x61: Fan error

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x61: Fan error

Paul Bolle
[This question is not Linux specific, but I like this list's signal to
noise ratio.]

A six years old ThinkPad X61 (that is now used by a member of my family)
today suddenly refused to boot. It only emitted some scary beeps before
shutting itself down. After a few attempts I notice an equally scary
    Fan error

message before it shut down.

Another few attempts later it, somehow, actually
booted. /proc/acpi/ibm/fan show a zero "speed" while /proc/acpi/ibm/temp
showed one of its temperatures nearing 90 degrees celsius with a bit of
help of Youtube etc. Not good.

A new fan apparently costs about € 60 and probably requires applying
"thermal paste": ie, quite a bit of money compared to the present value
of this laptop and I guess an afternoon fiddling with hardware (not my
cup of tea).

Has anyone seen something similar? Should I try to fix this or should I
be happy that I squeezed six years out of this machine?


Paul Bolle

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Re: x61: Fan error

Robert Tomsick


On Wed, Apr 1, 2015, at 03:14 PM, Paul Bolle wrote:

> [This question is not Linux specific, but I like this list's signal to
> noise ratio.]
>
> A six years old ThinkPad X61 (that is now used by a member of my family)
> today suddenly refused to boot. It only emitted some scary beeps before
> shutting itself down. After a few attempts I notice an equally scary
>     Fan error
>
> message before it shut down.
>
> Another few attempts later it, somehow, actually
> booted. /proc/acpi/ibm/fan show a zero "speed" while /proc/acpi/ibm/temp
> showed one of its temperatures nearing 90 degrees celsius with a bit of
> help of Youtube etc. Not good.
>
> A new fan apparently costs about € 60 and probably requires applying
> "thermal paste": ie, quite a bit of money compared to the present value
> of this laptop and I guess an afternoon fiddling with hardware (not my
> cup of tea).

That seems a little expensive...  I can get them on eBay for well under
20 USD, and I can't imagine that shipping to where you are costs *that*
much.

As far as ease of installation, it's actually not too bad.  Lenovo
publishes Hardware Maintenance Manuals that'll provide a nice
step-by-step guide for replacing the fan, and the thermal paste isn't
really that hard to apply, although I will grant that it seems a little
tricky if you haven't done it before.  I've done it before, and the
process doesn't take more than an hour or two.

It really comes down to whether or not you want new hardware.  I'm a big
believer in fixing what's broken and stretching my hardware dollar as
far as I can within reason.  And for me, 20 bucks of parts and a rainy
afternoon of tinkering is worth it if it means I can put off a
thousand-dollar new laptop purchase by a couple years.  YMMV, obviously.

-R
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Re: x61: Fan error

Florian Reitmeir
In reply to this post by Paul Bolle
Hi,

On 04/01/2015 09:14 PM, Paul Bolle wrote:
> Has anyone seen something similar? Should I try to fix this or should I
> be happy that I squeezed six years out of this machine?
if you want to fix it.. its simple to get an orignal fan:
just look at:..

http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/documents/migr-62906
you need your model number, look an the FRU Number.. e.g. 41V9748
search google or direct in amazon for the FRU number an get an new fan..
(http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=41V9748)

the hardware maintaince manual gives a step by step guide how to do it
correctly.

http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/docs/migr-62866


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Re: x61: Fan error

Helen Borrie-2
In reply to this post by Paul Bolle
At 08:14 a.m. 2/04/2015, Paul Bolle wrote:
>[This question is not Linux specific, but I like this list's signal to
>noise ratio.]
>
>A six years old ThinkPad X61 (that is now used by a member of my family)
>today suddenly refused to boot. It only emitted some scary beeps before
>shutting itself down. After a few attempts I notice an equally scary
>    Fan error
>
>message before it shut down.

Snap!  I've just dealt with exactly the same thing with my T60 and I fixed it, without having to replace the fan.  It looks daunting to do but in reality it is a piece of cake.

The problem with these fan assemblies is the spongy self-adhesive tape that's used to buffer vibration.  In time it disintegrates and bits of the sticky, spongy stuff get stuck on and around the fan.  If you do the periodic squirt through the vents with compressed air, eventually it makes it worse and the fan just jams up.

Here's what you need:

1. The hardware manual.  I have a copy for the T61 if you can't get hold of one.
2. A can of compressed air.
3. Isopropyl alcohol.  I just bought a small bottle from a local pharmacy.
4. Arctic sliver or other good thermal paste.
5. A piece of foam draught strip (DIY store).
6. Sharp scissors for cutting the draught strip.
7. A thin plastic spoon or a used credit card.
8.  A piece of clean microfibre towelling cloth (also a DIY store item if you don't have any.)  Don't use cotton as it makes lint.
9. Long-nose tweezers are useful for handling the sticky tape.  An artist's pig-bristle paintbrush (flat end) is useful for cleaning the gunk out of the fan.

OK, strip the machine down, following the instructions in the h/w manual in the right order, until you have completed the step that exposes the whole of the fan assembly.  Make sure you lay out the screws at each step and label where they came from.

Use the credit card or plastic spoon to gently ease up the 3 heatsinks.  Do this gradually and gently as the paste on all three will probably be quite *crisp* by now.

Once the heatsinks are free, pull the whole assembly forward gently so that everything is free.  Unplug the power cable for the assembly, at the left.  (It's a jumper-style plug.)  Lift the heat assembly out, gently jogging it to free up the sticky foam stuff from  the top and LH edges.  

Now, scrape the old paste off the CPU and the CPU heatsink, using the credit card or the plastic spoon.  The other two heatsinks might be OK, as they have pads of paste.

Similarly clean the CPU and also the GPU chips if necessary.  

Take the fan assembly somewhere to work on it without contaminating your Thinkpad.  Use fingernails and/or credit card or spoon to release and remove the adhesive tape.  This is the most tedious part of the exercise.  You may not need to remove the buffer from the heatpipe - on mine it was intact.

Now use the compressed air, the paintbrush and the m/f cloth to give the fan a thoroughly good clean.

Once the damaged tape is all gone, give the areas a good cleanup with the alcohol.  (I did each area one at a time so I could see where to stick the new tape.)

Cut pieces of the draught strip to fit the areas.  You will probably need to cut the sides of the tape to fit around the heatpipes at top and side.  Keep the small offcuts for covering the ends and corners.  Remove the backing strips and apply the foam strips firmly.

That's it.  Now, just work back in reverse, reassembling the machine.  Before you proceed, though, get the Lenovo Product number and the FRU from the bottom of the fan assembly, in case your fan is damaged beyond repair.

Fingers crossed this works as well for you as it did for me. ;-)

Helen

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Re: x61: Fan error

Helen Borrie-2
At 02:14 p.m. 2/04/2015, Helen Borrie wrote:

>Cut pieces of the draught strip to fit the areas.  You will probably need to cut the sides of the tape to fit around the heatpipes at top and side.  Keep the small offcuts for covering the ends and corners.  Remove the backing strips and apply the foam strips firmly.

Missed a step, didn't I?

Thermal paste: put a 3mm spot of paste in the centre of the CPU and another in the centre of the heatsink base.  Use a CLEAN edge of the credit card to smooth down so that the layer of paste on each is even only just opaque.

DON'T OMIT THIS! <G>
If there are any holes in the paste pads for the GPUs, carefully cut out the uneven edges using a clean edge of the card as a blade.  Clean off any crumbs of paste that are left on the GPUs, wipe off with ppa and polish with a clean part of the mf cloth.  Apply enough paste to both surfaces and scrape off excess, as you did with the CPU.


>That's it.  Now, just work back in reverse, reassembling the machine.  Before you proceed, though, get the Lenovo Product number and the FRU from the bottom of the fan assembly, in case your fan is damaged beyond repair.

