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qamar198

Clevo p377sm-a No Boot No Display All LEDs Blinking + Beeping

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Hello Everyone,

I am trying my Sager NP 9377 to get to work but to no avail. NO POST, NO DISPLAY.
in short>> powering on laptop causes fans to run at full speed after 10(cpu only) + 10 (now both cpu+gpu) with Caps Lock + Num Lock + Scroll Lock LEDs blinking, continuous 1 second beep, repeats for one minute with 1 second in between, then laptop shuts down.

IN DETAIL
System Specs are i7 4810mq 8gb gtx 880m SLI variant (though my laptop has other GPU Slot empty so only singular 880m running) 120 Hz display.

The Problem
> if i take out the battery and plug in AC only, the power light comes on ORANGE
if both battery is connected, then i have both power and battery light ORANGE
and if only battery is connected then of course laptop is waiting for me to press the power button :)
but in all 3 cases the following happens
> Pressing the power button brings laptop to some signs of life, power LED turns green, both the CPU and GPU fans have a very quick jerk but does not spin., keyboard lights up with Blue Backlight (dont know if this is relevant or not), HDD activity light starts to blink showing HDD access maybe (even when hdd is removed)
> Display remains blank (i dont even sense the display backlight being on)
> HDD activity light sometimes goes off after only 1-2 seconds, sometimes shows rapid blinking/activity for 4-5 seconds
> both fans remain off (i removed back cover to check this)
> after about 10 seconds or so, the CPU fan spins up (speed is normal, just like when using the laptop in IDLE)
> after 10 more seconds have passed, the CPU fan seems to be turning off for a split second then both the CPU and GPU fan turn on full speed with a lot of noise.
> Caps Lock, Num Lock and Scroll Lock LEDs all blink together with single beep for about 1 second, repeats beep with 1 second in between.
> goes on for about 1 minute then laptop shuts down.
> forcing the fans to spin down using FN+1 key makes them spin back up to full speed after a split second (dont even know why i tried this one -_-)

What I Have Tried So Far
>
EC and Bios Reset (take out battery, disconnect AC Adapter, disconnect CMOS Battery, Press Power Button for upto 30 seconds)
> Change Ram and check all available slots
change/remove HDD
> Repaste CPU/GPU and clean out fans
> Checked GPU...... Flashed the 880m in this Sager with MSI vBios and tested it in a MSI Gt70 2PC i have, gpu ran fine, tested with FurMark, AC Odessey, Ghost Recon Wildlands for over an hour (unfortunately the cooling in my MSI is not good enough it already runs hot, and this 880m causes thermal throttling as well as power limit throttling sometimes). Reflash 880m with original Clevo vBios and put back into the Sager, still no boot, same results as before.
> Checked the CPU..........checked the 4810mq in the MSI GT 70 which worked fine, as well as tried the 4810mq from the MSI in the Sager, still no boot.
> Suspected bad GPU fan connection......therefore forced both fans to full speed as soon as i press power button (using FN+1 Keys) and both fans turn on full speed, same results.
> tried charging the battery to the max before turning on on battery only, same results.

>>------- The laptop has had some random shutdowns in the past too during gaming but would turn back on fine after waiting for 10 mins or so, then i sold it to some guy who brought it back to me the next day saying that it just turned off during gaming and wont turn back on, i returned his money, did all the troubleshooting above to no avail. then i finally put it aside to wait until i get some other system in which i can test the CPU and GPU.
Then one day i turned it on (after leaving it untouched for a couple months), same results as above, i decided to try once without battery and it Freakin Turned ON!!!, used it for a couple days without battery, played a few games (thermal throttling was observed here and there), but then this happened again and this time it seems permanent :( . And now i have not only repeated all the steps above but this time also checked the CPU and GPU in the MSI GT70 too. ------------<<


Some Observations
> touching the CPU heat pipes feels warm, but the GPU heat pipes are colder (GPU never even booted?). dont know if this is normal or not.
>
i replaced one of the capacitors near the CPU once, but i did use the laptop for quite a while after that without any issues.
> my Idle temps were always below 40c for both CPU and GPU, so an overheat warning as soon as laptop is powered on seems unlikely (false overheat warning?, but GPU does not even seem to be detected/ booted as heat pipes remain cold to touch), also i repasted the CPU and GPU multiple times.
> The guy who sold me the laptop told me that the power adapter was originally a Dell, and it was modified to use with this Sager by replacing the cable with a 4-Pin one from a Toshiba (same pinout as the Sager), but then again i have used this laptop for quite a while on the same adapter.
> From day 1 of having this laptop, some keys on the keyboard (w, s, t, c and numpad 4) did not work 99% of the time. pressing really hard on any one of them sometimes made ALL of them work for a while. any thoughts on this issue?? (even if its unrelated).

