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Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

T400/410/420 and T500/510/520 series specific matters only
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Phidelio
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Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#1 Post by Phidelio » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:02 pm

Hey guys!

I just got a T520 with a 1368 panel, and since before I have a W520 with 1920 panel. Now I would like to swap the panels/panel assemblies between the two - i.e., the W520 will get the 1368 panel, and the T520 the 1920 panel.

1. Is this possible and not overly complicated to do?

2. For me I could just aswell move the whole monitor bezel instead of just the panels. Would that be easier/more complicated?

As usual - many thx for any help! Cheers! :)
Has owned a silly amount of Thinkpads: 600|600e|A20|A31p|R31|R40|R50e|R60e|X40|X40|X41Tablet|X60|X61S|T20|T30|T40|T40p|T41|T41p|T60|T60p|T61p|T410|T520|W500 wuxga|W700|W520
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axur-delmeria
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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#2 Post by axur-delmeria » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:16 pm

AFAIK The T520 and W520 use the same chassis, which means many parts are the shared between the two.

Grab a copy of the T520/W520 Hardware Maintenance Manual (HMM) as it contains the parts listing and disassembly instructions. You can use the HMM link at the top of this forum's page.
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Phidelio
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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#3 Post by Phidelio » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:23 pm

Thx for your reply Axur. You are right - they seem to be exactly the same, but what about GPU/motherboard compatibility etc? Although unlikely it might be the T520 may not be able to support the 1920 panel?
Has owned a silly amount of Thinkpads: 600|600e|A20|A31p|R31|R40|R50e|R60e|X40|X40|X41Tablet|X60|X61S|T20|T30|T40|T40p|T41|T41p|T60|T60p|T61p|T410|T520|W500 wuxga|W700|W520
The best Thinkpad ever made? The T41p - hands down!
(feel free to comment but I dont think it can be argued...)

axur-delmeria
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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:38 pm

Phidelio wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:23 pm
Thx for your reply Axur. You are right - they seem to be exactly the same, but what about GPU/motherboard compatibility etc? Although unlikely it might be the T520 may not be able to support the 1920 panel?
According to Thinkwiki, some models of the T520 have a 1920x1080 screen. :D

Also, I've read about some Thinkpadders upgrading their T520's into W520's simply by replacing the system board (!!).
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:47 pm

The easiest way would be to just swap the complete lids between them.
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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#6 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:54 pm

Sheer curiosity on my end: why would you want to swap the better panel into a weaker system ? W520 is more upgradeable and hence more future-proof than T520...
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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#7 Post by Screamer » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:43 am

Phidelio wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:02 pm
1. Is this possible and not overly complicated to do?
Yes, although the complexity depends on your experience with disassembling laptops in general.
Phidelio wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:02 pm
2. For me I could just aswell move the whole monitor bezel instead of just the panels. Would that be easier/more complicated?
That would be much easier as RealBlackStuff had stated, but you would end up with a T520 that has a W520's clear plate.
Phidelio wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:23 pm
what about GPU/motherboard compatibility etc? Although unlikely it might be the T520 may not be able to support the 1920 panel?
The NVS 4200M is capable of driving 1920x1080 with no problems, so it is very unlikely that your T520 will not be able to use the 1920x1080 display panel.
axur-delmeria wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:38 pm
Also, I've read about some Thinkpadders upgrading their T520's into W520's simply by replacing the system board (!!).
If I am not wrong, they would also need to replace their T520's heatsink with a W520's heatsink. I don't think it would be possible to use a T520's heatsink in a W520's motherboard, since the heatsink screw mounts were shifted for some odd reason.

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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#8 Post by Phidelio » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:57 am

@ajkula

I understand the curiousity :D Today I use my w520 as a stupid client. I only use it to connect to my office computer, which is... also a W520 :)

Anyways, the T520 is near mint condition and have a slower I5 CPU, whilst the W520 has an I7 cpu and is cosmetically totally worn out. So, I simply figured - use the T520 as the stupid client, and then use the more powerful W520 for a home server I am setting up. This way I would not be wasting the I7 cpu on a stupid client, and also get a box that looks more or less brand new :)
Has owned a silly amount of Thinkpads: 600|600e|A20|A31p|R31|R40|R50e|R60e|X40|X40|X41Tablet|X60|X61S|T20|T30|T40|T40p|T41|T41p|T60|T60p|T61p|T410|T520|W500 wuxga|W700|W520
The best Thinkpad ever made? The T41p - hands down!
(feel free to comment but I dont think it can be argued...)

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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#9 Post by Phidelio » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:00 am

@realblackstuff and screamer

Thx, I think I will just go ahead and swap the whole lids. Getting the wrong model number on the bezel doesn't matter :)
Has owned a silly amount of Thinkpads: 600|600e|A20|A31p|R31|R40|R50e|R60e|X40|X40|X41Tablet|X60|X61S|T20|T30|T40|T40p|T41|T41p|T60|T60p|T61p|T410|T520|W500 wuxga|W700|W520
The best Thinkpad ever made? The T41p - hands down!
(feel free to comment but I dont think it can be argued...)

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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#10 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:53 am

You can always swap the clearplates afterwards...

Phidelio
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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#11 Post by Phidelio » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:33 pm

So it's done. I actually went ahead and swapped the panels instead of the whole panel assemblies. Very easy and straightforward, you just need to be careful with the cables. One thing I noticed is the 1920 screen being a lot brighter now. Might it have been the W520 inverter was bad or something?
Has owned a silly amount of Thinkpads: 600|600e|A20|A31p|R31|R40|R50e|R60e|X40|X40|X41Tablet|X60|X61S|T20|T30|T40|T40p|T41|T41p|T60|T60p|T61p|T410|T520|W500 wuxga|W700|W520
The best Thinkpad ever made? The T41p - hands down!
(feel free to comment but I dont think it can be argued...)

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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#12 Post by madicetea » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:40 pm

Definitely possible you had a bad inverter then. Most screen panels have problems lying on the playing field of inverters x backlight.
Last edited by madicetea on Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#13 Post by Phidelio » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:36 am

madicetea wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:40 pm
Phidelio wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:33 pm
So it's done. I actually went ahead and swapped the panels instead of the whole panel assemblies. Very easy and straightforward, you just need to be careful with the cables. One thing I noticed is the 1920 screen being a lot brighter now. Might it have been the W520 inverter was bad or something?
Well, all inverters age over time, but there isn't a chance you accidentally also had an upgrade from CCFL to LED is there?
To be honest - no idea :)
Has owned a silly amount of Thinkpads: 600|600e|A20|A31p|R31|R40|R50e|R60e|X40|X40|X41Tablet|X60|X61S|T20|T30|T40|T40p|T41|T41p|T60|T60p|T61p|T410|T520|W500 wuxga|W700|W520
The best Thinkpad ever made? The T41p - hands down!
(feel free to comment but I dont think it can be argued...)

axur-delmeria
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Re: Swapping a T520 1368 panel for a 1920 W520 panel - possible, hard?

#14 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:45 am

AFAIK all the screens for the W520 are LED-backlit. Also, you cannot swap from CCFL to LED backlights without changing the LCD cable and/or the inverter board (LED backlights don't use inverters in the first place, and run on DC), so that's ruled out already.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X601 Core 2 Duo T8100
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
On loan: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
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