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Re: x61: Fan error

Matt Jenny
That is an older method of thermal paste application, if the X61/s heatsink is like the T61/p then it has enough pressure that the paste will spread itself and not need to be spread. The approx. 3mm blob is what I would recommend on the CPU side. If the chipset/GPU use thermal pads then there may be too much clearance for paste to be used. I have seen that a few times, but I have not worked on a X61/s before to this extent,. You also need to be careful when using silver-based thermal pastes because they are conductive.

On Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 10:13 PM, Helen Borrie <[hidden email]> wrote:
At 02:14 p.m. 2/04/2015, Helen Borrie wrote:

>Cut pieces of the draught strip to fit the areas.  You will probably need to cut the sides of the tape to fit around the heatpipes at top and side.  Keep the small offcuts for covering the ends and corners.  Remove the backing strips and apply the foam strips firmly.

Missed a step, didn't I?

Thermal paste: put a 3mm spot of paste in the centre of the CPU and another in the centre of the heatsink base.  Use a CLEAN edge of the credit card to smooth down so that the layer of paste on each is even only just opaque.

DON'T OMIT THIS! <G>
If there are any holes in the paste pads for the GPUs, carefully cut out the uneven edges using a clean edge of the card as a blade.  Clean off any crumbs of paste that are left on the GPUs, wipe off with ppa and polish with a clean part of the mf cloth.  Apply enough paste to both surfaces and scrape off excess, as you did with the CPU.


>That's it.  Now, just work back in reverse, reassembling the machine.  Before you proceed, though, get the Lenovo Product number and the FRU from the bottom of the fan assembly, in case your fan is damaged beyond repair.

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Re: x61: Fan error

Paul Seelig-3
In reply to this post by Helen Borrie-2
Thanks, Helen, for such a great step by step guide!

On 04/02/2015 03:14 AM, Helen Borrie wrote:
> Here's what you need:
>
> 1. The hardware manual.  I have a copy for the T61 if you can't get hold of one.
>
The official Thinkpad Hardware Maintenance Manual for all models built
before 9/12/2014 can easily be downloaded from:

      http://www.thinkpads.com/support/hmm/thinkpad-hmm.html

Same applies to Drivers (mainly Windows) via:

      http://www.thinkpads.com/support/Thinkpad-Drivers/index.html

http://www.thinkpads.com is an incredible resource, and regarding good
signal to noise ration i can only recommend http://forum.thinkpads.com
for general well informed discussion of all things Thinkpad. It also
contains a great marketplace subforum, where members can exchange
replacement parts.
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Re: x61: Fan error

Paul Bolle
On Thu, 2015-04-02 at 11:37 +0200, Paul Seelig wrote:
> The official Thinkpad Hardware Maintenance Manual for all models built
> before 9/12/2014 can easily be downloaded from:
>
>       http://www.thinkpads.com/support/hmm/thinkpad-hmm.html

Off topic: was 9 December 2014 (or 12 September 2014, thanks to American
conventions) simply the day someone archived those manuals or is there
more to it? And do people fear Lenovo will do what Toshiba did (ie, make
maintenance of older systems as hard as they can)?


Paul Bolle

PS Thanks for the answers so far, everyone. I hope to get back to this
in a few days.

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Re: x61: Fan error

bhaskins


On 4/2/2015 9:24 AM, Paul Bolle wrote:

> On Thu, 2015-04-02 at 11:37 +0200, Paul Seelig wrote:
>> The official Thinkpad Hardware Maintenance Manual for all models built
>> before 9/12/2014 can easily be downloaded from:
>>
>>        http://www.thinkpads.com/support/hmm/thinkpad-hmm.html
> Off topic: was 9 December 2014 (or 12 September 2014, thanks to American
> conventions) simply the day someone archived those manuals or is there
> more to it? And do people fear Lenovo will do what Toshiba did (ie, make
> maintenance of older systems as hard as they can)?
>
>
> Paul Bolle
>
> PS Thanks for the answers so far, everyone. I hope to get back to this
> in a few days.
My main reasons for buying Lenovo ( over twenty units to date ) have
been the excellent keyboard, the trackpoint,
and the manuals/drivers extended support.
If they drop these I guess I will drop them!

