Overheating Thinkpad T60

posted in: Linux, Technicalities | 2

Since 12.04 my thinkpad (T60) regularly shuts down due to heat. I don’t like it and I am afraid of damage – to hard drives or to the system.

The problem is described in many places and many different fixes, remedies and work arounds exist. Most of them lack proper documentation, so I am reluctant to try them. Even thinkfan, which is quite popular, scares me more than it helps.

Here is a collection of relevant information I found:

  1. Bug report at launchpad
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/751689
  2. Show temperatures of all sensors
    cat /proc/acpi/ibm/thermal
  3. Show Speed of fan
    cat /proc/acpi/ibm/fan
  4. Thermal Sensors
    http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Thermal_sensors
  5. List of ways to control fan speeds at Thinkwiki.org
    http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_control_fan_speed
  6. Thread at askubuntu
    http://askubuntu.com/questions/178467/thinkpad-fan-control-error
  7. Howto at NeoLocus
    http://blog.neolocus.com/2012/07/lenovo-thinkpad-x61-temperature-and-fan.html
  8. Howto at thinkwiki.de [in German]:
    http://thinkwiki.de/Thinkfan

For now I went with #7 (thinkfan howto by Neolocus), and I do hear a substantial difference in fan activity – but I am still scared.

2 Responses

  1. Ali Snyder

    I want to tell you my experience on this subject. I had the same problem, increasing by the time. Actually, I used to clean my FAN every now and then. However, lately the TP started to shut down due to excessive heating. I replaced the FAN with a new one, from eBay. It turned out to be a fake replica and the problem worsened. I then purchased a used FAN with copper shroud. Unfortunately, the damage was permanent. The TP was still dying. I found a temporary fix. I removed the keyboard and screwed a desktop CPU cooler&FAN on top of the copper, energized with an external power supply. It worked fine. Then, while doing internet research, an idea came to mind. I removed the CPU (T2600) and plunged it in a glass of vinegar, for about 2 hours. Then, I washed it under water and dried it using my air compressor. I also blew air in the CPU socket. Then, I used my magnifying glass to check the legs on the underside. Surprisingly, I noticed that one of the legs of the tiny chips had a bad soldering. Probably the high heat had melted it in such a way that it got detached from the surface. I then put the CPU in place and turned the TP On. Voila! The temperatures were back to normal, without the extra cooler&FAN. Nevertheless, I ordered a new (used) CPU, because there is no way to re-solder the chip. It is too tiny. I hope this helps the people who are left with no options. Imagine, I almost replaced the motherboad!

    • Jan

      Wow, Ali, that is some undertaking. I have since switched to Crunchbang on an old x200s and don’t seem to have any problems there.

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