Fixing an IBM T40 with No Video (In Burnaby)
Although I have used several IBM laptops at work, this is the first one that I took it apart and saw the inside.
I got this 1.5 GHz IBM T40 which has 512MB RAM and 40G hard driver from a person working close by to my office on 6May2010. We met at the parking place just across the road of my office. He told me that this laptop had no video recently. Before that, everything was good except the palm rest was broken on the top right corner.
When I returned home, I tested it and searched the video problem in internet. There are several possibilities for this kind of problem. I tried to reflow the video chip like those HP laptop. It didn't work for IBM laptop. To identify the faulty part, I found another IBM T41 that could just boot up. I bought it and swapped the parts to identify the faulty part. It turned out to be the motherboard. I bought a used motherboard from US and had it shipped to Point Robert. The shipping was fast, within a week. However, it took me two more weeks to find an opportunity going down there to pick it up.
While switching the motherboard, I cleaned up the fan and reapplied silver thermal compound to the CPU. When I assembling it back, it had video. However, when I tested it for a week. The motherboard started failing to have video. I bought a hundred dollar hot air rework station to test the reflow of video chip. After reflow, the video came back. When I test it for a week, the motherboard started failing again. I believe that the used motherboard was reflowed before. With the hot air station, I remove the video chip from the motherboard and inspected underneath. From the photo, the solder connection is bad. The reflow could provide a temporary fix but would easy be disconnected for running in a week. Knowing the issue, I paid more for a good motherboard which came with a base. According to the seller, the video problem is a design flaw in older motherboard. When the laptop is being lifted at a corner, the weight on the LCD will bend the motherboard. In time, the video chip will have solder disconnected. His motherboard is from IBM for replacement on laptop having the video problem. I installed the motherboard and repeated the same tests. This time, the motherboard passed my tests. For the old motherboards, I will destroy them before sending to recycle that they cannot be reflowed and sold again.
When the T40 is working well, I pressed the Access IBM button and got into the Recover to factory contents icon to restore the factory image. It ran through successfully. I updated the wireless driver and installed Windows XP SP2 to support WAP authentication key. The wireless and sound are working for YouTube video. The USB, CD/DVD are tested fine. As for the battery after 100% charged, it ran 27 minutes before popping up the low battery at 12% and then hibernated. I plugged in power and it restarted successfully.
The original power adapter is quite old. For safety reason, I ordered a new IBM adapter together with a palm rest to replace the broken one. For the old keyboard, although a new keyboard is around $37, I didn't replace it when it is still working well.
The laptop was taken up by a garage shop owner in Burnaby on 16Aug2010 at $170.