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X200 - MVA upgrade project (updated: 22 Dec 10)

X200, X201, X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300, X301 series specific matters only.
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ThinkRob
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X200 - MVA upgrade project (updated: 22 Dec 10)

#1 Post by ThinkRob » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:09 pm

As I've mentioned in some other threads, I've recently undertaken a new first-ever project: upgrading my X200 to use an LED backlit, MVA panel. MVA displays offer viewing angles second only to S-IPS (according to Wikipedia, and certainly commensurate with my experience with them) with response times far faster than those of AFFS. The particular panel that I specc'd out -- a WXGA Chi Mei display -- offers contrast ratios of 800:1, fast response times (10 ms typ., 15 ms max), and viewing angles of 85+ degrees in all directions.

After some searching, I was able to locate a supplier with whom I've done a good amount of business and order a panel. I got a good price, and I'm happy to say that -- if ordered in bulk -- I could get this panel (brand new) for a good bit less than the popular Hydis panel.

Ok, so the MVA upgrade idea's looking great so far. I got the part for about $30 less than I could get a new Hydis panel, I got the LED board, and I was able to get a cable for a song on eBay.

The Chi Mei MVA panel that I ordered arrived earlier this week. Tonight, like a kid on Christmas, I unwrapped it, disassembled my X200, and tried to connect the panel for testing...

... only to find that I inadvertently ordered the wrong cable! I ordered FRU 44C9919 instead of 44C9991. Arrrgh! Two interposed digits made for a wasted couple of hours.

No matter. Back I go to my favorite Chinese parts vendor (the same source I used for the screen), this time to order the correct cable...

I'll update this thread when I get the cable and have some results regarding the upgrade.

If this works, and if the results are good, I'd be willing to organize a bulk buy if there's enough interest.
Last edited by ThinkRob on Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Need help with Linux or FreeBSD? PM or catch me on IRC: I'm ThinkRob on FreeNode and EFnet.
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ThinkRob
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Re: X200 - MVA upgrade project

#2 Post by ThinkRob » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:52 pm

Well... I got the cable I ordered.

That wasn't it either. That'll teach me to order without looking at pictures first...

So now I have three cables -- FRU 44C9919, FRU 44C9991, and 44C9909 -- and nothing that will work.

The panel has a 40-pin LVDS interface with a FI-JH40C connector (FI-JH type, 40-pin.)

FRU 44C9909 was the original cable. It terminates in a 20-pin Hirose connector.

FRU 44C9991 is, IIRC, a cable for the LED panels that shipped in the X200. It terminates in a 30-pin JAE connector.

FRU 44C9919 is the closest bet. As far as I can tell, it terminates with a 40-pin FI-JH connector, but it's the wrong shape and length. It also lacks a connection for the LED board, but since it appears to have one built in that shouldn't be a problem.

The way I see it, I need to get something that will let me extend and fold 44C9919.

Does anyone know a place where a guy can order a custom flex cable? :D
Need help with Linux or FreeBSD? PM or catch me on IRC: I'm ThinkRob on FreeNode and EFnet.
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Re: X200 - MVA upgrade project (updated: 22 Dec 10)

#3 Post by erik » Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:19 am

you've apparently stumbled upon the exact reason why there's no direct retrofit for LED tablet panels in X20x notebooks.   the 20-pin X200 CCFL cable, 30-pin X200/X201 LED cable, and 40-pin X200s/X201s LED cable simply won't connect directly.   and, honestly, i'm not even sure the 40-pin socket on the 44C9919 is pinned out correctly.   i need to see the X200s WXGA+ panel datasheet to know for sure.

myself, i cheated and bought an X200T with the rare Hydis LED AFFS+ pen-only frameless display.   it was a slight bit easier than designing and fabricating yet another jumper harness.   plus, i actually do use the tablet feature quite often.   the X61sxga+ project was fun but wound up being costly and time-consuming.   shrink the socket pin spacing from 0.75mm to 0.4mm and you've found yourself in a real mess. :lol:

i have a few thoughts on the above but will have to sleep on it first.   it hasn't been achieved using a harness but there may be a way.
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ThinkRob
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Re: X200 - MVA upgrade project (updated: 22 Dec 10)

#4 Post by ThinkRob » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:51 am

Oh, I'll make the panel work -- it's just a question of when. :D

This picture shows the back of the X200s WXGA+ panel, Toshiba LTD121EQ3B. (Sorry for the quality, it's the best I could find.) As you can see, the connector's location means that the cable ends up with a rather unusual shape, hence why 44C9919 doesn't work.
Need help with Linux or FreeBSD? PM or catch me on IRC: I'm ThinkRob on FreeNode and EFnet.
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AvalonXIII
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Re: X200 - MVA upgrade project (updated: 22 Dec 10)

#5 Post by AvalonXIII » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:07 pm

Here's my contribution to your project: I confirmed a while back that the LCD ribbon for the X200s works with the BOEHydis LED screen (HV121WX6), but you have to twist the ribbon in an unnatural way (due to the original panel having a connector at the bottom instead of the top, as you've pointed out). However, the connection is exactly the same. Also, the connection between the ribbon and the motherboard looks to be the same between the X200 and X200s (evident by the fact that some X200s comes with CCFL-backlit screens, originally only belong to the X200). So something you want to do (that I considered too much of a hassle for me, personally) is to refold the ribbon, such that the ribbon now bends upward instead of downward. Good luck.
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ThinkRob
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Re: X200 - MVA upgrade project (updated: 22 Dec 10)

#6 Post by ThinkRob » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:20 pm

AvalonXIII wrote:So something you want to do (that I considered too much of a hassle for me, personally) is to refold the ribbon, such that the ribbon now bends upward instead of downward. Good luck.
Not an option. The cable doesn't have enough slack. :/

I think the best bet would be to get a custom-made extension, but that will be a bit tricky...
Need help with Linux or FreeBSD? PM or catch me on IRC: I'm ThinkRob on FreeNode and EFnet.
Laptop: X270, running Fedora
Desktop: Intellistation 285 (currently dead)
Workstation: owned by my employer ;)
Toy: Miata!

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