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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:30 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Hubertus, WI USA
Hi all,

I have been trying to switch from Mac to Linux. It isn't going so well thus far. I purchased a Thinkpad R51 which looks like it is brand new. Ran it for a week+ with no HD using Live DVD versions of PCLinuxOS and Vector Linux running from their respective LIVE DVDs. During that week, I had about 4 - 5 occasions of the screen freezing up. The mouse/cursor wouldn't move. I had to do a hard reboot via the power button each time. I thought maybe it was just the Live DVD causing it. But, Monday my HDD arrived and upon install of Vector the freeze happened once again after working on it for a few hours.

I ran a MemTest off Vectors DVD. No problems detected.

I've been frustrated and have uninstalled and reinstalled both Vector and PCLinuxOS and now last night installed Mepis just to see if I could freeze it on that one. (Not frozen yet - but I also can't get connected to the net via Mepis - although Vector and PCLinux both had easy times connecting to the net.)

I noted something upon the Mepis install - I saw some words flash by the screen saying something about an outdated BIOS / ec Firmware. What does that mean?

My frustration level is through the roof right now. I'm usually a very patient woman, but I'm so frustrated I'm about ready to go back to my antique macs and just hope for the best. :( On a side note, I am having trouble locating any Linux writing software that does what my old mac software does. I wanted a very simple word processor without all sorts of big time bells and whistles just like this one: Bean. http://www.bean-osx.com/Bean.html It gives the word count on the bottom of the screen at all times. It allows one to use full screen mode which blocks out all menus and other stuff, but importantly it still shows the word count constantly. It has the best thesaurus I have ever seen in my life. But it doesn't run on Linux. :( I thought several word processors might be like it on Linux, but so far none are at all like it. None show the word count constantly without me having to click for it. And although Focuswriter gets out of my way and lets me write, I have to click for the word count, and it doesn't have a thesaurus or dictionary built in. Is there just nothing like Bean for Linux?

Forgive me for rambling so many questions, but I was switching to Linux because I can't afford to upgrade within the Apple lineup. I'm frustrated because my one source of self support is going down the tubes with all this. :(


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:21 pm 
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Senior ThinkPadder

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 5:41 pm
Posts: 2686
Location: Paragould AR USA
Having the OS "freeze" like you describe, after a period of time, usually points to overheating. Could be that your CPU fan is clogged with dust, or the thermal paste is old and broken down.

You may want to upgrade the BIOS and Embedded Controller to the newest version available, but Mepis likely just noticed that the R51 BIOS is old, even if it's the latest available. Wouldn't hurt to check which version you have and see if there is anything newer on the Lenovo Support website.

Check this link for text editors similar to Bean:

http://alternativeto.net/software/bean/?platform=linux

Or, how about Bean for Linux?

http://www.brothersoft.com/secure-ftp-b ... 44327.html

_________________
Collection = T500 - T400 - T61(14" WSXGA+) - X40 (x2)- T43p- T42p - A31P - A30P - 600E - 770


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:30 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Hubertus, WI USA
Thanks Bill,

I just got some thermal paste to use on my antique Mac Powerbook (Pismo G3) - so I could use that on the Thinkpad too. I looked on Ifixit's website but they don't have instructions for opening up the R51. Are there any instructions online for it?

The fan does kick and and run, but I guess if I open it up and put the thermal paste on the processor I'll have access to seeing dust accumulation in the fan etc, right?

Is this major surgery opening up the R51?

