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IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

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solidpro
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IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#1 Post by solidpro » Mon Feb 19, 2024 5:13 pm

Hi

I've done a bunch of these. I never have the patience to document it but thought I'd give it a try this time.

Notes

535X is the one you want. Always TFT screen, USB port, no corrosive battery inside, fanless and, obviously, highest spec.
The 535E has a fan, whereas the 535X doesn’t have a fan
The 535X is the only model to have a USB port
The 535X doesn’t have a hibernation battery meaning they're less likely to be damaged on the inside
The 535 and 535E have hibernation batteries (front/right under the palmrest), which leak and destroy everything around it.
The 535X has a different audio daughterboard with it’s own little daughterboard to the 535/535E
All 3 have different physical RAM configurations.
The inverter is not in the lid, it sits on the motherboard under the large DC/DC / rear port daughterboard
All 3 models have different DC/DC daughterboards which are different sizes and have differed capacitors on. The DC/DC board integrates most of the connectors on the back of the machine.
The lid rubber coating doesn't tend to rot but it is easily damaged and most of them are heavily scratched. I think the top layer can be removed which I'll try and do a follow up post on.

Complete Disassembly Instructions

1) Push the side and left flaps in the centre to pop them off

Image
Image

2) Slide off the main battery

Image

3) Remove 5 base screws – back two are equal long, front two are equal short, one above front/left is smaller.

Image

4) Remove back 4 hinge screwes

Image

5) Upside down remove the small screw by the floppy port

Image

6) Push the lid all the way open, back and pop up and remove the LED indicator bezel covering both hinges

Image

7) Fingernails under the palmrest and prise up

Image

NOTE: 535/535E have a parasitic hibernation battery under the palm rest. Remove and discard. 535X doesn’t have one.

9) Remove all 7 silver screws around the keyboard (not highlighted in the pic but you can see 4 at the bottom and 3 at the top)

Image

10) Remove the small screw holding in the hard drive at the front

Image

11) Lift up the keyboard and release the 3 ribbon cables at the front

Image

12) Slide off the display ribbon on the back/left and inverter power cable back/right – the whole lid will slide up and off the base. Park it.

Image

13) Undo CMOS battery wire

Image

14) Undo long back right golden screw

Image

15) Prise up the long black plastic strip at the back with the MIC embedded inside, leave loose at the back of the base

Image

16) Use a spudger or butter knife to separate the glue between the large heatsink bottom/right and the base case

Image

17) Slide out the hard drive and remove

Image

18) Remove the one screw in a deep hole in darkness, up by the USB port

Image

19) The entire innards pulls out. You have to make sure the audio sockets on the side clear the outer plastic by slightly pushing the side outwards.

Image
Image

20) Remove the MIC cable and 1 screw and prise up the audio daughterboard

Image

21) Proceed with Caution – the pins around the CPU are extremely delicate and must be protected at all time
22) You’re going to remove the 4 screws around the CPU heatsink and the 6 bolts at the back either side of the external connectors

Image
Image
Image

23) Remove the 1 screw next to the battery connector

Image

24) Remove the small screw under the USB port

Image

25) Prise up the back connector daughterboard

Image

26) The back connector daughterboard has 8 throughhole caps that leak

Image
Image
Image

C14 33u 20v
C15 33u 20v
C57 68u 6.8v
C58 68u 6.8v
C52 100u 4v
C53 100u 4v
C72 100u 4v
C73 100u 4v


27) The audio daughterboard has 3 surface mount caps that might leak one day

Image
Image

Replace those 3 with 3 tantalums.

Reassemble in reverse!!
http://Ret.Rocks - Rare Used & Restored Vintage Computing for Sale!
Wanted: 220, 315D, 320, 350x, 355x, 500, 510, 530CS, 730TE, 750P, 755CD, Any 8xx Series, A20p, A21p, A22p, A31p, T40p
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#2 Post by ThinkDan » Fri Feb 23, 2024 5:37 am

Nice write-up, thanks for taking the time :)

235, 240, 350, 360, 380, 500, 535, 560, 570, 600, 700, 701, 720, 750, 750P, 755, 760, 770, N33sx, PC110, T20, T30, T40, T60, T420, T460, W520, X20, X30, X40, X200, X300, X1 Carbon Gen 1
Dan's IBM PalmTop PC110 pages
Dan's ThinkPad 730T pages

solidpro
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#3 Post by solidpro » Sun Feb 25, 2024 3:33 pm

I did it for you, man! :D
http://Ret.Rocks - Rare Used & Restored Vintage Computing for Sale!
Wanted: 220, 315D, 320, 350x, 355x, 500, 510, 530CS, 730TE, 750P, 755CD, Any 8xx Series, A20p, A21p, A22p, A31p, T40p
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#4 Post by sandra_314 » Thu May 16, 2024 3:31 am

Thank you for this, it's definitely going to be helpful once I receive my unit.

