ThinkPad 1802 Error Fix

Of all the laptops I’ve worked on, IBM ThinkPads are by far the easiest to disassemble and fix. They’re also pretty tough machines, as they survive substantially more damage than most of the Dell laptops I’ve seen. If I were a full time Windows user (and I’m not, despite the recent number of PC related posts), I would probably consider purchasing a ThinkPad. If it weren’t for one tiny problem… Most newer ThinkPad models have a Mini-PCI slot and antennae, ready to be equipped with a standard wireless card. Mini-PCI may be unfamiliar to Mac users reading this blog, just as it was to me several months ago. Think of Mini-PCI as an AirPort Extreme sized connector, but standardized such that any manufacturer can create a compatible communications card. While the slot is standardized, IBM insists on crippling it via software to only accept “IBM brand” wireless cards — which are really just OEM cards made by Philips and others. Upon booting a machine with a non-IBM card installed, the following POST error will be displayed:

1802: Unauthorized network card is plugged in
Power off and remove the miniPCI network card.

What a sneaky way to lock people into buying an expensive wireless card, when others can be bought for much much lower prices. (I suppose I can’t complain, though, as AirPort Extreme is even more proprietary. Although, I’ve never had the need to use a different wireless card in my PowerBook — I just bought the “whole widget” from Apple and that was that.) Luckily for ThinkPad owners, there exists a small fix for this “1802” error: a DOS program which will flip a single bit in the CMOS and allow use of any Mini-PCI wireless card. The program, no-1802.com by Tisheng Chen, can be found here. To make running this program easier for myself and others, I’ve prepared a bootable CD ISO and floppy disk image.

Both files will require unzipping before use (use the free 7-Zip or WinZip). Once unzipped, the CD version can be burned with Disk Utility or Toast on the Mac, or ImgBurn or Nero on the PC. The floppy disk version can be written with Floppy Image for Windows, or dd if=no1802.img of=/dev/fd0 in a *nix environment. The floppy image is a bit-for-bit copy of what I actually had on disk, and the CD version boots and loads the very same floppy into RAM, using a highly customized Ultimate Boot CD. Hopefully this will allow ThinkPad owners to use any wireless cards, and not just those offered by IBM.

5/17/06 Update: I’m glad to see that people are having success with my pre-made wireless card fix. A list of some of the models affected by IBM’s decision can be found here, thanks to Matthew Garrett. He also has few pages with useful technical details on this topic, as well.

8/30/06 Update: For future reference: IBM “high rate” wireless+56K modem combo cards with FRUs 12P3637, 12P3863, 26P8472 and 91P7661 require separate modem drivers (that aren’t part of the “high rate” package). The cards are made by Actiontec, but the the modem portion is made by Agere/Lucent, and the drivers can be found in IBM’s list of downloads for the R32.

9/10/06 Update: This page was linked to at ThinkWiki, where you’ll find even more information on the 1802 error.

Confirmed Working

  • A31, A31 2652-Q3U, A31 2652-1U6
  • A31p, A31p 2653-CU5, A31p 2653-R3U
  • G40 2384-EHU
  • R40 2682-HU2, R40 2682-K2G, R40 2681, R40 2896-GZU
  • R50 1830-48G
  • R50e 1834-BZG
  • R51
  • T30, T30 2637
  • T40, T40 2373, T40 2373-8CU, T40 2373-94G, T40 2374-GG2, T40 2374-DG1
  • T41, T41 2374-7JG
  • T42, T42 2373-BX9
  • T42p
  • X24
  • X30
  • X31, X31 2672-U31
  • X40

Confirmed Not Working

  • R32
  • R60
  • T60
  • Z60t
  • X41 2525-6NH
  • Lenovo x100e
  • Lenovo x120e
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ThinkPad 1802 Error Fix

501 thoughts on “ThinkPad 1802 Error Fix

  1. Manfred says:

    Dear Wiliam Coen

    you wrote: !Hi guys, I’ve bought a Lenovo G550 and found nothing on the Internet to patch BIOS to remove the “unauthorized card” message. Already tried the no-1802 method but unsuccessful. Any idea would be appreciated. Many thx in adv.
    Wiliam COEN
    March 14th, 2010 at 1:55 AM”

    I have exactly the same problem. Want to change to
    N-draft wifi-card BRC94321mc

    If you have solved the problem, please send solution here
    Thanks in advance from Germany

    Like

  2. William says:

    Has anyone managed to remove the 1802 error on the G550 i also have a BCM9432MC Wifi card i’d like to put in but i can’t because of the Bios White List. Please could someone help me out on this the CD image doesn’t work with this although it does say its Successfully done in dos.