Quote:
You may want to upgrade the BIOS and Embedded Controller to the newest version available,


My model is the 1836 - Lenovo says this:

Quote:
BIOS
Embedded Controller Program (Non-Diskette) - ThinkPad R50, R50p, R51 (1829, 1830, 1831, 1836), T40, T40p, T41, T41p, T42, T42p
[+] Click for files

> Learn More
BIOS Update (Diskette) - ThinkPad R50/p, R51 (1829, 1830, 1831, 1836), T40/p, T41/p, T42/p
[+] Click for files

> Learn More
BIOS Settings Capture/Playback Utility - ThinkPad
[+] Click for files

> Learn More
BIOS Update (Non-Diskette) - ThinkPad R50, R50p, R51 (1829, 1830, 1831, 1836), T40, T40p, T41, T41p, T42, T42p
[+] Click for files

> Learn More
Embedded Controller Program (Diskette) - ThinkPad R50/p, R51 (1829, 1830, 1831, 1836), T40/p, T41/p, T42/p
[+] Click for files


and this

Quote:
BIOS Update (Non-Diskette) - ThinkPad R50, R50p, R51 (1829, 1830, 1831, 1836), T40, T40p, T41, T41p, T42, T42p
Name Operating System Version Released Add to
download list Download
now
BIOS update utility
1ruj37us.exe
1.39 MB Windows NT,
Windows 98,
Windows 2000,
Windows XP 1RETDRWW (3.23) 03 Jul 2007
README for BIOS update utility
1ruj37us.txt
29.92 KB Windows NT,
Windows 98,
Windows 2000,
Windows XP 1RETDRWW (3.23) 03 Jul 2007
This ThinkPad BIOS Update Utility updates the BIOS program stored in the ThinkPad system to fix problems, add new functions, or expand functions as noted below.

This release supports the following systems:
- ThinkPad R50, R50p
- ThinkPad R51 (M/T 1829, 1830, 1831 and 1836)(*1)
- ThinkPad T40, T40p, T41, T41p, T42, T42p

Note: (*1) Machine Type 2883, 2887, 2888, 2889, 2894 and 2895 of ThinkPad R51 family are not supported.

The supported operating systems are as follows:
- Microsoft Windows XP
- Microsoft Windows 2000
- Microsoft Windows 98 and 98 Second Edition
- Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 6a or later


Notes:
- This version of the BIOS will only work with Embedded Controller Program Version 3.04 (or higher). The Embedded Controller Program (H8 controller firmware) is available in an additional package, a link is provided below.
- If you need to update the Embedded Controller Program as well as the BIOS, update the BIOS first.
Additional information
Use the links below to obtain the BIOS and Embedded Controller files in other file formats:

BIOS Diskette
Embedded Controller Diskette
Embedded Controller Non-Diskette
BIOS Non-Diskette for ThinkPad R51 (2883, 2887, 2888, 2889, 2894, 2895)



Does it matter that it says it is only for WINDOWS? It doesn't mention Linux. Is that the thing I want to install?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:30 pm
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Oops. I think that is a different kind of Bean software, not the word processor. Thanks for trying - I am reading those other alternative ideas now. Thank you.

Neil wrote:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 5:41 pm
Posts: 2686
Location: Paragould AR USA
Yup, oops indeed. :oops: Should have read a little further before posting. BTW, I'm not a writer, so it doesn't make much difference to me which editor I use, but I usually do use a light editor instead of a real word processor.

Download a copy of the R51 Hardware Maintenance Manual here:

http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/guides- ... MIGR-53169

That will tell you everything you will ever need to know about parts and their removal.

IIRC, the non-diskette BIOS and EC updates are an app that runs in Windows only, and doesn't always work right anyway, so avoid that. I think what you will want is the diskette version of the updates, which doesn't matter what OS is installed (even none at all) since it boots from a diskette and updates the BIOS/EC.

_________________
Collection = T500 - T400 - T61(14" WSXGA+) - X40 (x2)- T43p- T42p - A31P - A30P - 600E - 770


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:46 pm 
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Posts: 20
Location: Hubertus, WI USA
This is all VERY helpful info. Thanks so much for all the time and effort.

I've downloaded the R51 manual now - excellent stuff to have. I never dreamed they'd have produced such helpful stuff like that - I don't think Apple does that! I scanned through the how-to parts and believe I can handle all the various steps. I hope to work on that tomorrow.