What happened here?.. did they acquire some DipS~!@ ex manager from HP?

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Re: x61: Fan error

Martin N-2
In reply to this post by Robert Tomsick
Hello,

At 20:26 01/04/2015, you wrote:


>On Wed, Apr 1, 2015, at 03:14 PM, Paul Bolle wrote:
> > [This question is not Linux specific, but I like this list's signal to
> > noise ratio.]
> >
> > A six years old ThinkPad X61 (that is now used by a member of my family)
> > today suddenly refused to boot. It only emitted some scary beeps before
> > shutting itself down. After a few attempts I notice an equally scary
> >     Fan error

I had a noisy fan on my x61.

Just opened it up, cleaned the dust off the fan and screwed it back together.
Silent fan again.

Try and clean it, you may be surprised how much dust it clogging it up.

Martin N

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to
purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

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Re: x61: Fan error

Paul Seelig-3
In reply to this post by Paul Bolle
On 04/02/2015 03:24 PM, Paul Bolle wrote:
> Off topic: was 9 December 2014 (or 12 September 2014, thanks to American
> conventions) simply the day someone archived those manuals or is there
> more to it? And do people fear Lenovo will do what Toshiba did (ie, make
> maintenance of older systems as hard as they can)?
>
Lenovo decided to retire their well functioning support web site
http://support.lenovo.com and replace it with a rather useless site
where it is next to impossible to find the formerly available wealth for
documentation and drivers also for their legacy hardware.

Some forward looking guys simply took the liberty to mirror that site
before it disappears. As agreed with Lenovo, all this data has since
then found a new home at thinkpads.com.

To complete the formerly mentioned links, the old MTM (=Machine Type
Model) lookup link http://support1.lenovo.com/en_US/landing.page?qpq=
has also disappeared, consequently. Luckily, it was also salvaged and
made available at http://sm.krelay.de/tp/index.php?type=

Example: http://sm.krelay.de/tp/index.php?type=8892-B7G

Hope this helps!

Regards,
Paul
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Re: x61: Fan error

Helen Borrie-2
At 06:54 a.m. 3/04/2015, Paul Seelig wrote:

>On 04/02/2015 03:24 PM, Paul Bolle wrote:
>> Off topic: was 9 December 2014 (or 12 September 2014, thanks to American
>> conventions) simply the day someone archived those manuals or is there
>> more to it? And do people fear Lenovo will do what Toshiba did (ie, make
>> maintenance of older systems as hard as they can)?
>>
>Lenovo decided to retire their well functioning support web site
>http://support.lenovo.com and replace it with a rather useless site
>where it is next to impossible to find the formerly available wealth for
>documentation and drivers also for their legacy hardware.
>
>Some forward looking guys simply took the liberty to mirror that site
>before it disappears. As agreed with Lenovo, all this data has since
>then found a new home at thinkpads.com.
>
>To complete the formerly mentioned links, the old MTM (=Machine Type
>Model) lookup link http://support1.lenovo.com/en_US/landing.page?qpq=
>has also disappeared, consequently. Luckily, it was also salvaged and
>made available at http://sm.krelay.de/tp/index.php?type=
>
>Example: http://sm.krelay.de/tp/index.php?type=8892-B7G
>
>Hope this helps!

You bet it helps!  Before I decided to bite the bullet with this fan assembly, which is necessary because the product numbers are on the BOTTOM (!!) I was searching (in vain) for that dive-down search site that leads you to the exact build details of your Thinkpad (the old URL had 'migr' in it).  As you noted, the new Lenovo support site is totally useless.  I phoned local support, just to try to elicit the information and they could not help. (2007 machine - too old!!)

For anyone who is stuck for a part, I did find several sites that are selling new and refurbished parts for older Thinkpads, at alibaba.com, from China and Malaysia.  Prices were around a third of what the US parts sites were offering and, in some cases, with free postage.  In all cases, they had photos, unlike the US sites.

