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Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

X200, X201, X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300, X301 series specific matters only.
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RealBlackStuff
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Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#1 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:24 am

I am currently having many problems with nitrocaster's FHD-mod.
The problem is with my X230, but these problems also pertain to X220, hence my posting it here.

My original X230 (2325-B14) had these specs with 04X1401 motherboard(#1):
- i5-3320M
- 8GB RAM
- 250GB mSATA SSD in WWAN slot, with W7 Pro/SP1 64-bit
- 500GB 7200rpm HD in drive-bay for storage (goes to sleep after 3 minutes non-use)
- non-backlit LiteOn UK-English keyboard 04X1306 (for X230)
- LG LP125WF2-SPB4 FHD screen
- nitrocaster's FHD-mod rev.4
- EC-mod for the battery-check bypass

It was perfectly working as described above, incl. brightness control.
Then I wanted to get the wifi-whitelist removed from the BIOS.
Long story short: I blew it so I had to get another mobo(#2).

When I tried to solder the sense-wire to the 3rd capacitor from the right (C137), I had left my solder iron temperature too high,
and the capacitor broke (don't ask me how).
As per schematics, that C137 capacitor comes from DPD_3N (bottom)--SW--[_C137_]--(top) and goes to DOCKB_DP3N (docking connector).
When I asked nitrocaster, he said I could just solder the sense-wire (SW) to the DPD_3N (bottom)-part of the capacitor-location.
And if I didn't use the docking port, then I could also leave the C137 capacitor out altogether.

Docking connector
DOCKB_DP3N
/\
| top
C137 capacitor
| bottom
sense-wire
|
\/
DPD_3N
Elsewhere on mobo

The above is great to know for other people, who might have sense-wire problems.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Even though I am quite adept with soldering, I could not manage to get the sense-wire sorted on mobo(#2), or the capacitor replaced.
So I bought yet another, identical mobo(#3), and left #2 for a later repair.
This time the sense-wire went on without a problem.
I had already bought another FHD-mod rev.5 from nitrocaster, because I couldn't get the old one off the dead motherboard.
Easy enough to put that new PCB on mobo#3, but now somehow the problems started.

With both SSD and HDD removed, my X230 boots fine and I can go into BIOS, using the laptops own FHD screen.
Current BIOS is 2.67, EC is 1.14 and has been updated with the battery-check bypass. Checked working.

As in the previous setup, I changed BIOS/Config/Display to 'Digital 1 on dock'.
Put in the (WWAN) SSD, boot into W7, those 4 colored windows start rotating, but right when they are finished rotating, the screen goes dark.
Backlight stays on, showing a dark purplish background, but no picture. Fn/F7 does F-all.

Strange, when I hook up an external monitor, the picture is on that external monitor, WTF?
Fn/F7 does something: goes off on external, goes off on laptop, goes on on extenal, puts backlight on on laptop, but shows NO PICTURE on laptop.
Tried all changes in BIOS/Config/Display, ditto in Control Panel/Display/Change display settings. NADA on the laptop screen.
Then I switched off and removed the (WWAN) SSD.

Put in some 2.5" SSD in the drive-bay, this one with Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon.
Boots, shows Thinkpad logo on laptop, then goes dark.
Plug in the external monitor, and the picture is there!
Same problems as in W7.

But now it gets interesting.
I put in another 2.5" HDD in the drive-bay, this time with Windows Vista 8.1 from an old T500.
Would you believe, that I finally get a picture on that laptop?
It's flickering, but at least it's a start.
Strange, if I go into Windows Mobility Center, it tells me there is No display connected!
But when I click there on "Connect display" it lets me change the Resolution, how is that possible?

My question is, where is the problem?

Any help appreciated.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#2 Post by nitrocaster » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:14 am

1. Does Windows recognize 'Mobile PC display'?
2. Does the brightness control work in Windows?
3. Flickering means that either your display or your soldering is bad.
Want to buy X220/X230 FHD mod kit? Read this before sending me a PM!
T25 | X230: i7-3520M | 16GB RAM | 512GB M.2 Micron M600 | LG LP125WF2-SPB4 FHD IPS | 9c Li-Ion | Win8.1 Pro 64

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:37 pm

In Vista's "Control Panel" there is NO Display icon.
In "Device Manager" there is NO Monitor option.

In Vista's "Windows Mobility Center" it says:
No display connected
------------------------
| Connect display !
------------------------
External monitor


If I click on "Connect display" it lets me change the screen resolution, nothing else.
No idea how that works.

Brightness works.

After 2x "solder refreshing" of the PCB the flicker remains.
Before the problems started, the LCD was perfect.
But the LCD is still working (with flickering).
=============================

Tried W8.1, same problems as in W7.

=============================
I have plenty hair at the moment, but I don't know for how long! :help:

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#4 Post by nitrocaster » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:05 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:37 pm
In Vista's "Control Panel" there is NO Display icon.
In "Device Manager" there is NO Monitor option.
How can you see that if there's nothing on the screen? That doesn't make any sense.
Could you post some screenshots showing what displays are being recognized when you connect the external monitor?

Which display do you use?
Want to buy X220/X230 FHD mod kit? Read this before sending me a PM!
T25 | X230: i7-3520M | 16GB RAM | 512GB M.2 Micron M600 | LG LP125WF2-SPB4 FHD IPS | 9c Li-Ion | Win8.1 Pro 64

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:53 pm

I'm on another laptop at the moment.
If you read my first post again, you'll see that, when using Vista, the X230's own LCD is working, no need for an external monitor.
But if I run W7, W8 or Linux Mint, the LCD starts with the Thinkpad logo, shows only some initial pictures, then goes dark as soon as the OS LCD-driver(?) gets active.

