Take a look at our
ThinkPads.com HOME PAGE
For those who might want to contribute to the blog, start here: Editors Alley Topic
Then contact Bill with a Private Message

Buying replacement keyboards and other parts

X200, X201, X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300, X301 series specific matters only.
Post Reply
Message
Author
cbrace
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:33 am
Location: Amsterdam, NL

Buying replacement keyboards and other parts

#1 Post by cbrace » Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:16 am

Hi all,

I'm new here, first post. Looks like a friendly and informative community :)

I have mixed experiences ordering replacement keyboards. Ordered an X220 (en-US) from China, turned out to be a cheap knock-off. I later found a "genuine" replacement from a dealer here in NL at (obviously) a far higher price.

Someone told me that only "genuine" Lenovo parts display the FRU part number. Non-Lenovo stuff may (?) only be listed as "compatible".

Is this true?

At the moment I am in the market for a keyboard for an X201. Would be interested in any tips on identifying a decent replacement. Yes, I read the reviews and feedback etc.

Also, the lid on this X201 is cracked on one edge. Not a showstopper, but if I can find an affordable replacement... Question: are all plastic parts (bezels, palm rests etc) created equal?

Speaking of the lid, the Thinklight doesn't work, but I should probably search the forums before pursuing this further...

TIA

dr_st
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8121
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 6:20 am
Location: Israel

Re: Buying replacement keyboards and other parts

#2 Post by dr_st » Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:56 am

Welcome to the forum! :D
cbrace wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:16 am
I have mixed experiences ordering replacement keyboards. Ordered an X220 (en-US) from China, turned out to be a cheap knock-off.
Out of curiosity: where did you order, how much did it cost, and in what way was this knock-off different from a genuine keyboard?
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

cbrace
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:33 am
Location: Amsterdam, NL

Re: Buying replacement keyboards and other parts

#3 Post by cbrace » Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:40 am

Thanks!

I ordered it last December through Aliexpress. Brand NEW US layout keyboard for Thinkpad T410 T420 T410S T510 X220 compatible with FRU 45N2141 45N2106. It was around US$30 with shipping.

It didn't have the same crisp tactile "feel" as the UK keyboard I was replacing. Pressure was uneven. What really drove me nuts was that the space bar didn't work unless I pressed it in the middle. IOW, hitting it with my left thumb next to the Alt key didn't work! Super annoying.

I later found an "official" (?) replacement from a local Lenovo parts dealer, which cost around €55. When I mentioned my experience to them they told me that there are a lot of "counterfeit" parts in circulation these days.

As you can see on the page above, it is listed as "compatible with FRU 45N2141 45N2106"

I was told by an online seller that you can identify genuine parts because they are listed as "original", not "compatible" and labelled with the FRU. Just wondering how true that it is.

Edit
: Unfortunately I couldn't check the first keyboard w.r.t. part number labelling because I threw it in a recycling bin before I learned more about how this stuff works....

dr_st
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8121
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 6:20 am
Location: Israel

Re: Buying replacement keyboards and other parts

#4 Post by dr_st » Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:41 am

cbrace wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:40 am
It didn't have the same crisp tactile "feel" as the UK keyboard I was replacing. Pressure was uneven. What really drove me nuts was that the space bar didn't work unless I pressed it in the middle. IOW, hitting it with my left thumb next to the Alt key didn't work! Super annoying.
Interesting. I would like to pop the keys up and compare the mechanisms, but I don't feel like spending $30 just for this research at the moment... There were 2 or 3 different mechanisms of the original keyboard as well, so that comparison would have to be thorough...
cbrace wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:40 am
I was told by an online seller that you can identify genuine parts because they are listed as "original", not "compatible" and labelled with the FRU. Just wondering how true that it is.
That's assuming the sellers are honest, which I would not automatically do. Definitely with batteries in the past years I've seen many counterfeit ones sold as "genuine/original" in the listing title. I would definitely not use FRU as indication to anything, because sellers often list all compatible FRUs, whether the part itself is genuine or not.

The only thing I would sort-of trust is pictures of the exact item in question (assuming you can identify an original part).
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

cbrace
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:33 am
Location: Amsterdam, NL

Re: Buying replacement keyboards and other parts

#5 Post by cbrace » Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:55 pm

A short follow-up question: I understand one has to be careful buying replacement parts like keyboards and batteries. But what about the plastic stuff, covers, bezels, palm rests, and the like? Is there much variation in quality?

I ask because I recently picked up an X201 and the cover is slightly cracked at one edge. This isn't mission critical, but if I can order a reasonably priced, decent quality replacement that would be nice...

skx
Sophomore Member
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:25 pm
Location: Colombia

Re: Buying replacement keyboards and other parts

#6 Post by skx » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:07 am

cbrace wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:55 pm
A short follow-up question: I understand one has to be careful buying replacement parts like keyboards and batteries. But what about the plastic stuff, covers, bezels, palm rests, and the like? Is there much variation in quality?

I ask because I recently picked up an X201 and the cover is slightly cracked at one edge. This isn't mission critical, but if I can order a reasonably priced, decent quality replacement that would be nice...
chinese knockoffs are perfectly fine. it is plastic in the end, and the genuine lenovo plastic was made in china as well :mrgreen:
ThinkPad X220: i5-2520M CPU 2.5GHz - 8GB RAM 1333 MHz - SSD 860 EVO 250GB - Debian - ME_cleaned
ThinkPad X230: i5-3320M CPU 3.3GHz - 8GB RAM 1600 MHz - SSD 860 EVO 500GB - Debian - ME_cleaned

zoltan87
Sophomore Member
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:16 pm
Location: Plymouth, United Kingdom

Re: Buying replacement keyboards and other parts

#7 Post by zoltan87 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:44 pm

skx wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:07 am
chinese knockoffs are perfectly fine. it is plastic in the end, and the genuine lenovo plastic was made in china as well :mrgreen:
I wouldn't be so confident saying that. I bought a Thinkpad T60 palmrest in the past from China, and while it was new as advertised, it was bent and twisted all over the place (especially the small bridge above the trackpad cut-out), and had a cheap looking IBM sticker on it when I compared it to the original palmrest. I ended up not using it, so not sure about the actual fit, but I think I would have had problems with that, because of all the bents and twists it had.

So I would rather buy a used genuine part, or even a whole laptop, that is broken and sufficiently cheap, so I could use the parts of it for a rebuild. I also have bad experiences with buying batteries that are advertised as genuine, capacity is never as advertised. But in that regard the cheap third party batteries are even worse. They state A++ cells, but the batteries has like half the capacity compared to a genuine new battery.
Laptops after the 4:3 aspect ratio era are non-existent to me.

cbrace
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:33 am
Location: Amsterdam, NL

Re: Buying replacement keyboards and other parts

#8 Post by cbrace » Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:45 am

My experience so far with third-party batteries is that capacity is as stated, but that they lose that capacity very quickly.

For example: I bought a used X220 a year ago. The refurbisher shipped it with a new third-party battery. Within a year of use, it only has 60% of its original charging capacity. This after only 15 or so charge cycles

The tlp utility in Linux indicates this clearly: original capacity, first date of use, and current charging capacity.

I've also bought ten-year old Thinkpads whose original batteries still have >90% capacity even after hundreds of charge cycles. I'm sure many of you have also seen this.

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “ThinkPad X200/201/220 and X300/301 Series”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests