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Lenovo S10 touch screen mod complete!

March 6, 2009

I got the Fidohub touch screen panel for my S10 yesterday and I completed the mod early this morning around 2am.  Despite what the box says, it’s not that easy of an upgrade!  The S10 is pretty tight inside that small chassis, which makes it much more difficult to find places to route cables.

But it works.  I was touch-screening my way all over my OS X installation after installing it and getting the driver installed.  The configuration utility doesn’t seem to work correctly.  Not sure if that’s a problem with the application itself or if it’s due to the fact that my installation of OS X is on unsupported hardware in the first place.

First of all, Fidohub is incredible.  I live in Maryland and the touch panel kit was sent from China.  I received it in TWO days.  Fidohub doesn’t skimp on shipping.  The package includes everything you need, including a small internal USB hub to connect other devices (if you can find space inside the S10).  All cables are the perfect lengths and the touch screen controller board/USB hub is small enough to mount to the underside of the system board with some double-sided sticky foam padding (also included in the package).  The touch screen panel itself is a very thin piece of glass with some protective plastic film on each side and a thin ribbon cable connector attached.  The controller board is well made, but due to the fact that it has to be so small and thin, be careful handling it.  There are five total cables for the touch panel controller:  one cable is soldered onto the board already and it attaches to the ribbon cable on the touch panel, another cable attaches to the USB camera connector on the system board, another cable connects to the USB camera, and then there are two additional regular USB cables to add whatever your heart desires.

Fidohub sent instructions specific to the S10.  They were fairly easy to follow, if not very thorough.  The pictures are a little grainy, which makes it difficult at times to see exactly how they routed their cables or what color wires connect to what end of the ribbon cable.  Also, the english is a bit rough, but pretty good considering some of the Chinese-to-English translations I’ve received for other products’ instructions.  You can complete the install with these instructions as long as you use your head.

Before you start the installation, make sure you have a system for retaining and labeling all screws you remove from the case.  I just used some blue painter tape.  Whenever I’d remove all the screws from one area of the case, I’d tape them all together in a little tape pouch and use a Sharpie to label the pouch with the location where I got the screws from.  That way if you come back to the laptop several days later, you won’t have to remember where everything came from and you don’t run the risk of ending up with extra screws or parts.

Also, when disconnecting cables from the motherboard, be VERY careful as they’re very thin and fragile.  I cracked my microphone cable as I was trying to remove it.  Luckily, both wire prongs were still attached and the part of the connector that broke off was on the edge, so it still connects, but it was a lesson learned.

To install the touch screen, first remove the battery, hard drive, and RAM.  There are four rubber covers in each corner of the LCD bezel.  Pop these rubber covers out AND KEEP AN EYE ON THEM!  I lost (and luckily found) three of these stupid things.  They’re small and dark so they blend it with EVERYTHING!  Remove the four screws from the bezel and use something very thin and strong to start popping the bezel off.  It is held on with several small plastic tabs all the way around.  Use a credit card or something and be careful not to scratch the case.  Once the bezel is off, we’re ready to mount the touch panel.  Clean your LCD screen at this point.  Make sure that there are no fingerprints or specks of dust, because once the touch panel is mounted, those little things will be trapped there for good.  Put the battery back into the laptop and power it up.  We need to boot it up so that we can see the edges of the screen more clearly and place the touch panel correctly so that it covers the whole screen.  Once the machine is booted up, remove the plastic protector sheet from the back side of the touch panel.  The back side of the touch panel should be the side with some thin blue plastic around the edge.  When you remove the plastic protector from the touch panel, make sure it’s clean.  Don’t touch it and leave fingerprints.  Remember, once this is mounted, they’ll be stuck there forever.  After removing the big plastic protector, remove the blue plastic from the edge of the panel.  This blue plastic covers the tape that will stick the panel to your LCD monitor.  Now, just line the touch panel up with your bright, powered-on screen and LIGHTLY place it on the silver LCD bezel.  Make sure the thin ribbon cable of the touch panel is in the upper left hand corner of the LCD, by the wifi antenna.  Make any final adjustments.  When you’re fully satisfied with the positioning, press down gently on all edges of the touch panel to help secure it in place.  You can now power off the machine and remove the battery again.