Tonight I'll try to get started on the BIOS and other updates.

When you noted the "diskette version" - that doesn't just mean diskette=floppy disk, right? This can go onto a DVD or CD I hope?

I am a little afraid of messing something up - but I'm going to give it all my best shot.

Thanks for helping me find all this good info. This forum is amazing.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 5:41 pm
Posts: 2686
Location: Paragould AR USA
Yeah, they are floppy disk images. :roll: Seems like someone on this forum has converted some of them into .iso images for burning to CD, but I don't remember who. Might try google searching this forum.

You might want to look at the ThinkWiki BIOS Upgrade page.

WARNING: Before you do any upgrading, be absolutely sure that you really need to. You might already have the latest BIOS and have no need to jump through all these hoops to install something else.

_________________
Collection = T500 - T400 - T61(14" WSXGA+) - X40 (x2)- T43p- T42p - A31P - A30P - 600E - 770


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:40 am
Posts: 15
Location: Spydeberg, Norway
I am not familiar with the OS you are trying to install, but my experience with older machines like the T40 is that some linux distributions need better graphics to run smoothly than these old machines offer.

Try a lightweight, less graphic intensive OS like Lubuntu, http://lubuntu.net/ or just a plain Debian installation (Gnome desktop).

Lubuntu ran extremely well on my T40, regular Ubuntu with 2d Unity (it defaults to 2d if your machine is not capable of 3d) also worked well, but its a bit slower. I finally gave the T40 to my mother to use for email and internett, installed ubuntu 10.04lts for here and since then it has not been turned of or rebooted since august last year, it just keeps on working like it should.

Tron

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T40, T43, R60e, T61, W500, X60


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:08 pm 
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Location: Hubertus, WI USA
Thank you both for the further info.

I've decided to not mess with the bios. Only mepis had noted that as a "problem" - but I'm not sure it is a real problem. So I'll do a "wait and see" on that issue.

I am however, going to go ahead and put the new thermal paste on the CPU. It does seem to run a bit warm when I am not using the laptop cooling pad. Hopefully that will be of some use.

And - I did go ahead and download Xubuntu today for the first time ever. Vector is really nice and built for older systems, and I thought I loved it until I got a look at Xubuntu. I feel guilty saying this - but I like Xubuntu even more. It seems like it should snap right along on the R51 too. (Running the full install right now.)

So maybe this switch to Xubuntu and the re-seating of the processor with new thermal paste will get rid of all issues?

I read that Lubuntu might be even faster, but I really love XFCE a whole lot. :)

Thanks everyone. I'll let you know how this turns out. (Oh, and a few crossed fingers that I don't damage the R51 during surgery would be appreciated. Thanks!)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Location: Spydeberg, Norway
I have tried xubuntu as well, on that old t40. I really understand how you feel, it looks and feels both nice and fast, even a bit extravagant maybe :D With the dockbar and all the extras installed (themes, multimedia etc.) it makes you feel like you paid $500.

Install thinkpad fan control, http://code.google.com/p/tpfanco/ , its straight forward and allows you to both monitor your temperatures and set the fan manually. My t40 with lubuntu almost never ran the fan after I tweaked the settings a bit. Without the fancontrol the fan would run at cpu temperature around 40 degrees centigrade, I adjusted it to 48 and had no problems. If you just want to check your actual temperatures open a terminal and type: sudo apt-get install xsensors (hit enter, then type password, to open it then type just xsensors and hit enter. It will appear in your menu as well). Forgive my patronizing if you are familiar with using the terminal!

It is my experience that cleaning/new paste does not make much of a difference to a inherently cool running machine like yours.

Tron

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T40, T43, R60e, T61, W500, X60


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:19 am 
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Location: Hubertus, WI USA
You are not wrong to assume I don't know much about terminal. I've used it only once . Last night following explicit step by step directions I used to download the packages that allow encrypted DVD movies to play. I am presently trying to work out the problem with jerky / hesitating playback of the movies - but that's another story.

