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Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/21/2012 9:37 PM

Had to replace motherboard. 5 year old Lenovo. Found that connecting "ribbon" cables between various components failed. For example, trackpad now does not work. Perhaps because minor misalignments or maybe prior compression of copper conductors led to failed contact.

Understanding that perhaps I could buy new ribbons from Lenovo but perhaps they don"t stock or will not sell to non-official repair person. But before trying Lenovo for new cables, MAYBE someone out there (here), has found the a way to re-hab cable ends, or clip off a bit, or add a thickening bit of tape to fatten up the compressed old ribbons? Any suggestions?

Yes I gather that these ribbons are not intended for re-use, on a new installation they work just fine. Instead of trying experiments I should ask around, OK?

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Guru

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#1

Re: Laptop internal ribbon connectors fail on reuse

10/21/2012 9:56 PM

This is an universal problem. Perhaps, the supplier of the MB can help you.

You can re-hab cable ends by clipping off a bit. It will work. A lot depends on your skill.

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#2

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/22/2012 10:21 AM

The Bios on the new board may not recognize the other devices. It may not be a connector or cable issue.

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#3

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/22/2012 8:07 PM

Thanks guys for the ideas. Following the idea of clipping off a bit, I examined the end of the touchpad cable with a strong light and good 10x magnification glass.YES, there was a lifted off bit of one of the conductors. SO, using jewlers tools (MINI SNIPPERS and magnification) I VERY carefully snipped off about 1/2 a mm of the ribbon end.

EUREKA !

The laptop lives, using it right now. BTW this is a good thinkpad that had gotten full on its 350 MB hard disk. So I upgraded it to a bigger Seagate Momentus Hybrid SSD/7200 rpm drive., using the Apricorn software and external drive unit. Very Pleased.

Big improvement in speed

best regards to all.

geekish

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/23/2012 7:46 AM

Really glad for you that it worked, well done.

Do remember though that you should NEVER touch the ends of these cables, without afterwards cleaning them with spirits/alcohol before insertion. Sweat can cause corrosion months later.

Always use either thin surgeon's rubber gloves or spotlessly clean cotton ones.....

Not applicable here, but the same goes for when gluing, spotlessly clean is the order of the day!!!! and when changing button batteries and halogen light bulbs.....

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/23/2012 8:32 AM

Don't forget about static prevention. Whenever you are messing about inside modern electronic devices it essential that you take precautions against static build up. The area where I play with electronics has a static mat that is earthed and two spiral cables with wrist bands that connect to the mat. Before even opening the case on anything electronic I make sure that I'm wearing one of the wrist straps.

The advice about wearing gloves is also important, but I would recommend cotton gloves rather than latex or vinyl examination gloves. The vinyl gloves are particularly bad, but the latex gloves can also build up static charges on their outer surface that can circumvent any static precautions you take. They are also notorious for making your hands perspire so if you've been wearing them for a while your hands come out looking like prunes.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/23/2012 8:50 AM

LOL!!!

Very true.....

I use such a (grounded) mat and an armband too, completely forgot to mention it as its second nature after 40 odd years in computers....!!!!

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#7
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Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/23/2012 9:33 AM

"its second nature after 40 odd years in computers....!!!!"

Same here, but the number of time I see people, even so called professionals, dive into the guts of a computer or something as equally as sensitive to electrostatic discharge damage without any precautions makes me cringe.

The trouble with static damage is that it often doesn't produce a hard on fault but rather degrades the performance of the electronics in a way that makes them more susceptible to noise and hence prone to intermittent faults that are a real bugger of a thing to track down and fix.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/23/2012 1:46 PM

You are 110% correct, I cringe too.....

Many years ago, I had a colleague who completely refused to use the mat, funnily enough he was the only one to get failures.......he was ordered to use one, or to leave the company, problems solved......

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#9

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/23/2012 2:10 PM

Can one stand bare feet on the floor, and work on the MB safely?

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/23/2012 11:49 PM

"Can one stand bare feet on the floor, and work on the MB safely?"

Only if the floor is conductive enough to prevent a static charge building up on you. Unfortunately, unless you use a special type of antistatic floor covering that is specially designed for use where static is a problem the flooring is likely not going to be conductive enough and you will build up a static charge that can damage the electronics.

