Saturday, May 22, 2010

Open Comment and testimonial page

If you like to leave a general comment- Please post here

Friday, May 21, 2010

IBM Thinkpads No video, No P.O.S.T. Models T40, T41, T42

Advanced Notice:  I will be detailing the method on how to fix Thinkpads - No video No POST issue.

This is a quite common problem with the T-Series.

1: The system lights up but nothing shows up on the LCD
2: Nothing shows up on an external monitor
3: Hard Drive does not initialize.

What makes my method so much better?
You do not have to totally disassemble the whole laptop  (a major time killer). Only need to remove keyboard, and wrist rest.
You will not misplace screws and use the wrong screw holes!
Following directions it will work the first time!

So if you don't have the readily available items here is a brief list to get them ahead of time.
Heat gun, similar to those used to heat shrink insulation on wires. 
  At least 500 watts I got mine at Harbor Freight and used on LOW
Radio Shack Paste Flux $6.99 (mentioned in another section of this blog)
Two pieces of thick aluminum foil 4" x 4" (10cmx10cm).
    This it to make a heat mask so the plastics are not melted because it is not totally disassembled.

Small bottle of Acetone, not alcohol, not MEK, not gasoline!
Small Nylon toothbrush (with nylon bristles) - It has to be nylon, acetone will melt plastic.
Paper Towel for cleaning 

Step by Step with video (I hope) since I use 2 computers for blogging and my virtual life, I will have to juggle things or get the KVM switch out the bottom of a box. Since the video conversion and animation stuff is on the 'slow' machine.  And the Video Input Card requires XP and will not run on Vista/Win7. (yeah I know, but XP was a workhorse for 10 years, and not ready to buy more hardware for another OS)

Delayed   :-(  
( only a couple of days)
It's been a busy week.  Burned out my own heat gun. Will have to get another, but the info will be posted. Have camera set up, everything prepped and turn on the heatgun~ no heat, no hot wind!  Arrrgh

Mar 24, 2011 - Update and clariflcation

The above article was later covered by overlapping posts on the DV Series.  
As far 

as the average person being able to do it, that is not likely.  The tools 
needed and experience exceeds the value of the machine itself (unless you 
have serious data that you need to use or removed to another system).
The onset of the IBM NO POST/NO BOOT/NO Video is from dried 
heatsink compound (age). Clogged exit vents on the fan, then finally 
solderballs heating and shrinking until there is a separation from the 
motherboard contact.  Virtually all the connections are needed so you 
get a failure of data and signal lines with no voltage or current to allow 

the POST process to complete. With no information from CPU to GPU 
the video will not initialize.
This blog post was not finished because it was addressed in general form 
by the more popular DV series. See May 16th, 2010 which the exact same 
cause though in a different machine.  Some times when I try to provide 
information on my solutions, some people will attempt to do this themselves 
and mess up there machine even more.  Taking shortcuts on what I do is not 
an option and I've had to have a number of failures before discovering not to take 
short cuts.  

Example: if the complete motherboard on the T40/41/42 series is not 
removed the plastic channels that route the WiFi wires, CMOS battery holder 
are melted. Then the top panel cannot close properly, or the keyboard does 
not sit correctly in it's place. The method that can be used is the same as fixing DV9000 video memory. And I strongly caution to follow instructions if done by non-technicians.  

Though with the IBM GPU having a larger surface mass and different material it will use a little more time with the heatgun.  An additional caveat is the GPU can slide or shift if it does not have the hotglue spots that anchor the GPU to the motherboard. You must use flux, this removes contaminates, cleans copper pads and allows heat to flow properly around the solderballs which you cannot see. Overheating will kill the laptop

---The Laptop Doctor

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What is causing the DV Series to fail prematurely?