    Many thanks

    UK

    Like

  3. Emily says:

    ugh, this laptop is just a heap of junk. i’ve had the same wifi card in it since forever & it’s always worked. all of a sudden it just stopped working. i’ve had heaps of other errors with it & have had to replace the video card and motherboard – luckily it was still under warranty so it didn’t cost me anything. but i’ve had to many errors with this stupid thing, i can’t wait to just get rid of it and buy a new computer.

    Like

  4. ROB says:

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH . IT WORKED ON THE R40 MODEL HOWEVER I NOTICED THE WIFI INDICATOR LIGHT IS NOT TURNING ON ANYMORE , WIFI WORKING JUST FINE DO IAM OK WITH IT , GOD BLESS YOU

    Like

  5. ApisitE(Thailand) says:

    Thank you so much , It worked with my T30, but very long bios boot(Big IBM Logo page) and shown Warning : 01C9 about more than one network card , have to press “ESC” to continue.

    Can we solve this problem?
    ==> My MiniPCI card Atheros AR5005G

    Like

  6. Tee says:

    Thanks for the fantastic Bootable CD ISO, sorted out my old X31 when the original wireless card stopped working properly and I wanted to replace it.
    Thanks for keeping this available after all this time

    Like

  7. Hi all Lenovo G550 Bios with Whitelist removed working and tested by me. Can be downloaded from http://www.fpsgamehosting.com/x32_2.53.exe and http://www.fpsgamehosting.com/x64_2.53.exe. Please use the Flasher included in the download.

    I don’ take credit for it all credit goes to Alexey whom spent just 5 minutes making the patch. Both him and myself don’t take responsibilty if a brick occurs. Use at your own risk.

    I have flashed it to my laptop and it works this includes the 2.1 slic already this should also work on the G450 as the bios is for G450 and G550.

    Change Log can be found here http://consumerdl.lenovo.com.cn/UserFiles/Driver/en/Downloads%20and%20Drivers/18CN44WW.txt.

    Like

  8. Ady says:

    THANK YOU!!! IBM T42 with original Cisco Aioronet 11b replaced with Broadcom 54G — fixed — no more nasty 11802 unauthorized card bla bla… GREAT WORK!! Thank you very much!!! I really appreciate your patch!!

    Like

  9. A couple years ago I bought a mini-pci to pci adapter so I could
    change the ID of my $20 Intel 2915ABG wireless card (using ethtool) so that my R40 Thinkpad would accept this non-IBM card. I tried several recipes over the years, none of which worked. Today I was bored and thought I’d attack the problem again.

    After hours of failure I stumbled over a thinkwiki page that mentioned no-1802. A web search of “no-1802” led me to your page and the awesome iso image you created. Thanks a million. My R40 has no floppy and it would have taken me an hour to create such a DOS bootable iso. Great job!

    Like

  10. Andreas says:

    Though you have written before, it didn`t work on a R32.
    But i tried it, because I urgendly need such a patch.
    Does anyone has an idea, where to find it.
    Thank a lot.
    Andreas
    from Berlin/Germany

    Like

  11. Mark says:

    I have had this IBM T30 for a number of years, and it has a built-in wireless card. Now, all of a sudden, I am getting this 1802 error and it will no longer boot up.

    Anyone else seen this? Any ideas how this could happen? I am going to try the no-1802 fix, as I am currently running the T30 plugged-in to the router via Cat-5 Ethernet cable. But, I am baffled why this suddenly started happening. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

    Like

  12. Mark says:

    Follow-up to previous post — I was not able to install the “no-1802” patch because I was unable to boot at all, from CD or otherwise; the 1802 POST error kept preventing me from booting.

    Finally, after exhaustive Google searches, I found the suggestion to simply remove the Wireless miniPCI card from the ThinkPad. I went to Lenovo’s web site, found and downloaded the Hardware Maintenance Manual for the T30, and followed the nice pictorial instructions, and carefully removed the old wireless card, and “Voila!” — my T30 is now able to boot just fine.

