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x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

X200, X201, X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300, X301 series specific matters only.
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alisan
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x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#1 Post by alisan » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:42 am

Anyone here has any experience with the following mod on a x220/x230?

https://world.taobao.com/item/557203626 ... mSite=main

I'm particularly interested in getting an additional msata, since I'm planning to use my msata for wwan, and I don't want to put my msata 512gb ssd in a drawer to collect dust (I have already a SATA 512gb ssd).

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#2 Post by bqik » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:50 am

Did you find more info about it?

regards!

alisan
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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#3 Post by alisan » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:52 am

No yet :( , still looking around.

mvan
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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#4 Post by mvan » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:21 pm

Interesting.
They might be using the SATA connection on the docking port.
If you are courageous, it should be easy to test this yourself. THere are also SATA-> msata converters available.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#5 Post by boutch55555 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:38 am

I just got a similar model from there, I'll do a full review once it's installed tomorrow. This one only does FHD, I also have one newer revision on the way that does FHD + WQHD and adds USB ports.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#6 Post by alisan » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:06 pm

I'm interested in your msata mod findings, btw how did you get it? Buying it directly on their website? Didn't try myself.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#7 Post by boutch55555 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:33 pm

Bought it via superbuy. My agent helped me ask the seller about the newer revision of the board that wasn't for sale on taobao (he had only a few left). There is a shipping fee to reship but it's worth it. This one was around 47 usd total.

Bench, not bad.

"Installed" kit

It includes a plexiglass plate to space it behind, 2 longer screws to hold the board and even 2 screws for the ssd. Pretty clean and complete kit.

Bios flashed for advanced menu + whitelist + no LVDS. RAID still won't enable with msata + 2.5", It'll be linux only. At least I'll get wwan back. Custom app for backlight control works beautifully in Windows without the need of screen mirroring. Doesn't work in linux with or without FHD kernel patch (no surprise), guess I'll have to check how to talk to that usb thingie. No compatibility issues with my 13.3" panel so it should work with the "standard" 12.5 fhd panels too.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#8 Post by alisan » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:28 am

Your are saying that backlight control doesn't work in Linux, with and without the kernel patch?
Last edited by alisan on Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#9 Post by boutch55555 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:59 am

Yup, perhaps I messed something with the recompile for the new motherboard model number. I'll do more tests later. But that board has solders on usb lanes, as far as I know it uses it to set backlight. I asked my agent to contact the seller to ask about Linux support.

Edit : recompiled, still doesn't work even though the panel is detected as eDP-1.
Edit 2 : tried some packet sniffing / replaying, no luck so far.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#10 Post by alisan » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:50 am

Please provide updates if you manage to get backlight control to work under Linux, I'm a Linux only user, so it is fundamental for me to make sure it works before ordering the kit.

Beside raid, what are your findings for the msata? Do you have a sata+msata+wwan setup working?

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#11 Post by boutch55555 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:44 am

Oh, now it makes sense that there was a solder on the dock power button. A short press of the keyboard's power button will switch brightness to the next level. That's not really optimal, but hey, it works. I'll try to do more sniffing on the usb to see if I can extract the commands and replay them.

Aside from no raid, works with msata + sata + wwan all at once, as expected. Debian complains about network timeouts during the registration and won't connect (yet) (using ericsson n5321 ), but that must be software since it works in Windows.

Edit : Looking at the disassembled code, it should not be too hard to redo in Linux...

I found those :

Code: Select all

	if ((num3 & 0x8000) == 0x8000)
	{
		if (this.Brightness < 15)
		{
			this.Brightness++;
			return false;
		}
	}
	else if (((num3 & 0x10000) == 0x10000) && (this.Brightness > 0))
	{
		this.Brightness--;
		return false;
	}