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#5 Post by sandra_314 » Tue May 21, 2024 6:38 am

Hello, can you please tell me the model parts for the replacement capacitors you used? I want to be sure I pick the right ones with the correct size and specs. Thank you.

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#6 Post by solidpro » Tue May 21, 2024 6:45 am

I just have every capacitor I'd ever need in drawers, so I can't tell you specific ones.

I buy from RS because you can easily price up quantities based on capacitance, voltage and dimensions.

Remember the capacitance has to the be same as the old ones, where as the voltage only has to be the same or higher.

Generally, if you go for higher voltage, the capacitor will be bigger or longer than the one you're removing and may not fit.
Also, cheaper capacitors tend to be bigger, so always check the space you have around the one you're removing before ordering ones of larger dimensions.

Here is a list of what I needed for 535X. I didn't make notes for the 535/535E.

C14 33u 20v
C15 33u 20v
C57 68u 6.8v
C58 68u 6.8v
C52 100u 4v
C53 100u 4v
C72 100u 4v
C73 100u 4v
http://Ret.Rocks - Rare Used & Restored Vintage Computing for Sale!
Wanted: 220, 315D, 320, 350x, 355x, 500, 510, 530CS, 730TE, 750P, 755CD, Any 8xx Series, A20p, A21p, A22p, A31p, T40p
Currently For Sale (Restored): 560Z, T20, T21, T22, R61, R51, s30, 340, 755CX

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#7 Post by sandra_314 » Tue May 21, 2024 6:58 am

Thank you, I will probably wait until I disassemble the 535 to confirm if I need the same ones or not.

Enig
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#8 Post by Enig » Wed May 22, 2024 3:42 am

@Solidpro,
Thanks for the comprehensive guide - this helped me a lot :)
Also the display assembly I bought from you works great after I swapped the fuse on my original inverter.


In March I picked up a 535 while in Japan. Untested for very cheap, and with obvious vinegar syndrome.

Here is the old display:
Image

This is the 535 running happily since Sunday:
Image
120Mhz Pentium & 72MB RAM of goodness :)


Some notes from me on working with the 535:

Keeping the CPU safe: I took your warning regarding the CPU area being fragile and taped piece of cardboard on top of it after removing the heat shield. Also be careful when prying off the shield, as to not scratch the CPU area.

HDD: Mine came without its original drive, so I had to improvise - using SeaTools to limit drive size. I went through a bunch of IDE drives, but the only drive that has worked for me so far is a 40GB Hitachi drive (IC25N040ATCS04-0) limited to 810MB.
The 535 seems rather picky on what drives it will accept. It's very likely I can increase the size now that I have a drive that I know works, but that will be an experiment for future me - for now it just works :)

Inverter: Initially after receiving the new display assembly from Solidpro I still did not have a backlight. Turned out to be a blown fuse on the inverter (F1). Located in the base of the 535 sandwiched between to main boards.
Image

Image

Software: For a simple English Win95 setup you can use MWave DSP drivers used on the 760 series, and graphics driver from the 560.
I have been unable to find any of the original Japanese drivers or software.
@Solipro, since you have been through a bunch of these - would any of the 535/535E happen to have their original OS installs? Would love to get my hands on that .. or even better the original driver/software installs.


Just for fun: I like to find info using old Japanese blogs, so here is a few on the 535 series (use google translate):
http://namai.jp/netlaputa/extend_tp_overclock.htm
http://namai.jp/netlaputa/extend_tp_memory.htm
http://tanuki-d.fan.coocan.jp/tanuki_d/ ... dkanso.htm
.. I'm not going to overclock it, but I think the memory module mod might have been done to my 535, as it has the connector and RAM daughterboard.
Thinkpads: Too many. Currently playing with an IBM 535

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#9 Post by Enig » Wed May 22, 2024 3:50 am

sandra_314 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2024 6:58 am
Thank you, I will probably wait until I disassemble the 535 to confirm if I need the same ones or not.
Reassembled my 535 this weekend. Was too focused on getting the screen working to worry much about the caps yet. Later project I guess.