So what seems to be the issue here?
GPU not detected ?, False temperature alert?, Bad fan?.
Any help towards resolving this will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance :).

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Curious if you managed to get any further along in your troubleshooting?

 

Too bad you don't have another power adapter to rule that one out.

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On 12/26/2019 at 11:26 AM, moral hazard said:

Curious if you managed to get any further along in your troubleshooting?

 

Too bad you don't have another power adapter to rule that one out.

hi, thanks for the response and sorry for the late reply. my post had not seen any responses so i was not checking the page much :).

 

actually i dont think its the adapter, because i can charge the battery fine when laptop is powered off, but then booting it using only battery gives the same results, therefore i dont think its an issue with the charger. :(

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Posted (edited)

The keyboard issue sounds like the notebook wasn't happy with the EC , maybe someone flashed an incompatible EC rather than flashing the bios and EC at the same time.

 

You mentioned that you suspect a poor connection for the GPU fan, but FN + 1 works. I'd still suspect that the sense wire on the GPU fan might not be working, maybe worth just plugging in another similar fan of you have it, as a test.

 

Otherwise I know it's probably the same as pulling the CMOS battery, but try the combo of FN + D and then hit the power button.

 

Worst case maybe flash the bios and EC firmware with an external hardware rom flash tool.

 

 

Edited by moral hazard
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This sounds simmilar to something that i have seen on several laptops that we carried.  Something in the way the cpu or gpu were reporting their temperatures to the EC BIOS wasn't working right, or the ec bios itself was crashing or not detecting a good signal from the monitored devices, and it was entering a panic state (turnign on all fans to attempt to keep cool, then shutting off after a 10 count to protect the system.)

The keyboard issue, though, is likely a purely mechanical issue. Ihave had a couple new laptops where the keyboard frame wasn't stamped quite right, and all the keys had to be pressed really hard to make contact. If i smashed all the keys down really hard, it would slightly bend the tabs that each key mounted on, and made it a lot easier to get them to register.  Not for sure, but that's what it sounds like to me.

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On 1/6/2020 at 5:51 PM, moral hazard said:

The keyboard issue sounds like the notebook wasn't happy with the EC , maybe someone flashed an incompatible EC rather than flashing the bios and EC at the same time.

 

You mentioned that you suspect a poor connection for the GPU fan, but FN + 1 works. I'd still suspect that the sense wire on the GPU fan might not be working, maybe worth just plugging in another similar fan of you have it, as a test.

 

Otherwise I know it's probably the same as pulling the CMOS battery, but try the combo of FN + D and then hit the power button.

 

Worst case maybe flash the bios and EC firmware with an external hardware rom flash tool.

 

 

hii @moral hazard, thanks for responding and very sorry for late reply....as previously i had stopped checking my thread because of lack of responses.

 

the thing is that the problem just started happening randomly and like i mentioned the laptop did once boot and ran fine for a couple days. I did go through the usual EC reset and Bios reset steps many times but to no avail.

I will see if i can find another similar fan (i have a MSI GT70, a Lenovo Thinkpad t520, a Dell m6600 and a Lenovo G510 in my home, maybe i will have luck with one of them or just swapping the CPU/GPU fans to only check if the laptop turns on this way).

as for your other suggestion, i d o have a CH341A programmer at hand, though i've never used it before but i saw some videos and i guess i can give it a try if all else fails. meanwhile do you have any suggestions regarding which Bios/EC files should i use? or if i can just use the factory ones?....also if you can point me towards correctly identifying the EC/Bios chips on the motherboard that i need to flash.

Thanks and Best regards.

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On 6/19/2020 at 6:46 PM, Blacktape said:

This sounds simmilar to something that i have seen on several laptops that we carried.  Something in the way the cpu or gpu were reporting their temperatures to the EC BIOS wasn't working right, or the ec bios itself was crashing or not detecting a good signal from the monitored devices, and it was entering a panic state (turnign on all fans to attempt to keep cool, then shutting off after a 10 count to protect the system.)

The keyboard issue, though, is likely a purely mechanical issue. Ihave had a couple new laptops where the keyboard frame wasn't stamped quite right, and all the keys had to be pressed really hard to make contact. If i smashed all the keys down really hard, it would slightly bend the tabs that each key mounted on, and made it a lot easier to get them to register.  Not for sure, but that's what it sounds like to me.

Hello Blacktape,

like i mentioned in my previous post, sorry for the late reply and thanks for your response, i really appreciate the help.

 i will take moral hazard'

s advice and try the fan replacement as well as flashing the EC/Bios externally. the keyboard is the least of my worries, i just mentioned it in case it may be related to the main issue (not booting) in some way or may help narrowing down the problem. I do think you are right about the keyboard issue being mechanical, because if i did press down really hard on any one of the malfunctioning keys and wiggled it around a bit, all of the keys started working for a while. if i am able to get the laptop to boot i will also try to check the keyboard for any warping or bends.

Thanks for the help :).

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On 7/18/2020 at 6:45 AM, qamar198 said:

Hello Blacktape,

like i mentioned in my previous post, sorry for the late reply and thanks for your response, i really appreciate the help.

 i will take moral hazard'

s advice and try the fan replacement as well as flashing the EC/Bios externally. the keyboard is the least of my worries, i just mentioned it in case it may be related to the main issue (not booting) in some way or may help narrowing down the problem. I do think you are right about the keyboard issue being mechanical, because if i did press down really hard on any one of the malfunctioning keys and wiggled it around a bit, all of the keys started working for a while. if i am able to get the laptop to boot i will also try to check the keyboard for any warping or bends.

Thanks for the help :).

If this started happening with normal use, then (barring a fan issue) the problem is most likely one of the chips failing in some way. I would have to go through the schematic, do signal tracing tests as well as general oscilliscope testing, to try to figure out what is dieing.   When the road startes getting really rough, it might be heading to a dead end..  I never had to go that far, though. I am in the posituon, that if a board is failing at that level, I get to RMA it back to Sager for repair/replacement.

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On 7/22/2020 at 7:48 AM, Blacktape said:

If this started happening with normal use, then (barring a fan issue) the problem is most likely one of the chips failing in some way. I would have to go through the schematic, do signal tracing tests as well as general oscilliscope testing, to try to figure out what is dieing.   When the road startes getting really rough, it might be heading to a dead end..  I never had to go that far, though. I am in the posituon, that if a board is failing at that level, I get to RMA it back to Sager for repair/replacement.

HI again, 

I'm trying my luck with the external bios flash, got a CH341A laying around so might as well use it for once :).

Unfortunately, RMA is not an option, as Sager/Clevo or any of the other brands that rebrand these barebone systems have any tech support in my country (Pakistan). 

The closest option I could find was a Chinese reseller on aliexpress selling its motherboard for around 200$ shipped....which is a lot of money around here. Also there are risks involved as there is no warranty or damage coverage buying from such sellers, and not even a way to make sure they ship what they advertise and in working condition. 

 

I'm just trying my luck to see if I can get it working as it's sitting there collecting dust :). And I like to try to fix things, learn some stuff in the process. 

Really appreciate your help man, I'll update with results after the troubleshooting steps you and @moral hazard mentioned. Let's see what happens :). 

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Hiii,

@Blacktape and @moral hazard,

FINALLY SOME PROGRESS!!! (although.....its like a step forwards and two backwards ...)

 

i opened up the laptop (to try another fan etc,) and did the following,

>> took the opportunity to clean and repaste CPU + GPU

>> Pulled out the CMOS battery connector to reset it

>> disconnected everything (HDD+WiFi etc.) and only left necessary hardware connected (CPU+GPU+a single ram stick).......more on this step later

 

put it back together and just decided to see if it will turn back on before i try anything else (like i previously mentioned it once booted itself randomly and ran fine for a bit)

while it booted i tried the FN+B key for no particular reason and IT BOOTED!!!....but the Num lock, HDD light and Caps Lock LEDs were all flashing and system was beeping (one second apart)

giving me the splash screen and got me to the bios flash page (of course since there was nothing to flash it showed that no flash file found)

i was able to navigate the bios menus, use the keyboard and all, but it kept beeping and shut down

 

thinking the system is at least showing POST now, i quickly got the stock bios onto a flash drive and tried the FN+B thing to re-flash bios and get rid of the beeping and shutdown. didnt work.