Code: Select all

        private byte SendData()
        {
            byte num = 1;
            try
            {
                if (Hid.HidDevice_IsOpened(this.m_hid) <= 0)
                {
                    return num;
                }
                ushort bufferSize = Hid.HidDevice_GetFeatureReportBufferLength(this.m_hid);
                byte[] buffer = new byte[bufferSize];
                int num3 = 3;
				while (num3 > 0)
				{
					num3--;
					int brightness = this.Brightness;
					buffer[0] = 6;
					buffer[1] = (byte) (brightness * 0x10);
					if (((Hid.HidDevice_SetFeatureReport_Control(this.m_hid, ref buffer[0], bufferSize) == 0) 
                                        &&  (Hid.HidDevice_GetFeatureReport_Control(this.m_hid, ref buffer[0], bufferSize) == 0)) && (buffer[1] == 1))
					{
						num = 0;
						num3 = 0;
						this.BrightnessSend = brightness;
					}
				}
            }
            catch
            {
                num = 1;
            }
            return num;
        }

Code: Select all

	if (Hid.HidDevice_GetNumHidDevices(this.HID_VID, this.HID_PID) > 0)
	{
		uint deviceIndex = 0;
		byte num2 = Hid.HidDevice_Open(ref this.m_hid, deviceIndex, this.HID_VID, this.HID_PID, this.MAX_REPORT_REQUEST_XP);
		if (num2 == 0)
		{
			Hid.HidDevice_SetTimeouts(this.m_hid, 0, 0x3e8);
			while (num2 == 0)
			{
				if (this.BrightnessSend != this.Brightness)
				{
					num2 = this.SendData();
					Thread.Sleep(100);
				}
				else
				{
					num2 = this.ReadData();
					if (num2 == 0)
					{
						if (this.TpHotKeyDeal())
						{
							Thread.Sleep(200);
						}
						else
						{
							this.backgroundWorker_br.ReportProgress(2);
						}
					}
					else
					{
						Thread.Sleep(20);
					}
				}
			}
		}
	}

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#12 Post by alisan » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:06 am

I ended up buying two kits through superbuy. kit 1, kit 2. I have a x220i motherboard to test on, I'll use best kit in my x230, hopping that I get brightness control to work using FN/page up+down under Linux.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#13 Post by boutch55555 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:02 am

The 2nd one looks like the newer revision of mine, same as the 2nd one I bought (didn't get it yet). I made some progress sending signals to the board with node-hid, but no working solution yet. I'm curious for the first kit, I thought it was only an add-on for regular KK kits (it's so inexpensive !), I'll be interested knowing what you'll get. Superbuy will send you inspection pictures when they get it.

By the way, I would advise against trying to unsolder one of those, bad things happened when I tried that on nitrocaster's mod, that was no fun to fix...

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#14 Post by alisan » Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:40 pm

boutch55555 wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:02 am
I'm curious for the first kit, I thought it was only an add-on for regular KK kits (it's so inexpensive !), I'll be interested knowing what you'll get. Superbuy will send you inspection pictures when they get it.
Good to know that, I hope it is a complete kit, will see the picture and I will post here any progress.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#15 Post by wojtekS » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:08 pm

I am looking for a FHD / 2k mod for my I7 X230.

I really like this little machine and I want to use it forever :) I don't like the newer machines, I have a T440 at work - I hate this machine, especially for the tragical touchpad, built in battery and too modern design (X230 even with its keyboard keeps some design of good old Thinkpads).

Recently my IPS panel failed (I bought the X230 used with classic LCD panel and swapped a new IPS) - fortunatelly for me under warranty - full refund received.

Now I am going to use this opportunity to go FHD.

I wrote to nitrocaster but he does not have any kits left for sale, so I am looking for another solution.

Could you please advise on the set: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=557203626813 ( I am not really sure if this is the listing for the kit itself or only install service - it seems too cheap ???)

It seems to be the most interesting... and you guys already mentioned it in your posts.

As far as I understand it can handle or 13.3 1080 screen or 12.5 2k ?

Does it provide BIOS mod to avoid screen mirroring ? If so how is the mod applied ? By sending the BIOS dump to be patched to the seller ?

Does the docking station work with this board installed ?

The second kit: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=558929819675 looks interesting as well but I did not find any other trace on it, looking at the item listing I see there is no disabling of the original screen - just the mirroring, backlight operation is unknown etc.

