IBM Thinkpad R51 found on ebay won't start

April 20, 2010 at 15:29:53
Specs: Windows XP

I purchased a used IBM Thinkpad R51 on ebay for my mother a couple of months ago. It worked great until today when she decided to clean it. She used a bit of windex and a rag, and lightly cleaned the screen, and keyboard. I asked if any fluid dripped into the system but she said she was careful. When trying to power it on, the charge light, and hard disc light illuminate, and the fan spins. Nothing else works. Black screen, DVD-Rom won't even open. I tried several methods after this. First, I unplugged the battery and left it plugged in.. I hear clicking but nothing else. Tapped the power button 10 times as suggested on another post.. plugged in battery.. nothing. did the same but held the power button for 2mins.. nothing. unplugged and tried both methods with the battery plugged in.. nothing.

I then pulled it apart. There was very little dust around the heatsink, fan, memory, and processor. In fact there was barely any dust at all but I removed it anyway. Checked connections for the LCD, and it was seated. Checked the Memory.. It was properly seated. No liquid or sticky residue to be found. Everything looked immaculate.

The charger light comes on after I plug it in. The computer does not post.. I hear nothing going on (so it's probably not a screen problem). No post beeps. I have it charging now while powered off to see if it will come on after a few hours. Is this most likely the mobo? The fan spins slowly and the lights come on. Anything else I should check or try? Sorry for the long post guys.

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April 20, 2010 at 15:54:58

and on second thought.. the hard disc light isn't turning on.. It's the circle with the Z.. Not sure what that indicates.

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April 20, 2010 at 16:28:24

try removing the cmos battery (little round silver one on main board) after removing the main battery and power leave for an hour or so maybe over night if you fancy then put it back in and try again.

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April 20, 2010 at 18:45:57

Trying that now.. The CMOS battery was actually enclosed in yellow plastic and hooked up via wiring harness.. I just pulled it out of the connector.

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April 21, 2010 at 14:36:29

Poor Ma. She was just trying to be clean and neat.

I suspect ESD.

I guess it could be that she hit some keyboard sequence to shut off display or some other oddity.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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April 21, 2010 at 17:29:13

Ha! The CMOS trick worked. Thanks much. I suspected ESD too but fortunately after putting it back together everything worked fine.

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April 23, 2010 at 12:50:00

She used the computer a bit more after I fixed it and the same thing happened.. I had to take it back apart and pull the CMOS battery for an hour to get it back on again. Any reason it would keep doing this? Could it be a bad battery? I'm reluctant to think that would be the cause but I'm open to more options. It has been on since last night, and I downloaded TPFanControl to make sure overheating isn't the issue (The fan was barely spinning while the computer was running). Maybe I will throw a toggle switch on it so I can break the circuit without opening it back up. This would achieve the same effect right?

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April 23, 2010 at 13:41:01

Please, tell mom not to use Windex on that screen, not a good idea, buy her an appropriate laptop screen cleaner solution.

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April 23, 2010 at 14:56:07

Oh I know. That was the first thing we talked about.

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