I have gathered the top hardware issues I’ve seen with laptops.
These seem to be the most common problems not only with Thinkpads but all laptops. In this post I try to provide problem determination steps to help users resolve these issues themselves before having to call Lenovo support.
These are the top issues discussed:
- Battery Charging/Battery Life
- Hard Drive Crash
- LCD/Video Panel
- Power On Issues
We’ll start with the battery not charging at all. Obviously check your AC adapter connections to the Thinkpad and to the wall outlet.
It happens where we assume the adapter is still plugged into the wall outlet but isn’t and when we trace it down feel silly.
If this isn’t the problem then remove the battery from the laptop. Does the AC adapter power the Thinkpad by itself?
It should, and we know it is functioning properly. Reinstall the battery and look for the charging light to come on located on the lower part of the LCD panel. If you get no sign of life then it appears your battery has failed and should be replaced.
How about a battery that doesn’t last very long? Battery life normally decreases with age and usage. You can employ power management schemes through the BIOS or Windows to use less power.
If you have an older battery that is labeled NiMH you can completely drain the battery then charge it fully to condition it and extend it’s life.
Do not do this with the newer Lithium Ion(Li-Ion) batteries, it will cause damage. If you’re still not happy with the battery life after taking these steps you might need to replace it.
Some older Thinkpad batteries have been recalled by Lenovo. They will replace them free of charge if the battery meets the requirements. This link has the recall information.
If you need a replacement battery, see my post on battery and power adapter information to buy a new battery.
Hard Drive Issues:
I cover hard drive testing in a previous post. See it for diagnostic tools and steps to take to try and recover data.
LCD Panel issues:
Common problems with LCD panels are seeing no video or very dim video. First make sure the Thinkpad is powered on and not in suspend or hibernate mode.
Check the presentation mode by pressing Fn and F7 at the same time. This enables the switching of video output between the LCD and an external display. You want to make sure the video is directed to the laptop’s LCD screen.
Also, disconnect anything external to the Thinkpad including a dock or port replicator. Next, see if you can increase the dimness setting by pressing Fn and Home key.
This increases the brightness of the screen and might help if the image you see is very dim. Lastly, reboot the Thinkpad to see if any video shows up during boot up and POST.
Power On Issues:
Some power problems might be related to the battery but here I’ll talk about not being able to power on the machine at all.
The first check is to plug the AC adapter into the Thinkpad and look for the power status indicator to come on. You should see a light on the lower part of the LCD panel.
This just indicates that the laptop is receiving power which is what we want to see. If you still are unable to power on the laptop then unplug everything and remove the battery.
Now, plug in the AC adapter but leave the battery removed and try to power on the laptop. If it still will not power up you may have a motherboard issue. Call Lenovo support for replacement.
Are you looking for additional help to solve laptop hardware issues?
Well, I have you covered there also:
See my post that covers laptop diagnostic tools and is loaded with info. Check it out.
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