Here is a link to the image of the boards above so you can download the full res:
https://imgur.com/a/PToGyso
You can't really read the values of the ones on the DC/DC board tho :(
Thinkpads: Too many. Currently playing with an IBM 535

solidpro
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#10 Post by solidpro » Wed May 22, 2024 4:49 am

Good work. Do you mean the four purple ones? Surprised you can't read it as it's not that obscure. You need a good solder-sucker for those.

Is it working?
http://Ret.Rocks - Rare Used & Restored Vintage Computing for Sale!
Wanted: 220, 315D, 320, 350x, 355x, 500, 510, 530CS, 730TE, 750P, 755CD, Any 8xx Series, A20p, A21p, A22p, A31p, T40p
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#11 Post by Enig » Wed May 22, 2024 5:12 am

solidpro wrote:
Wed May 22, 2024 4:49 am
Good work. Do you mean the four purple ones? Surprised you can't read it as it's not that obscure. You need a good solder-sucker for those.

Is it working?
Mine? Its working gloriously :D
I was just trying to give sandra_314 what little info I could based on the shoddy pictures I had already taken while I had the machine apart.
Thinkpads: Too many. Currently playing with an IBM 535

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#12 Post by solidpro » Wed May 22, 2024 6:11 am

Sorry, just catching up! Glad my screen came to some use. I appreciate these machines are quite cheap from Japan but that's generally because the cheap ones have bad displays, whereas the ones at what I would deem the correct 'premium' have a good working TFT. I still have one for sale if anyone else needs one.
@Solidpro, since you have been through a bunch of these - would any of the 535/535E happen to have their original OS installs?
I've not really noticed but I will fire up all 35 of them later and have a look...

All the best
http://Ret.Rocks - Rare Used & Restored Vintage Computing for Sale!
Wanted: 220, 315D, 320, 350x, 355x, 500, 510, 530CS, 730TE, 750P, 755CD, Any 8xx Series, A20p, A21p, A22p, A31p, T40p
Currently For Sale (Restored): 560Z, T20, T21, T22, R61, R51, s30, 340, 755CX

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#13 Post by Enig » Wed May 22, 2024 6:33 am

solidpro wrote:
Wed May 22, 2024 6:11 am

I've not really noticed but I will fire up all 35 of them later and have a look...
Holy Cr*p .. you have 35 of these things? are you living in a warehouse by any chance :lol:
Only go so far that it is not a major inconvenience .. take your time .. and a big thank you in advance.
Thinkpads: Too many. Currently playing with an IBM 535

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#14 Post by sandra_314 » Thu May 23, 2024 5:14 am

Enig wrote:
Wed May 22, 2024 3:50 am
sandra_314 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2024 6:58 am
Thank you, I will probably wait until I disassemble the 535 to confirm if I need the same ones or not.
Reassembled my 535 this weekend. Was too focused on getting the screen working to worry much about the caps yet. Later project I guess.

Here is a link to the image of the boards above so you can download the full res:
https://imgur.com/a/PToGyso
You can't really read the values of the ones on the DC/DC board tho :(
Thanks a lot! I wanted to ask, do you know about any "modern" solution to replace the HDD that will work for the 535? I don't have any replacement drive so I was considering SD card to IDE adapters or something similar.

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#15 Post by Enig » Thu May 23, 2024 6:56 am

By modern I assume you mean flash based?
Personally I much prefer the sound of spinning rust. That is what I usually aim for, so my experience here is not that extensive.

I have however used my cheap Chinese IDE->CF adapter with a 512MB noname CF card to test the 535. That worked, at least for DOS.

A few things to consider with CF:
- Speed. at least mine is quite slow - fine for DOS.. Have not tried Win9x. Did try to install Windows2000 on another CF card on an X41 for fun .. 5 hours - need I say more?
Some cards may be better than others though.
- Capacity: The 535 initially came with either an 810MB or 1080MB HDD as standard, so I'd assume 1GB would be safe, although the actual limit is probably higher.
(if too large the laptop will not see the drive and likely refuse to boot).
One way around this that I'm aware of is drive overlays (like Ontrack Disk Manager). Haven't tried it though.
- Fixed CF card (as opposed to removable media). Some OS's require this, and even some BIOS I've read. But I don't think my CF card is fixed. (Fixed cards are usually refered to as industrial CF cards)
- Trouble shooting. Having some way to individually test if the adapter and CF card work at all.
- Wear: This goes for both CF and SD. If you use an OS that writes and overwrites a lot, then sectors can wear out - think Windows Swap file. unlike a modern SSD that can shuffle data around neither of these can, and worn out sectors will effectively kill them.
- Remember to get an adapter that uses 44pin IDE (laptop IDE).

