What could cause my system time to be wrong by over a month?

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RobertR
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What could cause my system time to be wrong by over a month?

Post by RobertR » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:33 pm

Not sure where to post this, as it could be a software OR hardware issue.

The other day (Feb 13, Tuesday) I was looking at the system logs and noticed entries from Feb 11 (Sunday, starting at around 10:30). I don't know how that would be possible, because the only recent times I had the PC on were Jan 22 and Feb 13-14. So how could there be logs from Feb 11th when the PC was turned off? (Unless someone else used it, which is incredibly unlikely).
I did some digging through the logs and came across this little snippet from "syslog":

Feb 11 10:31:27 (PC Name) ntpd[1900]: Soliciting pool server (IP Address (A))
Feb 11 10:31:28 (PC Name) ntpd[1900]: Soliciting pool server (IP Address (B))
Jan 22 12:12:38 (PC Name) systemd[1131]: Time has been changed
Jan 22 12:12:38 (PC Name) ntpd[1900]: receive: Unexpected origin timestamp from (IP Address (A))
Jan 22 12:12:38 (PC Name) systemd[1]: Time has been changed
Jan 22 12:12:38 (PC Name) ntpd[1900]: receive: Unexpected origin timestamp from (IP Address (B))

I understand this means it got the date from the internet and corrected itself? I’m guessing the Feb 11 entries were Jan 22 in the real world. Also, the recent months in the log go in the following order: Jul, Aug, Sep, Feb(11th), Jan(22nd), Feb(13th), which I guess supports my theory?
I was swapping out from an older drive on Jan 22nd because it was failing and I was trying to salvage it. Is it possible changing to a different drive (from a drive that wasn't booting) messed it up? I believe that was also the day I updated to 18.3. The CMOS battery works okay, I ran the laptop battery all the way down to test it.

I know this is a lot of info, but I've been going insane trying to figure what could’ve caused this. And if it's anything I should be concerned about (failing hardware, etc). Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

P.S. Here's my OS info, in case it helps:
Release Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia 64-bit
Kernel Linux 4.4.0-21-generic x86_64
MATE 1.18.0

bjmh46
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Re: What could cause my system time to be wrong by over a month?

Post by bjmh46 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:52 am

My money's still on the cmos battery. Test by removing the laptop battery, I don't think that just running it down is adequate. CMOS is such low power that the laptop battery would have to be totally flat.

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Joe2Shoe
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Re: What could cause my system time to be wrong by over a month?

Post by Joe2Shoe » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:19 am

The laptop's DC battery has nothing to do with the RTC CMOS battery. The CMOS battery preserves the BIOS chipset settings, period.
Test the CMOS battery with a voltmeter: Even though the battery may test 3Volts, when put under a load, it may drop to 1-1.5Volts, needing replacement.
At bootup, press F2 or whatever to enter your BIOS. Check and reset the time if necessary. Then reboot into LM and check the time in the bottom-right panel area.
If your time keeps changing, it's probably the RTC (Real Time Clock) CMOS battery on the mobo, as they usually last about 3-5 years. Batteries begin discharging immediately after they are made, some quicker than others, especially cheap ones.
Always replace the CMOS battery with the same type, as some are rechargeable and most are not. Do NOT replace a regular lithium battery with a rechargeable battery or vice versa! BOOM!!!
Most laptops use a CR2032 3V lithium battery, and most you buy are cheap knock-off batteries (made in a grass hut in Taiwan) attached to a 2-wire connector.
Why spend $10-15.00 for a cheap replacement battery, when you can just buy an Energizer/Duracell replacement battery and attach it to the 2-wire connector with electrical and aluminum tape and do it yourself for about $2.00 and it will last for 3-5 years.
"Tolerance is the refuge of men without conviction."
"Common sense is not so common" - Voltaire

RobertR
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Re: What could cause my system time to be wrong by over a month?

Post by RobertR » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:20 pm

Hi folks, thanks for responding.

The laptop is probably about 10 years old, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if the CMOS battery was going bad. Oddly enough, I've booted the laptop probably 5 times in the past couple days (without connecting to the internet) and the system time was always correct in BIOS and in the OS.

Since I don't use it super often, I don't know if I going to mess with the CMOS battery unless it happens again.

That was some really good info about the batteries, I'll have to remember what you said about using tape when the time finally comes.

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