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, 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
ThinkPad 1802 Error Fix

508 thoughts on “ThinkPad 1802 Error Fix

  1. Shaheen Afzal says:

    Waoooooooooooooooo..Thanks buddy,,it is working on my A31.

    Just download the iso.
    Burn it
    Restart th system and boot from it
    it will take to the DOS.
    Now just type
    no-1802 and press enter
    turn off the system a and insert the card .
    restart and now windows will ask for driver.
    Thanks again


  2. lakai says:

    Hi everybody!!
    Very nice image you create!!
    Works like a charm on a r40 with asus wl38g v2…
    But i got a problem now (Dunno if it come from this).
    The battery is correctely detected,and in good health bus is not charging anymore…
    I discovered this probleme after 1802 fix flash,so i’m just wondering if someone experienced the same issue…
    Thanks for your work!!


  3. Bruce McDonald says:

    Nice….I swapped a t41 screen onto my R51….I needed to use the dremel tool and some creativity, but it actually fit fairly good….lol..anyway, as you can guess the wireless card attached to the screen from the t41 brought up the error…5 minutes of google searching had me downloading your iso, a minute later I was booting again WITH the wireless card enabled..hehe…one comment I would add…throw some output at the end of the “Finished”…lol


  4. TVCCS says:

    I want to thank the folks here for having/leaving this info up along with the No-1802 info and images. I have had a 2200BG card around forever to go into an A31p 2653-N5U and finally did it tonight. I used the bootable CD ISO from here, unplugged the card. It ran and returned to an A:/. Opened the bottom back up and slid the card back into place and booted fine. Got the latest Intel drivers from Intel for the card and they installed without a hitch. I now have a strong 54Mbps signal. I was concerned the 2200BG card I had didn’t have a connector for an added power cable the original card did, but the new card doesn’t need it.

    Again, my thanks to all for their assistance on this one.


  5. po says:

    Very useful infomation. one question before I replace the wifi card in my t40, after this program, can I still disable the wifi in the bios? thanks


  6. Bill says:

    Did not work on T500. Thanks for the file though, this is good work. Maybe someday a T500 fix will appear that is this easy. For now I’ll go shopping for the Intel 4965AG N that came out of this (ruined while replacing broken LCD).


  7. Doc says:

    A very big thanks for this page :-)

    IBM R40 + Intel 2200BG Sorted.

    First download and burn the iso for a bootable CD.
    2) power down R40 and remove the wifi card
    only because it will error out with the 1802 message and halt the boot process.

    3) set bios to boot from CD
    4) restart with the bootable cd in the drive.
    5) watch as it goes through the boot process
    ignore messages about a FAT or FAT16/32 HDD (hard drive)
    6)when prompted to type no-1802 and press enter do just that
    and it takes seconds.

    7) once laptop has powered down install the WIFI card again.
    8) then power back up and remove boot CD

    IF IT HAS WORKED there will be NO error message and it will boot into Winblows

    9) let it boot into winblows and make sure you install the drivers unless winblows see’s it first and installs the drivers for you.

    10) and that’s it… took me 10 minutes from start to finish :-)

    11) Serious kudos and shout’s to the original author/s and the info on this site.

    Happy new year to you all and good luck :-)


  8. Greg says:

    The Ideapad S10-2 has the same issue; it doesn’t put an 1802 in front of the error message. But it seems there’s no way to get a Draft-N card in there, since it comes with only a b/g card.


  9. Mike C says:

    Thanks very much for this fix. I have just fixed an IBM Thinkpad X31 which amazingly had worked for two years and then one day decided to come up with the 1802 error. Great fix and this is what makes the Internet such a great place when you get people who publish fixes like this.
    Thanks again.


  10. Gary W says:

    It works perfectly on a Thinkpad T40. Thank you! I had been searching for days to the solution. People talked about it; but I didn’t get any concrete solutions.

