Hack A ThinkPad Display

Hack A ThinkPad Display

Hackers really like their tools. This leads to holy wars over languages, editors, keyboards, and even laptops. The problem with laptops is that they age, and not always gracefully. [Syonyk] likes his ThinkPad T430S, except for one thing, its TN display wasn’t really very good. These flat screens use an older technology and show color changes with different viewing angles among other problems. So he managed to upgrade the device’s screen to IPS with the help of a replacement screen and an adapter (see right). Apparently, many similar ThinkPads can take the same sort of upgrade.

The problem is that the laptop uses LVDS to talk to the TN screen, while newer screens are likely to use Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) which is a different protocol entirely. However, there’s now a converter that [Syonyk] found on eBay (from China, of course). For about $70, the motherboard’s LVDS output can transform to eDP. Of course, you also need an IPS display panel.

With the news full of cybersecurity stories, [Syonyk] thought about the risk of putting a board of questionable origin in his laptop. However, the board doesn’t interface at all with the CPU, so it seems unlikely that it could do anything more than scrape the screen and it would not have an easy way to send the data away.

Being a veteran of many laptop teardowns, he had no trouble opening this one — the ThinkPad is known to be relatively easy to work on. He does pass along some good tips about making sure you don’t accidentally blow fuses.

It looked like a lot of work, but none of it was difficult. In addition to having a better display, the laptop also now has a higher resolution. A pretty good upgrade if you plan on keeping the machine going.

A lot of people like to hack ThinkPads. You can upgrade practically all of one, if you have a mind to do so.