I have seen dozens of 'solutions' and fixes for the DV series and none really address the root causes. Others damage or ruin motherboard. Below are some of the weirdest solutions I have seen:

1: Placing a penny between GPU and Heatsink.
2: Using a copper shim (only slightly larger in area than penny)
3: Excessive thermal compound
4: Wrong type of compound.
5: Placing a tea candle (in aluminum holder) on GPU
6: Putting Motherboard in oven
7: Pressing down on GPU real hard
8: Reflowing without flux?!

Outline what each does and why it still fails later.

1: This will increase the pressure on the GPU when held down with 5 screws, a temporary solution, but does not remedy. Provides no greater heat dispersal and only transfers heat through penny. Metal fatique may damage the 5th retainer screw and not support the GPU.
2: Copper shim does the same as above.
3: Spreads heat over a larger area but does little to cool.
4: Does nothing
5: Can accidently cause more damage, and is only a temporary solution, because the holder never reaches the tempetature that RoHS solder melts.
6: Could ruin board, plastics, labels and fan/USB and other connectors. Dangerous & Risky
7: A temporary solution that fails later because the two surfaces only contact, not bond.
8: Sometimes work, but solder may be tacky under GPU and no way to tell. Not recommended.

Typically it starts like this.

After about a year of average daily use (and shortly after warranty expires) the vents on the heatsink would begin to clog. This lint builds up over time. If you have new carpet, rugs, lots of activity, kids, pets, dust and smoke, the time may be shortened.

The operating temp starts to rise over time because of the lack of ventilation. Chips run hotter, fan stays on longer drawing even more lint. Eventually the solderballs lose contact with pad under GPU. Any oxidation prior to the manufacturing process only attributes to loss of contact.

This can also happen with the Southbridge chip if it too had oxidation, causing various problems such as no WIFI, keyboard, touchpad and USB not working.

The Solution:

1: Reball the GPU (if possible) if not continue...

2: Reflow the GPU with proper tools, flux, and temps

3: Verify silicone pad under GPU heatsink

4: Replace aluminum pad under CPU heatsink with copper and apply thermal compound.

5: Disassemble Heatsink and clean

What doesn't work.

Holding down the power button while battery and AC removed. Clearing CMOS. This only re loads the factory CMOS info from ROM

Water based flux. Usually clear and sold on ebay to fix X-boxes
The liquid solution is too thin and heat used evaporates the liquid needed before the de-oxidation process begins. This is used in manufacturing for thin component motherboard during the wave solder operation. Works in manufacturing for thinner boards, but not for this process. Plus sometime conductive and may create short under GPU or chips if all is not dried.

High viscosity flux. Muratic Acid based. Sometimes listed as Liquid Rosin Flux but too thin and does not stick to pad during de-oxidation process

Blowing lint back into laptop with can of air. The lint needs to be removed not blown back into the machine, it only collects back into the

What Does Work.

Reflow GPU for video issues
Clean Heatsink Fan - Always when the system is opened.

Rosin Flux petroleum based sold in paste form. Usually in a semi-gel state, but liquifies when it gets warm. Sticks to pads and when heated, and slight smoke indicates de-oxidation is happening. When the flux smokes it is also cleaning the contact pads making a larger area for whetting. I have done this and it works!  It is non-conductive and will not create shorts under chips.

How did I test?
I took an old motherboard where exposed
copper was oxidized and discolored, then
applied rosin flux paste. Heated the area to
tempetature that solder melts and when it
started to smoke, removed heat and allowed
to cool. After cleaning the area with acetone
the pad was bright like new.

ASK your tech "What are his qualifications?"
A+ Tech is only certified to replace peripherals and reload Windows, drivers, no soldering is taught.

Computer Techs - 2 year degree in computers, but no electronics training.

Geeks - only have experience, no formal training. Formal training is needed to be able to ask questions when you have them. Otherwise you guess at your own questions. Similar to hackers but no hands on hardware.

Hackers- The true hacker, (not malicious programmer). They build things and have experience soldering, only some of them have formal training.

