thinkpad crashes - only on power cord!

January 20, 2010 at 14:49:29
Specs: Windows XP, 1600MHz/1G
We have an old IBM ThinkPad R51. I bought a used one for parts off of eBay about 3 years ago, and with only a couple of minor parts swap-outs the original has been performing like a champ for most of a decade.

However, a new problem though has me stumped: The computer crashes about every 15 minutes if, and only if, the power cord is plugged in. If the computer is off it will charge fine when plugged in, and the computer will operate fine if I unplug it before using it (although the battery is so old it will only keep it running about an hour). The computer blue screens for about 5-10 seconds (too quick to get any useful info) and then automatically restarts.

Any suggestions or help will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Daniel


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#1
January 20, 2010 at 14:55:45
You may have a problem with the cord at the computer end or with the jack it plugs into.
See response 1:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

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#2
January 20, 2010 at 20:14:26
The same problem occurs when I use the power cord from my "parts" computer, so it must be something in the laptop itself. I can try swapping out the plug socket in the computer (not sure if i can actually do that...) but would like to know if there is a way to determine where the problem is before tearing the laptop apart...

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#3
January 21, 2010 at 07:51:31
Sounds like a logic circuit issue on the AC side on the.... MOTHERBOARD. You see, the machine has possibly three different circuits to power the machine. One for battery, one for AC power, and one for Docking Station. It will determine what power source you're using and adjust accordingly. The fact that it works well on battery and not power cord suggests that a portion of your motherboard's power handling circuit is cooked.

Now, I always like to troubleshoot before saying THE MOTHERBOARD'S BAD... because nobody likes that news.

What I want you to do is plug the computer in with the power cord. Turn it on, and start pressing the F8 key. When you get a menu of options, press the arrow keys a few times, but don't select anything. Let the machine set for a couple of hours. If the machine stays on, then you may have a Windows Power Management issue.

I think it could be a Windows issue, and if your computer doesn't power off after more than an hour, I'd be pretty confident in that assessment.

Also, what would happen if you booted from the battery, and then, once Windows is loaded, plug the AC adapter back in. I normally wouldn't have a user do this because it wouldn't make a difference if the motherboard was cooked... but in your case it would be something to try, because it seems the problem is occurring at bootup.

If you're able to operate on AC power for an extended period of time at the text only menu, or after Windows loads, I'd say its a Windows Problem. We'll tackle that if it's the case.


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Related Solutions

#4
January 21, 2010 at 08:06:13
See the info pointed to in response 1. If the jack in the laptop moves at all when you wiggle the plug in it, that may be directly related to your problem, despite the fact the AC adapter seems to charge the battery fine.
There may be a service manual your can consult available from the Lenovo web site or from elsewhere on the web, for your model or model series.

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#5
January 21, 2010 at 08:08:44
It could also be an overheating issue. If you are running on battery power, the CPU gets throttled back and isn't running as fast or creating as much heat. When you plug in the adapter, the CPU runs full speed and runs hotter. Try using a can of compressed air in the vents

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#6
January 24, 2010 at 12:34:51
Thanks for your ideas, and sorry for the slow followup- I received an email alert for the first reply, but for none of the others (which made me believe that there were none).

The computer does NOT crash when using Access & Recovery (I ran complete hardware diagnostics which came back clean), leaving the PC running at the boot menu for hours after pressing F8, or (which I should have checked first, but I was so sure it was a hardware problem) when running in Safe Mode.

I.e. it's only something about the fully loaded Windows XP does not like it when I'm recharging the battery.

I don't have any compressed air to blow out the vents to see if it is an overheating issue that only occurs when there is a full operating system load. I don't think it is an overheating problem though: when I have been running the laptop on battery power for about an hour or so I must plug the laptop in because it is about to run out of charge. If I do that, it crashes almost *immediately* (well, within 15-30 seconds) which I don't believe would give it enough time to overheat?

Thanks for the guidance so far... what is the likely next step?


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#7
January 24, 2010 at 22:26:19
"I received an email alert for the first reply, but for none of the others (which made me believe that there were none)."

You don't get email alerts for replies to Topics on this site unless the proper setting is enabled here:
http://www.computing.net/cgi-bin/my...
(I'm assuming that's what it for and it works - I have not used it.)
Otherwise, you get them only if someone has sent you a PM (Personal Message).
I don't bother with that setting because I don't check for email every day.
Once a Topic has been added to the Tracked Post list, I just go online and use the link for showing only Posts that have replies.
http://www.computing.net/cgi-bin/my...
I appears in your History list in IE or other browser once it's been used.
......

