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Author Topic: ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 failure: What's happening, why it's happening, and how to fix it  (Read 12990 times)

Redaktion

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Nearly 40 ThinkPad models have a problem - the Thunderbolt 3 ports in them randomly stop working. Lenovo has pushed out a fix to users, but what does it do? Does it actually solve the problem? If it doesn't, are the devices even repairable, and will Lenovo repair your device for free?

https://www.notebookcheck.net/ThinkPad-Thunderbolt-3-failure-What-s-happening-why-it-s-happening-and-how-to-fix-it.451207.0.html

randomdude

  • Guest
flash memory is meant to store both the thunderbolt controller's as well as pd-chips firmware and the device specific configuration. neither of these chips do not have that fw built in, so corrupt/emtied memory will result in not booting chip. this flash also includes the dp/hdmi in/out configuration, as well as supported charging voltages and currents.

S.Yu

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Well, my ethernet jack on my...7 year old torrent machine randomly stops working, but would resolve with every reset of the ethernet adapter using Windows troubleshooting, but after more than 2 years of this I still don't know what the underlying problem is.

Serdar

  • Guest
Just went through the whole issue.
My T470s Thunderbolt stopped working after the last lenovo update in December. There the windows driver was updated, however flashing of the thunderbolt controller failed. Also subsequent trys did not work. Luckily I had still warranty and Lenovo service changed the mainboard today. Now I have driver version 17.4.80.xxx and all works fine....

Just now I saw that Lenovo is rolling back the update
pcsupport.lenovo.com/ca/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/thinkpad-t-series-laptops/thinkpad-t470s/solutions/HT508988

As of 24. Jan they rolled back to Version 17.4.78.21

I will definetly not touch thunderbird updates again as long as mine is working....

The service tech said today that all year long they had lots of thunderbolt issues

Mikhail

  • Guest
Had this issue, ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3rd gen in October 2019, one and a half year after I bought it, being covered under Next Business Day warranty for 3 years... Happened after bios update, downgrading and upgrading bios didn't help to solve the issue.

It have took two months and few "I'm going to sue you" threats to receive a repair (motherboard replacement).

T25

  • Guest
I look forward to getting a check for $12 in five years from the class action lawsuit

Airstar

  • Guest
Nice try to save the case however situation is not so good in the real world.

My T480 has not failed (no errors, TB3 controller still visible in device manager) but it is still in TB3 fw version 14 which is problematic according to Lenovo support page.

Lenovo Vantage gives TB driver updates (atleast one in 2020 already installed) but it has NEVER given a TB firmware update for my 1.5 year old T480.

Our company has 13 Thinkpads and we really trust the Vantage to do its job. Why doesn't it do this as it updates every other fw auromatically like bios, wwan, intel management engine, ultra dock etc?

As Notebookcheck clearly have good connections to Lenovo please check this one from them. Are they even aware that their Vantage does not update the TB firmwares?

Benjamin Herzig

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@Airstar,
you have to make sure that the Thunderbolt 3 is fully enabled in the BIOS, including the Thunderbolt BIOS assist mode. Otherwise, the firmware update will not be offered.

Airstar

  • Guest
Hello Benjamin

Thanks for the tip, I took a try now because today Lenovo Vantage offered the DCH driver version 1.41.789.0 to my T480 which is needed for the FW update to happen if I have understood correctly.

However it is Jan 2020 and the problem was fixed at Jul 2019? Hundreds Thinpads have failed during this time.

Ok back to my try, I was at TB FW 14 which based on the Lenovo official statement is a problem and should be updated to FW 20.

I downloaded the FW20and  tried to install directly which gives me a black install window that says:

PM Driver version is OK.
The interface is checked and the BIOS supports the interface
The TBT_PWR is checked and the BIOS supports the function
The PD Controller is checked and the BIOS supports the function

A popup then appears that says to plugin power etc. I click OK. Then another popup comes up that says:

No active Thunderbolt(TM) controller found in the system or Thunderbolt(TM) software is not present in the system. Make sure you have Thunderbolt(TM) software installed. Then connect Thunderbolt(TM) device and press OK to retry or press Cancel to abort firmware update process.

