How to get cigarrette smell out of an IBM thinkpad?

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computersarecool

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My friend gave me his old IBM Thinkpad 380XD currently running Windows 98. It runs very well (I may even dare to say its faster than my modern laptop), but both the system battery and the clock battery are dead (system battery says 100%, but it dies when I unplug the power cord). Everything is fine, however it reeks of smoke because his mom is a chain smoker. Its one of those rubber textured IBMs, and i'm not sure how I can get rid of the smell.

Thank you,
Computersarecool
 

Byteman

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Hi, From personal experience, I can tell you a ThinkPad damaged battery can be very dangerous. I was working for a customer, who wanted to get one running again and the battery charged and just never reached 100% but I kept trying..... eventually, while I was still working, it just went pow, and exploded in flames and nasty black smoke. Had to rush the laptop outside and wet it down.

Even though your battery is at 100% it obviously is not working correctly and will not ever and it should be removed. Batteries for these are still available.

The tobacco smell may be linked to the fan, where smoke and dust accumulate and block ventilation> a bad situation , requires dissassembly, don't do it without the user guilde for servicing the machine and not without reading about IBM security in ThinkPads

I also had an experience with a TP 380 series>> the BIOS locked the hard drive with a supervisor password....the nature of the password is such that the drive cannot be used even formatted in another computer, never ever.
The motherboard in the 380z I contains a security chip that does the locking with a startup password and also the supervisor password and hard disk lock. All I did was open the case and pull the cable off the CMOS system battery to try and remove one of the passwords....which doesn't work for this type of hard drive lock......and when I put the cable back on and started the computer, there was no BIOS access nada ...... result= parts computer.

There is plenty of material available about these types of IBM laptops:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwqNFvVBvgQ

very detailed, long list of users of ThinkPads with the supervisor password issue and what they try with no success, it's a lot of incorrect "fixes" but they can also damage the motherboard and are NOT COOL THINGS TO DO <<< so, the material is just to make you aware.


http://www.geek.com/news/qualcomms-secrets-disappear-565695/


I just want to make you aware of what can happen when you take out a CMOS battery in one of these with a password set...apparently, the security defaults to a former unknown OEM or other condition which can lock the machine and the hard drive. You want to read up on how to enter the BIOS and make SURE the security for bootup password is turned OFF, most of this TP era do have settings.

A computer of that era is fun to mess around with but as far as actually using it for any file storage, I would not.
 

computersarecool

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So, before I do anything with the clock battery I should enter the BIOS to make sure it has no password. If it doesn't have a password, changing the battery would be fine? Also, my safest bet would be to remove the system battery then. I did have a Dell Latitude D600 a few years back, whose battery started smoking. I sorta freaked out and disconnected every power source within seconds.
I don't plan on storing files on this thing, as I am aware that these older hard drives don't last forever.
 

plodr

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I inherited a desktop from a chain smoker who owned a dog. The tower was kept on the floor of his carpeted room. 4 of the worst things to do to a computer.

I didn't even bring it into my house. I set it up in the garage, took it apart and then started cleaning out all the debris. If there is tar and nicotine buildup inside (yellow stains), once the laptop is apart, put some rubbing alcohol on a cloth and work on the stains. Allow enough time for it to dry before putting it back together.

I never spray any liquids into a computer; always on a soft cloth (my husband's old t-shirts work well) and I make sure it is damp not dripping wet.

I also read this works:
Grab a Ziploc bag, put the item inside with one or more unscented dryer sheets and leave it alone for a few days zipped up in the bag..
 

TonyB25

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If you spend a week taking it apart and cleaning it, it likely won't work after you put it together again. It's too old.

It also won't run modern web browsers, so I'm not sure what you plant to do with it other than play solitaire. It probably seems to run faster than your modern laptop because there's really nothing running on it. It probably doesn't have any malware because it pre-dates modern malware. Even a modern computer can run notepad, Wordpad, and Calculator very quickly.
 

computersarecool

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Just because its old doesn't make it useless. Think about why people bought these things new: to do work. This thing is perfectly capable of doing work. It can also play CDs. Some people (including me) also like tinkering with old hardware.
 

Byteman

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Working with old hardware is fine, these IBM TP's have some special features which I wanted you to be aware of.,

The first TP was a 600E win98 era,,,,that's the one that blew up (battery overcharging, never got past 97%, I was a bit new to tech work when I was trying to get it to finish charging, luckily I was at home. Now, I don't leave laptops on unless I am right around the area. I don't leave them on overnight, either. They stink terribly when they burst into flames...

Your battery problem is not the same, and there may be no power being stored in it's cells...I don't know. Always check for each specific model for battery and A/C adapter recalls, there have been many through the years.

The password problem that I never solved was on a TP 380z. My advice is to read down through many of the posts on the geek.com link I posted......there is a lot of legitimate information there mixed in among the not so correct...the basic idea is they can default back to a pre-set OEM password condition, or else a previous owner's one, and it takes a bit of engineering work to possibly fix it but I don't think it is dependable and the companies that charge you to do this I have zero info about, I would think that expense is for corporate types that cannot afford to just toss a laptops and need their files back.

AN EEPROM programmer device is supposed to be able to eliminate the security but I never have tried it. You have build the small circuit board yourself, soldering a few components...... might be nice if you can do that type of work. Here is the site I looked at< http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/CmosPwd#EEPROM_on_laptops

http://www.allservice.ro/forum/viewtopic.php?t=47

That's about all the help I can give you- it's strictly an at your own risk thing. Remember, I told you trying the various ways they describe CAN cause damage to the computer motherboard- you will want to search for more information on ThinkPad security... Don't fall for the software that claims to unlock these, they will not help with the double password, and that drive will not work in any other computer nor will the computer boot with any other hard drive, that is how it works.... that is, if you somehow have this situation come up. Yes, you should go into the BIOS settings and check that the security stuff is set correctly. Read the SERVICE MANUAL not the user guide, there is a pretty good explanation in them on how to set things.

HERE 380XD servicemanual
 

Byteman

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Yes, the battery is not being charged....there is a whole school of battery/laptop information....ways to train the laptop battery for longest power life, overall performance....training only works when battery is in good working order. (has to take a charge) It is also a possibility that the charging port where the adapter plugs in is broken, but in your case it would not seem so because you can use the computer with the adapter.

Removing the CMOS battery if you do that should only be done with all power disconnected.....no backup battery, no adapter plugged in of course.....READ the service guide it explains how to do this., Did you download the service manual I posted? Save it to a computer or flash drive.
 

computersarecool

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Thank you, i'll take a look at that now. Of course, being 17 years old, i'm really not all that surprised that the battery died, I just hope that the CMOS isn't leaking.
 

TonyB25

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If you want to tinker, then find a way safely take it apart and thoroughly clean it to remove the smoke smell. Make a YouTube video of it, and share the process with the world so everyone can do it.
 
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