Lenovo T520 will not boot - No Bios, 1-3-3-1 Code

This morning when I tried to start my Lenovo T520 Laptop, I got a blank screen, and a soft beeping sound coming from inside the laptop. The sound was like morse code - 1 long beep, 3 short beeps, another 3 short beeps and a final long beep (code 1-3-3-1)

After doing a

fair amount of googling, I managed to determine that the likely causes of my beeping laptop were either:-

a) A poorly seated memory DIMM or b) a failed system board (aka broken motherboard). 

Is my motherboard broken?

It'd only been a month since I had to return my T520 to Lenovo to repair a similar problem - although in that case it was a completely kaput motherboard and the symptom was no POST, no beep - the only thing that happened was the screen stayed blank, the DVD drive seemed to spin up and the power button flashed continuously... these symptoms seemed a little different.

Dreading the thought of having to send my laptop back to the manufacturer for another couple weeks of repairs, I figured I'd do a little more digging. In the end, I managed to get my trusty thinkpad up and running again by using the following procedure.

How to fix a Lenovo T520 with beeping motherboard

  1. Take the RAM (DIMM) Cover off the underside of the laptop, by undoing the two screws, but not removing them completely.
  2. Remove the Dimm, by gently pressing the small levers at each end of the dimm cover, tilting the dimm up and removing it from it's slot (see this guide to removing the DIMM cover if you need help).
  3. Replace the Dimm in the slot.
  4. Unscrew the keyboard screw to the right of the DIMM (it's easy to pick - has a little picture of a keyboard next to it).
  5. There is another keyboard screw just above the dimm cover - unscrew that also.
  6. Turn the laptop over, open it and use a small flat head screwdriver to gently prise the keyboard up from the bottom - there is a small tab under the ctrl key on the left, another on the right under the down arrow key and one just below the button that sits between the two buttons under the space bar (or follow this guide to removing a T520 Keyboard).
  7. Gently tilt the keyboard up, and move it backwards to allow you to access the DIMM slot under the keyboard (don't undo the ribbon cable).
  8. Remove and replace this memory DIMM as well.
  9. Replace the keyboard, turn the laptop over and replace the DIMM cover and all screws.
  10. Try rebooting.


This procedure worked for me - if you have no such luck, I'd suggest calling Lenovo Technical Support.


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