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TEMPEST
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎05-19-2010
Location: Texas, USA
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Defective RAM chip completely disables Thinkpad.

[ Edited ]

This issue is already resolved, but here's some info for the archives.

 

15" Edge / Intel i3 / 3GB RAM / Windows 7 64Bit ---- 4 Days old.
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Norton antivirus requested I reboot .  It shut down and never came back.  Upon restart, the fan came on high speed and the Thinkpad power light came on and that was it.  Nothing on the screen.
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I went through the usual self-troubleshooting steps, then telephoned for warranty support.
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The help center was VERY helpful.  We went through their trouble shooting steps (disconnect all power, try to start machine holding F1 key to enter BIOS) nothing worked.  They offered to overnight me a box to ship it in, or I could go through some more hardware troubleshooting steps if I felt comfortable taking some things apart.  
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I easily completed these steps without the Hardware Maintenance Manual, but here it is:
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I took off the 5 screw large cover on the bottom and removed the hard drive, which was VERY simple and easy.  We tried to boot without the hard drive, which should put it into the BIOS.  That didn't work I had the exact same symptoms listed above.
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My Thinkpad has 3GB of RAM.  A 2GB card and a 1GB card.
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We then removed the 1GB Ram card (hard drive still out) and powered it up again.  This time it went to the BIOS.  I powered it down and put the hard drive back in and it works fine.  Lenovo is overnighing me a replacement 1GB RAM card.
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So the 1GB RAM card was the failure. ... Apparently a catastrophic machine disabling failure.
I cold booted and rebooted the machine a few times the day I received it, but had only put it in sleep mode for the 3 following days.  Everything was working perfectly before that final restart.  I find it odd that a bad RAM chip would completely disable the machine.  I would normally expect to see a regular bootup with a bunch of memory error messages.  Hmm, strange.  Anyways, it's working fine now (with only 2GB RAM).  
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I'll post again in a few days when I get my new 1GB RAM chip installed and let everyone know how it works out.

 

Serial Port
TEMPEST
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎05-19-2010
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Defective RAM chip completely disables Thinkpad.

I called the warranty center on Sunday afternoon and had the replacement RAM chip at my door Tuesday afternoon, so I'm pretty satisfied with the quick turnaround.

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I had a defective 1GB RAM chip and what is interesting is that my replacement is a 2GB RAM chip.  So I guess I get a free RAM upgrade out of this.  Both the defective 1GB RAM chip and the replacement 2GB RAM chip have the same FRU # 55Y3713.  That FRU # is what the warranty center asked for to identify my defective chip.  Maybe all replacements are 2GB regardless of whether you had 1GB or 2GB before?  Who knows, but I now have 4GB RAM total, so that's nice!
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So it sucks that my 4 day old computer had a catastrophic RAM failure, and it sucks that the machine couldn't just automatically disable that extra RAM and work around it.  But the warranty telephone service was excellent, the replacement part was shipped very fast, and I ended up with more RAM!