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T520 Ultrabay drive caddy

T400/T410/T420 and T500/T510/T520 Series
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Rletson
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:55 pm
Location: St. Cloud, MN

T520 Ultrabay drive caddy

#1 Post by Rletson » Fri Aug 06, 2021 12:41 pm

Apologies if this has been answered elsewhere (though I haven't managed to find a clear answer via searching the site):

Found a T520 in very good condition and plan to add a second SSD in the bay that currently holds the DVD drive. Is there any reason not to buy one of the third-party drive caddies like this Nimitz offered on Amazon?

https://www.amazon.com/Nimitz-Drive-Cad ... U8NO&psc=1

I understand that this kind of caddy has become a kind of standard for many laptop brands and that there can be small variations in dimensions and connections. Ebay has some pretty inexpensive options, but then it's eBay, which has its own set of uncertainties. Of course, the ideal solution is an actual ThinkPad item, but I'm not seeing those in my searches so far.

And while I'm at it--the keyboard on my wife's 520 is showing its age (a couple of keys don't always respond), so some replacing is in order. Entire keyboard? Any gotchas in the third-party realm? Or should I gather my courage and consider disassembly and cleaning, if that's even a reasonable option?

atagunov
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Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:11 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: T520 Ultrabay drive caddy

#2 Post by atagunov » Fri Aug 06, 2021 3:06 pm

Rletson wrote:
Fri Aug 06, 2021 12:41 pm
Is there any reason not to buy one of the third-party drive caddies like this Nimitz offered on Amazon?
My best advice is to read at reviews, price seems good
Rletson wrote:
Fri Aug 06, 2021 12:41 pm
And while I'm at it--the keyboard on my wife's 520 is showing its age (a couple of keys don't always respond), so some replacing is in order. Entire keyboard? Any gotchas in the third-party realm? Or should I gather my courage and consider disassembly and cleaning, if that's even a reasonable option?
Hi, yes you need to replace the keyboard I believe. There are gotchas. I paid through my nose for a new correctly-branded keyboard form AliExpress and got back a fake. It's probably compatible and probably works (haven't tried it) but it's definitely not a Lenovo part. My idea now is to purchase keyboards from private sellers on ebay who post pictures of the real keyboard they're selling. Of course that will mean used keyboards. You know that T420 and X220 have got exactly same keyboard right?
X220, 2 *T520

Rletson
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:55 pm
Location: St. Cloud, MN

Re: T520 Ultrabay drive caddy

#3 Post by Rletson » Sat Aug 14, 2021 2:23 pm

To answer some of my own questions and report on the project:

I ordered the Nimitz caddy from Amazon and found that it works fine, though the construction strikes me as not quite as sturdy as what I would expect of a factory-original part. Nevertheless, it fit the slot and accepted the WD Blue SSD 500GB I'd bought to replace a 128GB Samsung.

I did a Windows 10 system backup, made a rescue DVD (with an external USB DVD burner--worked fine), then ran the free Acronis True Image that WD recommends. Told it to clone the ThinkPad's boot drive to the WD in the caddy, which it did with no hitches. Swapped the drives, rebooted with the WD, and everything seems operational.

The 520 (with its docking station) will now be my first-level backup machine, should some disaster strike my desktop system--it has enough muscle for my ordinary tasks and will accept my big monitors and aging (oops, I meant "legacy") favorite peripherals. And if the WD suffers a meltdown, I have the old Samsung boot drive in reserve.

Next project: upgrade the drives on my even-more-legacy R52 and X31 from fully to partly ancient levels. The R52 and its dock in particular can be a second-level backup, good for writing if not more demanding tasks. If I'm feeling really ambitious, maybe I can get it to run Windows 7, though XP is quite sufficient to run WordPerfect.

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