How To Fix Error 1802 on Lenovo T60
October 20, 2010 12:30 PM   Subscribe

I need to upgrade the WiFi card on my Thinkpad T60. When I try to replace it, I encounter the Lenovo BIOS whitelist which prevents you from booting the PC if you install parts from other suppliers (Error 1802). Does anyone have experience in bypassing this for a T-series Thinkpad?

I have a faulty wireless card, so I checked on Lenovo's website and found a recent wireless driver and utility download, that supports newer WiFi cards for my Thinkpad model (the T60). Lulled into a false sense of security, I bought one of the supported cards (the Intel Centrino N-6300) and installed it in my Thinkpad.

The Thinkpad will not even boot with this card in place. It reports Error 1802, which appears to be a BIOS error, where the wireless card ID is checked against a whitelist of part-numbers. Using this method, Lenovo (in common with HP) ensure that you have to buy upgrade parts from them. The WiFi card for my T60 is no longer supplied by Lenovo, so I can't even buy one directly (unless I shell out $200 to a third-party vendor). I am really miffed that Lenovo issue regular updates to the BIOS for my Thinkpad, but have not updated the whitelist to include newer cards - even though they support this card and provide driver software for it. This has turned me from a raving fan into someone who will avoid Thinkpads in future. But I still need a way to upgrade or bypass the WiFi card whitelist in the T60 BIOS.

I found a website that details how to patch the BIOS, but also warns of the danger of bricking your Thinkpad if you attempt this. Has anyone successfully patched their T60 BIOS to permit a newer WiFi card? Does anyone have an alternative solution to a do-it-yourself BIOS patch? I tried the No-1802 utility, but this does not work for the T60.
posted by Susurration to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Try this thread.
Patched BIOS is available for (as of 2010-03-01): R32, R400, R500, R52, R60, R61, T43, T400, T500, T60...
posted by msbutah at 1:19 PM on October 20, 2010

This has turned me from a raving fan into someone who will avoid Thinkpads in future.

You should direct your anger to the FCC instead.

Bradford Jones writes:
> Unfortunately I have not been with the SWAT team for 3yrs, but based
> on what I know from working with development, I can tell you that
> unless you are specifically using one of the min-PCI cards listed as
> a supported option, that is the error you can expect to see. This may
> be in part because of certain FCC regulations regarding wi-fi and
> specifically 802.11a. For instance when the T40 was released, the FCC
> would not allow us to make mini-PCI cards using 802.11a technology
> customer accessible or customer upgradeable. This regulation does not
> apply to 802.11b, but there could be some other underlying reason for
> only allowing tested options to be installed. I cannot be sure though
> and will forward your inquiry to the current SWAT team.

posted by damn dirty ape at 2:20 PM on October 20, 2010

damn dirty ape - I could certainly see the history of this reasoning. But the newer cards are now FCC-approved, they are supported by Lenovo (with drivers) and their website tells you how to replace the WiFi card.

They have updated the BIOS for the T60 several times (including recently) - just not the whitelist in the BIOS. Which leaves me spitting teeth as the original card is no longer available from Lenovo.
posted by Susurration at 3:11 PM on October 20, 2010

The issue isn't that the cards aren't approved but that the card plus the internal antenna, as a combo, have not been tested by the FCC, so its a violation to allow them. If the antenna is too high gain it could be a violation. Each card plus internal antenna needs to be approved. Lenovo is arguably just protecting itself. That said, Ive put in different cards in dells before without issue.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:08 PM on October 20, 2010

Right - thanks for the insight, damn dirty ape. As an ex-communications systems designer, this makes sense in terms of regulatory adherence, but it still miffs the heck out of me. After all, the internal antenna is the same length and thickness as the piece of wire that they put into the newer systems for which these cards are approved ... and $200 is a LOT to pay for a replacement wifi card, compared to the $20 that the Intel N-6300 cost me ... :-(
posted by Susurration at 5:34 PM on October 20, 2010

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