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Fixing and Upgrading an IBM T41 (In Vancouver)

Updated on September 3, 2011
New motherboard with base
New motherboard with base
New Keyboard
New Keyboard
IBM power adapter
IBM power adapter
Recovery screen from pressing the Access IBM blue key at boot up.
Recovery screen from pressing the Access IBM blue key at boot up.
1.6 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, 80GB Hard Drive, 54.0 MBps WiFi
1.6 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, 80GB Hard Drive, 54.0 MBps WiFi
T41, Bluetooth
T41, Bluetooth
Fn-F5 to WiFi and Bluetooth
Fn-F5 to WiFi and Bluetooth
with a bag
with a bag
Old motherboard and keyboard to recycle
Old motherboard and keyboard to recycle

As mentioned in my previous HUB page, I bought a failing IBM T41 to identify the problem in the failed IBM T40. Although the T41 could not be booted up sometime, it was still useful by swapping the motherboard that I could deduce that both the T40 and T41 were having motherboard problem. I bought two recycled motherboards for them and they both failed again in a month. I then learned from internet that such problem was due to the old base which was not sturdy enough to protect the motherboard from bending when user lifted it up on one side frequently.

For proper fixing, I bought 2 new motherboards with improved bases on 1Aug2010. The T40 was fixed first and picked up by a garage owner. For the T41, its 60GB hard disk had formatting error, the internal Intel 802.11b wireless card was slow and DVD-ROM /CD-RW was missing. The keyboard was shinny on frequently used keys. Besides fixing it, I decided to upgrade it at the same time. I bought the following:

  1. NEW Motherboard IBM ThinkPad T40 T41 T42 Laptop + Base
  2. NEW US Keyboard 39T0581 F thinkpad T40 T41 T42 T43 R50 14.1
  3. IBM ThinkPad T41 Wireless Card 91P7301 (used)
  4. IBM Thinkpad T40 T41 T42 Series DVD ROM / CD-RW (used)
  5. 2x512 MB RAM (used)
  6. 80GB Hitachi hard drive (used)

It look longer time to get all the parts. When all arrived, I moved the CPU and the parts to the new motherboard + base. Silver thermal compound was added to CPU and dust in the fan was cleaned.

I inserted a DOS startup CD before powering up the T41. The motherboard is good. From DOS, I used the FWRESTOR program to restore the BACKUP files (001 to 005) that I saved from the T40 and copied to the 80GB hard drive. It took over 2 hours. When the hard drive was loaded, I powered on the T41 and pressed the Access IBM blue key at the boot up stage to get into the recovery program to restore the T41 to factory contents.

The restore was successful. The second boot up had XP loaded and landed on the IBM desktop screen. I upgraded the XP to SP2, installed Microsoft Security Essential and the latest drivers from Lenovo (IBM) website for the wireless card and Bluetooth. When I tested the Fn+F5 to switch on wireless and Bluetooth, it gave me an error message "Unable to change power state of 802.11 wireless radio. Update the driver for the wireless adaptor". Since I just installed the latest driver, the error message to update driver must be wrong. I ignored it and continued to download the T41 software and installed them. The error message finally disappeared when the Access Connection was installed. The Fn-F5 key worked again. I tested the wireless card, Bluetooth, keyboard, DVD/CD RW, sound and USB ports. All are working.

Inside the T41, it has factory contents plus hardware and software upgrades. Outside, it has a new IBM keyboard which looks great. The 1GB RAM gives good speed and 80GB hard drive provides extra storage. The 8 cell battery hold charge for an hour on internet browsing.

From the shinny keys on the keyboard, the T41 must had been used heavily for a while before its motherboard started failing. With new motherboard and keyboard, it is good to serve again.

It was taken up by a student who lives close by to me on 5 Oct 2010 and I traded in his broken Acer Aspire 5800 laptop. He also gave me his website where he posts his poems. It is a good site.


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