    Looks like I can get a newer wireless card to replace this failed one, on e-bay, for about $30, and it will even support 802.11G …

    Just wanted to pass this info. along, in case anyone else runs into this situation.

    Like

  13. giuseppe says:

    Thanks a lot. Really a good job!
    The fix worked perfectly for my configuration:

    IMB Thinkpad R40 2682-CG3
    Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG

    Like

  14. Rafael Lepra says:

    It is so nice that there are in web altruist people like you that are willing to help other :-)).

    Thank you a lot for taking the time to compile and make available in this utility.

    I was trying to fix problems with the laptop of a friend and I did not know that it had a “unauthorized” card installed, so when I reset the bios to the factory state I had 1802 error message, I visited other places before yours and the offered the utility charging.

    Thank you again.

    Like

  15. Alan says:

    This has been most helpfull, Many thanks. worked first time on my IBM T41. No problems now using a hp wireless card and it is now centrino compliant. Thanks.

    Like

  16. Lawrence says:

    This is the best solution on the web. I downloaded it, burned it to cd in like 2 minutes, loaded the disc in the IBM R40, set BIOS to boot from cd, restarted, let the disc image run itself, typed “restart at the A: prompt, and before the system could restart I pulled the cd out, and BOOM, Windows 7 loaded as before my stupid BIOS update. I am very grateful at this fix and the dude who wrote it up for a bootable cd version, very simple, straight forward and much needed, especially since Im no code writer or even a DOS user. Thanx!

    Like

  17. N.N. says:

    Hi,

    Will I be the last one to thank you? Hope not.
    Anyway it worked on my old T30 with Intel Pro 2200BG from a crashed F-S lap.

    Thx a lot from Sweden!

    Like

  18. I guess you (N.N.) are not the last! I too just used this wonderful site and ISO file to replace my stock wireless B card that stopped working on my T41. Now my $20 TP-Link wireless G card works like a charm. Thanks so much!

    Like

  19. EvilToken says:

    Have anyone a workaround for the same problem with Thinkpad X200s?
    I want to replace the normal pcie WLAN Card with a half size WLAN Card.
    Intel 533AN_MMW (Lenovo) -> Intel 533AN_HMW

    thx

    Like

  20. Alessandro says:

    Ola, tenho um ibm r51, formatei minha maquina, e instalei todos os drivers, somente o wireless q ele nao reconhece, esta ativado no setup e tudo, mas ele soh instala a placa de rede, nem acusa o wireless, o que pode ser?

    Grato

    Like

  21. Roger says:

    You sir, are a god among men.

    I have gone from a T30 with little or no signal, even right beside the router on a crappy Cisco Aironet card, to a superb very good to excellent signal all round the house with a resued 2200BG card.

    I bow before you, my sanity is saved. Many thanks.

    Like

  22. Carlos says:

    Thank you! Thank you!

    Worked on T30 and R40. Nice job.

    I love IBM thinkpad Laptops. The best designed period. Love the night light. Unfortunately not good business practice to have these laptops locked to only ‘their’ wifi cards. Not good. Luckily, we have folks who are sharp and programmed these nice utilities for us.

    Thank you.

    Like

  23. Lee says:

    The fix worked great on my old A31, but XP does not recognize the Broadcom BCM4306 minipci card. Initially before installing the drivers for it, I go the “found new hardware” prompts but after installing the drivers and then removing and replacing the minipci, it will not recognize the new device nor operate the hardware. Help!

    Like

  24. David says:

    Hi, I have an IBM R61i. I recently tried to upgrade the mini pci card to a N type card. I tried the “no-1802” but did not work. I imaged it on to a cd and booted it. When it came to A:/, i typed “no-boot” like it suggested. It didnt seem like it did anything as it prompted me at A:/ again.

    Is there another solution? Or am i doing something wrong?

    Like

  25. The CD-image with “no-1802.com” on it worked perfect on my
    X40 2371-7JG :-)

    It now boots and works nicelly with a Intel 2915ABG, that
    (- even though it -did have- a FRU# on the label,)
    would not work…

    Now running happily with Salix/Slackware Linux and ABG ;-)

    Big thanks to the author of the BIOS-fix “no-1802.com” and
    thanks to the people running command-tab.com :-)

    Like

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