Electronic Techs - 2 year degree and some soldering.

DV9000 Overheating

A DV9208 arrived with overheating problems. Luckily it was caught before it started generating additional issues with the GPU.

Unit would overheat, cause shutdown/off without notice.
WIFI would turn off
Heat sink vents 75% blocked, so insufficient cooling was the culprit.
Disassemble unit, disassemble heat sink, clear vents.
Problem #2 was a little more different. Because the Southbridge
would also overheat, causing loss of contact on solderballs.

Clearing the lint from heatsink will remedy issue with overheating/shutdown. Since no drive arrived with unit a substitute drive was used to run system for several hours, then turned off, and test again.  I do this about 4 tests so that nothing happens when it gets back to the customer.

Aluminum heat transfer pad for CPU
replaced with copper pad.  The pad
from HP is only ok, but many times the CPU gets so hot that the Aluminum breaks down and sticks to the CPU. Not providing a good thermal transfer.

Reflow process is done to both GPU and SouthBridge. 60 day Warranty offered

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Back from vacation

Since I was out and about, all the time reading news, features and other tidbits from technologists, I decided I would make some observations.

Hype vs USE
iPad and the real world. Sad to say this unit does not live up to the hype. It is small lightweight and does view the web, but the bad points exceed the good for PC users to jump on the bandwagon GUNG-Ho.

1: The lack of USB on the unit requires additional costs.

2: Using 3G is out of the question unless you pay more. If you have a 4G service such as Clear.Net you cannot even use it. Why? Because it is an x86 install and USB dongle.

3: The entertainment use is out of the question. It cannot view YouTube Videos (which uses Flash Video format -FLV) You cannot use NetFlix (which uses MS Silverlight), and No HULU (again FLV). So that means you cannot do much. Not even view ABC/NBC/CNN/CBS News sources. Such as the tornado pictures from Oklahoma.  Corrections: It seems that some sites are changing their whole direction and having to do HTML5 and MPEG video. I wonder how much additional cost and time is used to accommodate iPad users?  ABC - how much was it?  but then again you have the money, little sites that may be important don't.

4: Cannot view any of the ads that corporations paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce and pay to stream.

5: Adding pictures to FACEBOOK/MySpace/etc - requires add-in of some sort to attach camera, since it don't have a camera on it.

6: Responding to an email that has to be detailed and outlined is nearly impossible with the on-screen keyboard. (again, cannot connect a full sized USB keyboard, or portable rollup keyboard) Let's see the comments in about 4 months on the ipads. Also that the rest of the world that does not use the Hindu-Arabic alphabet is just about left out. Malaysia, India, Thailand I still am wondering about their comments.

7: Synopsis: this is a 'dumbed down' Apple product for the minority of users. Sure a million people bought the hype, but check some of the sources. There are quite a few already being 'resold' as used. Craigslist, eBay and Amazon from dissatisfied customers. There are 300 million plus computer users in the WEST, 1 million iPads sold is .333%

It is a 1998 WebPad, that's it. Not of much use to the tech savy users of the 21st Century. Sure I will get flamed from AppleFans but the truth is the truth! Would you buy a new car that wouldn't run unless you had to bring your own engine, or battery? NO

These were the same people that bought crap such as WEBTV (just before digital conversion), and the email pads with B&W LCD displays. I've used phones that can do more than the iPad. They just didn't have a 7 or 10" screen.

Forgot to add 1 more cavaet- All while you are connecting to the net, you are locked into AT&T. The fastest 3G network when 4G blows it out the water. Like advertising the fastest rotary dial phone when the rest of the phones are 10key. It is not a selling point. The ads are bragging about covering 90 something percent of the users, but America is a mobile country. We are not always at home, when you get on the road you'd be struggling to get a signal in Ogalala, Nebraska or Central Utah where your company or personal business sends you. there is a lot of open space in the US and you just may need to pass through it sometime.

Stay Tuned