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things I break/fix for fun and learning

Nov 1, 2019 - 3 minute read - Comments

My Thinkpad Collection

I love Thinkpads, especially the older models that are very modular and upgradeable. Thinkpads are business-class enterprise machines and usually corporations order them in bulk and after 3-5 years they dispose them in favor of the newer models. Since this machines are usually docked in an office environment, it is not unusual to get cheap off-lease equipments that still look like brand new or in good working condition.

Thinkpad X220 - my first Thinkpad that got me hooked!

This is the Thinkpad that got me hooked! Very modular, upgradeable, cheap price and works OK for my needs. This is better than getting entry-level laptops on the same price range. I’ve done several modifications to it here and here.. I had to replace it with a T420s as it got water damage. Somehow I was able to get a motherboard replacement from a co-worker and it now serves as my backup machine. I also got a 2nd X220 and it serves as a backup of the backup :)

Thinkpad T420s - big brother of the X220.

This is similar to the X220 and the main difference is the size. X220 is at 12.5in and T420s is at 14in. This became my daily driver for several months / years when my X220 broke down due to water damage. T420s now serves as my Win10 / Office2019 machine.

Thinkpad T540p - rescued from ebay.

This is being listed in ebay as parts only - no hdd, no ram, no charger. Its been listed for several months and no one is biting, and the seller even reduced the price. I offered below asking price and the seller agreed. I salvaged several parts from the X220 / T420s (mainly SSD and RAM), upgraded the CPU and screen and added a 2nd SSD via the m2 slot. This is now my “new” daily driver and has more power than the X220/T420s.

Thinkpad T43 - rescued from thrift store.

This is a gamble that paid well. No charger, no RAM, and the case has lots of cosmetic damage. I still bought it as I have spare RAM and spare charger. Surprisingly it still works, although the HDD seems broken as it intermittently gets detected in the BIOS. I held on to it and after several months I was able to get a donor T41 unit from a co-worker for free (by fixing his laptop keyboard). I swapped the components and now the thrift store T43 has a nice chassis and everything works. I decided to upgrade also the CPU to the max speed it supports. This now runs Win XP SP3 for offline tasks - retro gaming, Microsoft Office and for teaching kids typing using Mavis Beacon software.

Linux Cheat Sheet for Thinkpad T420s

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