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Repairing a tiny ribbon cable inside a 28 yr outdated IBM ThinkPad 701c

Repairing a tiny ribbon cable inside a 28 yr outdated IBM ThinkPad 701c

2023-03-11 12:16:44

I am in the course of turning two badly handled IBM ThinkPad 701c machines right into a single, working machine. Each machines are about 28 years outdated and have not been beloved shortly. I will go away the story of lifeless CMOS batteries, plenty of Ni-Cd leakage, damaged connectors, lacking cables and extra for an additional day.

However the present state is that I’ve cobbled collectively a principally working machine from the 2. Nonetheless the TrackPoint within the keyboard was not working and inflicting a boot error indicating that the pointing gadget wasn’t working. 

The explanation was fairly easy. The previous couple of centimetres of the small ribbon cable for the TrackPoint had been cracked and the precise connector pads had been a complete mess. I do have two keyboard however one keyboard is barely working, whereas the one with the dangerous TrackPoint works nice.

Sadly, the TrackPoint is welded in place and so eradicating one and switching it to the opposite keyboard wasn’t viable. Nonetheless, reducing each ribbon cables and grafting the nice finish onto the working keyboard was. This is how I did it.

Utilizing a passion knife and below a magnifier, I scraped away the coating over the copper tracks till I had shiny copper. I attempted utilizing sandpaper however solely had 120 grit obtainable and it was too straightforward to interrupt tracks. With a passion knife I used to be capable of simply scratch sufficient off to disclose the six tracks on each bit of cable.

The ribbon cable is just 4mm huge and there are six connections to make. I stripped out particular person strands of copper wire left over from an old project. I wasn’t certain what the perfect method was so I used solder paste and my rework scorching air gun to cowl each ends in flux and tin the copper connectors.

After which I hand soldered on six wires. This was actually fiddly and the result’s ugly however it works! To do that I had no solder on the soldering iron tip however tinned the copper wires at every finish. Utilizing tweezers and as regular a hand as I can handle just some seconds of warmth was sufficient to connect the wires.

Amazingly that ugly factor has no quick circuits and there is a connection on all six tracks. Clearly, that is very fragile so I combined up some epoxy glue and coated the entire thing up.

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The mix of solder paste to tin the connections, then hand soldering, and eventually some epoxy did the trick and the machine boots cleanly into Home windows 95 with a working TrackPoint and keyboard.

The machine is getting near completion now, cannot wait to check out The Web.

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