You are better off using a static mat on you bench plus earthed wrist straps. It's also safer because if you do happen to get yourself connected to the mains active line the built in resistance in the static system will not allow lethal currents to flow through the wrist straps. Mind you, I don't recommend testing it but it's designed not be capable of producing lethal currents.

Something else that's worth mentioning about static is that you don't necessarily have to touch the electronics itself to damage it. Most processor boards will have a fair wallop of field effect semiconductors built into the chips. Now these like their name suggests use electric fields to operate and for practical purposes have input impedances close to infinity. Now the field strength they are designed to cope with is usually produced by voltages of 2 to 12 V, so if you come along with you static mitts that are charged to upwards of 5,000 V the resultant electric field can be too much for them and they mays suddenly decide not to play ball any more. Even worse rather than destroying the junctions you may just damage them and introduce an intermittent fault that is neigh on impossible to isolate.

It was a long time ago but I've actually seen a CMOS chip destroyed just by holding a piece of sticky tape that's just been ripped of the roll about 5 mm away from it. The chip worked perfectly before the tape was waved past it, but afterwards it was as dead as a dodo.

Now they have come a long way in protecting modern electronics from static damage, but you can still damage it and you don't necessarily have to touch it. So, the moral of the story is, if you're going to work on something that contains electronics use ESD safety procedures like a earthed bench mats and wrist straps.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/24/2012 1:54 AM

Thank you. Nice update. I get the moral. "use ESD safety procedures like a earthed bench mats and wrist straps."

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#15
In reply to #12

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/24/2012 11:20 AM

Some electronics are damaged with voltages above 60 volts, though much has been done over the last 10 years or so to improve this.

If you are able to get enough static on you to draw a visible tiny spark to the heating pipes or water pipes or whatever, that will generally be around 6,000 volts......

By the way, good antistatic mats are connected to ground via a 1 meg ohm resistor, to preclude electrocution, it is not always easy to see physically. Mats connected directly to ground should be avoided completely.....Chinese ones are sometimes so made.....

Always check with a known good Ohmmeter that a) the resistor is included between map and ground and b) that the earth connection is good and at 0 Ohms. Clean paint off the pipe for example.

Some use the ground that is in every (good) power socket. I am not completely convinced that is a good idea myself, but if there is nothing better.....when needs must.....

I found a simple and short explanation here that mentions all the important bits here:-

Antistatic_mats

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#10

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/23/2012 5:39 PM

Just for the benefit of other readers, don't forget to release the clamp on ribbon wires, it's usually a little band of plastic right where the ribbon goes in. It has to be lifted to release the ribbon. Yanking breaks stuff. If you did break stuff, yes, you can add a little piece of paper to tighten up the ribbon connection. Just make sure it's on the non-conductor side.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/23/2012 8:17 PM

Mike K. Adding to your post re the clamps. On this lenovo there are at least two types of ribbon clamps.

1 the black clamp in the whiite nylon socket thingey. It has a front edge that can be easily lifted, ie swung up with a finger nail or a closed tweezer, or tiny screwdriver.

2 the second is a bar across the ribbon that SLIDES straight up for about 1/2 mm. No hinge action like #1.

There are larger sockets for wide ribbons like the video screen belt that has a built in end frame. I doubt these are troublesome.

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#14

Re: Laptop Internal Ribbon Connectors Fail on Reuse

10/24/2012 6:43 AM

i had this bug -- say -- 8ya

the thing had a same bay for removable CD & Floppy drives and the after 1 & a ½ y-s the Floppy drive "died" + you had quite frequently to clean the CD drive's lens for "errorless " operation ... anyway -- the 1-time fix for Floppy Drive was ::

  1. cleaning the bay + drive connectors from both sides with contact cleaner
  2. opening the Floppy Drive's case cleaning the R/W head + cleaning the ribbon connectoers contacts with contact cleaner -- /!\ the last didn't work after 1-st rushed re-assembly/-connect /!\/!\ -- no warranty o any kind (that i actually did so -- as it was long ago) but it might be i that i put the ½' wide "Scotch"(office tape) on non-contact side of the ribbon less than 100µm thick -- it also might be i put it to the PCB side of the ribbon to "tilt" the cable --- anyway i changed how it used to be there
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