ThinkPad X240: replacing touchpad and keyboard

5 Jan

Since I started using ThinkPad R500 in 2008, I immediately felt in love with Lenovo’s trackpoint which I think is the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel (I had had Dell Latitude for four years prior to that and I hated their trackpoint as it was utter sh*t). So when I was about to replace R500 with a new X240 after six years, I was a bit skeptical about the idea to merge the buttons and touchpad into a single touchpad/button thingy. But I really wanted to ditch the heavy brick and have a small lightweight laptop (wish I had gotten X61 instead of R500) so I went with X240.

X240’s sore – trackpad

After I got my X240 and turned off touchpad functionality and all the gestures, I thought that it ain’t so bad and I can still use the trackpoint as before. But whenever I took the old R500 off the shelf for some lab work, I realized, how much I miss the old trackpoint with proper left/middle/right buttons instead of that one loud piece of sheet on X240. Sadly, after about a year of usage, I suddenly missed even more the sturdiness and build quality of the old R500.

2015_12_25__20_27_47
Yep, it’s broken. And no, I did not drop it.

To my surprise Lenovo refused to replace the bezel (I guess most of you saw that coming). Luckily, as I was shopping for a new bezel on eBay, among the search results I noticed a few new touchpads WITH REAL BUTTONS! After a bit of googling and reading I found out that Lenovo in the meantime came to senses and for X250/T450/X1 3rd gen. series they ditched the frugal shitty touchpad and brought back one with the hardware buttons. Since X240 and X250 share much of the same hardware, it is possible to replace X240 one-piece-of-sheet touchpad with an awesome-with-real-buttons one from X250.

Shopping

Once I was on a shopping spree, besides a new bezel and a touchpad I also bought a new backlit keyboard (again, I did not realize Lenovo removed the illumination light found on every ThinkPad before and started offering backlit keyboards when I bought my X240 – as an extra). My old keyboard was one with Slovak layout but I use US layout most of the time so I was constantly looking for the correct buttons to press. Therefore I wanted the new backlit keyboard to have standard US layout. However, as I found out, the US layout is featuring small horizontal ENTER key, not a big vertical one as found on my old keyboard. As a compromise I bought UK layout, which is probably the closest one to US layout featuring big ENTER key.

List of hardware

FRU numberDescriptionPrice
Total71.99€
04X5180X240 keyboard bezel with touchpad and fingerprint reader7.50€
Does not have sepparate FRU (00HT390 for bezel w/ touchpad)X250 touchpad18.50€
04X0244X240/X250 CS13X keyboard, UK layout, LiteOn, backlit45.99€

Replacing the touchpad

Since I bought a new X250 touchpad and X240 bezel as well, I could start replacing the touchpad without dismantling the laptop, first. After removing the black tape and exposing the connector, I opened it and removed the ribbon cable. Then I pried off the top of the touchpad, revealing the base (the top is snapped on the steel wires by plastic clips). After that, I lifted the base from the bezel (it’s glued on by a double-sided tape).

Once I had removed the touchpad, I flipped it over and compared the base of both touchpads.

2015_12_25__20_58_39As you can see, the X250 touchpad (on the right) has differently molded the recessed part and won’t slide into the X240 bezel fully. It can be fitted, but it will not touch with the bezel along the edges, as the recessed base is constraining the touchpad to sink into the opening. The result is the touchpad will stand out a bit higher as it’s supposed to.

Update: as reported by user thnikk in the comments, it seems that Lenovo updated the touchpad base design to match with x250. The late x240 models (his touchpad manufacture date is 02-12-2014) will have the same touchpad base and fitting bezel as the new x250 touchpad, making the swap a piece of cake. So check your touchpad bottom after removing it and compare it to the images in the guide to see, whether you need to cut anything or not. Here are the images provided by thnikk of his x240 touchpad. The model number is B146020CS1 and revision RS4. I also found images of the new x240 palmrest on eBay, showing that the palmrest is shaped accordingly to fit the new touchpad.