Now, we have to remove some stuff.  The touch panel is very thin, but it’s still thick enough to make replacing the bezel difficult.  In order to snug everything up without making it TOO tight, we need to remove the two metal LCD brackets, one on each side of the LCD.  We won’t be putting these brackets back on in the final assembly, so you can toss them if you want or put them in a drawer somewhere for later use.  Once those are removed, the LCD panel is free to be pulled out from the top half of the laptop.  Remove the LCD panel and then remove the foam pad behind the LCD.  It’s very sticky and will keep ripping in your hand, but it needs to be removed to help free up some space.  Once it’s removed, you can put the LCD back into the top half of the laptop.  The inside of the laptop cover will now be super sticky, which is actually a good thing because now we don’t have any brackets to hold the LCD panel in place.  The stickiness will help secure it.

Remove the screws from the bottom of the case and pop off the palm rest.  Be careful as the palm rest is connected to the system board with two cables:  one for the microphone and one for the touchpad.  Remove the two screws for the keyboard and remove it, being careful to remove the cable from the ZIF ribbon connector.  Next, remove the 4 screws from the keyboard tray and pop it off the case.  You should now have full access to the top of the system board.  Remove the single screw holding the VGA cable down and disconnect that cable from the ZIF connector. Remove the camera cable and the speaker cable from the system board and remove the two antenna cables from the wifi card.  Make sure all cables are disconnected before removing the system board from the chassis.  IF you have a bluetooth card, disconnect that cable as well.

There should be no more screws holding the system board to the case.  Grab the edge of the chassis next to the VGA-out connector and pull out slightly to help pop the edge of the system board up.  Carefully lift the system board up and out of the chassis and turn it over.  On the underside of the system board, near the area where the bluetooth module would sit, there should be a fairly small area with no major components where you can mount the touch hub controller with the double-sided sticky foam tape.  Make sure you place it very carefully as you need to route all your cables from this location.  Verify that you have enough length to run the cables to their final destinations.  The instructions show the cables routed on top of the system, but I thought it looked better to route them underneath.  Plus, there’s more room underneath as you won’t be interfering with the keyboard or trackpad.  I used some electrical tape to secure each cable to the location that I wanted it.  Be mindful of any and all screw holes, potential hotspots, moving parts (fan), etc., when routing the cables.

Once all cables are routed, you’re ready to start connecting things up.  The two cables that connect to the camera and the camera’s system board connector are easy.  The one you’ll probably have to pay attention to is the connector for the touch panel.  For that, you have to route the wires up through the hinge in the laptop.  Just follow the same path as the VGA ribbon cable and you should be fine.  You would think that it’s easier to run the wires up the side of the bezel, just like the wifi antenna cable, but not really.  You want to run the four wires BEHIND the LCD panel.  Just lay them flat and stick them to the sticky cover, and have the connector come out at the top near the wifi antenna.  Put the LCD back over the top of the wires.  Now just connect the ribbon cable on the touch panel to the connector on the wires and you’re all wired up!

Reassemble the whole thing by just going in reverse of everything you did to disassemble it.  If you want, you can try to power the laptop up before locking down all the screws, but make sure all cables are reconnected and nothing will short out on you.  Once you’re satisfied, put it all back together and tighten all the screws.  Be very careful tightening the screws.  I had one of my routed cables just a smidge too close to one of the screws of the trackpad and the system board wouldn’t lay very flat.  I couldn’t tell there was a problem until I had the whole thing almost completely assembled and was trying to put the screws in.  I had to take it all apart again to reroute that cable.  If everything goes as planned, install the driver and play with your new touch panel!

As I said above, I had trouble running the calibration tool in Mac OS X, but I’m not sure if that’s because of my wonky install on unsupported hardware or if it’s a real problem with the software.  But it wasn’t really necessary as the touchpanel was already nearly perfectly calibrated.  Now the biggest problem is finding good software with buttons big enough to touch on the screen!  I mostly wanted this touch panel so that I could run some GPS on my laptop and GPS is so much more fun with touch screens.

One word of caution:  the touch panel itself is pretty fragile.  I originally ordered a touch panel kit for a Samsung NC10 because I didn’t know Fidohub made a kit for the S10.  So I have two touch panels.  While trying to remove the NC10 touch panel from my laptop in order to mount the S10 touch panel, the sticky edge of the touch panel was just sticky enough to cause the panel to crack right down the middle.  So be careful mounting and, if need be, removing the touch panel.  Also, you might want to consider getting a protective film for it from Zagg or something.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with this mod.  If you’re going to do it, set aside a couple hours for everything.  There’s no soldering or heavy modding involved, but it’s still time consuming routing all the cables and positioning everything just right.