then i used bios files i had downloaded during my previous troubleshooting and searching online....i dont remember the source it was a long time ago but its a .zip package with .bat files to flash using AFUDOS...its meant to be used with a DOS bootable usb disk,

i created one using RUFUS and plugged it in, powered on the system normally and quickly pressed F7 to boot from USB and as the .zip package readme said, i typed "update" and pressed enter,

it started the flashing process (system started to beep again like last time

it went through the flashing process....READING  BOOT...VERIFYING....ERASING....WRITING BOOT....ERASING MAIN BLOCK....and so on...

and ..as it was halfway through the WRITING MAINBLOCK step,,,the system shutdown (while still beeping and the HDD, Num Lock and CAPS LEDs flashing)...and i just froze knowing i had just messed up the bios for sure

 

i tried to boot again, but now the system just powers on, stays quite, LEDs flash, and then shuts down and reboots...repeats...loop

i removed back cover and....HERE COMES THE "MORE ON THIS STEP LATER" part, saw that i had forgot to plug in the CPU Fan before....so...the Beeping and Shutdowns were not from bad bios (probably) they were for this reason and to prevent overheat system would shut down....because for some reason the FN+B pushed it into recovery (with no USB attached) and somehow fixed the POST (maybe flushed some wrong values or something but it worked)...but being stupid and from previous issues i thought it was bad bios so i should reflash it and now i have bricked it....

 

Though, the good outcomes from this ..... i know the Mobo isnt damaged completely as i thought before,

i know that system POSTS with CPU GPU without errors so that stuff is working

both CPU and GPU heat-pipes get warm now

and now i know for sure that the issue is a bad bios flash....

 

CURRENT STATE OF THE SYSTEM

POWERING ON NORMALLY>>> system is quite, HDD + Num Lock + CAPS Lock LEDs flash for about 10 seconds and it goes into a Bootloop...NO POST and NO DISPLAY

TRYING FN+B RECOVERY>>> the activity light on USB flashes (not like rapid, just normal, 1 second or so apart flashing , and system shuts down and reboots...loop

(am i doing it right?)>>>put the stock bios onto the usb, rename as P377SM-A030.rom, plug in the USB (i tried all ports one by one) and hold FN+B as system powers on

if i am doing something wrong with the recovery process or the filename..let me know

 

also...as now i know that the issue now is simply a bad flash, i am also trying to locate the bios chip on the Mobo and flash using the CH341A EEPROM programmer i have to get it working that way, i intend to look for the 8-pin chips (i understand there is usually a Dot or Indentation or some color dot on these chips), google the label on them and see if i can narrow it down that way. meanwhile if you know where its located on the mobo, i will get to the flashing part right away.

 

Thanks so much for the help guys, i really appreciate it. finally at least i was able to see the POST and know that the Mobo isnt beyond repair. and at the very least i will end up learning some new stuff (i am not an expert but i do work with a lot of laptops and buy/resell them so knowing stuff definitely helps).

i will update with any progress :). stay safe and thanks again for helping.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

UPDATE!!...SUCCESS!!!!!!

 

FINALLY!!!

GOT THE SYSTEM TO BOOT!!

fortunately i had the CH341A programmer laying around, and dismantling the laptop revealed a 8 pin chip clearly labeled as "BIOS" under it!!!!

took quite a while to get the CH341A working with windows 10 (easier to setup and connect with Win7, win 10 will have some driver issues and will need you to try a few different driver packages as well as find the right software for the programmer...Linux is the simplest and easiest..i chose to go with win10 because i use this laptop for lots of flashing/troubleshooting of Phones and other stuff so i like to have all the apps and drivers setup i will ever need on this one machine)).

 

after that it was just a matter of figuring out the pinout and getting the SOIC-8 Clip to connect with the chip on the Mobo as i didn't want to desolder it. i couldn't identify the chip manufacturer and model, etc. by looking at it but fortunately the software i used detected it for me. for reference, it showed up as a gigadevice gd25q32 bios chip (4MB, 32 Bit).

then i backed up its current rom, erased the chip, reprogram it with the Bios File for my laptop from this post>>

 

flashed it using the CH341A programmer (great little tool), put the laptop back together, powered it on and IT BOOTED!!

although i recognize the splash screen and the brand etc is different (previously it showed SAGER and now it says "Intel Style Note"...not sure what thats about but it works, bios setup recognizes all the hardware correctly, i will add the HDD and OS, etc. to the system in a couple days and report back about the stability etc.