The following part is not for the faint-hearted. You need to modify the bezel so the opening will fit the new X250 touchpad. I used a cutting knife for this task (the plastic is quite thin so the knife will do the job nicely). You also need to remove the metal latches from the touchpad’s base (with a Dremel or metal cutting scissors). If you’re not up to the task, I suggest you buy the whole X250 bezel with assembled touchpad (FRU 00HT390 for version with finger-print reader, 00HT391 without finger-print reader).

Once the excess plastic edge and metal latches are cut off, the touchpad will fit in nicely. You can reapply double-sided tape and attach the touchpad. The result can bee seen on the following pictures.

Replacing the keyboard

Procedure for replacing the keyboard is a bit of a hassle, because you need to remove the whole mainboard and there’s a lot of double-sided tape involved. Luckily, there are no special requirements or restrictions on upgrading the keyboard with backlight, you simply switch the keyboards, reconnect the ribbon cables and you are done (no need to reinstall drivers or change values in BIOS/Windows settings).

Here is a nice youtube video by TechSolvers guiding you through opening up X240 and replacing the keyboard.

One addition to the video – when disconnecting ribbon cable from finger-print reader (at 14:02), do not pull out the cable as instructed in the video. There is a black latch that needs to be released, first.

2016_01_06__17_47_47

Installing drivers for touchpad

When you have everything back in place, you need to downgrade the Windows drivers to version 18.0.7.57 (the latest version as of today is 18.0.7.109), as 18.0.7.57 is the latest version the touchpad with hardware buttons is fully supported (I am not sure why Lenovo removed the support from the newer drivers, but maybe it’s a business decision to boost the sales of X250 models 🙂 ). Otherwise, the hardware buttons do not work in Windows. To proceed with the downgrade, uninstall Synaptics ThinkPad UltraNav Driver through control panel and install package UltraNav[n10gx25w].exe from Lenovo (or you can use local mirror). Once you have the new driver installed, disable automatic updates for Synaptics UltraNav Driver in Lenovo System Update (by clicking Do not show this update link).

synaptics_ultranav_driver

Under the mouse properties in control panel you can then control and adjust all the features of the new touchpad along with the trackpoint (I have disabled the touchpad completely and use only hardware buttons along with the trackpoint).

synaptics_ultranav_center

For the reference, here is the version information for the UltraNav Driver after version 18.0.7.57:

VERSION INFORMATION

  The following versions have been released to date.

  Package       Rev.  Issue Date
  ----------    ----  ----------
  18.0.7.109    01    2016/08/15
  18.0.7.103    01    2015/02/17
  18.0.7.100    02    2015/02/05
  18.0.7.100    01    2015/01/26
  18.0.7.98     01    2014/11/07
  18.0.7.57     02    2014/10/28
  18.0.7.57     01    2014/09/19

  Note: Revision number (Rev.) is for administrative purpose of this README document and is not related to software version. There is no need to upgrade this software when the revision number changes.

  To check the version of software, refer to the Determining which version is installed section.


Summary of Changes

  Where: <   >        Package version number
         [Important]  Important update
         (New)        New function or enhancement
         (Fix)        Correction to existing function

<18.0.7.109>
- (Fix) Fixed security vulnerability issue caused by version of libpng package used.

<18.0.7.103>
- (Fix) Fixed an issue where TouchPad/TrackPoint might be enabled when Lid was closed.

<18.0.7.100>
- [Important] Ended support for ThinkPad Helix 2nd Gen (Machine types: 20CG, 20CH). Note: For ThinkPad Helix 2nd Gen (Machine types: 20CG, 20CH), use the Synaptics ThinkPad UltraNav Driver version 18.1.27.14 (N10GW15W) or higher.
- (Fix) Removed ThinkPad W541 from the support models (typo).