    Recap of steps:

    1. Preparation:
    a) Download the CD .iso file.
    b) Burn the .iso file to a bootable CD.
    2. Perform BIOS Change for cards not yet installed:
    a) Boot to the CD
    b) At the A:> prompt; type
    c) Remove the CD, power-down and remove main battery
    d) Install the mini-PCI card
    e) Boot and load wireless drivers
    3. Cards Already Installed:
    a) Boot PC and enter BIOS
    b) Disable the wireless card & save changes
    c) Perform steps 2a and 2b; reboot, enable wireless card in BIOS
    d) Perform step 2e

    • 1b) A freeware & very simple program is:


  11. Mustafa says:

    That worked perfect on my old T40. It happen so fast I thought I did it wrong. This is truly dumb proof!!!! Do you know if you have a crack for Compaq v5000, with a similar error?


  12. Emmanuel says:

    I am trying on a R40 with i2200. I removed the wireless card and booted from the CD but getting error about 64kb in upper memory not available and to set frame=none but cannot change any settings.

    Any ideas what I can do?


  13. flatbass says:

    I managed to get a Gigabit Wireless Nic working on a T30.
    The only problem was:
    I had to remove the nic first and then ran the CD
    After that I reinstalled the nic and started the T30, I’m running Ubuntu 9.04 (the T30 won’t work with 9.10 so far) and the nic was recognised at the start, without installing any driver. Great!
    The only thing, but that might be a nic-problem: I only get 73% while my HP tc4200 tablet gets 93% and he is right beside the T30


  14. Shaji says:

    I want say a VERY BIG THANKS!!!! to you for providing this..
    The way u provided this as a DOS bootable dics images made it very easy..
    Thanks again man!!!!


  15. Mrwintr says:

    Wooo Hooo! Another satisfied laptop! I bought a 2200BG to replace the old card that was just 802.11B and this fix is a god send. Thank you!


  16. George says:

    Worked like a charm on R51.
    I’ve replaced the Intel 2100 mini PCI with a Broadcom BCM4318 from a deffective laptop.
    Thank you!

    Keep up the good work!


  17. Pierre says:

    Bought a mini-PCI BCM4318 as a replacement for the old 802.11b on my T30.
    Your CD unlocked the BIOS beautifully. The Thinkpad is now flying on Internet, be it in Linux or Windows.
    Thanks for making this patch available. Best to you.


  18. Bobby Ellington says:

    Bought new card off of ebay.Installed and immediately got error code.Googled error 1802 found this site.Had to remove card before my t30 would use boot cd.Rebooted and new hardware found searching for drivers.


  19. Does anyone know if this fix will work with a Gateway c142xl? I am changing my card from an intel 3945 to a Broadcom BMC94321MC and have been unable to turn the broadcom card on. This wireless LAN option to either “Restore, On or Off” in the Bios is greyed out with the Broadcom card but I never get a boot error and the Broadcom driver loads just fine in Win7. I just can not get the radio to turn on no matter what I do. I am a little leary to use this if it modifies the bios so I am looking for anyone who has experience using this on a Gateway machine. Thanks.


  20. Wiliam COEN says:

    Hi guys, I’ve bought a Lenovo Ideapad 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.


  21. sheree says:

    I had this info downloaded and tryed to run it would not work.I dont know what happend though, If I put the netcard in I cannot access the internet and get the 1802 error message, but I took the card completly out after just unplugging it and I can access the internet.What is this about and how am I able to access with no card, Not that I am complaining about the access but I want to fix the problem still. HELP :)


  22. Alain Bongbi says:

    I have a similar problem with my IBM thinkpad T30. error 1802 which just appeared after i reset my BIOS to default setting without inserting any network card into it. I have downloaded the error fix image file on a bootable CD, but it does not boot before the error appears. pls i need help


  23. Alain Bongbi says:

    pls i rreally need help on this error 1802 code. when my lapi boots the first thing that comes to the screen after F1 & F12 is the error code, the boot menu does not even appear even after setting the CD drive as first boot drive it still does not boot. i dont yet have a solution and pleading on anyone to help. I borrowed this laptop. my own case might be different because i did not even ensert a network card into the laptop,but i just merely load the BIOS default setting at setup and when i reboot it displayed the error code 1802 and i have followed the instrucctios on this page carefully and i stil cant fet a short. maybe i lack some expertise that someone can help me with pls.


  24. Alain says:

    Thanks a thousand times for the soft man. you and the guy who wrote the code are a blessing to mankind. it work very easily. the thing was that i could not identify the card at first. i thank u for ever. bye


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