Resuscitating My T420

Several months ago I gave up on my Lenovo Thinkpad T420 because it would not boot. It was producing those dreaded boot up beep errors. Although the errors indicated the motherboard was the problem, I opened up my laptop and reset both RAM DIMMs.

Problem solved… for a month or so… or so I thought.

One day, I turned on my T420 and it gave me those dreaded beeps again. It didn’t matter what I did. The beeps sounded and my laptop wouldn’t boot up. I figured it had finally died, so I shoved it in a closet for the next few months.

On a whim, yesterday morning (Tuesday, June 26, 2018), I decided to give the T420 another look. I turned it on and it gave those same boot up beep error codes: 1 beep, 3 beeps, 3 beeps, 1 beep. I looked it up and after a bit of searching on the InterTubes, I came across two very helpful Web pages (refer to the references below). It turned out that the beep codes indicated that the problem was a RAM issue. At least that was something than can be remedied.

I proceeded to check the RAM. I took out the one DIMM that is right under the small access panel and rebooted. Nope, that wasn’t the one. It figures it has to be the RAM that is under the keyboard. Murphy’s Law gets me every time. As far as I’m concerned, putting one RAM socket on the bottom and one under the keyboard is just a bizarre way of doing things. It was probably easier for manufacture, or just a bad design.

I took out the RAM that resides under the keyboard and replaced it with the other stick of RAM, and started the T420 up again. Booted up with no errors. WooHoo!!! I put everything back together and even replaced the spinning hard drive with a 480GB SSD (Sandisk Ultra II) that I had sitting in my desk drawer waiting to be used somewhere.

Okay, now I have a working T420 with Ubuntu Mate 18.04 on it. It runs like a dream, except I went from having 16 GB RAM to 8 GB RAM, then I remembered that I had two 4GB sticks of DDR3 RAM sitting in the desk drawer that had come out of my old mid-2010 MacBook Pro when I had updated it from 8 to 16 GB RAM a number of years prior. I put in one of the 4 GB DIMMS and now I’m up to 12 GB of RAM. I can live with that until the 8 GB RAM comes back down in price a bit.

Now, my T420 is a happy laptop working perfectly. After not using it for several months, I did forget how enjoyable it is to use.

Screen shot of T420 after RAM repair

Happy computing all!!!


Beep and No Beep Symptoms – Thinkpad General: Support Community:




Eastern Bluebirds – Home Sweet Home

On Wednesday, June 13, 2018, while trying to figure out why my tractor wouldn’t start after I turned it off for a moment, I noticed a pair of birds flitting in and out and perching on top of a dead tree trunk that I was going to have removed.  I didn’t really get a chance to check the birds out until Sunday afternoon.  It turned out that the birds are a nesting pair of Eastern Bluebirds.  They have made an almostEastern bluebird at apex of tree trunk perfectly round hole about four feet up from the ground.  In addition, they have a hole in the back of the trunk at about five feet, along with a tunnel to the top of the trunk that they pop out of.  What they have created is a natural bluebird house.  How could anyone disturb that!

So, Sunday afternoon, I took my camera and plopped out on the newly mowed lawn, sitting about 40 feet from the tree trunk.  I didn’t want to disturb or scare them away.  After about 15 minutes, they became used to me just sitting there and started coming and going from their natural home.  I took a series of photos of this cute pair.   After editing the photos, I decided to create a slide show video.

The Technical Particulars…

All photos were taken during one afternoon session, from approximately 1:40 to 2:00 p.m., using a Nikon D7000; ISO 200; Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6 ED DX lens set at 185mm and f8; 1/250 sec shutter speed.  I was approximately 40 feet (12.2 meters) from the tree trunk.  I felt that being any closer would keep them from their nesting tree.

All photo processing was done using Ubuntu Mate 18.04.  Raw photos were uploaded and processed using Raw Therapee.   The video was made using Photofilmstrip, which I installed from the Ubuntu Software Center.

I wanted to create a slide show of my bluebird photos and found Photofilmstrip, which creates videos from a set of still photos.  It worked perfectly and was easy to use.  I highly recommend it.  The audio that accompanies the slide show are actual eastern bluebird calls and songs.  I downloaded them from the Cornell University Ornithology Lab Web site.

You can check out my front yard neighbors at

To read more about Eastern bluebirds, check out the following Web sites:

Thanks for stopping by and reading.