboy Guest

    Greetings all,

    Well, my old ThinkPad, an A20m (600MHz P3, bought in 2000) has done
    well for me. It's time to retire it, but I'd like to keep it around as
    backup if possible, and so I have a place where I can tinker with
    Linux while trying Vista on a new machine. (This wouldn't be the place
    for Linux v. Vista posts, please.)

    There's a possibility the hardware fault might be reparable, but I
    can't determine which part is at fault. So, if you have ideas on how
    to eek that TP along, your advice would be immensely valuable. Also,
    if this is too technical a post for this Group, could you direct me to
    another forum where expert advice might be easier to find?

    Here are the symptoms:
    - At power on, more frequent hangs. The LCD doesn't turn on and the
    system doesn't boot, but the power light is on.
    - Freezes, with no effect when I do a ctrl+alt+del override.
    - Blue screens and STOP codes, which seem to vary (0000001E, 0000001D,
    - All drivers are current and do not conflict with the OS.
    - The memory dumps analyzed by MS point to a hardware fault, not a
    software incompatibility. They suggested either power supply, RAM and
    - I just got a series of BIOS beeps out of the thing, at long last. It
    froze, and when I powered down, it gave me 4 short beeps (about one
    second apart) before turning off. There's no code that matches that
    - I've tried re-seating the RAM and re-seating the batteries, but no
    change, and the batteries and AC adapter at least seem to be working
    - On occasion in the past, without the computer ever crashing, I've
    gotten one long beep in the midst of normal functioning. Again, that
    code doesn't show up on the list. Seems entirely unrelated to the
    recent spate of crashes, or an idiosyncracy of my machine.

    I've already consulted a number of useful resources, including the
    following, but they don't seem to give a clear answer:

    The Lenovo "beep and no beep symptoms" page:

    Lenovo "hints and tips" for troubleshooting TP problems:

    Believe it or not, MS tech support out of India has been fantastic. I
    first reported the problem after installing the last two patches for
    Win 2000, and at first suspected the patch as the culprit. The guy on
    the other end has gone through two weeks of remote diagnosis with me,
    using EasyAssist, running MPRS reports, memory dump checks, and so on,
    all at no charge.

    Many thanks,
    Farmboy, May 11, 2007
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  2. Farmboy

    SamTomato Guest

    Does that model have system board memory so you could pull the mem modules and
    see what happens?
    SamTomato, May 11, 2007
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  3. Farmboy

    PJ Guest

    Check the BIOS battery. That said, the long
    beep during routine ops points to something
    PJ, May 11, 2007
  4. Farmboy

    Farmboy Guest

    Well, the machine's in a coma as of last weekend. Power and hard drive
    light on, no LCD activity. Data was fully backed up, so no problem

    I'm going to replace both the BIOS battery and the system board. But
    this raises a hobbyist's question. If the A20m was rated for Intel P3s
    up to 700 MHz, but the maintenance manual (which covers not only the
    A20 but the later A21 and A22) lists P3s up to 1 GHz. Would I be safe
    going with a 1 GHz system board? In fact, if this machine had a 600
    MHz chip, could I safely go with a 700 MHz system board?

    And to any other newbie who may stumble on this: Obviously I'm now
    buying an external enclosure for the HDD, and since it's an old 4200
    RPM PATA/IDE model, I'll go with a USB enclosure, with a Cypress
    chipset. AZiO is the one brand I've actually confirmed has the chipset
    that's generally recommended for USB connectors, and doesn't have
    design issues of one sort or another.

    Thanks again, and in advance, for the good advice.
    Farmboy, May 16, 2007
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