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Thinkpads.com X41 Project - (Pic Warning)

X2/X3/X4x series specific matters only
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Harryc
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Thinkpads.com X41 Project - (Pic Warning)

#1 Post by Harryc » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:11 am

Following closely on the heels of the successful Thinkpads.com T61 project, we are starting a new forum build project for an X41. The original goal of these projects was to build a project machine as cheaply as possible (donations of parts welcome) and to document the process as we go along. The proceeds from the sale of each project machine will feed the next project, and so on. At the end of the day, once we've exhausted all project ideas, the remaining proceeds would be donated to the forum to help with operating costs. While this goal has mostly remained intact, the forum owner decided not to accept a donation, but rather requested to have the proceeds go towards providing a laptop for a starving student type or other worthwhile charity, so that is our new goal.

This particular X41 project will accomplish the following;
Purchase a low end X41 like this EBay item.
Then fit it up with an IDE to ZIF adapter and a 160GB ZIF drive, as described in this thread.
Add missing parts
Document the entire process
Prepare the machine for sale
Sell the machine

This machine was purchased from EBay, and this is what we know about it so far;

It's an IBM Thinkpad X41 (model # unknown), Pentium M 1.5Ghz with 512gb of RAM, no hard drive, no caddy, no battery, and no AC adapter. The OS COA is unknown, but XP Pro is assumed. Factory warranty status is also unknown, but it is assumed to have expired. Per the seller, it boots OK to BIOS and has no major defects. One minor defect noted was a small white spot on the LCD, assumed to be a common pressure mark.

The machine cost $180.00 including shipping. Our carry-over budget is approx. $513.14, and I will post an exact amount after I close the books on the accounting for the previous project. For now, we're looking for any parts identified as missing below. Free or very inexpensive parts source suggestions are encouraged and welcome. Donations are also welcome. I will update this thread once the machine is received.

Parts needed -

X41 Battery
AC Adapter
X41 XP Pro Recovery CD's
1.8" 160GB ZIF Hard Drive
IDE to ZIF Adapter
External CDROM (USB) drive or X4 Ultrabase with a CDROM drive

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#2 Post by tim S » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:28 pm

Could be an ambitious project as this laptop is quite new and some parts are difficult/expensive to get. Unfortunately the X40/41 Thinkpads are unique in that older parts won't fit, unlike the previous T60 project.
It does seem to me that the white dot on the screen is more likely a stuck pixel which might be really annoying, but again we'll wait and see.
I confess to having more than a passing interest in this particular project and it's good that we have someone on the end of it that knows what he's doing.
Unless some has a better one, I do have a regular X40 battery to donate but it only holds about a 1/2 hour charge.
Tim S

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#3 Post by OldManClayton » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:42 am

:shock: Starving student type who needs a laptop? :roll:
560, 560, 560, (all in various stages of completion/possession of a screen) 600E that's pretty dead, and a spiffy new X61 Tablet.

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X41 project

#4 Post by dwilsonfl » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:28 pm

Harry, what will such a machine wind up selling for?

The thought of being able to buy one of the 1.8 machines and replacing the HD with SSD sounds very interesting, but only if it's technically feasible and not too pricey.

Looking at the other thread for example, I question my soldering skills. :)

But I'm really interested at how this will come out and will be following it.
Vocavit autem servirent

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#5 Post by Harryc » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:42 pm

Pricing depends on several factors. First is overall cosmetic condition of the machine, extras like an Ultrabase with an optical drive, and total RAM, etc. Assuming that we are successful in installing a 1.8" 160GB drive, it would be also be a one/off unique machine at that point. So, assuming that the machine is a 9 or better out of 10 cosmetically and all of the other factors are looking good, I'd ask in the 3 to 4 hundred dollar range. I doubt that we are going to get a donation of a 160GB hard drive, so cash investment will be around $300, and that is assuming that the battery, Ultrabase/drive and AC adapter are donated. If we have to purchase those parts, then cash outlay will approach $400 anyway. The bottom line is that we want to complete all project goals and not lose money. Making a profit would be a secondary consideration.

tim S, thanks for the battery offer and comments. Lets see if we can find one in better condition, and if not we'll definately take you up on the offer.

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#6 Post by DrThinkpad » Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:19 pm

Considering the fact I AM a starving student, I might send you my credit score and some pictures as proof lol :lol:
T500 : P8600/4GB/Intel HD/160gb Intel SSD

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#7 Post by ajkula66 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:19 pm

A very interesting idea...