And yes, xubuntu feels very extravagant! It is so smooth and fluid and things just work. I'm amazed that the software that I thought was working (which I'd downloaded from repositories) in PCLinuxOS and Vector was actually NOT fully functioning and I never knew it because I had nothing to compare it to. Now in Xubuntu there are all sort of buttons and features in my software downloads that weren't there before. This is much better. And - they take all the scary parts of installation out of the equation! It's so mac-like in the way they make it EASY. :-)

That looks like a good idea you have re: fan control. I'm going to try out what you've noted here.

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:29 am 
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Location: Hubertus, WI USA
PS: I've installed it - that was fast! I've only just booted it up for the day.

I see a list of temperatures -

temp1 38C
temp2 37C
temp 3 29.C
temp4 37C
temp5 25C
temp6 0C
temp7 23C
temp8 0C

Then it shows Fan1: 0RPM

Is there something that explains which sensors are in which locations? And is there a maximum temp I don't want my system to go over in order to be running safely? (Maybe this will let me know that I don't need to "operate" on the R51.)

EDIT:

Wow, I only had the machine on for 20 minutes today, then loaded up a youtube video. After two minutes of playing, the temps went to this and were rising until I shut it all down.

temp1 63C
temp2 45C
temp 3 34C
temp4 47C
temp5 30C
temp6 0C
temp7 23C
temp8 0C

Then it shows Fan1: 0RPM

Still no fan running. The fan typically runs often - so now I'm wondering - am I overheating? Should I let it keep running youtube videos to see where it max's out?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Location: Spydeberg, Norway
Temp 1 is the cpu, temp 4 I guess is the graphics controller. The cpu should not operate at much higher than the 63 degrees you got after stressing it a bit, but it will not damage it i think before you above 70 for some time. But the fan should definitely start to operate way before 63 degrees. You did not hear the fan either, suggesting the program did not detect the fan running?

Did you install tpfan? If not download the three packages, tpfan, tpfan profiles and tpfan admin. To install them go to your home directory, look for them in "downloads", just right click the package you want to install and choose to install them with the software center (or gdebi or whatever is suggested for "install with" option). Install them in the order i wrote them above. Reboot after installing, then open thinkfan admin. Its a simple GUI, you can "unlock" and move the slider for each temp sensor to choose when the fan comes on. Left click on the slider and split in several thresholds and choose how fast the fan should run.

If you are not familiar with thinkwiki I also suggest you go there and read a bit: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_control_fan_speed

Tron aka elchund

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T40, T43, R60e, T61, W500, X60


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Location: Hubertus, WI USA
Thank you.

I took the R51 apart tonight. The very last screw that needed to be removed from the fan assembly is totally stripped and will not come out. I suspect that someone before me must have wanted to put in new paste at some point and messed up the screw. I'm getting someone to drill it out, or use a ... what did he call it ... it is a thing that drills into the screw and helps it get reversed out again. (sorry I forgot the name) Then I'm off to the hardware store to search for a replacement screw. If the whole thing is still alive when I finish, I'll be testing this heat issue very carefully. At least I'll know for sure that the processor paste will be good. Then I'll feel more comfortable tackling how the fan is running.

It is very odd that the fan did not switch on at all for me in that test this morning. The fan does work - but it did not kick in once during this test. To be honest - I've suspect it might be kicking in too late - because when it does run, there is a BIG whoosh of very hot air coming out of the vent.

I know the thermal paste is only one part of the solution - but if I"m going to be keeping this computer for a long time I want to cover all the bases. (Just hope it lives through this screw removal tomorrow)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Location: Hubertus, WI USA
Good news, surgery went fine. The R51 is back up and running with fresh thermal paste in place now. The strippes screw head was drilled out and I bought a new replacement at the local hardware store. Lucklily, they had one my size.

