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I have a weird problem. Sound used to work until a couple of days ago, but now the builtin speakers in my ThinkPad W520 have stopped working. This happened after either:

  1. An update
  2. Using the headphone jack in my laptop dock (I had used the jack in the actual laptop before without issues)

As I was saying, the speakers do not work at all. Sometimes I get a clicking sound from the laptop, which I assume is the system beep. This does not happen consistently. If I plug headphones in the laptop, I do get sound in them.

I have tried playing with all the possible settings both in gnome and using alsamixer. Some screens:

Device is recognized

Output is recognized


What could I try next?

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I've heard of the headphone jacks getting jammed and thinking there is still headphones plugged in. You could try wiggling the headphone plug around in the jack to see if it is your problem. I've heard this is a problem mainly on Dell laptops and I'd be surprised if Lenovo's build quality let for a design flaw like this but it's best to cover all bases.

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Hmm.. this might indeed be the issue. I wiggled the jack around and I got sound in the speakers.. for about 2 seconds. The thing is, the laptop as a combined headphone/microphone port / jack, and I've been using a standard headphone with it. So I've been using a jack with less connectors than the port itself, maybe that's why it's getting confused. I'm going to try with a pair of headphones with the correct jack and see if that fixes it. – Felix Apr 6 '12 at 11:32
Good luck! If that doesn't work I'm sure there are some tricks out there for getting the headphone jack working again if that is the problem. I'll have a look and let you know if find a trick to it. – Ross Fleming Apr 6 '12 at 11:39
I've had a look online and some people are suggesting that a sharp blow of air into the jack can sometimes clean the contacts inside or violently inserting and removing a headphones plug multiple times can also work. I've also heard of a aerosol can of electrical cleaning solution of some kind sometimes solves the issue, check it out, it's worth a try. – Ross Fleming Apr 6 '12 at 11:47
I don't think it's a "dirty contact" issue, as the laptop is fairly new (couple of months). I tried the violent method as well (as much as I could, after all, it's my work laptop), did not work. – Felix Apr 6 '12 at 13:05
Sorry, don't know then, maybe one of the experts knows how to turn the speakers on and off manually, rather than automatically when headphones are plugged in and out. – Ross Fleming Apr 6 '12 at 16:29
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I ultimately found out it's a hardware issue.

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