Don't have any IDE->SD adapters. No comment :)

Further research: Vogons has a bunch of threads on the subject of adapters ..and other wierd and wonderful solutions:
https://www.vogons.org/

Did your 535 come without it's HDD?
Thinkpads: Too many. Currently playing with an IBM 535

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#16 Post by solidpro » Thu May 23, 2024 9:05 am

I have somewhere between 7 and 35 of these. Probably 7. I was exaggerating for comic effect.

I've probably been through about 20-30 of them though to make 7 really good ones.
http://Ret.Rocks - Rare Used & Restored Vintage Computing for Sale!
Wanted: 220, 315D, 320, 350x, 355x, 500, 510, 530CS, 730TE, 750P, 755CD, Any 8xx Series, A20p, A21p, A22p, A31p, T40p
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#17 Post by sandra_314 » Thu May 23, 2024 9:10 am

Enig wrote:
Thu May 23, 2024 6:56 am
By modern I assume you mean flash based?
Personally I much prefer the sound of spinning rust. That is what I usually aim for, so my experience here is not that extensive.

I have however used my cheap Chinese IDE->CF adapter with a 512MB noname CF card to test the 535. That worked, at least for DOS.

A few things to consider with CF:
- Speed. at least mine is quite slow - fine for DOS.. Have not tried Win9x. Did try to install Windows2000 on another CF card on an X41 for fun .. 5 hours - need I say more?
Some cards may be better than others though.
- Capacity: The 535 initially came with either an 810MB or 1080MB HDD as standard, so I'd assume 1GB would be safe, although the actual limit is probably higher.
(if too large the laptop will not see the drive and likely refuse to boot).
One way around this that I'm aware of is drive overlays (like Ontrack Disk Manager). Haven't tried it though.
- Fixed CF card (as opposed to removable media). Some OS's require this, and even some BIOS I've read. But I don't think my CF card is fixed. (Fixed cards are usually refered to as industrial CF cards)
- Trouble shooting. Having some way to individually test if the adapter and CF card work at all.
- Wear: This goes for both CF and SD. If you use an OS that writes and overwrites a lot, then sectors can wear out - think Windows Swap file. unlike a modern SSD that can shuffle data around neither of these can, and worn out sectors will effectively kill them.
- Remember to get an adapter that uses 44pin IDE (laptop IDE).

Don't have any IDE->SD adapters. No comment :)

Further research: Vogons has a bunch of threads on the subject of adapters ..and other wierd and wonderful solutions:
https://www.vogons.org/

Did your 535 come without it's HDD?
Thank you for the explanation. According to the Japanese Wikipedia the maximum supported size should be 6.4GB.

And nope, unfortunately it didn't come with any HDD. Also I'm having some troubles with my 535, I'm not being able to get any signal neither in the laptop screen itself nor in an external VGA display.

This is what happens when I simply plug a charger:

Image

And this when I press the Power button (the orange led flashes alone for 1 second then all LEDs remain on):

Image

Any idea about what could be happening? Does this laptop simply refuse to give any signal if no HDD is plugged in?

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#18 Post by Enig » Thu May 23, 2024 2:32 pm

Some things here i might be able to answer - others not.

1. HDD: BIOS version most likely plays a role in how large a a drive size you can use, and I'll assume the JP wiki references what is possible with the latest BIOS.
Here is what I experienced.
I have BIOS ver: 3.04 97H4109 06/18/98
Have just fdisk partitioned a 4GB CF card into 2 partitions and formated the 1st without issue - should be fine :)
.. so any BIOS version equal to or newer than mine should be able to do the same.

2. Screen: Mine didn't have backlight when I got it and was heavily vinegar damaged (see picture earlier) .. I could see just a tiny bit when using a flashlight to illuminate the screen where there was text.
From the images you provided I get the gist that yours is not in a great shape either - could you provide images of the LCD?

