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adebamowo
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
Location: USA
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X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

[ Edited ]
I just got an X61 7673-CTO with 4 GB of RAM, 1GB Intel Memory Boost 160 GB hard drive and Vista Ultimate. It worked well for about a month then started spontaneously going into sleep mode. This happens regardless of what I am doing and sometimes it would boot and go to sleep even before I have had a chance to do anything. If I re-start it from sleep, it would show the log on page and before I finish entering the password or swiping my finger, it is back in sleep mode. I have had to shut down with the power button and re-start several times. I have updated Vista and used the system update. I have eliminated as many programs as I can spare.
 
Adebamowo X61 7673-CTO with 4 GB of RAM, 1GB Intel Memory Boost 160 GB hard drive and Vista Ultimate


Message Edited by adebamowo on 05-28-2008 11:02 PM
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Ken
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎12-05-2007
Location: RTP
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Re: X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

Are you doing this on battery or A/C? Just thinking that if there is an issue with your battery and charge is low, your system would want to go into hibernation.
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adebamowo
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
Location: USA
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Re: X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

Thanks but it happens whether on battery or a/c.  The latest development is that I disabled autoupdate etc in my antivirus - Live OneCare and for 48 hours now, the event has not occurred. I will post updates about the problem as they happen
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danc
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-11-2008
Location: Washington, DC
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Re: X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

I have had the exact same problem with my x61, and it happens about once a month. I have an x61 with 3gb of RAM, and vista professional basic. I can't seem to find any link between each time it happens... it just happens out of the blue while I'm working. I have also turned off the antivirus and liveupdate stuff, and that doesn't stop it either. It seems to be almost happening from memory buffer overruns or something, I'm usually doing something like opening up a large file, etc. It would be really great if this could be fixed.
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Scott23
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎05-18-2008
Location: Australia
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Re: X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

did anyone find a fix for this yet?
 
Its a massive pain in the butt.
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hiker
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎05-14-2008
Location: New York
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Re: X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

[ Edited ]
Is the machine very active at the times it shuts down? Is it for example doing heavy IO or running video? How often does it do this as an abrupt shutodown (ie all the running apps are gone and it reboots) and how often is it genuinely asleep (Restarts with the applications as they were?). Are you running iTunes or anything else which is periodically very heavy? Not that you shouldn't I'm just trying to think of things that could be common with problems I have seen.

Does the machine seem to be abnormally hot at these points? You have to check within a few seconds of the shutdown. Either on the right hand side palm resting place or the left hand VGA socket and behind the left hand CPU grill?

Is it plugged into a base unit when it fails? Or fail more often when it is?

Have you applied this months updates? Including the BIOS updates?


Message Edited by hiker on 05-19-2008 06:20 AM
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adebamowo
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
Location: USA
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Re: X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

Sometimes when the machine is put on, it boots up and continues till it goes to sleep. I am not aware of any special activity that is related to this event. I have not noticed whether it fails more often on battery or A/C. Occasionally, it has occured when the mchine is very hot. All current updates have been applied.
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danc
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-11-2008
Location: Washington, DC
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Re: X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

I think I have found a sorta fix to this problem. My best guess is that it is somehow related to processor usage, and generally goes into effect when processor usages hits 100%. I think the processor starts to overclock or overheat, and Vista responds by going into sleep mode. To help deal with this, I went to my power settings, went to advanced, and changed my maximum processor usage when plugged in from 100% to 95%. This hasn't completely solved the problems, but I've noticed it happens a lot less often now. Of course, this also slows down the maximum speed of your computer... so it'd be nice if Vista or Lenovo released a real fix to this problem.
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hiker
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎05-14-2008
Location: New York
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Re: X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

danc, I think you are on to something. Your workaround seems to be working here.

I set the balanced power profile to have a maximum CPU speed of 90% (When on power and battery) and the machine hasn't shutdown in the last 24 hours. I have put it through several steps that use to require breathless prayer to complete without shutting down and everything looks good.

The 90% CPU is an acceptable workaround for me. Any SW fix Lenovo are able to produce would have to have some similar effect of limiting the system. Presumably the update which pushed our machines over the tipping point had some general benefit to most users. They may be able to be more precise with an analysis of the system options of a particular machine or with feedback on the temperature if they have it and only throttle back to some lesser degree.

Reliability is far more inportant to me so I am leaving mine on a balanced profile of 90% until some definitive fix is announced by Lenovo.