I don't want to spoil the party, but in my opinion a tablet version of X41 would be a far more interesting project base, and likely an easier one to sell once everything is said and done...

Lenovo's Outlet has almost any modern ThinkPad for a ridiculous price, except tablets...

My $0.02 only...
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

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#8 Post by Harryc » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:51 am

Hindsight is 20/20, we'll see what happens George.

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#9 Post by Harryc » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:35 pm

The X41 was received today in good condition. The 'white spot' appears to be a tiny pressure mark at the extreme right edge of the LCD...good spot if you're going to have one. It needs a good cleaning. The LCD itself is very bright. It is missing the HD caddy cover, one rear foot, and both front feet underneath. There is some sticker or decal residue on the LCD lid. No cracks or deep scratches. The hinges seem to be good and tight. It is out of warranty since 10/9/2008. I loaded up Pendrive Linux and I could not see the onboard Intel PW 2200BG card. So, I will take it apart later to check. I will report more if I find anything, and as usual I will post pictures in the next 24 hours.

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#10 Post by OldManClayton » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:46 pm

This is interesting. :D Like getting reports from the mars rover. :lol:
560, 560, 560, (all in various stages of completion/possession of a screen) 600E that's pretty dead, and a spiffy new X61 Tablet.

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#11 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:25 pm

I was over-tired while reading the thread and didn't realize that the machine was already purchased...apologies, had no intention of being a party pxxper... :oops:
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

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PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

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#12 Post by Harryc » Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:45 pm

George, no problem, it is what it is. So I took off the bottom cover, and discovered that there is no mPCI WiFi Card installed. So to net out what is missing so far;

X41 Battery
AC Adapter
X41 XP Pro Recovery CD's
1.8" 160GB ZIF Hard Drive
Hard Drive Cover
IDE to ZIF Adapter
External CDROM (USB) drive or X4 Ultrabase with a CDROM drive
mPCI WiFI Card - Intel Pro 2200BG
(1) rear foot, and (2) front feet

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#13 Post by Harryc » Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:58 pm

I have an Intel 2915abg wireless mPCI card that I bought for another project that I didn't complete. So I am donating it to this project. I installed it tonight, and it works fine in Linux.

Edit: Lenovo wants $30.30 for the rubber feet kit for the X41. That is before shipping.

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#14 Post by virge » Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:04 am

Harryc wrote:I have an Intel 2915abg wireless mPCI card that I bought for another project that I didn't complete. So I am donating it to this project. I installed it tonight, and it works fine in Linux.

Edit: Lenovo wants $30.30 for the rubber feet kit for the X41. That is before shipping.
WOW! That much for bits of rubber... I haven't looked at the prices, but it might be cheaper to buy an entire base unit!

I think X4* parts must be scarcer than the T4*/R5* models. The only part that I have that would work would be an Atheros ABG card. If you have any other use for the Intel card you've already installed, I would be happy to contribute my Atheros card.
Current Thinkpads: 600E, 600X, 701C, A31 (Flexview), R51 (Flexview), R60, T42P (Flexview), TR50E, T60 (Flexview), X61s (Ultralight), Z61m (Ti) Non-Thinkpad: Toshiba 100ct

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#15 Post by Harryc » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:33 am

Virge, thanks for the offer. Hold onto the Atheros card for the next project please, we'll definately need it some day. If anyone has any of the other parts on hand, and can donate them or sell them at a reasonable price, please let me know.

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#16 Post by Harryc » Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:26 am

I have submitted an order for quantity (2) IDE to ZIF adapters. These are coming from China, so I wanted to get the order in early. I got two of them just in case ... Total cost including shipping is $11.38.

Project Financials as of this purchase;

Carry Over Balance - $213.14
X41 Purchase - $180.00
ZIF Adapters Purchase - $11.38
Remaining balance - $21.76

Last Project Z60T Pending sale - $300.

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#17 Post by Harryc » Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:19 am


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#18 Post by beGi » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:07 am

Maybe you should edit the pictures to remove XP product key and unit's serial number...

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#19 Post by Harryc » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:13 am

Done, thanks.

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#20 Post by doog » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:27 pm

Harry
As usual nice job with pictures. It looks like a nice machine.

I have one question. I know the Zif drives hasn't been out that long.
How do they compare to a regular hard drive?
"heat wise/life expectancy "
I really haven't researched them that much.

Thanks,
Doog
T60 / R61e / R51 flexview / HP NC4200

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#21 Post by ajkula66 » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:38 pm

OK, after some digging...