Okay - I discovered another thread on here by another member who had a thinkpad running hot. He discovered a kernel problem that was not allowing proper heat management. Here is that topic: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=102013 But he is running Mint - so I don't know how to follow those directions. I'm still running hot here this morning. The fan only kicked in when it got up to 73 degrees C.

(1) How do I discover which kernel is in here now?

(2) Is there an easy Kernel update in xubuntu through the Software center?

(3) I'm new to terminal - so if I need to go that route, please tell me if anything on this page applies to me. I really don't understand much of what they're saying as they're all over my head in experience with Linux. http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=40185

Thanks in advance for any help.

After the Kernel update I'll watch the temps again. And if it still doesn't kick in at a lower temp, then I'll do that other solution of setting the fan to run at a lower temp manually.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:33 pm 
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I am quite sure it is easier to install the fan control from the tpfanco page and control the fan yourself. The tpfan GUI is easy to use.

Tron

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T40, T43, R60e, T61, W500, X60


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:52 pm 
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Elchund wrote:
Did you install tpfan? If not download the three packages, tpfan, tpfan profiles and tpfan admin. To install them go to your home directory, look for them in "downloads", just right click the package you want to install and choose to install them with the software center (or gdebi or whatever is suggested for "install with" option). Install them in the order i wrote them above. Reboot after installing, then open thinkfan admin. Its a simple GUI, you can "unlock" and move the slider for each temp sensor to choose when the fan comes on. Left click on the slider and split in several thresholds and choose how fast the fan should run.

If you are not familiar with thinkwiki I also suggest you go there and read a bit: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_control_fan_speed

Tron aka elchund


Thanks Tron. I'm going to go ahead and do as you suggested and start with the fan. I'm about to follow these directions you gave me yesterday. I'm not totally sure of myself on this - so I'll post back if I get confused (again).


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:03 pm 
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PS: I forgot to tell about this. I tried again running a youtube video to bring up the heat. When it hit 65 degrees, the fan kicked in. It ran around 3000 RPMs and brought it down to 44 then bounced up to 46 again - fan running the whole time. Going back to figuring out how to install the fan control thing now.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:35 pm 
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So far so good. It is installed. I have unlocked it. I dragged the blue bar to the temp at which I think it should run for each sensor. (I may change these later as I used arbitrary numbers lower than where it is now)

(EDIT: IGNORE THIS)
I don't understand the settings for fan speed however. If I click on hw-ctrld in the sensor line, it brings up a menu like this:

15%
30
45
60
75
90
100
ht-ctrld
FULL
------
Split
Remove

What do those mean?


Last edited by writebunny on Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:29 pm 
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No need to reply - I figured it out. I played with all the controls until I could see what was happening.

This is simply excellent. I'm now maintaining much better temps. I watched it run until it brought my main temps down to 40C. This is great. I split the settings so that it will run the fan at 75% when the main sensors hit 40C, but if it would go up to 50C the fan kicks up to 100%. I'll see how that goes for a while.

It feels nice to have control over this. Should really ensure a much longer life for my "new" Thinkpad.

Thank you so much for helping me with this. It can't be easy to make this info simple enough to understand for a newbie like me - so I appreciate all the extra steps you took. I'm going to print out the steps I just learned in case I get a smaller thinkpad model sometime next year - this will be good info to have.

PS: It is maintaining temps well on its own now. And, when I plug in my small laptop cooling pad underneath, I believe that is helping it even more.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:24 pm 
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Location: Spydeberg, Norway
I am only happy to help.

You can probably safely run higher temperatures than you do, I have my fans turned of below 50 degrees centigrade, then I use 15% up to 52 degrees, 30% for the next two and then 60% for the cpu and graphics chip and 50% for the other sensors, after that I leave it to hardware control. Below is the url to a screenshot of my configuration running on an x60, hope you can open it and maybe get some ideas.

https://picasaweb.google.com/103838351928410478525/25Mars2012

Tron

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