I have an IBM ThinkPad z61t and the audio cuts in and out almost on a monthly basis - it'll work for about a month then not work for about a month. I've tried multiple operating systems and figured out that drivers aren't the problem - when it works it works on all of them and when it doesn't it doesn't. I know its a hardware issue, but I can't see anything wrong with it when I open it up and look at it. Help please.

  • Does this hold for all audio? As in does it happen for both the audio jack as well as the speakers?
    – BramMooij
    Nov 9 '16 at 10:35
  • Yes, all audio cuts out - built-in microphone/speakers, auxiliary out, and mic in all cut out Nov 12 '16 at 2:51
  • Wow thanks I was not expecting such a detailed, intelligible answer. I will definitely try it, and even if it doesn't work, thanks for such a great answer :) Nov 15 '16 at 4:24
  • You're welcome. I expanded the answer a bit and put it up as an answer. Beware that you should be prepared to replace the motherboard if this goes wrong.
    – BramMooij
    Nov 15 '16 at 7:59

That does sound like your audio chip has some sort of faulty connection. One thing you could try is to locate it on the motherboard and use a hair dryer or heat gun to reflow the connections. Stop blowing hot air just after seeing some solder melt. Also, make sure to cover any components you're not trying to fix with aluminium foil, because you might accidentally break a connection or damage a component. The challenge is to direct enough (and not too much) heat towards the chip. Also, you'd should find the location of the chip on the internet before trying.

If the above solution does not work, you can try reflowing the whole motherboard in the oven. I've seen reports of people putting the whole mainboard in the oven at 190 degrees for a similar repair, yielding mostly positive results. This is much more work, as you have to remove the CPU, CMOS battery, any tape and similar, thermal pads, wires and antennas etc. Find a description of how to do it here [1], or google "how to reflow a motherboard".

If neither solution works, getting a new mobo is the only solution that will get things back to how they were. A second hand motherboard can typically be found for 30-60 euro's for a similar machine, but availability might be an issue. Count 20 minutes to 6 hours labour depending on your experience (it takes me 20 minutes now, but 6 hours the first time, being very careful).

If you don't care about the microphone so much, you could buy a cheap USB external soundcard. There are options out there for <30 euro's which sound pretty decent (most likely better than the built in one). That can also have RCA output should you want to connect to an amplifier. If you have a bit more money and do care about a microphone you could get a similar USB interface, but one that includes a mic input.

ref [1]: https://www.computerrepairtips.net/how-to-reflow-a-laptop-motherboard/

  • Thank you so much this worked and fixed all my problems and I am no longer sad thank you thank you thank you Nov 15 '16 at 22:17
  • I upvoted the answer but I don't have enough rep Nov 15 '16 at 22:17
  • Np, glad you could fix it. What exactly did you do in the end? This could be useful information for the next person to have the issue.
    – BramMooij
    Nov 21 '16 at 8:45
  • I used the blow dryer for 5 minutes then I put the laptop back together and pressed the power button and got really worried because it wasn't working but I realized the problem was from something else I did that had nothing to do with blow drying it (the screen came unplugged while I was wiring in some fans and I didn't realize). After I fixed the other problem and turned it on, I wasn't expecting anything to happen, so that if nothing did I wouldn't be disappointed. But it did work. Nov 21 '16 at 15:33

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