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51nb motherboards and spill protection?

Old(er) Thinkpads with New(er) Intestines: X62 / T50 / T70 / etc.
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penartur
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51nb motherboards and spill protection?

#1 Post by penartur » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:41 pm

I was unable to find anything on google; I hope that our successors will be able to find this thread.

So it came to my attention that X210 motherboard does not have the drain holes where X201 motherboard used to have them: picture (there is a drain hole to the left of RJ-45 port on the right side of X201 (bottom) motherboard; there is no hole in that place on X210 (top) motherboard)

It seems that even for the minor water spill, keyboard will duly redirect the liquid to the drain holes, so that it will then spill directly on the motherboard, frying it at once. That makes X210 ever worse than some other laptops without the drainage system, where minor spills have a chance to remain in the keyboard assembly, destroying only the keyboard.

I've had numerous spills in my life. One of the frequent scenarios for potential disaster is a combination of airplane, laptop on the table, hot tea, and turbulence, but there are others. I've had several major spills on my Thinkpads and a lot of smaller ones; some resulted in replacing the keyboard, and in some the liquid just went through without causing any damages. My partner had some minor spills in three years with Panasonic AX3; it is not designed to handle spills, does not have drain holes in the keyboard, and in every case it was enough to replace non-customer-replaceable (19 screws and some glue) keyboard unit to get back to work. Looks like in my environment X210 won't survive a year.

Do I understand it correctly, or is there some magic that prevents spills to X210 motherboard? Why did they design motherboard in such a way? Why did they create a motherboard which has screw holes just where X201 had these, CPU heatplate just where X201 had it, keyboard connector just where X201 had it, all ports just where X201 had them, but with solid motherboard sheet where X201 had the drain hole? Do other 51nb motherboards have a similar problem?

This information is next to impossible to find on 51nb forums, as you can only google translate it page by page; but maybe someone from this forum knows something.

I was contemplating ordering X210, but now it appears that I should not even consider it. I hope that this will help inform other people faced with a similar choice. I would never think X210 has such a problem.
Lifebook P1032 (1024*600 8.9") => Averatec AV1000 (WXGA 10.6") => Kohjinsha SH6 (1024*600 7.2") => Sharp M4000 (WXGA 13.3") => X200-AFFS, dead => X200s-AFFS, later -PVA => X220 4290RV5 + Intel 310 80GB, T420s 4173KSU + FHD IPS + Sandisk Z400s 128GB

TPFanatic
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Re: 51nb motherboards and spill protection?

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:23 pm

The one time I spilled a liquid on my T500 was a quite small amount of orange soda. It fell on the right half of the keyboard and evidently stayed within the keyboard. After removal no residue could be seen inside. I took off all the keycaps, cleaned them, dried the keyboard out, and put them all back. It's the original that came with the laptop and I still use it.

I believe you need a full glass positioned right next to the laptop, and to fall so perfectly that the opening is facing the top of the laptop, for the drain holes to come into effect. I'd think we are smart enough to keep glasses of liquid a distance away from the laptop. This was the case the only other time I spilled water near a Thinkpad, my T430, and the water puddled out well behind the laptop, and had no chance of getting onto the keyboard.

I believe the drain holes are a marketing gimmick and the risk they intend to defeat is better defeated by not taking risks. Although I understand if you have a small desk you may have no choice of where to place your drink.
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penartur
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Re: 51nb motherboards and spill protection?

#3 Post by penartur » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:32 pm

TPFanatic wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:23 pm
I believe you need a full glass positioned right next to the laptop, and to fall so perfectly that the opening is facing the top of the laptop, for the drain holes to come into effect. I'd think we are smart enough to keep glasses of liquid a distance away from the laptop.



I believe the drain holes are a marketing gimmick and the risk they intend to defeat is better defeated by not taking risks.
That's all theory. In practice, over last 10 years, I was saved by drain holes more than once.

I use my laptop in the field. Otherwise, I wouldn't need a laptop.
Although I understand if you have a small desk you may have no choice of where to place your drink.
One example would be the airplane table. It is indeed quite small.

Drain holes are not gimmick and are actually useful. The extend of their usefulness vs no drain holes is debatable, but X210 makes it even worse than no holes.
  • ThinkPad spill protection with drain holes: negligible amounts of liquid remain in the keycaps (as in your example), minor amounts of liquid are routed through drain holes to the outside; major amounts of liquid are routed in a similar fashion.
  • Any other laptop without spill protection at all: negligible amounts of liquid remain in the keycaps, minor amounts of liquid remain in the keyboard assembly; major amounts of liquid overflow from keyboard and fry the motherboard.
  • Badly designed laptop with drain holes in keyboard but not motherboard: negligible amounts of liquid remain in the keycaps, minor amounts of liquid are routed through drain holes to the motherboard, immediately frying it; major amounts of liquid are routed in a similar fashion.
So X210 seems to be even worse in that regard than any other laptop. While any other crappy laptop would survive spillage of e.g. 20ml (~=10cm*20cm*1mm, covering keyboard with a layer having thickness of 1mm), X210 motherboard would be destroyed by the same amount of liquid. Even 1ml of liquid will destroy the motherboard if it happened to spill near the drain hole. What's worse, these motherboards, being produced in extremely limited quantities, will be impossible to find by then, meaning that effectively you'll have to toss away an entire laptop and to purchase a new one.

If that is indeed so, 51nb motherboards are totally out of consideration for me, and I'm shocked that their developers designed a motherboard with such a huge and obvious flaw.
Lifebook P1032 (1024*600 8.9") => Averatec AV1000 (WXGA 10.6") => Kohjinsha SH6 (1024*600 7.2") => Sharp M4000 (WXGA 13.3") => X200-AFFS, dead => X200s-AFFS, later -PVA => X220 4290RV5 + Intel 310 80GB, T420s 4173KSU + FHD IPS + Sandisk Z400s 128GB

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Re: 51nb motherboards and spill protection?

#4 Post by evil » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:27 am

Anybody can confirm the situation with X62 and T70?
IBM Thinkpad T60p [200893G]: 15" UXGA FlexView, Core 2 Duo T7200, 4GB DDR2, Spinpoint M7 HM500JI 500GB, Advanced mini dock II, PLD Th

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