May 6, 2019
I’d scheduled yet another refurbishment session for my beloved ThinkPad X220.
Plans for this session were:
- Replace the screen bezel with a new bezel.
- Use copper tape to secure some of the loose bits flapping around under the bezel.
- Repair the ThinkLight.
Things, err, didn’t go according to plan.
First off was the ThinkLight repair. As you can see from the photo below, the cable is very fine. I’d intended to repair the ThinkLight by using heat shrink butt splicers:
But those were too coarse; they formed an excellent connection; both electrically and physically secure. But the resultant cable was too think to fit inside the screen bezel.
My second attempt involved wire-wrap and fine heatshrink. This produced a solid electrical connection (see below) but was physically weak, and also didn’t fit inside the case.
Next on the list was using some copper tape to secure loose bits. An aerial tab I’d knocked loose, plus a cable left loose from some earlier enhancements were making an odd rattling sound if I moved or shook the laptop. This was an easy fix, and the only part of this round that actually worked.
Finally, the new bezel! Unfortunately - and I guess this is what you get for buying parts from eBay instead of from the manufacturer - it simply doesn’t fit. The clips literally don’t work, and the bezel pops off immediately after it’s fitted. This is clearly a fault with the new bezel, as the old bezel fitted right back on and stayed put.
So, I’m temporarily stumped. The X220 doesn’t rattle, which is something. But the ThinkLight is still MIA (requiring a new cable and light), and I’m going to need a replacement bezel. It’s worth mentioning that I could upgrade to a newer X-series, but they have the new island keyboards, not the old-style (and IMO more comfortable) IBM-style keyboards. At this point though my choices seem to be:
Get in touch with Lenovo about some OEM parts. Pricey, but guaranteed to work. This will involved a fairly significant teardown though as I don’t know where the ThinkLight cable plugs in. At the very least I’ll have to remove the keyboard and LCD panel, I think. Fun, but not cheap, and there’s a slight chance I’d hose the laptop beyond repair.
Upgrade to a newer X-series. This is appealing except for the keyboard issue, but will also require replacing a brace of power bricks and docking stations that I have at work, client, and home. It’d also be a good point to upgrade the kids laptops too. They’re running older X-series ThinkPads as well, and we can share power adaptors (barrel-style). The newer ThinkPads have a rectangular power adaptor, so it would make sense to upgrade them all at once.
Decisions, decisions. I’m leaning towards the latter approach at this point, as Rosemary is nearly 3, at which point I’ll get her a ThinkPad too.