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25 comments

  1. […] Source SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “Add a touch screen to your Lenovo S10 netbook”, url: “http://www.thinkpads.com/2009/03/06/add-a-touch-screen-to-your-lenovo-s10-netbook/” }); Filed under: IdeaPad Tags: IdeaPad, lenovo, mod, Netbook, S10, touch screen […]


    • Hi – I am trying to put the Fidohub display of the S10e, but Iam stuck with the removal of the Keyboard cover (screws are out, but the silver thin metal plate does not come off) – any suggestions??

      Thanks a lot!


  2. Great guide. I’m thinking about getting one of these touch screens for my S10e but I need to make sure the drivers work well with a Mac OS X install. Did you have any major issues installing the driver or did it go smoothly?


    • It was pretty smooth. The touch panel kit comes with a CD with drivers for Mac, Windows, and Linux. I popped the CD in, navigated to the Mac OS X folder, unzipped the driver and ran the installer. The installer is really small and finishes quickly, then the S10 reboots. When it restarted, I had full touch panel input. Like I said in the article though, the calibration tool didn’t seem to work for me. It kept telling me to press the blinking button in the lower left hand side of the screen, but every time I pressed it, the little timer at the bottom of the screen would reset and the button wouldn’t move. I pressed the button 100 times but the program never finished calibrating. But, like I said earlier, it didn’t really need the calibration as it was already pretty much dead on. The touch panel worked just fine under my boot-132 Mac OS X installation.

      I’m in the process of re-installing XP on my S10 to further test the touch panel in Windows. I’ll probably post a video later on of the touch screen in action. I guess I either need to upgrade to Vista to get the tablet capabilities, or just find a copy of XP Tablet Edition somewhere… My bluetooth module should be arriving in the next couple of weeks, which will probably be the last thing I install in this laptop. It’s getting pretty tight inside the chassis with the touch panel controller/USB hub and the cables. I was hoping to get a GPS module installed, but the USB GPS module I bought is a bit too thick. It would have to go underneath the system board which means it wouldn’t have a good line-of-sight to the sky, which would probably mess with the satellite locking. Oh well, I’ll just carry the GPS dongle with me in my bag. It’s pretty tiny already.


  3. Reading your guide, I modified my Lenovo as well. Thanks again for the guide, it was really useful. I was able to calibrate it on the mac as well… the idea is to keep the spot pressed for a while and not worry about the timer.

    However, after couple of reboots, my mouse keeps getting stuck in a corner. Do you have any idea as to what could be the reason for this. This happened only in mac. Any ideas? I did a fresh install as well but the same problem keep coming back.


    • @ Ach –

      I’m not sure why that would happen. You said this only happens in OS X? Have you tried it with Windows and the problem never occurs?

      I would say to double-check your wire connections inside the S10. Reseat all the wires. If that doesn’t work, it could be a faulty touch panel, touch panel controller board, or touch panel driver. How did you install OS X? Did you use a modified distro like the ISO for the MSI Wind, or did you use the boot-132 method? I did the boot-132 method, which allowed me to install a clean retail version of OS X. If you’re using the MSI Wind distro, there might be some conflict with whatever modifications were made to that distro. Or you could have one corner too tight, which is pressing down on the corner of the touch panel, causing the mouse cursor to jump up to that corner.

      If you haven’t installed Windows yet and tested the touch panel in that OS, I would suggest you do that and play around with it for a week or so. See if the problem surfaces in Windows. If it happens in Windows, then the problem isn’t the OS, most likely. It would probably be a hardware failure somewhere. Again, check the wire connections. Make sure that no wires are being pinched or are damaged in any way. Make sure you removed the brackets on the side of the LCD panel AND the foam pad underneath the LCD. The fit is tight, and every mm counts.

      Let me know what you find out.


  4. I tested in windows and same problem resurfaced. So I opened the screen panel to see and the problem is gone. My guess is the touch panel was pressed tightly with frame. I will now remove the brackets to see if that would do the trick. Thanks again. I really appreciate your help.


