ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

X230 - X270 series specific matters only
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edwinhack3d
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ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#1 Post by edwinhack3d » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:17 am

Dear all ThinkPad lovers and traditionalists

Recently, I have been studying the possibility of using a 7 row keyboard in X230 and all new generation ThinkPads released in this year.

The webmaster of TPuser discovered that a X230 has the capability of installing the X220 keyboard into it.

However, some reported that some keys of the 7 row keyboard do not function in X230.

We believe that the BIOS cause this problem.


Therefore, I started studying the different between X220 and X230, reading the spec of UEFI, and I discovered a module named "SystemKeyDescDxe.efi" looks like define the mapping of the keyboard.

Does anyone knows whether I am on the right track or not?

I founded that this module in X220's BIOS and T420's BIOS are the same. And the module in X230's BIOS and T430's BIOS are the same too.


I am still waiting for my device and looking for brave tester for testing the BIOS that build for 7 row keyboard.

The BIOS that I have built has just replaced the "SystemKeyDescDxe.efi" module in X230's BIOS by the one from X220's BIOS.




Sorry for my English as it is not my native language.
Last edited by edwinhack3d on Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Summilux
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#2 Post by Summilux » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:55 am

Hi,

we discussed this just few posts below yours: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=104889
Modding the BIOS is indeed the best way to go, but nobody here has attempted it.

Your proposed solution sounds interesting even though I don't know much about BIOS internal structure.

Please keep us updated.
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#3 Post by edwinhack3d » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:12 pm

Thank you for your reply

I got more questions today

1. what are the differences between .FL1 and .FL2
2. if FL2 is the controller file, does it contain the bios file?
3. I discover that .FL2 also contain the same efi file, should I update .FL2 too?
4. If I have brick my X230's BIOS, any way to recover it? The way to recover should be as same as X220


p.s. I use PhoenixTool to modify bios. The X220 and X230 follow the UEFI standard and they are written by Insyde.

yuji
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#4 Post by yuji » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:15 am

I would also be very interested in this BIOS mod.
Is anyone still working on this?
Any progress? I wish I could help, but my tech related knowledge is very poor.

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#5 Post by skinnie » Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:20 pm

I don't know about thinkpads, but general laptops with phoenix bios can be recovered with this:
http://forum.notebookreview.com/hp-comp ... ost4305289

Keep in mind that you have to have a usb floppy!
Usb pendrives don't work.
This tutorial saved my life with my Hp Dv9575ep laptop .

You can read more here http://forum.notebookreview.com/sager-c ... thods.html
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#6 Post by yuji » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:14 am

Thanks for the information skinnie, hopefully the initial poster is still around.
I'm dying to see a bios mod for this laptop.
Perhaps I'm the only one who really uses the Insert, Home keys.

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#7 Post by penartur » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:40 am

yuji wrote:Thanks for the information skinnie, hopefully the initial poster is still around.
I'm dying to see a bios mod for this laptop.
Perhaps I'm the only one who really uses the Insert, Home keys.
You're not the only one. Though I believe you might be the only one who purchased X230 despite using all these keys; it seem to be a show-stopper for all the others.
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#8 Post by yuji » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:04 am

Nah, I haven't taken the jump just yet. I'm still a proud X200/T42 owner. That said, one of these days the software technology will force us to move on to new hardware. Otherwise I'd still be using my T42 :)

I'm just preparing in advance for the inavoidable change. Hopefully we can all find a good solution. I'm thinking about interacting with the folks at bios modding forums, to perhaps learn.

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#9 Post by skinnie » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:51 pm

penartur wrote: You're not the only one. Though I believe you might be the only one who purchased X230 despite using all these keys; it seem to be a show-stopper for all the others.

I don't get why..the keyboard is very nice, only the layout isn't top notch.
But I come from a a late 2009 macbook :P
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#10 Post by skinnie » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:04 pm

Still no news about this?
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#11 Post by bmwman91 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:57 pm

This is a GREAT idea. I would love to help out in any way that I can. The OP sounds like he has tried the most obvious method, possibly the easiest assuming it works. Can someone get me a picture of the BIOS chip? If it is a leaded flash package of some sort (TSOP, etc) then it would be fairly easy to remove the working stock one and make a backup. I've had to do that with some car ECUs and some hardware at work. After reinstalling one of the copies, we could try flashing the hacked version!