<18.0.7.100>
- (New) Added support for switching scroll direction in Metro Applications.
- (New) Renamed the Device Name.
- (New) All 3 finger and 4 finger gestures are disabled by default (Added Win7).
- (New) 2 finger rotate and edge swipes gestures are disabled by default (Added Win7).

<18.0.7.98>
- (New) Edge Tap Filtering enabled by default.
- (New) Gesture Filtering disabled by default.
- (New) 2 finger rotate disabled by default. (Win8.1 only)
- (New) All 3/4 finger gestures disabled by default. (Win8.1 only)
- (New) Edge swipe gesture disabled by default. (Win8.1 only)

<18.0.7.57>
- (New) Added support for ThinkPad Helix 2nd Gen (Machine types: 20CG, 20CH).

<18.0.7.57>
- (New) Added new multi-language support to help Win8 search for Mouse properties
- (New) Added top right button zone for Touchpad mode.
- (Fix) Fixed an issue on broken translations in GUI
- (Fix) Fixed "Click Anywhere" label in Mouse Properties Not Aligned in Japanese OS
- (Fix) Fixed "Button Size" label missing issue Mouse Properties in Japanese OS
- (Fix) Fixed an issue on click function not working until system restart right after the overwrite installation from driver version 18.0.7.34

From what I can tell, the new drivers do not bring any new functionality except enabling/disabling some setting defaults. I have been using the new touchpad with 18.0.7.57 driver for over two months, now, and I had zero issues so far, so I am certainly not missing anything having older drivers (I don’t think there could be an issue big enough to force me to move back to the old button-less touchpad, anyway).

Showcase

Here are a few images after the whole procedure along with a video showing the trackpad buttons and backlit keyboard really work 🙂

Before
Before: Thinkpad X240 with standard TouchPad and Slovak keyboard
After
After: ThinkPad X240 with TouhcPad from X250 and UK backlit keyboard

41 Replies to “ThinkPad X240: replacing touchpad and keyboard

  1. Many thanks for your tutorial. I need to replace the keyboard bezel (i.e. the palmrest). The video you linked shows how to replace the keyboard, but how do you proceed to replace the bezel?

    • Hi George,
      follow the video to the point where you flip the mainboard over and remove keyboard. Once you do that, just remove three screws holding the left hinge
      Left Hinge
      and three screws holding the right hinge
      Right Hinge
      Then you pull the hinges up and back and free the cables that go from the mainboard to the display. Now you should be able to slide the palmrest towards you.

    • Hello Chris, I bought the parts on eBay. Try searching by FRU number (04X5180, 04X0244, or 00HT390) or by phrase “thinkpad x240 touchpad buttons”.

  2. Many thanks for this. But to confirm, and help to avoid disaster, the X250 palmrest and touchpad will fit unto the X240 base? (This, really, is something Lenovo should do for everyone suffering with the X240.

  3. Hey,

    Something I have really big problems with is removing the ribbon that’s under the black tape directly connected to the trackpad-is the white connector also to flip up`? Do I just pull the ribbon with force? Is there any trick to this? I really don’t want to destroy anything!

    Would be super helpful if you could answer me! Thanks!

    • Hello, disconnecting the ribbon cable from the trackpad is super easy. You need to release the black latch (flip it up) on the white connector and then you can pull out the cable.
      Trackpad connector closed
      Trackpad connector open

  4. Hi There,
    I upgraded my touchpad with success but however after approximately 1 hour of use my trackpoint move alone to the top of my screen.
    Please how to solve this problem?

    Lenovo X240 / Product: 20AMS0880C / Bios: GIET89WW (2.39)
    Windows 7 64bits SP1 / 18.0.7.57 ultranav driver.
    Please i need help…. many thanks.

    • Hi,

      do you mean your mouse pointer moves on the screen without touching anything? This is what has been happening to me occasionally since I bought the laptop. It was the same with the old trackpoint/touchpad/keyboard as well as on the replaced one regardless of FW/SW used. I just leave the trackpoint for a few seconds alone and the movement stops and then I can resume working. I think it’s some problem with the calibration of the sensors or something and kinda got used to it.