You have not said anything about whether your power jack is loose in the case, or in poor shape otherwise (e.g. loose pin or shell) .

"....when I have been running the laptop on battery power for about an hour or so I must plug the laptop in because it is about to run out of charge."

It sounds like your main battery is in poor shape. Old laptop batteries often develop internal shorts - if so, it often gets HOT when you charge it for any length of time, rather than just warm, and if you measure it's voltage it may never get to it's rated voltage.
It could be plugging in the AC adapter makes the internal short problem worse, and that's why your computer shuts down.
If there's nothing wrong with the power jack, if I were you I would try replacing the main battery, especially if it gets hot or can't achieve it's rated voltage. .


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#8
January 25, 2010 at 05:53:25
The jack is seated solidly and nothing in it appears to be loose.

Yes, the battery is quite old and has negligible battery life. I tried using my "parts" battery which resulted in the same behavior, but that hadn't been charged in probably 3 years so who knows what shape it is in... I will try running the laptop tonight without any battery at all (I believe this is possible) although the laptop did appear to work fine in safe mode.


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#9
January 25, 2010 at 07:37:34
"I will try running the laptop tonight without any battery at all (I believe this is possible)"

That does work on old models; it won't work on most more recent ones.


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#10
January 29, 2010 at 19:20:23
It crashes without the battery installed... so it's not a short in the battery.

Since the computer runs fine plugged in when in Access and Recovery, the F8 menu, and when in Safe Mode, am I able to safely assume that this problem is a Windows XP problem?

Why would this problem suddenly develop? Something that happened from a recent Windows Update?


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#11
January 29, 2010 at 20:47:17
"It crashes without the battery installed... so it's not a short in the battery."

When you say it crashes, that's rather vague - describe what it does.

It might be the adapter that's doing it, only when the computer is running.

"Since the computer runs fine plugged in when in Access and Recovery, the F8 menu, and when in Safe Mode, am I able to safely assume that this problem is a Windows XP problem?"

It would probably have more load on it when you have booted normally - maybe that's the trigger that causes the AC adapter to cause the problem??.

If it's a Windows problem I have no idea what would cause that.

Do you have another AC adapter to try?



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#12
January 30, 2010 at 06:19:05
Yes, we used the AC Adaptor from our "parts" computer, and the same issue occurs.

What happens exactly:

1. The computer blue screens
2. the computer restarts
3. upon login it tries to report the error to microsoft:

Error Signature:
BCCode : 1000008e BCP1 : C0000005 BCP2 : 804E7418 BCP3 : B5E5D640
BCP4 : 00000000 OSVer : 5_1_2600 SP : 3_0 Product : 256_1

the contents of BCP3 seem to change, but i believe the rest are constant.


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#13
January 30, 2010 at 13:55:03
"The computer blue screens"

A blue screen can be caused by a hardware or a software problem.
E.g. an iffy connection of the ram in it's slot(s) can cause it.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

For a laptop, you must remove both its main battery and AC adapter before you do that.

A black screen is a lot more likely to be caused by a hardware or a power supply problem.

"Error Signature:
BCCode : 1000008e BCP1 : C0000005 BCP2 : 804E7418 BCP3 : B5E5D640
BCP4 : 00000000 OSVer : 5_1_2600 SP : 3_0 Product : 256_1 "

At most, usually only the first code is useful for using to search with on the web to find info about your problem - usually all the others are specfic to your system.

Is there a STOP: 0X0000... message? - that can be quite useful.
If that's there, at most, usually only the first code in brackets to the right of that is useful for using to search with on the web - usually all the others are specfic to your system.

If there is a STOP message, there is often a corresponding TEXT_MESSAGE_ALL_IN_CAPTALS_WITH_UNDERLINES_BETWEEN - do you see that?

Is there any specific file name named, which may or may not be agood clue (it may be the file is fine but is affected by something else that Windows can't tell you directly), or anything on the screen where you click on it for more info or similar that allows you to see any specific file name named?

Is there a message about a memory dump?
If so, the contents of the memory dump can be examined for clues - however, you need specific software to view it properly.
.......

Another thing to try - you may get different or more than one blue screen type if you do this:

Win XP is set by default to automatically reboot when it encounters an unrecoverable error.

To have XP possibly display an error message you can investigate instead of the computer rebooting:

1. Click Start, and then right-click My Computer.
2. Click Properties.
3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
4. Under System failure, click on the small box beside Automatically restart to remove the checkmark.
5. Click OK, and then click OK.

If that's not already disabled, you may get more info when you disable that.


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