I need pics of the BIOS flash chip! I'll see if there are any decent mobo pics on eBay or anything. I don't own an X220 or X230, but if we can figure this out I will DEFINITELY get an X230!
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#12 Post by bmwman91 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:58 pm

Oh, nevermind. The BIOS is onboard the Intel chipset chip...not gonna do anything with that. So yeah, someone needs to be brave and try it out! Has anyone with a USB floppy drive tried doing a recovery boot onto it?
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#13 Post by skinnie » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:34 pm

bmwman91 wrote:Oh, nevermind. The BIOS is onboard the Intel chipset chip...not gonna do anything with that. So yeah, someone needs to be brave and try it out! Has anyone with a USB floppy drive tried doing a recovery boot onto it?
The other models are different?
I have an usb floppy drive but never tried anything :P only on the previous HP.
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mslasm
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#14 Post by mslasm » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:51 pm

Any news?

I have X230 and X220 7-row keyboard and willing to experiment with them / the BIOS if someone will point me in the right direction

BTW, also see this thread: http://www.thinkpads.com/forum/viewtopi ... 9&p=715278

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#15 Post by microwave » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:33 pm

you should modify embedded controller firmware (*.fl1) for 7 row keyboard. The size of embedded controller firmware is a 192KB. Start address of EC firmware is a 800000h.

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#16 Post by hitch22 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:35 pm

I own a T430, and I just can't wait for a bios mod.

Any updates folks?

Is there any way I can help?

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#17 Post by hitch22 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:44 pm

microwave wrote:you should modify embedded controller firmware (*.fl1) for 7 row keyboard. The size of embedded controller firmware is a 192KB. Start address of EC firmware is a 800000h.

You sound like an expert in this area!

Have you tried modding the bios yourself?

If so, could you please tell us how it went?

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#18 Post by skinnie » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:06 am

We should merge all threads or at least put links on the one that has most posts.
Why don't we do like xda topics where people say how much would they donate for this mod!
With all money together maybe it could catch anyone's attention
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#19 Post by mslasm » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:58 pm

agree. I'm still looking for a solution and still ready to contribute some effort/money

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#20 Post by rssb » Wed May 21, 2014 6:31 pm

any update on this effort

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#21 Post by mslasm » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:03 pm

Bump?

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#22 Post by Michu_z » Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:32 am

Hello,

I'm bumping this topic again, as I think we all will be happy if proposed solution will work.

I have proposition to create crowdfounding (or similar) project for someone who will hack BIOS in Tx30 ThinkPad's. There's quite big chance to get a large quantity of money for this... If nobody from us will be able to handle this, maybe someone from Lenovo will "help" the company to unlock BIOS or give us modification way to change mapping of keys.

Do you know some of these pages that could host our small project and put this to publicity?
Edit: Maybe Kickstarter will be a good solution?!
Lenovo Thinkpad T430: 14,1 HD+ / i7-3632QM / Crucial M4 SSD 512GB / HyperX 16GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 / Intel HD4000 / Sierra AirPrime MC7710 / Expresscard E-SATA & PE4C v2.1 Asus GTX660 / Ultrabay: Toshiba HDD 2,5 1TB / Lenovo 9-cell 70++
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#23 Post by BillMorrow » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:26 am

first, welcome to the forum..
next, there are some changes coming to thinkpads.com and this forum..
good changes I hope..

re. remapping the keys in some of the newer thinkpads..
I have not read all the posts in this thread..
BUT, there is a change afoot..
can't say what it is in detail..
but you might look at some aspects of the new X1 carbon ver. 3 where the Fn key row is back with real mouse buttons..
it MIGHT be that lenovo is listening to the customer base or the enthusiastic customer base..

I TOO would like to remap some of the keys on my X1 carbon ver. 2..
but for me the physical keyboard is a real pain in my arthritic thumb joints.. what I really would like is a better keyboard or a return to those keyboards of yesteryear which were really good.. and easier to use.. :)
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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#24 Post by Michu_z » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:45 pm

Hi BillMorrow,

First of all - thanks for the warm welcome!

Yes, I already noticed that Lenovo starts to listening ThinkPad users. We both know that we're quite big group of hardcore users who are ready to pay a lot of cash just for old-fashioned, for some people also bad looking, stuff - just because it's the best and top productive ;-)

I have also good news, propably - look

User ucupsz asked about keymapping on ThinkPad T430 for support the older keyboards - T420/T410. There's a discussion about BIOS hack with hardware flash programmer to remove the whitelist of 4G and WiFi adapters...
Lenovo Thinkpad T430: 14,1 HD+ / i7-3632QM / Crucial M4 SSD 512GB / HyperX 16GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 / Intel HD4000 / Sierra AirPrime MC7710 / Expresscard E-SATA & PE4C v2.1 Asus GTX660 / Ultrabay: Toshiba HDD 2,5 1TB / Lenovo 9-cell 70++
Past: Lenovo ThinkPad T420 // on both using Linux

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Re: ThinkPad X230 7 row keyboard BIOS mod research

#25 Post by nitrocaster » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:14 am

I think this thread could be continued here - we got all keys working.
For those who interested in buying X220/X230 FHD kit: Read this before sending me a PM!
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