    • @ Ach –

      Yeah, the two metal brackets on the side of the LCD panel need to be removed, as does the sticky foam pad underneath the LCD panel. I’m not kidding when I say every mm counts. It’s a very tight fit in there with the touchscreen and the LCD panel. At least you were able to troubleshoot the problem and figure out what was going on.


  5. Mi!

    Ben mentioned to install a touch panel on the S10e which has a smaller screen size than the S10.
    I would be interested in doing so – so I would be happy to hear if there are any touch panels fitting the S10e.

    Thanks for your help!
    M


    • @ mathesch –

      Don’t quote me on this, but I would assume the touchscreen for the S10 would work just fine on the S10e. The S10e’s screen is only .1 inch smaller than the S10, which is super tiny. I think you’ll be okay if you get the regular S10 touchscreen kit.

      msisaac


      • hi msisaac!

        thanks for your fast reply.
        i found this kit in the web:
        http://tinyurl.com/oetyqq
        do you have any comment on that?

        thanks again,
        M


      • I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like the same exact panel kit that I got. The circuit board looks the same.


      • Omg , this is the fastest reply I have ever had 😀 . My lenovo wasn´t even done with refreshing the page 😀


  6. Hi! Your tutorial is wonderful and I can’t wait for my touch screen to arrive so I can mod my S10. I was just wondering, you mentioned using it for GPS and I wondered what GPS programs you’ve found for OS X? I haven’t really found any that do turn-by-turn or aren’t nautical-leaning, so I would love to hear what you’ve been looking at. Thanks!


    • @Jess –

      I honestly never looked for a GPS system for the Mac OS X that I had installed. The best PC-based GPS system I found was made by Garmin and works like a charm on the S10. But it only runs on Windows. I think the lack of any touchscreen Macs could account for the lack of GPS systems for that OS. Of course, if a Mac tablet comes out soon, then that might change!


    • @jess –

      The best I can find is RouteBuddy. I have no idea if it would work with a touchscreen-modded “hackintosh”, but it looks like the only real software out there that provides turn-by-turn spoken directions and all that jazz. The only problem is that it looks like it might require a standalone GPS unit to download routes to and from. There is a free demo available, so you can try it out if you want. My suggestion would be to just load up Windows XP and run Garmin’s software if you’re really interested in S10-based GPS nav software.

      http://www.routebuddy.com/routebuddy/download/


  7. hey msisaac,

    i need help on a lenovo s10-2. i’ve watch a few videos but im still confuse on which cable connects to which cable once the usb hub is settle in

    so basically what i think i know is, the touchscren ribbon cable needs to be connected to the already solder-in wire of the usb hub..the usb output cable (or is it call the usb harness) goes to the camera? what about the usb input cable? where does that go. and what cable goes on the motherboard… or there isnt need to be one?

    i check my camera wire, and its a tiny piece of thing, have no idea how that can connect the to the usb hardness cable. i’ll recheck it again tho

    sorry if i have confused you. i just need to know the basic connection and i should be good to go. thanks


    • Hey Ken,

      I am looking to mod my S10-2 too. Were you able to complete your mod? Which touchscreen kit did you use – can we use the S10 kit? (Indian vendors are recommending against). It will be great if you can share your experience.

      Thanks
      Sameer
      sameersegal {at} gmail {.} com


  8. […] the touchpad input and minimize the mental gyrations needed, but what caught my eye was this "Add a touchscreen to your netbook" […]


  9. Anyone, Any success with S10-2? Can I use Fidohub’s s10 kit?


  10. nice write up

    did the touch screen work with vista? if so any problems or things i should know

    i am upgrading my s9e (have vista and kingston 128 ssd), to 10.1 inch s10e screen – already gor 10e bezel await screen from honk kong

    any advise would be appreciated
    stu


  11. are you aware if these LCD’s support multi-touch?


  12. […] Lenovo IdeaPad S10 […]


  13. Hy. Thanks for the tutorial:)

    Has anyone installed this screen to S10e yet ? If yes , did it work fine ?

    Thanks.:)


  14. I noticed , thad fidohub has screens for S10e too with 10,1″ size. But S10e screen has height only 576 pixels .Is there a big advantage if I put S10 screen to my S10e ?

    (My last post went to wrong place)



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