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.