Before we get anywhere. If your button is acting weird or is broken, [blink][explosion]this should be covered by your warranty[/explosion][/blink]. I've heard of turn around times from 2 days to 2 weeks or more. If you still want to do this yourself, then read on.
So, my power button drove me nuts last week when it stopped responding. After some research on the problem I ended up fixing it in house and relatively easily.
The cause of the irresponsive button is the physical movement of the internal button component. It's poorly held in place and eventually it tends to move around and then entirely fall off during normal use. Here's some guides that will help you open your thinkpadpad and repair a non working button or fix and enforce a mushy one. Note that this is probably going to void your warranty, though everything up to epoxying your button down is clean and pretty much undetectable (there aren't any visible "warranty void if broken" stickers). Also, this will take some amount of soldering skills. Basically, I (and anyone I reference) am not responsible for scratched cases, bricked devices, burnt fingers, completely epoxied/glued units, the apocalypse, etc.
Moving on to the fun stuff! Please be sure to read through this post to limit any surprises you may find in the process.
Tools you will need:
- A thinkpadpad
- This guide and its references
- Small phillips screwdriver
- Plastic case prying tool
- Soldering equipment (for repairing)
- Epoxy (for enforcing)
Most of you should be at least halfway set. The first step is to get your thinkpad open.
Opening the thinkpad.
There's already some great guides that go through opening the TPT in order to install a 3G capable modem:
Opening the thinkpad to install a 3G card
The basic steps are:
- Removing the four face buttons
- Removing the two screws underneath the face buttons
- Carefully separating the two halves of the tablet
I'll cover some helpful tips in this post to help you with the process. After reading them follow the previously linked guide carefully to open your tablet.
To keep you from damaging the button's clips, notice how they are attached to the tablet.
The semicircle tabs pry off like a hinge. Once they are free you can just lift the button right off.
When separating the clips to open the case, use a plastic tool to keep from scratching the thinkpad. I found it easiest to start at the usb port.
Image-left) shows me starting at the usb port with my tool (I just used a divider from a tackle/jewelry box). Image-right) I am carefully sliding the tool around the TPT's edges to undo all of the clips.
Here's an overexposed shot of one of the clips. It's the type you simply push in to undo. I barely had to use any force to separate the halves.
An important thing to remember: the touchscreen is connected to the bottom half's motherboard. These (two) connections are on the left side of the thinkpad.
Slowly open the thinkpad, like a book from, the right.
If you do happen to yank out these connections, they should easily plug back in. See the previous guide about doing this.
Reattaching the button.
If your button is only mushy, but still responding, you can probably skip this step of reattaching the button. If you feel like re-soldering the points, then feel free to do so.
Here's a photo of my broken button:
You're going to put the button back into position so that its contacts (opposite of the white button) are lined up against the contact points on the board (the pink points within the green box in the photo above). Here's an annotated picture of the placed button from a much better camera and photographer, Daniel Lane (his cool photo site):
You can see how the button can pivot off these solder points and eventually break. Solder the points as specified in the photo. Test to make sure your points are good. Hold down the internal button to keep it from moving and try to boot using the external button.
Reinforcing the button with epoxy.
As you probably saw in the previous image from Daniel Lane, he recommends applying epoxy to the button's side posts. Normally these posts would be soldered down underneath the board to secure it in place. You can attempt to either re-solder these posts (if they ever were attached), apply epoxy to them as Daniel suggests (the next safer method), or apply epoxy to more of the button (which I have done).
A few important notes about epoxy:
-It's some serious stuff. Dont get it anywhere you dont want it. ESPECIALLY on the moving part of the button.
-If its a more fluid type, it may not stay where you want it.
-Mix it very well. For at least one minute. You don't want to be stuck with a tacky epoxy job.
I chose to apply epoxy to the sides, back, and top of the button. Do this carefully. Make sure not to let it get on any moving parts. Make a barrier if you have to, or be safe and use Daniel Lane's method and apply a smaller amount. Here is my epoxied button (warning, we are going back to crappy pictures!):
You can substitute hot glue for the epoxy if you'd like an even safer application. Though its bond is definitely not as strong as the epoxy's.
Let the epoxy cure for as long as its instructions states, then close up your thinkpad tablet. Be sure not to break any clips in this process.
Enjoy clicking your power button. Or... something more productive.
UPDATE: Sometime last week (4/13/2012) one of my volume buttons started to go. Luckily I caught it before it completely came off like the power button did. If you open up your TPT to repair the power button, I'd recommend epoxying the volume buttons while you're at it. It's a much easier job while the solder points are still in place.