The Arcology Garden

Repairing my ThinkPad X1 Yoga's Keyboard


Technology Computer :( DIY Right to Repair Essays

[2020-02-24 Mon 22:37]

there is a fiddly thing in my laptop where when you close the lid the keyboard keys, uh, sink in to the bezel so that they're flush.

i had my keyboard replaced due to uh minor liquid penetration uhh like six months ago and the keyboard didn't do that "rise-and-fall" any more. the laptop would wake up in my bag whenever i went out with it, and the pressure of the keys was damaging the display.

it's this spring-loaded mechanism attached to the display hinge, really clever thing, it drives a pin in and out when you close and open the display. that was installed incorrectly, and unsurprisingly so, it turns out i have to install the display to the bezel with it indexed to like 80-90 degrees. logistically obnoxious. and of course i realized this after i took out the keyboard, all forty 1mm screws.

but now my laptop feels better when it's closed

the laptop has been a bin of trouble, tbh, I wish instead of this I'd got an x280 or x210 instead, to be honest. it's been serviced numerous times, and i've been frustrated with how bad Lenovo's support quality could be. there's only one warranty repair service that's less than two hours' bus ride away, and that's the one that installed the keyboard incorrectly. My guess is that all they had to work with was the Hardware Maintenance Manual, I couldn't find any reference to other manuals for this model online.

Every Thinkpad I've ever owned has a big PDF called the hardware maintenance manual, with instructions on how to replace any part which can be serviced under warranty without sending the device to Lenovo, along with listings of part numbers and screw sizes for every single screw.

The X1 Yoga has one too, but it's only got teardown directions, no information on how to install the keyboard! It seems like the keyboard itself is not field-replaceable, only the bezel-and-keyboard is treated as a field-replaceable in the manual, and that's treated as a singular component, and there are no part numbers listed.

And so there's no way to know, unless you're intimately familiar with the design language and implementation details of this particular line of computers (the flush bezel, with keys falling in to the bezel when the display shuts, or goes to tablet-mode) you can't possibly know that you're installing this thing wrong, unless you're not being given the documentation to properly do your job.

That said, this was work that WOULD be doable for anyone with a steady hand, proper documentation, and a toolset like the one @ifixit sells. I was able to get the laptop apart but together? Gods, the tech who did this had the same manual probably! (See alt text for mechanism)

It's clear that Lenovo doesn't give people the tools to do this work properly. Their on-site and licensed warranty services are laughably unprepared and unprofessional as a result. Proper right to repair laws could make a real dent in simple issues like this that layfolk suffer.