At the risk of being OT I wanted to update everyone on the memory slot problem I had with my prized 810 Mhz 107 fsb 534 Mb TP600E.
As you may recall, one of the memory slots gave out, and I also cracked the screen.
I decided to get another TP600E on Ebay, and possibly trade parts. Unfortunately the one I bought ALSO turned out to have a bad memory slot. So I then had two with the same problem.
I lived with 256 megs max ram for awhile, and finally decided to spring for a later model Thinkpad, a T30.
Imagine my surprise when THIS TOO had a bad memory slot. However, it was sold as a 512 Mb computer -- it actually had two 512 Mb memorys installed, and therefore fit the advertised memory size.
I did a little research at this point about T30 memory problems, and Lo and behold, it turned out to be a common problem, and even resulted in free replacement motherboards from IBM for a limited time.
What happens is, the solder joints on the memory clip gradually flex and crack.
I wondered if this same thing had happened to the TP600Es.
I also read that a few individuals had actually re-soldered the 200 pins on the T30, and restored their memory slots. This seemed fantastically hard to do, and I thought about it for a short time, but never did anything.
This week my T30 crashed, and guess what? The other memory slot had gone bad. I was able to place some folded pieces of paper under the memory cover to press against the memory card, and boot up properly. This confirmed the cracked solder joint problem.
So I took courage and went to Radio Shack and bought a tin of solder flux, an inexpensive dual heat soldering iron and station, and a set of two large chisel tips to fit that. I also bought a magnifying glass circuit holder stand. The total was still under $50.
I decided to have a go at the TP600Es first, in case their problems were due to cracked joints as well. That would be good practice for the T30 with its even finer contacts.
I used a portable book light to focus light on the card slot connectors. Peering through the magnifier, I took a strand of wire wrap wire and dipped it into the flux and using it like a tiny paintbrush, painted the contacts with flux.
Then I used the soldering iron at 25 watts to press for a few seconds against 4 or 5 of the PC pads at once. I added NO solder, just remelted what was there with the new flux. The iron tip had been tinned and carefully wiped off. I didn't want any solder bridges from excess solder. Working with a group of contacts at a time I worked my way across the connectors, then turned the computer around and did the same for the backside contacts of the connector.
Crossing my fingers, I slipped one memory card into the known bad slot, buttoned up the computer and replaced the battery pack. I flipped it over and WOW! IT WORKED. My first TP600e was back in business with 2 working memory slots.
I worked on the other TP600e and finally the two slots in the T30. All were restored to full function! True, I had to redo a connector a couple times -- it's hard to tell if you re-melted every contact sometime. But ultimately all worked! I was very careful to inspect for solder bridges before testing the chips. The few I noticed responded to simple re-heating with the iron.
So there you have it -- 600e memory repair. I've never heard of it being done with them -- just the T30. If my experience is any indicator, others may find the same problem cropping up. Hope this helps them, as well.
Thanks once again Sharedoc, let's keep these 6ooe's going!
Oh, the end of the story -- what happened to my TP6ooE with the cracked screen?
Well, I installed Puppy Linux 4.1.2 retro on it, with a new 80Gb hard drive, hooked it up a network card, installed TightVNC, samba server, and set up an ftp server as well. It's now a headless (well cracked-headed) file server for backup and downloads.
It's great -- low power draw, it's always on, and in our latest power outage here (due to the worst ice storm ever), it acted like a UPS, as well, since it had a battery. It went for nearly 2 hours (since there was no screen display to draw current). It has breezed through shorter power outages without stopping,
Eventually it shut itself down after the big one, in such an orderly fashion (suspend) that when the power was restored, it was up again on its own with a touch of the power switch, not rebooting, but simply resuming from where it was.
I can still read the cracked screen if necessary, but I don't need to with TightVNC. I just bring it's screen up on my other computer's when needed.
It is great for long overnight downloads, and allows other computers to be shut down. I will be connecting a USB DVD burner and will make it a central station for this in the house. All in all, not bad for a "broken" "unsupported" "outdated" computer.
TP600Es never die. They just do more than intended when built.