I would greatly appreciate your answer.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#16 Post by boutch55555 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:02 pm

wojtekS wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:08 pm
Could you please advise on the set: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=557203626813 ( I am not really sure if this is the listing for the kit itself or only install service - it seems too cheap ???)
Looks like install only.
wojtekS wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:08 pm
As far as I understand it can handle or 13.3 1080 screen or 12.5 2k ?
Yes but not all the boards do 2k (I hate that name, it's 1440p). Unless you find a 1440p 13.3" display narrower than 301mm.
wojtekS wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:08 pm
Does it provide BIOS mod to avoid screen mirroring ? If so how is the mod applied ? By sending the BIOS dump to be patched to the seller ?
Bios patch just removes the old display interface from the available screens. It will break functionality for boards relying on mirroring on Windows. On Linux it works fine with kernel patch (tested on nitro's board). Bios applied (on my x230) with a clip + raspberry pi I just used those instructions to read / flash the bios , patched with files from here.
wojtekS wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:08 pm
Does the docking station work with this board installed ?
Yes but you'll need to tape between the red lines to insulate the 2nd display port pins. Possibly more for those boards, I'll do a new picture.
wojtekS wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:08 pm
The second kit: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=558929819675 looks interesting as well but I did not find any other trace on it, looking at the item listing I see there is no disabling of the original screen - just the mirroring, backlight operation is unknown etc.
That board works like mine, usb driver with only Windows support, no mirroring cycling brightness with power button as fallback.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#17 Post by wojtekS » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:04 am

Thank you very much !

So I will order the board with 1440 (so called 2k :D ) screen for 650 yuans: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=558929819675

This board can drive both kind of screens, so 1440 one can be replaced some day with a 13.3 inch 1080 one.

I imagine as it is not connected at all to the original screen output the LVDS can be totally disabled with the patch.

The PCI card slot remains still usable with some kind of extender if needed.

For the BIOS patching could you help me ? I already ordered an USB programmer and clip to read / write the BIOS withiut unsoldering but I have no experience with patching.

X230 in my case is windows only - I have the unfamous T440 under linux.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#18 Post by boutch55555 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:32 am

Patching is quite easy, worse part is creating an account on 51nb to download the files ;) PM me if you want a google drive / dropbox link.

Whole process :
Update to 2.68 with official installer. Extract the bios, place it in the x230_bios_patch folder, name it x230.bin and run patch.bat. It should create x230.bin.patched. Flash that.

It also removes whitelist and adds advanced menu. You can choose to disable one of them by commenting it in patches.txt

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#19 Post by boutch55555 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:51 pm

Yay, manual control in Linux works. Ok, it's still in "hello workd" state, I'll patch the rest later.

Install node-hid api
From a terminal start nodejs.
Setting up :

Code: Select all

var HID = require('node-hid');
var devices = HID.devices();
device = new HID.HID(4292,33742);
Controlling :

Code: Select all

device.write([6, 100]);
Change 100 to anything between 0 and 255

There is also an interrupt somewhere that resets the board that could be used to workaround the "zombie screen" on boot. I'll try to find it back in my history.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#20 Post by boutch55555 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:53 pm

Some more work on backlight support in Linux.

Disclaimer : I'm a hacker, not a developer, my code is usually bad... But it works !

I wanted to avoid intercepting keystrokes and having to keep track of the current brightness level myself. The board seems to support reporting the current value, I might try to use that in a future version. It would be hard to keep it in sync with the OSD though.

The standard endpoint for backlight value is /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/actual_brightness. With inotifywait (from inotify-tools package) it's possible to watch that file for changes. The max value is 4439 so we'll have to do some basic math. It's still quite slow (almost 0.25s response time), I'll try to find a way to speed it up.

I noticed not all values do something, absolute max and min do nothing, as well as some values in between. They do show correct values on console output though. Upon testing, seems like the controller supports increment by 16 (15 levels). With my panel on Debian it's 222 each (20 levels). Not really a big issue, I'll look if I can fix it. But I have read it's hardware based... One option would be manually matching the levels, where the 6 top values being max brightness. Something like :

Code: Select all

1 = 0
223=16
445=32
667=48
[...]
2887=208
3109=224
3331=240
3553=240
3775=240
3997=240
4219=240
4439=240
Yeah, that's probably better than min + max + 3 levels in between not working.

Watch loop :

Code: Select all

while inotifywait  -e modify /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/actual_brightness ; do ./setbrightness; done
It seems to survive suspend / resume, hopefully I won't have to manage it on the session level.