I canceled and then went to BIOS at TB3 config, enabled all three parts (which give me an infotext that you only should enable them for old Windows 10 etc) and disabled the TB3 security User. (How on earth would I know that these should be enabled as I never go to BIOS anyway.)

Then again run the FW20 update, exactly the same texts as before.

What should I do, go and buy a Thunderbolt device?? :D this is really impossible for a normal user to fix. It has to come thru Vantage as every other firmware update comes.

My T480 is always at the office docked in a Ultra dock (the genuine, Lenovo side docking) but I'm not sure is that a Thunderbolt device or a simple USB-C dock?

Mickster

  • Guest
On my T480s the firmware update procedure failed - silently - until I plugged a device (a Samsung T5 external SSD) into the TB3 port.

The instructions for updating the TB3 fw are poor & contradictory - at one point the Lenovo update pops up a msg saying not to use any TB3 device during the update; then a few steps later an Intel pop up says the opposite and that a TB device should be connected (I may have these in the wrong order but the point remains...)

Bottom line: if the FW update fails, try repeating with a device plugged into the TB3 port. Note: my T5 drive is not even a true TB3 device - is USBC only - but this was enough to make the fw update work.

hth

Affected

  • Guest
I regularly see an issue where USB devices (keyboards, mice, drives) plugged into the docking station don't work when docked via the thunderbolt compatible port on a t480.   Installing the updates, swapping docking stations, etc doesn't help.  Have logged 5 warranty jobs with Lenovo and had 5 mobos replaced.   

The first warranty job, I spent a long time troubleshooting with Lenovo swapping docks, installing drivers and firmware, firmware for docking station etc.  Now I don't bother, just do the minimum and reference previous jobs with the same issue.  They replace the mobo and it's fixed the issue every time.   

If you have an affected laptop that is still under warranty, and you use a dock, test to see that the USB ports work when docked via the USB-C thunderbolt compatible port.  If they don't (and you can be bothered logging a warranty job) you may be able to get a replacement motherboard while it's still under warranty.  Have 2 more jobs to log now...

That's my 2 cents worth.

ac

  • Guest
I had same issue on my two X1 carbon 2017(20HQ)s.
One doesn't boot now after TB unstable. Another can boot when battery removed but TB and HDMI port dosen't work.
Lenovo should offer repair program.

birbi

  • Guest
I wasn't aware of this issue before and I didn't have any particular troubles with a 6-month old P52, but Vantage offered me an upgrade, so I followed (it upgraded BIOS, NVMe drivers, power management drivers, ...).

After the upgrade the laptop refused to get charged via the regular charging port (not that this wasn't USB C; charging with a 85 W USB C charger refused to work since the beginning, not even for any small amount of charging), claiming that the charger wasn't original one. It started working again for two days, then failed again and I can no longer charge it except very very very slowly when it's shut down.

So basically the firmware upgrade bricked the laptop for me.

S.Yu

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I wasn't aware of this issue before and I didn't have any particular troubles with a 6-month old P52, but Vantage offered me an upgrade, so I followed (it upgraded BIOS, NVMe drivers, power management drivers, ...).

After the upgrade the laptop refused to get charged via the regular charging port (not that this wasn't USB C; charging with a 85 W USB C charger refused to work since the beginning, not even for any small amount of charging), claiming that the charger wasn't original one. It started working again for two days, then failed again and I can no longer charge it except very very very slowly when it's shut down.

So basically the firmware upgrade bricked the laptop for me.
...another lesson of don't fix it if it ain't broken, of which Windows Update is the worst offender--no option not to fix something that's not broken.

Piotr Czekalski

  • Guest
That is really annoying.
Indeed my Yoga X390 was some issues with Thunderbolt stability but now, after the upgrade, Thunderbolt does not work anymore with my docks. And now there is no way you can revert it back. Support offered me an older .exe to try to downgrade but it no longer works (some WIndows error saying something about lack of the SDK).


 

 
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