      • Hi,
        Yes my mouse pointer moved alone to the top of my screen without touching anything. I reinstalled the 18.0.7.57 ultranav driver and this problem stopped.
        Now my touchpad and trackpad works perfectly !

  5. Some useful info here, and you gave me the strength and confidence to attempt to replace my touchpad.

    But for anyone who attempts to replace JUST the touchpad —

    I DIDN’T HAVE TO DISASSEMBLE MUCH OF ANYTHING.

    Following your instructions, I tore down the whole computer, only to see finally that only the keyboard replacement required all that dismantling. I put it all together again, and then I found on a Reddit post that you can just POP OFF THE TOUCHPAD. It’s held on with double-sided tape. I pried a screwdriver under the button, and it easily popped off, revealing that arrangement with the cross wire etc, that allows it to move and click. I had to pry with a knife underneath all that, and then the whole mechanism came free.

    The only challenge I encountered was the ribbon cable. As you instruct, pry up the black release and the cable comes free. Placing it into the connector on the replacement touchpad was delicate and frustrating. I finally used a tweezers to provide more force, and it finally went in far enough to clip the black clamp back down to hold it. You MIGHT need to remove the laptop bottom case and peel off the black tape covering the ribbon cable in order to have enough slack to pull off this maneuver. But you certainly don’t have to start removing the hard drive, speaker, CMOS battery, etc, no flipping of the mother board, etc.

    The link to the driver was invaluable, as my trackpoint buttons didn’t work until I installed the driver from your link. Note, I did not uninstall my current driver, just ran the software at the link and it installed the new driver. Now everything works fine.

    I appreciate your help in getting me started, and hope to never do this again. Whew!

    • Yes, you can replace the touchpad without dismantling anything else, but without modifications to the bezel (which are easier done if you have access to the bottom of the bezel), the touchpad will be not flush with the surface and might be pressing against the LCD when the lid is closed. I suggest removing the back cover (without need to remove HDD, socondary battery, or speaker), which can be easily done, while providing an easy access to the touchpad’s connector.

  6. hello mate, super thanks to your tutorial and experience sharing here, super helpfull.
    by the way, can we just replace the X240 touch and palmrest with the X250 touchpad and palmrest plug and play?

    i mean, do both of them are fits?

    i really really need to change the touchpad of my x240, but since i read on your post that the X250 will not fit properly without “custom”, i was thinking just buy whole X250 touchpad and palmrest to make it easier to assembly.

    what do you think about that mate? thanks a lot.

  7. Hi Mironto,

    Have you tried the touchpad/trackpoint under Linux? If not, Could you try it (at least with a liveCD if you don’t want to install it) please? It would be much appreciate.

    Oh and thanks for that awesome tutorial!

    • Hello Szymon,

      the part number B149320A2 printed on the touchpad is the same as mine. The other (revision?) number RS3 is one higher than mine RS2, but I have no idea if there is some real difference in the HW and it won’t work with x240. Maybe when you spilled liquid over the old touchpad, there was a short circuit which burned some components and the touchpad cannot be recognized anymore?

      If you start with the old touchpad, does the laptop start and boots into OS ok? Is it he same with the new touchpad and the old cable? When you fitted the new cable, did you double-check that everything is well connected and in the right order/polarity?

      Regards,

      Miro

  8. Thank you so much mironto! you rock! you are the only one post detail instruction for x240 trackpad replacement.
    I just replaced the trackpad yesterday. BTW, I am lazy and super glue it. I replaced the screen too, from 780p TN to 1080p IPS. Now, I love my x240 model 20am.
    my upgraded list:
    1. 1080p IPS screen
    2. Samsung 256 SSD
    3. 48wh battery
    4. real 3 buttons trackpad.!!!!!