Todo : tune it and run as daemon, on startup, with another user than root. The daemon part will be hard, I fork bombed my laptop a couple times testing. More info.

You will need to install 2 node packages :

Code: Select all

npm install node-hid
npm install mathjs
setbrightness code :

Code: Select all

#!/usr/bin/env node
var math = require('mathjs');
var HID = require('node-hid');
fs = require('fs');

var devices = HID.devices();
device = new HID.HID(4292,33742);

fs.readFile('/sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/actual_brightness', 'utf8', function (err,data) {
  if (err) {
    return console.log(err);
  }
  var raw = parseInt(data);
  var bl = math.chain(raw)
    .multiply(255)
    .divide(4439)
    .round(0)
    .done();
  device.write([6, bl]);
//  console.log(raw);
//  console.log(bl);
});
Todo : error catching if it can't open the USB device and checking for bl values outside 0-255 before writing the data to the HID. Also set module path and move script in /usr/local/bin.

I'll push it on github once it's a bit better.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#21 Post by Tsanten » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:32 pm

Waiting for the nitrocaster's mod to arrive and I have some questions:
Wanting to do the 13.3 mod with the w15 panel it will work?
After the mod I will have dual screen setup working on linux fhd + 4k?

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#22 Post by boutch55555 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:42 pm

I have not tested the w15 panel. Electronically I don't see why it wouldn't work. It is 0.6mm wider than w11/21, might have trouble with the bezel clips but it should fit inside the lid.

It will work on Linux with kernel patch. Without the patch the backlight will fallback to 100%.

Also I got my new kit this morning, I'll install it later today.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#23 Post by jaspen-meyer » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:03 pm

There's a debian package: xbacklight
Description: simple utility to set the backlight level
xbacklight is a simple command-line utility to set the backlight level
using the RandR 1.2 Backlight output property.

Code: Select all

xbacklight -set 50%
Was written by Keith Packard.
T420 i7 3612QM seabios; T420 i7 3630QM; T400 Q9100 seabios; T61 P9600; T60 libreboot; x62; x60s libreboot, led; x24 xiphmont led

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#24 Post by wojtekS » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:06 am

boutch55555 wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:42 pm
Also I got my new kit this morning, I'll install it later today.
Did you manage to install it ?

My kit is already on the way from China...

The lenovo cable came with it ? I am also wondering if it is necessary to use the strange system with ribbon connector and small plate (2 included, one for 30 pin edp and second for 40 pin edp).

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#25 Post by boutch55555 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:17 am

jaspen-meyer wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:03 pm
There's a debian package: xbacklight
That only works wits "standard" screens. With that adapter backlight works through USB.
wojtekS wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:06 am
Did you manage to install it ?
The lenovo cable came with it ? I am also wondering if it is necessary to use the strange system with ribbon connector and small plate (2 included, one for 30 pin edp and second for 40 pin edp).
I have it installed but I put a cable backwards and it fried a transistor thingie (1) because the msata power (3) got shorted to ground. It seems to be controlled by the pins (2) on that chip. I'll try to identify the part to get spares. The blue tabs go down on the msata board and up on the other one. I got confused because it's the same cable as my first mod but the blue tab was inverted on one end on the first one and straight on this one... Rookie mistake :roll:

I unsoldered one from my previous kit (they are the same) to replace it and it works ! Screen works as expected, USB works, msata works.

Alignment for the expresscard slot connectors was a bit off, but I think it's because my kit isn't the final production model.

Connector on the 30 pin cable looks like it could fit without the small board but by looking at it I can tell you I won't be trying it, too much lane shifting. Check every lane with a multimeter to make sure everything matches if you want to try it. Every required cable is included.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#26 Post by wojtekS » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:25 am

This make me scared :/ So I will not definitevly try to skip the little board.

Have you any picture showing everything connected ? I would appreciate it to avoid any errors causing a frying of some elements or motherboard damage.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#27 Post by boutch55555 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:10 am

Full overview. If in doubt test that the 2 circled groups of pins connect and are not going to ground. Solder details. Solder a wire to the 3rd capacitor from the right (square with a "*" in the picture) and pass it through the board before soldering the rest.

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#28 Post by wojtekS » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:27 pm

Thanks a lot :) You are very helpful person.

