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Modify T43 mainboard to enable SATA drives?

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Pingwin Wielki
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Modify T43 mainboard to enable SATA drives?

#1 Post by Pingwin Wielki » Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:30 pm

Is it possible to modify T43 mainboard to bypass "SATA to PATA" bridge and add standard SATA socket (to enable standard SATA drives to work as a main drive)?

I know it would require soldering, but the idea came to my mind after I read all those posts about HDD problems... It is said that IBM added the "SATA to PATA" bridge at the very late stage of T43 project, when it became obvious that they will be short on SATA drives. Maybe there is a way to reverse that job? Did somebody tried that? Would it require only electronics modification or BIOS changes as well?

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#2 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:36 pm

***
Last edited by ajkula66 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#3 Post by Pingwin Wielki » Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:46 pm

Okay, let's go to "plan B"...

Is it possible to attach a SATA drive via the "PATA to SATA" adapter? Does it work flawlessly?

I think it would be alike to connecting SATA HDD via the UltraBay. The scheme would look like this:

(SATA Drive) <-> (SATA to PATA adapter) <-> (T43 PATA to SATA bridge) <-> (T43 SATA chipset)

I assume the main problem with "2010 error" is because PATA drives don't understand all SATA commands. However if we connect SATA drive here (with appropriate adapter), would it solve all "2010 error" issues and allow to take advantage of SATA HDD large capacities?

Yes, I know... additional adapter would cause HDD not to fit completely into the T43 slot... This will be the main issue of "plan C".

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#4 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:05 pm

***
Last edited by ajkula66 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

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#5 Post by BeeJayEmm » Sat Sep 20, 2008 12:25 am

In addition, the SATA drive-to-PATA connector adapter would introduce overhead that would degrade drive performance to some degree. There are still large PATA drives available, just not 7,200 RPM ones.

FYI, unlike the 1802 error, the 2010 error does allow booting.
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#6 Post by ajkula66 » Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:57 am

***
Last edited by ajkula66 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

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Abused daily: X200s


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Of course

#7 Post by BeeJayEmm » Sat Sep 20, 2008 12:57 pm

Yes, George, I was speaking hypothetically. The best the OP could hope for with such a Rube Goldberg drive would be a 2010 error. I don't believe there is any point in attempting such a thing for reasons we both stated, especially given the bad experience you cite. But I can understand someone wondering about it, because I have, too.

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#8 Post by schen » Sat Sep 20, 2008 1:20 pm

BeeJayEmm wrote:In addition, the SATA drive-to-PATA connector adapter would introduce overhead that would degrade drive performance to some degree. There are still large PATA drives available, just not 7,200 RPM ones.

FYI, unlike the 1802 error, the 2010 error does allow booting.
Actually the 2010 error does not stop the boot if you set the switch in the BIOS to go on with the boot after the error message. At least that's how it works on my wife's R52 that has a WD 250Gb HDD in it.
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#9 Post by agarza » Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:59 am

If you want to get a bigger HDD use the T60 SATA 2nd HDD adapter. I don't know if there's a performance downgrade using the SATA drive on the ultrabay.

To be frank T43 machines have so many 'flaws', including the GPU failure, 2010 error, hot as hell, the SATA-PATA bridge.
I think most of people who take a shot upgrading to 'Lenovo made' Thinkpads will be satisfied.

I made a switch from a T42p to a T61 and I'm very happy. It's so darn cool and quiet. Although I know not everyone have the budget to upgrade the laptop, I'm just saying that if you want to get a SATA drive which is bloody fast compared to a E-IDE PATA just make the jump to the T6x series or newer.
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#10 Post by Pingwin Wielki » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:08 am

That's not the matter of what I like or want... That was just a curiosity...

About 2 months ago I had an opportunity to buy a post-leasing ThinkPad. There were 2 models (T42 and T43) to choose, both of them at the same price.

The T43 configuration was somehow stronger: newer chipset, faster CPU (Dothan 1.7GHz), 1GB RAM, newer GPU, 60GB HDD,...

The T42 configuration was quite fair, but not breathtaking: Banias 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 40GB HDD, etc.

I was wondering why the newer (and better equipped) model is priced at the same level as his older brother. I had spent some hours searching through ThinkPad websites and forums and then I understood. The T43 is faulty. It has construction faults in hardware that make it less attractive than the previous ThinkPad models.

So I purchased T42... and I'm quite happy with it :-) It fit my needs and work without problems. Just the 'best buy' for me :-)

But the question remained. Is it possible to fix the most unwanted T43 fault (HDD problem) or is T43 just doomed to the end of its life? Now I know the answer, thanks to you.

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#11 Post by chan_man » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:11 pm

agarza wrote:If you want to get a bigger HDD use the T60 SATA 2nd HDD adapter.
The T60 SATA adapter will not fit into a T4x machine. There is a plastic tab at the rear of the tray that blocks the tray from fully seating into the slot.
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#12 Post by bill bolton » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:16 pm

chan_man wrote:
agarza wrote:There is a plastic tab at the rear of the tray that blocks the tray from fully seating into the slot.
If you snap the tab off it, it will work in a T43 (but not earlier T4x models).

Cheers,

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#13 Post by aaa » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:21 pm

bill bolton wrote:(but not earlier T4x models)
T42, Ultrabay Slim and Hitachi Travelstar 7K200-200

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Re:

#14 Post by Maccess » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:01 am

chan_man wrote: The T60 SATA adapter will not fit into a T4x machine. There is a plastic tab at the rear of the tray that blocks the tray from fully seating into the slot.
Can we have a definitive how-to for this? Does this mean the T43 has SATA connectors in the Ultrabay?