I've got X40 restore disks, if you don't find the original X41 ones, let me know...

Also have an AC adapter and extra 512MB DIMM that I'll send you...
Last edited by ajkula66 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cheers,

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PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

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#22 Post by Harryc » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 pm

George, perfect, as usual you've been very generous with these projects and it's appreciated. Doog, good question that I'd have to research. I was thinking about recommending an 80GB Toshiba instead of the 160GB Samsung for this project. First, it is considerably less expensive and we'd still accomplish the project goals. I am afraid of spending too much and not recouping the funds back for the future project/s. Also, after looking into the IDE/ZIF adapters we're going to use, they are specifically for Toshiba and Hitachi drives, and include cables for them. If anyone vehemently opposes this idea let me know.

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#23 Post by tim S » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:28 pm

Isn't the Toshiba drive similar to the original drive in that it rotates at 4200 rpm? I appreciate that it is much less expensive than a Samsung SSD and the original IBM drives but it might be even slower!
Tim S

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#24 Post by Harryc » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:32 pm

Tim, all of the drives we've discussed so far in this project are traditional 4200rpm (mechanical) hard drives. We never discussed an SSD. The goal, at least in my mind is to offer an upgrade path for X41 owners above the 1.8" 4200rpm mechanical 60GB drives they can get today. SSD's are a good idea, but I don't think we have the budget. Prove me wrong though because I am all for it ... I don't think a 160GB SSD exists. We could do a 30GB SSD, but again at what gain except for speed? If I were an X41 owner, I'd want as much capacity as I could get for the lowest cost ... my opinion only.
This is the 160GB Samsung drive that I was refering to in my original post in this thread. So, my comment related to cost was this 160GB Samsung (mechanical 4200rpm drive), vs. an 80GB Toshiba (mechanical 4200rpm drive). The issue with the IBM FRU 60GB drives for the X41 is that they are VERY expensive. We're talking in the $200 range here. They are specialized/proprietary drives that are not upgradeable because the manufacturer does not make larger capacities. Wouldn't it be great if we could show X41 owners how to upgrade to an 80BG or larger mechanical ZIF drive that could work well in an X41 for one third to a half of the cost?

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#25 Post by Harryc » Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:33 pm

Well, thanks to some generous donations, we've narrowed down the list of needed parts to;

X41 XP Pro Recovery CD's
1.8" 160GB ZIF Hard Drive
Hard Drive Cover
External CDROM (USB) drive or X4 Ultrabase with a CDROM drive
(1) rear foot, and (2) front feet

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#26 Post by proaudioguy » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:01 pm

I also misunderstood and thought this was going to be an SSD upgrade. I thought that was the hot ticket.

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#27 Post by Harryc » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:32 am

proaudioguy, as I mentioned to Tims, suggest a reasonably priced SSD and we'll do it. There are no 'rules' here for these projects. We do what the members want to see. Just keep in mind that we have to sell this laptop. As an example, at the end of the day we could have around $450 invested into a laptop with a 16GB MTRON MOBI ZIF SSD. That is based on a 16MB MTRON MOBI ZIF/IDE SSD costing @$250. My question would be; Is that a sellable laptop at $450? Your thoughts? Personally I have seen a couple of SSD machines have problems selling on the Marketplace forum. I don't think most EBay buyers are technically sophisticated enough to see beyond a 16GB drive, perceive it as being small, and the machine as being expensive compared to the 60GB X41's out there for $350.

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#28 Post by x412008 » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:12 am

Hi, I've got a Hard Drive Cover I can donate, if you want it.
BTW. What do you need the X41 XP Pro Recovery CD's for ?

x412008
IBM X41 - Pentium M 1.5 - 1.5GB RAM - Mtron Mobi 3000 16GB SSD - XPSP3 Tweaked

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#29 Post by Harryc » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:47 am

x412008, thanks for the HD cover offer, we'll take it!. I will PM you my address. We need X41 XP Pro recovery media to load an OS on the hard drive that matches the COA sticker on the bottom of the X41. There is no hard drive in the machine today, so we can't clone anything.

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#30 Post by OldManClayton » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:55 am

Is it not possible to just install Windows XP with the provided COA and download the drivers? I've installed XP from a generic disc on laptops with their provided COA before...
560, 560, 560, (all in various stages of completion/possession of a screen) 600E that's pretty dead, and a spiffy new X61 Tablet.

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