Concerning taping of a few pins on the docking connector I was really curious how it works so I have found the pinout for it.

I realized later looking at the photos of your adapter board installed that this version of board with msata and usb makes the usage of ultrabase 3 practically impossible.

I found some info saying the chipsed used on x230 can drive two SATAs. And by the design one is in laptop itself and the second is normally used for DVD drive in the docking station.

If I am right looking on the pinout the second SATA is converted by the adapter board to use msata so DVD SATA and USB lanes must be insulated as well on the docking connector - stopping possibility of using ultrabase 3 DVD drive and USB ports.

I see two solutions:

1. Not solder the upper points on the adapter board at at all and do not install second board that has USB / mSATA connectors to keep ultrabase 3 SATA / USB working.

or:

2. Completely forget ultrabay 3 and buy an USB DVD like this one: https://support.lenovo.com/us/pl/solutions/pd030886 and a wireless mouse -> then install the usb mouse receiver inside the X230. In this case every time I would need to disconnect AC adapter, external monitor, DVD (in fact barely used)...

What is your opinion ?

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Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#29 Post by boutch55555 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:04 am

wojtekS wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:27 pm
Thanks a lot :) You are very helpful person.
Pleasure, for all the time + money I spent on those, it would be a shame if I didn't help others ;)

There are 3 SATA lanes in the laptop, but only 2 are SATA 3 speed, the 2.5" HDD and DVD on dock. There is a SATA 2 lane in the WWAN slot that is commonly used for mSATA SSDs. Performance is slower (theoretically half) but not really noticeable in everyday use. You are correct, the mSATA card steals lane from the DVD on the dock. While you could not solder the the top left pins, you would have to shorten the pins to make sure they don't make contact, see this thread for a good way to do it. But one of the USB is for backlight control so you would have to short press the power button to cycle between levels.

The only real limitation of not using the dock is you will have to use VGA in addition to the mini-DP to have 2 external monitors and you won't be able to use 3 external (only on x230, x220 (HD3000) supports only 2 anyway).

I personally don't use the dock. I have a USB DVD drive for the 1-2 times / year I need it. I also have a main gaming computer so I rarely need to plug an external screen.

Overall if the USB dongle is in the laptop, 95% of the time you would just need to plug power and external screen, not a big trade-off for what the board offers.

If you want to go "hybrid" by not using the mSATA + USB board but still use an internal dongle for the mouse you could use one of those, assuming you replaced the wifi card with a 802.11ac + bluetooth, like the Intel 7260ac.

wojtekS
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:41 am
Location: Siemianowice Śląskie, Poland

Re: x220/x230 FHD/ WQHD 2K mSATA/USB3.0

#30 Post by wojtekS » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:39 pm

After reading your post I decided finally to sacrify the ultrabase 3.

I already talked to a friend - looks like I will trade my dock for his external DVD - same as shown in the link before.

It is too complicated and risky to cut multiple pins on motherboard, insulate etc etc. Not worth the effort, too risky to destroy the motherboard and / or the interface.

I looked on the page https://translate.google.pl/translate?s ... t=&act=url - I was not aware about shortening the pin shown near R108.

https://forum.51nb.com/data/attachment/ ... w7lylu.png

I think it is necessary to avoid the shortcut with the right metal bracket of the flex tape connector (near the right inversed L, touching the mentionned hole of the pin to be shorten on the picture) - but is it really necessary to make such sophisticated arts with total solder and copper removal then UV lamp etc ? I did not receive my board yet but on the pictures that came from taobao broker I saw the upper part of the board is white painted to insulate it from unnecessary contact with motherboard.

So I would just cut the pin as short as possible then gave a small coat of paint or insulating tape... How did you do with your board ?

https://www.tb-fo.com/p/images/2017/12/27/112223v7.jpg

Concerning the factory LVDS cable if the translation is correct in my understanding the 001 revision is not OK, 021 and 031 are fine ? Mine in the X230 is 021 by the way. I did not see such cable on the photos from broker so I assume I need to reuse the existing one. As I have bought this with a "2k" sharp they did not include the 30 pin edp flat cable, only the 40 pin one.

My kit, picture received from the taobao broker:

https://www.tb-fo.com/p/images/2017/12/27/112223v1.jpg

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