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x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

X2/X3/X4x series specific matters only
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SuperPrower
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x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#1 Post by SuperPrower » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:47 am

Hello! I am now happy owner of IBM X41 Tablet, and I am looking forward to tinkering with it.

I am currently researching SATA mod, and while base mod itself is pretty straightforward, I have heard about possibility of soldering mSATA connector instead of regular SATA one from one person. This is pretty interesting, because rather then looking for 1.8" drives, you can get any reliable mSATA SSD.

However, there is the 2 questions I have:

1. Is it even possible or at least reasonable to try solder mSATA connector? Unlike SATA, which has only 22 pins, most of which are twisted or not used at all, and you can just get SATA cable and cut it, here you would need to solder wires to small pins, because I can't find any 'mSATA cable', and I'm not even sure that they (motherboard and mSATA) are compatible.

2. Wouldn't it be easier (if possible) to use mSATA to SATA converter? Problems I see is that when doing SATA mod, people don't solder ground pins, and use just one out of 3 available power triplets (either 3.3V or 5V or 12V), so this can potentially create problems for converter.

Thanks in advance, and sorry if I make any mistakes, both in technical understanding of this question and in English language.

axur-delmeria
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Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#2 Post by axur-delmeria » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:41 am

IMO soldering wires directly to the mSATA connector is difficult due to how close the pins are to each other.

It's easier to use a SATA to mSATA adapter.

Regarding voltages:

Normal SATA SSDs use 5v. AFAIK 12v is never used, in order to maintain compatibility with laptops. And there's a thread from this very forum, mentioning a successful X41 SATA mod, with a SATA SSD successfully running at 3.3v.

According to this Anandtech article, mSATA SSDs run at 3.3v. If the SATA to mSATA adapter requires 5v (which usually feeds to a drop-down regulator to 3.3v), you can either steal some 5v from a USB port, or get the 3.3v from the IDE port (the X40/41 supplies 3.3v to the HDD) then connect it to the output of the regulator, bypassing it. :D
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

SuperPrower
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Location: Innopolis, Russia

Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#3 Post by SuperPrower » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:53 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:41 am
It's easier to use a SATA to mSATA adapter.
So, I expect no compatibility problem expect for voltages? Thanks! And yes, I believe at this moment I digged trough every SATA mod thread on this forum :)

axur-delmeria
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Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:12 am

SuperPrower wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:53 am
axur-delmeria wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:41 am
It's easier to use a SATA to mSATA adapter.
So, I expect no compatibility problem expect for voltages? Thanks! And yes, I believe at this moment I digged trough every SATA mod thread on this forum :)
I believe so.
Another advantage is that you can migrate to a SATA to M.2 adapter later, without having to rewire everything.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

SuperPrower
Posts: 8
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Location: Innopolis, Russia

Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#5 Post by SuperPrower » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:12 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:12 am
SuperPrower wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:53 am


So, I expect no compatibility problem expect for voltages? Thanks! And yes, I believe at this moment I digged trough every SATA mod thread on this forum :)
I believe so.
Another advantage is that you can migrate to a SATA to M.2 adapter later, without having to rewire everything.
Okay, great, thanks!

Another question I have, regarding voltage - some people said that I can take 5v from USB - is this a valid option? If yes, can I solder both 3.3V and 5V to SATA socket, i.e. 3.3V to old IDE one and one hooked up to USB, or I have to stick with only one power wire?

axur-delmeria
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Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#6 Post by axur-delmeria » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:31 am

SuperPrower wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:12 am
Another question I have, regarding voltage - some people said that I can take 5v from USB - is this a valid option? If yes, can I solder both 3.3V and 5V to SATA socket, i.e. 3.3V to old IDE one and one hooked up to USB, or I have to stick with only one power wire?
I prefer connecting just the 3.3v line if possible. It keeps things clean.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

SuperPrower
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Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:02 am
Location: Innopolis, Russia

Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#7 Post by SuperPrower » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:34 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:31 am
I prefer connecting just the 3.3v line if possible. It keeps things clean.
Yes, it is understandable, but just in case I get myself 5V Hard Drive - is it possible to steal power from USB port? Does my guess about SATA cables delivering two or even three voltages, but drives using only one is correct?

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Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#8 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:59 am

I just updated the SATA-Pinouts for T4x/X4x: viewtopic.php?p=791598#p791598
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

SuperPrower
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Location: Innopolis, Russia

Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#9 Post by SuperPrower » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:40 am

So I found that only drive I have consumes 5V, which means I have to somehow get 5V.

Which one of those two variants are viable?

1. Steal 5V from USB.
2. Get Converter 3.3V -> 5V

axur-delmeria
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Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#10 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:52 am

What brand/model is the SSD?
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

SuperPrower
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:02 am
Location: Innopolis, Russia

Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#11 Post by SuperPrower » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:00 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:52 am
What brand/model is the SSD?
Friend gifted me some Chinese SSD for this experiment - KingDian H100, 32GB. Their website says that drive needs 5V±5% input voltage.

axur-delmeria
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Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#12 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:55 am

Well, if the SSD's circuit board is readily accessible, you can check if any of the 3.3v pins on the power connector are connected to anything. :D
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

SuperPrower
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Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:02 am
Location: Innopolis, Russia

Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#13 Post by SuperPrower » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:43 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:55 am
Well, if the SSD's circuit board is readily accessible, you can check if any of the 3.3v pins on the power connector are connected to anything. :D
Good idea, thanks, but it doesn't answer my question - where is best to get, if possible, 5V? From USB? From converter? Sorry if I am being too annoying, just want to make sure things I want to do is even possible.

axur-delmeria
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Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#14 Post by axur-delmeria » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:42 am

If I want it quick and cheap, I'd pick the USB port.

The converter option is fine, but you have to tackle:

- component placement: will the converter + SSD fit inside the HDD bay?
- power: not sure if the X41T's 3.3v voltage rail has enough amps for the converter, OTOH the SSD isn't a power-hungry device
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

SuperPrower
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:02 am
Location: Innopolis, Russia

Re: x41t mSATA mod - is it possible?

#15 Post by SuperPrower » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:52 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:42 am
If I want it quick and cheap, I'd pick the USB port.

The converter option is fine, but you have to tackle:

- component placement: will the converter + SSD fit inside the HDD bay?
- power: not sure if the X41T's 3.3v voltage rail has enough amps for the converter, OTOH the SSD isn't a power-hungry device
Great, thanks you very much!

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