[9.16.17] Thinkpad X60s Upgrades

I needed a roadtrip laptop that was 'reasonable-enough'. Study, not ginormous, and not miserable to upgrade. My target of choice, well, err, it was thrown out and hiding in a recycling bin next to CSAIL at MIT. Behold the X60s. Follow along for backlight upgrades battery nonsensery associated tomfoolery. 

Backlight Upgrade
Libre Boot Modern WifiInternal GPSBattery Upgrade Conclusion Image Directory

Backlight Upgrades

For the backlight upgrade, I purchased a kit from Monty [link]. He really went to town getting this board right, its quite packed full of led driving goodness. Not only that but all the little status lights and little led spacings line up just right! The backlight upgrades begin with popping the lcd latches all around the inside cover of the display
To get the snaps off I worked my way around the inner plastic lip with thin stainless steel shimstock. Four screws around the edge of the screen get removed (hiding under tiny plastic screwcovers)
With the inner lip removed its fairly apparent where the led driver goes, its, spot on size wise in comparison to the CFL driver. Shown you can even see the tiny status indiactor leds matching up.
Before getting messy, lets verify everything works. To do so, I removed two screws that hold the CFL inverter in place and disconnected the small flush mount connector providing data and power to the module. I mushed in the LED driver along with its led strip.
The LED strip fits into the connector thats quite similar to the cfl connector and everything cab be mushed in place to test the setup before doing a full teardown. I will note that the LED strip has no heatsinking when its not in the laptop shell, as a result i limited the amount of time the led was on to a few seconds. HUZZAH IT WORKS also YOWZA ITS BRIGHT.
Well, now that I know that the backlight glows and can be adjusted by keyboard command, time to take everything fully apart and shove things in place. This is a good point to remind you remove the battery pack, remove the AC adapter.
The back lid is removed, taking care to ensure the lcd ribbon cable and think-light doesnt get torn off. Now time to remove those itty bitty screws holding the LCD assembly to the metal chassis that ties it to the hinges
With the LCD detached from the metal chassis the small cavity where the CCFL tube lives is visible. I couldnt quite believe how small this tube was, given the light output. Its fragile but bizarely flexible for glass. Remove the kapton tape holding the end in place and begin sliding it out. It doesnt hurt to wear gloves when doing this as, it probably will break, which it did in my case.
Remove the remnants of the ccfl tube, clean out the cavity by blowing some comressed air inside and begin sliding the LED strip in. Keep in mind the bottom of the LED strip heatsinks to the chassis, so best to make sure it makes good contact.
Fire it up!
Short duration test of the LED strip in place on the LCD. Note, to keep track of screws I used the post-it-note + doublesided tape method, which works quite well.
Re-assemble everything.
You used the double-sided tape + post it labeling method didnt you? Hurray it worked!
The x60s is buttoned back up with the new led backlight driver installed. Shown far right is a rough brightness comparison of the X60s vs a more modern W530. Keep in mind this is a rough comparison as brightness and viewing angle are intermingled.
Libre Boot, for great freedom, comrade!
Did you know this was the first series of laptop to support Libre Boot? [link]

A Modern wifi card and, err, GPS ?

Battery Module

So lets take a gander at the battery pack, the 'off the shelf' extended runtime module is an 8-cell 14.4 V module, so internally its wired as 4S2P. New it should be 75 watt-hours, or 5.2 ampere-hours. This puts the cells squarely at 2.6 Ah, fairly mid-range given the low charge / discharge ratings of the laptop. 3.4AH capacity are available in 18650 form factor just as well, which is a roughly 30% boost in runtime. 
14.4v nominal pack voltage is also a curious number. The voltage range for a 4S Lion array is 12.8 v to 16.4v. Nominally modern laptops settled on 3S as the common operating voltage (3 cells in series), or 9.6 -> 12.6v. The charge rate appears to be approximatley 60 watts (metered at the wall) when connected to a 90W lenovo supply. When connected to a 170W lenovo supply it came in at the same value, no surprise there.

(There's other photos in the photo gallery)
Concluding Remarks:
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 
Electrical & Electrical Power