Helen

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Re: x61: Fan error

Paul Bolle
In reply to this post by Martin N-2
On Thu, 2015-04-02 at 18:39 +0100, Martin N wrote:
> I had a noisy fan on my x61.

My fan was silent. Because it refused to run at all.

> Just opened it up, cleaned the dust off the fan and screwed it back together.
> Silent fan again.
>
> Try and clean it, you may be surprised how much dust it clogging it up.

This is what I did: I sprayed some canned air into the fan (X61 shut
down, battery removed, but nothing disassembled: ie, I sprayed the fan
from the outside!). Even my dysfunctional ears could here the fan
rotating at high speed after the flow of air had stopped.

The next boot saw the fan kick in on a "yum update", which moved the
(main?) temperature above, I think, 60 degrees Celsius.

Mission accomplished for € 8!

Thanks,


Paul Bolle

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Re: x61: Fan error

Paul Bolle
In reply to this post by Helen Borrie-2
Hi Helen,

On Thu, 2015-04-02 at 15:13 +1300, Helen Borrie wrote:

> At 02:14 p.m. 2/04/2015, Helen Borrie wrote:
>
> >Cut pieces of the draught strip to fit the areas.  You will probably
> need to cut the sides of the tape to fit around the heatpipes at top
> and side.  Keep the small offcuts for covering the ends and corners.
> Remove the backing strips and apply the foam strips firmly.
>
> Missed a step, didn't I?
>
> Thermal paste: put a 3mm spot of paste in the centre of the CPU and
> another in the centre of the heatsink base.  Use a CLEAN edge of the
> credit card to smooth down so that the layer of paste on each is even
> only just opaque.
>
> DON'T OMIT THIS! <G>
> If there are any holes in the paste pads for the GPUs, carefully cut
> out the uneven edges using a clean edge of the card as a blade.  Clean
> off any crumbs of paste that are left on the GPUs, wipe off with ppa
> and polish with a clean part of the mf cloth.  Apply enough paste to
> both surfaces and scrape off excess, as you did with the CPU.
>
>
> >That's it.  Now, just work back in reverse, reassembling the machine.
> Before you proceed, though, get the Lenovo Product number and the FRU
> from the bottom of the fan assembly, in case your fan is damaged
> beyond repair.

As I mentioned in another branch of this thread, I sprayed the fan from
the outside with canned air to great effect. Fan seems to be working
again.

Feel free to mock me at great length for the long term damage this silly
approach might cause. And thanks for the detailed instructions: I'm sure
someone, somewhere will be delighted to read them. Say, me, in a couple
of months.

Thanks,


Paul Bolle

PS List administrators: it seems your Reply-To header forces me to
manually change the recipient of my messages to the original sender. Can
you please stop adding a Reply-to header?

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Re: x61: Fan error

Martin N-2
In reply to this post by Paul Bolle
Hello,

At 22:33 02/04/2015, you wrote:
>On Thu, 2015-04-02 at 18:39 +0100, Martin N wrote:
> > I had a noisy fan on my x61.
>
>My fan was silent. Because it refused to run at all.

Yes, i was extrapolating


> > Just opened it up, cleaned the dust off the
> fan and screwed it back together.
> > Silent fan again.
> >
> > Try and clean it, you may be surprised how much dust it clogging it up.
>
>This is what I did: I sprayed some canned air into the fan (X61 shut
>down, battery removed, but nothing disassembled: ie, I sprayed the fan
>from the outside!). Even my dysfunctional ears could here the fan
>rotating at high speed after the flow of air had stopped.
>
>The next boot saw the fan kick in on a "yum update", which moved the
>(main?) temperature above, I think, 60 degrees Celsius.
>
>Mission accomplished for € 8!


Good stuff.

Still easy to get to the fan without going through the whole heat sink
palaver.

The air can doesnt get rid of it all.