3. No VGA does not sound right. I have had VGA output all the way down to just a few boards being assembled. No keyboard, screen nor disk.
Orange LED flashing is likely battery giving up .. mine flashes all LEDS on start then only shows POWER led consistently with the HDD kicking in when booting (no battery LED as my battery is empty).
Thinkpads: Too many. Currently playing with an IBM 535

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#19 Post by Enig » Thu May 23, 2024 3:05 pm

solidpro wrote:
Thu May 23, 2024 9:05 am
I've probably been through about 20-30 of them
That is good enough for me - you are insane and I love you fot it :lol:
Thinkpads: Too many. Currently playing with an IBM 535

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#20 Post by panips » Fri May 24, 2024 11:16 am

sandra_314 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2024 9:10 am
Any idea about what could be happening? Does this laptop simply refuse to give any signal if no HDD is plugged in?
I replied in another thread and I still doubt if the little green battery was leaking and your system board (planar) was eroded.
Tear down your laptop and to the bottom right (near the south bridge), you might find damaged components like resistors (e.g., r54, r55, r58) or diodes (d16) in that area. If the damage seems manageable, cleaning the affected components and attempting a rework could potentially revive your laptop.
:lol: 235, 240, 330Cs, 360CSE, 365XD, 370C, 390, 550BJ, 560, 570, 600, 750C, 755CX, 760LD, 760E, 770Z, PC110, R30, S30, TransNote...
:( PS/55 Note, 315ED, 360PE, 365CD, 500, 535, 701C, 755C, 755CD, 770X, A20p...
WTB: 700C, 7xxT, 755CV/CDV, R50p w/QXGA (and other ThinkPads before 1995)

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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#21 Post by solidpro » Fri May 24, 2024 2:24 pm

I have 535 spare parts:

4 x Keyboard and Trackpoint Assemblies
1 x 535X Complete lids (LCD not tested but looks good condition)
3 x LED Bezel Plastic
3 x MIC Bezel Plastic
1 x 535X Base
1 x 535E Base
1 x 535 Base
2 x 535X DC/DC Boards Recapped
2 x 535 DC/DC Boards Recapped
4 x Palmrests
2 x 535E Audio Daughterboards
2 x 535X Audio Daughterboards
4 x Inverters
3 x HDD Trays
2 x PCMCIA Bays
2 x LCD Ribbon Cables
3 x Back Connector Door
3 x Side Connector Door
http://Ret.Rocks - Rare Used & Restored Vintage Computing for Sale!
Wanted: 220, 315D, 320, 350x, 355x, 500, 510, 530CS, 730TE, 750P, 755CD, Any 8xx Series, A20p, A21p, A22p, A31p, T40p
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Re: IBM Thinkpad 535X Teardown and Repair

#22 Post by Enig » Tue Jun 11, 2024 3:49 am

Hey Solidpro, did you ever find the time to look for an intact Japanese install on your fleet of 535/E's ? :) .. not meant to rush you btw.
I'd still love have an original, should you find one, even though I've gotten further - see below.


I have also been looking from my end. No HDD images or restore CDs obviously - that would be too much of a miracle.
So I set out looking for drivers, and even that turned out to an uphill struggle.

This was the last capture from July 2005 on archive.org of the Japanese driver index page:
https://web.archive.org/web/20050721032 ... nkpad.html
..and ofc the files have not been archived, as they lived on an FTP - I have found no mirror of the PCCSVC anywhere either.
The files used to live here:
ftp://ftp.jp.ibm.com/pub/pccsvc/thinkpad/
..and all the old Japanese sites mentioning any of these drivers point directly to the old FTP or the index page - dead end.

I did find the video driver on this well known site:
http://ps-2.kev009.com/
..and the MWave DSP on a Korean blog post. Between them enough to get started, but felt like I had hit a wall getting any further.
Last night however, I struck a bit of gold. I think I now have most of the Win9x drivers and a few for Win31, OS2 and NT
I also got some for the 535X.

I don't know if I'm the only interested in this bizarre quest - but if anyone else wants them let me know.


Here is what I've collected so far (all in Japanese):

535/E:
BIOS v1.11
Video driver (Win9x)
MWave DSP (Win95)
MWave DSP fix (Win98)
TP Utility UPC (Win31,Win9x)
TP Utility (NT4)
PCMCIA.SYS driver fix (NT4)
PIIX IDE driver (NT4)
Fn key fix (NT4)
Video driver (Win31)
Video driver (OS2)

535X
BIOS v1.00
Configuration Utility (DOS)
Audio driver (Win9x)
TP Utility (Win9x)
Modem driver (9x,NT,OS2)


By the way - the Korean Blog I mentioned above does have some other interesting things - including what looks to be a audio/video/BIOS archive for the 235. Not owning a 235, I haven't tried any of them.
https://m.blog.naver.com/PostView.naver ... navType=by
Thinkpads: Too many. Currently playing with an IBM 535

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