Note: This will only ever, ever work on the T43 and possibly the R51e and R52 because these boards have a SATA controller. The main drive is accessed through this SATA controller via a SATA PATA Adaptor. The main drive SATA interface CANNOT be accessed directly, but if there's one in the bay, this would be a breakthrough that would allow T43 usersw to run a SATA drive inthe ULTRABAY.

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Re: Re:

#15 Post by bill bolton » Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:46 am

Maccess wrote:Does this mean the T43 has SATA connectors in the Ultrabay?
No, it doesn't.

Cheers,

Bill B.

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Re: Modify T43 mainboard to enable SATA drives?

#16 Post by aaa » Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:53 am

There were never any SATA connections in the Ultrabay until the T400 came along. The whole time even T6x had PATA in there.

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Re: Modify T43 mainboard to enable SATA drives?

#17 Post by Teamaster » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:29 pm

It has been made proved possible. Someone did it in 2007. Basic idea is to bypass/remove the SATA-to-PATA bridging chipset 88SA8040. To install the SATA drive requires custom build PCB to be mounted on top of the PATA interface on mainboard. Obviously, some other circuit modifications have to done.

I wanted to post some pictures but I don't know how to insert a picture without using the link method.

Here is the original post FYI (it is in Chinese).
http://www.51nb.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=575290

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Re: Modify T43 mainboard to enable SATA drives?

#18 Post by virge » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:24 pm

I saw something similar done with a X41 a while back. I'm pretty sure it was also on that same website. I have problems navigating that site though. :D
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Re:

#19 Post by dr_st » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:59 am

Pingwin Wielki wrote:I was wondering why the newer (and better equipped) model is priced at the same level as his older brother. I had spent some hours searching through ThinkPad websites and forums and then I understood. The T43 is faulty.
Trust me that whatever faults the T43 may have - it had absolutely nothing to do with the pricing. Chances that the people who were selling, did not care or even understand the differences in the specs, and how they should, in theory, reflect the fair market value of the machine. They were just getting rid of old junk.
Pingwin Wielki wrote:It has construction faults in hardware that make it less attractive than the previous ThinkPad models.
The T43 is not without its merits. Yes, it has the stupid PATA/SATA bridge and it runs hot/noisy (TPFanControl can help you control the heat/noise trade-off), but its chances of suffering a GPU failure are far lower than on most T42s, not to mention the Intel GPU T43s, which don't have GPU failures at all.

Other than that, its basic design is the same as previous T4x series, and it maxes out on higher specs.
Pingwin Wielki wrote:But the question remained. Is it possible to fix the most unwanted T43 fault (HDD problem) or is T43 just doomed to the end of its life?
Depends on what you see as a "problem".

The fact that the BIOS throws the 2010 error at every drive but a select few? This could be solved with a BIOS patch. There have been (unsuccessful) petitions to Lenovo to release such an update. Looks like it will never actually be done. But like has been said, it's only a minor nuisance, as you can still boot and use the computer without any issues.

If you refer to the fact that it takes older, smaller, rarer, more expensive PATA drives, then - well, the T42 has the same "problem", as all older machines. In fact, at least the T43 takes cheaper DDR2 RAM, compared to DDR on T42.
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Re: Modify T43 mainboard to enable SATA drives?

#20 Post by sjthinkpader » Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:45 am

This is the link to that X41 thread. Should be similar to T43.

http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=75928
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Re: Modify T43 mainboard to enable SATA drives?

#21 Post by Bibin » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:07 pm

I don't like to be "that guy" who bumps old threads, but having acquired a nice T43p I've been itching to give this a go. The Chinese site where a fellow did it to a T43 successfully no longer has working images. Does anyone have any information on doing this? In an electric sense this is 100% possible, and with careful soldering (and desoldering of the PATA-SATA bridge) this should be completely functional.

The T43 (and I suspect the T43p) contains the 88SA8040 SATA-PATA bridge as the X41. I am confident in my ability to solder to the pads for the SATA data cables, but does anyone have any tips on successfully and non-destructively removing the bridge?

Based on research reading a few german forum threads, I've found that the Marvell chip has its lines going past the southbridge near the top right, and four coupling capacitors can be removed to allow for easier soldering of the SATA lines without removing the chip. Does anyone know where these points are?
Give your T43/T43p/R52/X41 the SATA it deserves! http://mikejmoffitt.com/sata

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Re: Modify T43 mainboard to enable SATA drives?

#22 Post by Johan » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:49 am

Pingwin Wielki wrote:Is it possible to modify T43 mainboard to bypass "SATA to PATA" bridge and add standard SATA socket (to enable standard SATA drives to work as a main drive)?
If you see this post, and specificly the reply (the 3rd, inserted most at the bottom of that post) shared by your own countryman, ”miro-ems”, then you'll be pointed to this solution discussing a completely modified T43, so that it can directly install SATA hard drive!

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Re: Modify T43 mainboard to enable SATA drives?

#23 Post by lukee » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:47 am

I know, that here (on this forum) are some guys who are fixing BGA issues on T4x boards. I'm a curious if they can provide service to do SATA mod on T43? I guess they've neccessary tools and equipment so why to not start this new kind of business? :)
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