The 2008 Lenovo 3000 Y410 Revived in 2021 with Manjaro


Two days ago, over the weekend, I decided to “revive” the old Lenovo 3000 Y410. Not that it was in storage, though. It was in use, running Windows 10.

When I first updated it to Windows 10, it worked really well. But the later updates to Windows 10, I think from 2020, are making it slower and slower. My kids were using the laptop for online schools until it starts to lag so much that I gave them my old AMD Phenom desktop and my 2015 Asus gaming laptop.

I installed Manjaro Gnome on the Lenovo 3000 Y410. I don’t really like how Gnome 40 is, but I like it in Manjaro as they have customized it with extensions. I could do the same with Arch, I know. But why not just use something already set up and save some time?

I originally bought the Lenovo 13 years ago to install Linux. I bought the FreeDOS version. But Linux didn’t work so well on the laptop back then. After a few tries, I gave up and installed XP. Updated that to Vista, Windows 7, and then Windows 10.

Now in 2021, Linux works perfectly on the Lenovo 3000 Y410. Even with the original hardware; old 120GB HDD and 3GB or RAM. The Bluetooth is a bit icky sometimes, but Bluetooth has always been icky on anything, even my MacBook Air M1.

But I had trouble installing Manjaro at first. The laptop keeps abruptly shutting down. It doesn’t have this issue in Windows 10. Turns out it’s a thermal issue. I had to install in a cold air-conditioned room with a fan pointing at it. The laptop fan works. But it doesn’t work once Manjaro controls it.

Turns out there’s a problem with the temperature sensor. It detects the temperature, but sometimes Manjaro does not act on it. Windows 10 seems to just push the fan to max speed whenever it can’t read the sensors. But I can read the sensors in Manjaro. The “sensors” command (from lm_sensors package) works. Something else in the kernel is using something else to control the fan.

But whenever I pressed on the back of the laptop and cause the motherboard to flex, the fans work. That got me thinking, maybe I need to clean this laptop.

So I opened it, took out the motherboard, replaced the CPU thermal paste, and generally cleaned all parts.

I found ants under some tapes. And a lot of ants here. Now that’s a bug problem, literally!

Once I put everything back, I restarted Manjaro and run the sensors command. The fan only works before Manjaro boots. But when I flex the motherboard, the fan works. Weird. So I stuck some foam into the case to flex the motherboard. Doesn’t work well because it flexes the case instead. I stuck foam on the bottom of the case near where pressing the motherboard works. It works but then I had to keep pressure on the laptop.

I reopened the trap door near the fan and started testing by pushing on parts of the motherboard to see where the problem is. I touched chips carefully with a screwdriver and saw that when I touched this particular chip with the lightest of pressure, the fan works. On other parts of the motherboard, I had to put a lot of pressure.

I tapped on the chip several times, and scratched its surrounding pins softly with the screwdriver a few times. Softly, though. Don’t want to scrape the connections off. Then a few more taps on the chip… and voila! It’s working now for the past two days. No more pressure needed on the motherboard.

The fan is working fine now. It keeps the CPU temperature idling at 39°C to 55°C. Below 40°C, the fan stops. At 41°C, it starts spinning. Faster as the temperature goes up. It reaches up to 70°C, but never reached the 85°C critical shutdown temperature anymore.

So now I have a perfectly working (if you don’t count the battery and DVD drive) Lenovo 3000 Y410. Manjaro really makes this old thing becomes very usable again! Happy me!

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