And LCD = LP125WF2-SPB4

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#6 Post by nitrocaster » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:07 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:53 pm
when using Vista, the X230's own LCD is working, no need for an external monitor.
So you're getting a flickering image in Vista but the OS doesn't recognize the FHD display while showing image on it?

Take a picture of the installed adapter board.
Want to buy X220/X230 FHD mod kit? Read this before sending me a PM!
T25 | X230: i7-3520M | 16GB RAM | 512GB M.2 Micron M600 | LG LP125WF2-SPB4 FHD IPS | 9c Li-Ion | Win8.1 Pro 64

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#7 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:11 am

Correct, no monitor recognized.
Pics: https://imgur.com/a/ZTNSsR3

I also did a fresh install from X230 W7-Pro/SP1 64-bit recovery disks.
Same problem, shows boot screen (with Thinkpad, rotating Windows, goes dark and puts picture on external monitor).

Unusual (I think): when I plug/unplug the external monitor, the laptop beeps like if a new USB-item is added/removed.
This applies to all Windows installs.
Linux does NOT beep (tried Mint and Ubuntu).

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#8 Post by nitrocaster » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:26 am

Given the display you use is known good, there's a problem with the connection between the display and the motherboard. That leaves you 2 options:
1) LCD cable is bad
2) Soldering is bad

The reason it works before OS is probably because 480p video mode doesn't require nearly as much bandwidth as 1080p.
Want to buy X220/X230 FHD mod kit? Read this before sending me a PM!
T25 | X230: i7-3520M | 16GB RAM | 512GB M.2 Micron M600 | LG LP125WF2-SPB4 FHD IPS | 9c Li-Ion | Win8.1 Pro 64

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#9 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:31 am

I tried both Lenovo's and Intel's latest HD4000 drivers.
Both versions stop the FHD from working.
However, if I disable the Intel HD4000 driver in Device Manager in W7, it boots using the FHD-screen!
I can now even change the resolution to 1920x1080!
Unfortunately there is still flicker!
And with or without Hotkey, brightness does not work now (because no driver?).
I'm about to give up on this...

I assume I must have a bad FHD-PCB, because before I blew the BIOS and the swaps, the screen and cable worked perfect.
As did any OS!

Question: could I transfer this whole lid to my X240 (which has FHD) and at least check the LCD-part?
Should be the same LCD cable.

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#10 Post by Fusion » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:00 am

I know it’s too late to recommend the soldering procedure, but here’s how I did it. The problem with these motherboards is the use of lead-free solder with a high melting temp.

Use standard thin ~65/35 leaded solder. Plop some on the third capacitor for the sense wire, hold the iron there for 10s or so. Use solder wick to wick away as much as possible. It is very hard to wick just the original solder. An even better way would be to use ChipQuik.

Apply standard solder to cap 3 and add sense wire. Add flux to the pins that will be soldered to when adding the fhd board.

Flickering is a sign there’s a bad solder joint. If you have a soldering heat gun, preheat the fhd board and the surrounding motherboard area, but shield the fhd connectors with capton tape. Use leaded solder again, but preferably solder paste. You will want a very fine tip iron. Heat each of the through holes with solder for at least 10 seconds, but DO NOT push or use force as you could damage the plating.

In your case, try just reapplying the iron to each throughole for 10-20 seconds. If you have a soldering heat gun, it helps massively. When cooled down, test without reassembly and try touching the fhd board with your finger and a light push. You should not have flickering when touching the board.
Last edited by Fusion on Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#11 Post by nitrocaster » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:04 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:31 am
Unfortunately there is still flicker!
Could you record it and upload a video?
RealBlackStuff wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:31 am
And with or without Hotkey, brightness does not work now (because no driver?).
That's because the driver is required for dual display mode to work. Without dual display mode the fake display doesn't receive brightness control and therefore the adapter board can not translate it to the FHD display.
RealBlackStuff wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:31 am
Question: could I transfer this whole lid to my X240 (which has FHD) and at least check the LCD-part?
Should be the same LCD cable.
Absolutely, that's what I would do.
Want to buy X220/X230 FHD mod kit? Read this before sending me a PM!
T25 | X230: i7-3520M | 16GB RAM | 512GB M.2 Micron M600 | LG LP125WF2-SPB4 FHD IPS | 9c Li-Ion | Win8.1 Pro 64

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Re: Problem with nitrocaster's FHD mod

#12 Post by nitrocaster » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:11 am

Fusion wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:00 am
You will want a very fine tip iron. Heat each of the through holes with solder for at least 10 seconds, but DO NOT push or use force as you could damage the plating.
On the contrary, using a very fine tip doesn't allow the heat to reach solder joints. I found that using a large chisel tip works just fine: add flux, get a blob of leaded solder on the tip and touch the joints, as many as you want simultaneously - it doesn't really matter. Avoiding mechanical stress is the very important thing to keep in mind, as you noted. Using a large tip with a decent amount of solder delivers the heat required to melt lead-free solder which covers docking connector pins.
Want to buy X220/X230 FHD mod kit? Read this before sending me a PM!
T25 | X230: i7-3520M | 16GB RAM | 512GB M.2 Micron M600 | LG LP125WF2-SPB4 FHD IPS | 9c Li-Ion | Win8.1 Pro 64

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