  9. Hiya 🙂

    That’s a really good write up you’ve done there! I really want to swap out the touchpad on my X240 also but ONLY the touchpad, I don’t want to replace the palm rest etc. I’ve found quite a few trackpads on eBay with the 3 buttons but how do I know if it’s the correct type? e.g. the Synaptics version?

    This is the one I was looking at:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Three-Keys-Buttons-Trackpad-Touchpad-For-Thinkpad-X230S-X240-X240S-X250-YOGA-S1/201491105763?hash=item2ee9ce47e3:g:~tAAAOSwNphWXCCf

    Any idea if this is the same or similar to yours?

    Cheers

    • Hi Dayle, I am glad everything worked out. Regarding the trimming of plastic – as I wrote, the trackpad can be installed without cutting anything (double-sided tape is the best thing on earth and very forgiving), but it’s not how it’s supposed to be installed. If you compare the base of x240 and x250 trackpad, it’s clearly visible, that the contact surfaces are very different. The buttons are supposed to be flush with the bezel and the touchpad should be recessed a bit. Your’s flush and the buttons stick out. It’s just a fraction of a millimeter. It would bother ME but hey, as long as YOU are happy… 🙂

      • Aha! I see what you mean, thr trackpad is flush but I guess if it’s supposed to be recessed then no, it’s not as it should be.

        For me though, as long as it’s not causing issues e.g. Pressing against the screen when the lid is closed etc. Then I’m happy 🙂

        Anywhooo! Thanks again! Your tutorial was super helpful! The ONLY issue I can find is that in some apps like MS Edge and the Lenovo Companion, two finger scrolling is a bit jittery when it used to be fine. Weird though as it’s fine in FireFox and Chrome…I’m using same drivers as you too.

  10. Well, for me, the main goal was to get rid of the touchpad and never use it anymore 😀 Therefore I have touchpad and gestures disabled completely and use only the buttons and trackpoint. I’ve tried to enable it for a test, but for some reason the option to turn it on is grayed out in the settings panel.

  11. Thanks for the excellent guide! I’m not sure if I have a later revision of the x240, but I didn’t need to make any modification to the palmrest or touchpad for the new one. The original used the same exact mounting as the x250’s, so I just had to take the bottom cover off, remove the battery, remove the two screws that screw into the touchpad, unplug the flex cable, slide it out, slide the new one in, plug the cable in, and screw everything back in. Nobody mentioned anything like this in the comments, so I just wanted to mention it as a PSA (though I think it’d be pretty hard to not notice.)

    Since I saw someone else ask, I’m using Arch and didn’t have to do anything to get it to work. However, disabling the touchpad didn’t work through the BIOS as it did for the original. Instead, I did this which worked perfectly: https://askubuntu.com/questions/65951/how-to-disable-the-touchpad

    • Thank you for the comment. Could you please take a picture of the bottom of your old x240 touchpad to compare it to my old touchpad to confirm that there really is a difference in mounting surface, please? Thanks.

  12. I also upgraded my trackpad, and it is great! It makes the X240 a 100% better machine!

    But I am having a little problem: I can’t get my trackpad gestures to work. I have uninstalled the current driver and installed the one you recommended. But my gestures are not working and I also don’t have that extra thinkpad tab in my mouse properties, that you show in one of the pictures. I just have the standard windows tabs only.

    So now I have to choose between the newest driver with which the trackpoint buttons don’t work, but gestures do, or the driver you recommend, but then the gestures won’t work.

    Do you know what I am doing wrong?

    • Hello Mauz, that’s a strange issue. If you display device manager, do you see ThinkPad UltraNav Pointing Device under Mice and other pointing devices? Is it using Synaptics driver?
      UltraNav

      • It works now! Yesterday I have been trying all day, and I couldn’t get it to work, but today, it worked in one go! I am not sure what I’ve done differently, probably restarted one more time at the correct moment. But gestures work and I have the extra ThinkPad tab.

        So what I have done:
        Under the newest driver, I saw a “Synaptics pointing device”. Then I uninstalled the device there, restart, install the driver you mentioned above, and restart again.

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