Question about IBM ThinkPad T21 Notebook

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IBM T21 Thinkpad


My IBM T21 Think pad won't power up when I plug it up and hit the start key. I have tried taking the battery out and disconnecting the power source. It is keeping time but, the battery is no longer good. If I leave it alone overnight and plug it up, it will start. However, if I turn it off and try to re-start it, it will not respond. What do you think the problem is?

Amos (


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Re: IBM T21 Thinkpad

Here are the solutions ive gathered for this problem:


IBM has finally given me a fix for the T21 I am working on for a

customer. I asked them "What if it doesn't work, then what. Their

response was "GAURENTEED to work". Here it is:

1.) Unplug the power cord and the battery.
2.) Press the 'Power' Button 10 times repeatedly.
3.) Then hold the 'Power' Button down for 25 seconds.
4.) Put the battery back in and plug the power cord back in.
5.) Should power up right away.

This did work THIS time on the machine I have in front of me. I hope

this works for all of you. If you have any other questions, please

feel free to email me and ask any questions

Oh and just one more thing to help you out.

This problem is caused by an overcharged capacitor (supposedly) and

the error ONLY occurs IF you leave the laptop plugged in too long with

the battery in. If you ONLY plug it in when you are using it, then it

should not overcharge. And actually I would suggest that you unplug it

about 20 min or so before you are done using the system.


I have been a IBM Thinkpad T20 user for last 3+ years and I think it

is an very sturdy system that it's been working non-stop for such a

long time with not a single problem even after so much of abuse it

went thru in my baby's hands......until last week when it just wont

boot up. Then I found this post online....I tried the refrigerator

option also to no avail. Finally I just removed the battery and AC and

let the system sit for a 2 days in a cool place near window. Third day

I plugged in battery, plugged in the AC, and voila, it comes up fine.

Right now I am backing up all my files and I'll keep you posted if it

experiences a boot problem again. If I don't post again, assume it's

all working good again !!

Bottom line is that it could be the overcharged capacitor in my case

and letting it sit alone discharged it completely.

Good luck to you!


I have the same problem, and i fix it. Well no fix but now in few

seconds i can start notepad when i want to. My battery dead. Without

the battery, you can start if you hold down the power botton while you

get in/get out quickly the ac connector several times .Try it!!!!

I think the intelligent battery or same cheap condensator in the power

module is the problem (so when you connect the ac power connector you

can hear the charge of it).

you can restart without problem but if you switch off you will need to

repeat the process to start the notepad.


I have a T22 that won't power on. After removing the AC power cord, I had to repeatedly (as fast as you can press it) press the power button until it powers on. I was not able to do a normal shut down, it would just hang. So with the battery removed and the AC plugged in pull the AC power cord.(Try to do it when the hard drive light is out!)I have cycled thru several power ups with no problems after doing this.
Hope this might help somebody else.
I would love to know which capacitor is being affected on the motherboard. this way you could install a momentary switch with resistor to ground to drain the capacitor.


Thanx to all the authors of these solutions

Posted on Jan 10, 2009

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Re: IBM T21 Thinkpad

What, exactly, does it do when you hit the start key? I'm assuming that by start, you mean the power on key?

Posted on Nov 10, 2007

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i have the same problem. actually its a common problem for many T21 and other old IBM laptops.
i searched that you have to take all power (batery, adaptor)
press the power 10 times and press it for 30 secs then reinsert the battery or adaptor and try to power it on.
they say its done to discharge a certain capacitor that got overcharged after overcharging the battery.
that worked for me before but now my T21 wont start any more with this process.

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