 

THANK YOU Blacktape AND moral hazard FOR THE HELP!!!

i took some pictures of the process, the softwares and drivers i used with CH341A programmer were already in my laptop, i had collected them long time ago from various sources so not sure about the sources, so i will track them down and a couple of youtube videos that helped with the "How to" regarding the flash tool and upload it in case it may help someone else in future.

Thanks again to Blacktape and moral hazard for helping out and actually getting me to try fixing it (which i had given up, this laptop had been sitting collecting dust for a little over 1.5 years now).

 

 

UPDATE 2!!!

Well it kinda worked, didnt run any stress tests or anything just installed windows and all the drivers, everything seemed to work but the laptop would always go to "Hibernate" if i clicked shutdown, next boot would fail (black screen and nothing else) and a hard shutdown followed by a power on would get it into windows all fine. Also enabling "UEFI" in bios would make the screen go black on boot (no beeps or anything, and i suspect that laptop was still going through the boot process, just not displaying anything). taking out the CMOS battery would reset bios and fix it (wiith UEFI to default=disabled).

i dont care much about UEFI boot but the hibernation issue when i would tell it to shutdown was too annoying.

i figured it could be a bios/EC issue (my EC version was 1.03.03 and the Bios i flashed using the CH341A was 1.03.10, so i decided to flash another bios using the usual method.

used this file

Only for P377SM-A
EC V 1.03.09
&
BIOS V 1.03.10   (from http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/clevo-bios-older-models-released-in-after-2014.790474/ )

 

put it onto a usb drive, booted through it, typed "Update" and hit enter.

process started, and it matched, erased and wrote the bios successfully, then it went onto another screen where there was a yellow text and/or a yellow progress bar (i am not sure because it was there for hardly one second) and laptop screen suddenly went black. for a while there was nothing, just blinking lights and spinning fans, i waited and after about a minute it rebooted itself (which i thought was the normal update process) and.....

it booted back to a black screen, after like 10 seconds all LEDs start to blink, there's beeping (one second long beeps one second apart) and after beeping for about a minute it shuts down!!!

 

i immediately tried the same external flashing of bios like i previously did, but this time laptop wont boot up!!!

i retried flashing with many different bios versions....no luck

infact i got so annoyed by having to disassemble the laptop for flashing again and again that i ended up cutting out a small piece of the laptop body under the keyboard area, exposing the Bios chip so i could connect the SOIC clip to it and try again without having to disassemble the laptop.

but no luck...i am trying the same exact steps with same exact files like last time but this time it just wont work .....

 

if anyone knows about flashing chips with CH341A.....maybe this info may help

previously i was able to simply connect the clip..detect the chip in flashing software which it did automatically...

Read the chip

Erase the chip

Verify the chip (successful...it would say "verified, main memory and buffer are same")

write new bios from the bios file

verify again

disconnect clip ...and laptop booted

 

when i tried it after it got messed up during the USB bios flashing,

connect the clip..detect the chip in flashing software which it does automatically...same as before

Read the chip..same as before

Erase the chip...same as before

Verify the chip (FAILED...it would say "main memory and contents are in disagreement")

but if i read the chip again its blank, really erased, if i disconnect clip, reconnect and read again its still blank, means it was erased successfully, verifying again is also successfull

i go on and write new bios from the bios file...same as before

verify again...same as before ... new bios is written successfully

disconnect clip ...and laptop wont boot this time...black screen, beeps and shutdown same as it was before i got it to work once,.

 

if anybody has any ideas, please do share.

thanks .

Edited by qamar198

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Oof, Sorry for not seeing this earlier, I haven't checked Tech Inferno in a while.

 

I'm glad you were able to get it going for a while there, but sad that it's back to somewhat broken. 

 

Remember, these laptops have 2 to 3 different chips that they update firmware on, not just the main BIOS chip.   The main BIOS for the system configuration is on the labled chip, but I would suspicion that the EC Bios and the ME bios are on different ITE quad package chips.  If those firmwares are not properly matched to the main BIOS, it can keep the system from posting.  My guess is that you are successfully flashing the Main BIOS, but one of the other chips still has a mismatched version of that firmware, and they are conflicting now. This is just a hunch on my part though.I would guess you have put this on the back shelf by now and suffer from repeated nightmares of flashing endless BIOS's... I wouldn't blame you. That's never a fun part of trying to build systems for customers.

 

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