Thanks.
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hiker
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎05-14-2008
Location: New York
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Re: X61 spontaneous shutdown and sleep

[ Edited ]
I have experimented during the week with reducing the maximum processor speed in order to cool my fully loaded X61 7764 Tablet and preventing it overheating and shutting down.
      a) EXPERIMENT 1: Reducing the CPU speed to keep the machine cool.
      b) EXPERIMENT 2 : Using an external fan to cool the machine


EXPERIMENT 1: Reducing the CPU speed to keep the machine cool.

Symptom:
During heavy IO activities the machine will heat up and spontaniously shutdown. For example during application installs, iPod synchronization, iTunes podcast downloads, playing video and system backups. The symptoms became noticable after updates in early May though it may have failed with some long video playbacks prior to that.

Method:
Each time the system failed I reduced the maximum CPU speed on the balanced profile by a further 5% in order to find a level at which different operations are stable.  The laptop was on an Ultrabase, has 2Gb ram, a 4Gb SD Card with 3.5Gb ReadyBoost, Intel Turbo Memory, 5400 RPM drive and 95W adaptor (The behaviour was the same with the prior 65W adaptor).

The balanced mode was set to continue with balanced during indexing and search operations.

Findings:
Between 90% and 40% iPod synchronization seems more likely to not cause a shutdown the more you slow the CPU.
At a maximum of 35% of full CPU speed it is possible to backup the machine image to a network drive. At faster CPU speeds backups will cause the machine to overheat within 25 minutes (Test repeated three times at 40%)
At 30% it is possible to complete backup of an image to a faster USB drive (Which requires more frequent IO and will fail at 35% of CPU). At 30% of CPU QT HD video can be played for up to 20 minutes before overheating causes a shutdown.

Conclusions:
Slowing the CPU does noticably cool the machine and allows a wider range of functions to complete to the point where at 30% maximum CPU speed the machine is acceptably stable. The fact that the CPU has to be slowed to this extent to produce sufficent cooling indicates that much of the heat is coming from something else. Possibly the Hard Disk as this is also involved in the IO operations showing the symptom. It wouldn't appear to be excessive graphics related heat as video and non video operations cause overheating.


EXPERIMENT 2 : Using an external fan to cool the machine

Method:
Purchased a small room fan (10 Inch personal box fan) at a local pharmacy/supermarket. Placed the fan to the right of the X61 Tablet facing slightly down so that it was blowing from right to left (The same direction as the internal fan so as to be assisting not working against the internal fan). The fan is directed at the right side of the machine, palm rest and keyboard from a range of six inches. If desk mounted rather than on an UltraBase then flow along the desk and under the machine would have assisted. The tests were performed with the laptop on an UltraBase which is a worst case condition as the UltraBase almost fully blocks all under side vents. The cost of the fan was $15.

Result:
The fan signficantly cools the machine. The palm rest is cool to the touch even at 100% of CPU. The top of the VGA socket on the left of the machine (Not directly receiving air) is noticably cooler and is only warm to the touch. All operations including playing extended video and backing up to a local USB drive can be achieved with 100% CPU. At 100% the palm rest will become warm while hands are typing but when hands are away from the keyboard it is cool. This is fine as typing operations are not what strains the system and continuous resting of the palms for over twenty minutes is likely to be rare. It cools within two or three minutes and never reaches extreme temperatures with the fan in place.

Conclusion:
It can be no surprise that active cooling works. The boxed fan offers a noisy, inconvenient, non portable temporary solution with full system speed but when mobile it is necessary to switch to a power profile with a maximum of 30% of CPU speed and no override power profile for search and indexing. Longer term internal use of an X61s second fan 42X3806 http://i10.tinypic.com/66etkq1.jpg via a custom power cable (Not all X61 models have the power connector) is probably the most practical long term solution unless a software update or other hardware solution is forthcoming from Lenovo. Until then the fan and power profile are the best workarounds. The 30% CPU restriction is not as harmful as you would expect to the overall system experience.

It is of course pointless to argue that none of this should be happening to us or that the updates in May shouldn't have had this effect. For some unknown reason they did so the best thing is to adopt some workaround and just make sure people are aware of the problem and hope that sufficient people are affected by it for the vendors (Lenovo, Microsoft, Intel) to track the issue down and offer an available solution, such as a cable for the second fan being used to retrofit the fan, or being available as a part.

The external box fan will definitely keep you and your colleagues awake at your desks in the interim!



Message Edited by hiker on 05-26-2008 06:44 PM