Martin

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of
the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."
  - so said Cardinal Richelieu:

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Re: x61: Fan error

Paul Bolle
On Thu, 2015-04-02 at 23:08 +0100, Martin N wrote:
> Good stuff.
>
> Still easy to get to the fan without going through the whole heat sink
> palaver.
>
> The air can doesnt get rid of it all.

Yes, this was a hack. Next time I might need to open the machine, and
after that Helen's instructions for surgery might be needed, but for now
this worked. And it was your reply that triggered me to opt for the easy
way out!

Thanks,


Paul Bolle

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Re: x61: Fan error

Robert Tomsick
In reply to this post by Paul Seelig-3
On Thu, 2015-04-02 at 19:54 +0200, Paul Seelig wrote:

> On 04/02/2015 03:24 PM, Paul Bolle wrote:
> > Off topic: was 9 December 2014 (or 12 September 2014, thanks to American
> > conventions) simply the day someone archived those manuals or is there
> > more to it? And do people fear Lenovo will do what Toshiba did (ie, make
> > maintenance of older systems as hard as they can)?
> >
> Lenovo decided to retire their well functioning support web site
> http://support.lenovo.com and replace it with a rather useless site
> where it is next to impossible to find the formerly available wealth for
> documentation and drivers also for their legacy hardware.

I actually think the new site is an improvement for looking up
information.  It's certainly not any harder to find info about old
products.

I just looked up the X61 information in about 20 seconds.

1) Go to support.lenovo.com

2) Type "ThinkPad X61" into the search box, pick the auto-completed
option for said system.

3) Go to "Manuals", and viola! "Hardware Maintenance Manual" is listed
on the left hand side.

-R

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Re: x61: Fan error

Paul Seelig-3
On 04/03/2015 12:36 AM, Rob Tomsick wrote:
> I actually think the new site is an improvement for looking up
> information.  It's certainly not any harder to find info about old
> products.
>
Try that with "Thinkpad T23" or "Thinkpad X31" and you will understand
what the new site is lacking. Not that a T23 or X31 are still very
useful for the majority of people nowadays, but even these ancient
models are still used and repaired by less demanding users.

@Paul Bolle: Regarding fan cleaning with canned air, it is advisable to
avoid the fan from spinning by blocking its rotors with a tooth pick or
similar while blowing it out.

As some users learned the hard way, impeding fast fan rotation during
the dust cleaning prevents building up an electrical currency which in
the worst case might fry a fuse on the motherboard, or worse.

Regards,
Paul
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Re: x61: Fan error

Rainer H. Rauschenberg
In reply to this post by Paul Bolle
On Thu, 2 Apr 2015, Paul Bolle wrote:

> This is what I did: I sprayed some canned air into the fan (X61 shut
> down, battery removed, but nothing disassembled: ie, I sprayed the fan
> from the outside!). Even my dysfunctional ears could here the fan
> rotating at high speed after the flow of air had stopped.

This may also be accomplished with a vacuum cleaner, but both methods bear
a risk to damage the motherboard or other components, because the fan
works as a generator and may induce a much too high voltage when spun very
fast.
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Re: x61: Fan error

Henrique de Moraes Holschuh-2
In reply to this post by Helen Borrie-2
On Thu, 02 Apr 2015, Helen Borrie wrote:
> Thermal paste: put a 3mm spot of paste in the centre of the CPU and another in the centre of the heatsink base.  Use a CLEAN edge of the credit card to smooth down so that the layer of paste on each is even only just opaque.

And don't use just about any thermal paste, either.  You want Artic Silver
5, or something quite close to it.  Yes, it is expensive.  But anything
below "A-" quality will be worse than what Lenovo itself uses, and may cause
thermal damage to the thinkpad.

It must be a non-reactive (doesn't corrode metals), non-conductive very
high-performance thermal compound.  Just go with Artic Silver 5, it is
a perfect fit to the kind of thermal cycles you get out of older laptops
like the T4x, X6x, T6x and earlier.

--
  "One disk to rule them all, One disk to find them. One disk to bring
  them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
  where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot
  Henrique Holschuh
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