A tale of buttons

It all started innocently enough.

I finally decided to replace my 6 years old Thinkpad X200 with a bit more modern used T440P. More power, better battery life and all the other modern goodies were all things I was looking forward to. Unfortunately I also knew that for the 44x series Lenovo changed the design of the trackpad to a single piece clickable square. No more beloved buttons, so easy to use with the trackpoint. Not a big deal- plenty of people reported using the newer design of the trackpad off a T45x series to get those buttons back, so I figured i’ll just swap it in. The laptop came in, and I tried really hard to like the trackpad as is. No go: total lack of feel, constantly pressing RMB instead of LMB and a very annoying clicking sound  heard in the whole house. It had to go!

Look ma, no buttons!

Don’t mess with success, Lenovo!

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Altium running slow? Here is one possible reason

Recently,I’ve been working on a design in Altium. Nothing that unusual or complicated, so I didn’t expect any troubles. I went through the standard steps of importing a dxf outline, creating board shape and placing parts.  And then halfway through routing I started getting some very annoying slowdowns. You’d touch a net to start routing a trace from it and cursor changes into a spinning “wait” circle and sits there for 30 seconds or more. In some cases I had  to stop Altium process and reopen it again. Not good when you have many nets to touch! Continue reading

Testing laptop battery: pinout, SMBus, charge capacity


As a result of visiting Hamfest, I ended up with a laptop to take apart – a fairly new Toshiba Satellite C675D with a broken screen. It’s not a Hamfest if you don’t bring home something to take apart of course! Today we’ll be testing the battery it came with to see if it’s salvageable.The date code says  it was made in 11/2011

Patient all hooked up

Patient all hooked up

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Bringing Samsung Galaxy Nexus back from dead

Today we have a new patient in the lab: a Galaxy Nexus phone that took a dunk in a river. It has been dried right after that and continued to function for a good six months after until it finally died. The only thing that happens when power is turned on is you get a short but blinding flash of camera LED and then everything goes dead. Time to take it apart and see what we can do. Continue reading

Viewsonic VA1930WM repair

Yet another dead monitor made its way into the Kuzyatech lab. A 2007 vintage Viewsonic VA1930WM monitor that stopped turning on.The symptoms were classic- power on light cycles on and off, but the screen stays dark,while a faint repeating squeal can be heard from the unit. Sounds very much like that Samsung  LN32A330 I fixed recently. Time to take it apart!  Continue reading

Reviving an IBM ThinkPad X31

This is an old repair I did a while ago and posted on thinkpads forums.  Reposting here to put it all under one roof. We have quite a few IBM Thinkpads X31 in the family. They are built like a tank and work well enough to keep using them despite 2003-2004 datecodes. One day two of them started exhibiting identical symptoms- they would just refuse to turn on. No lights, fans or other signs of life. Luckily I stumbled on a schematic on the web, so that was a good starting point.

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