Author Topic: Interfacing the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Thin Keyboard?  (Read 415 times)

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Offline dando

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  • Posts: 3
Interfacing the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Thin Keyboard?
« on: Sat, 05 January 2019, 15:41:54 »
Hello to a great, friendly and very informative community!

Recently I came across the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Thin Keyboard which is listed as "a thin, mechanical, full QWERTY keyboard" with a "3+2 Button clickpad with multi-touch features backlight LED" and an optional 3.5 mm TrackPoint. According to some reviews, it looks like it shall be really comfortable to type.

I thought that such a portable keyboard with these nice features would be a great companion on the go. It turns out however that it is only equipped with a "6-pin Pogo connector" for interfacing with the ThinkPad X1 Tablet so it cannot be connected to any other device.

Has anyone attempted to mod this keyboard in order to get it working with another device through a wired (preferably USB) or a wireless link (preferably Bluetooth)?
Does anybody have such a keyboard so that the signals on the 6 pins can be examined?

I do not have experience in such mods, however I use ThinkPad keyboards often and like them a lot. Using one of them with a desktop computer has been an interest of mine for some time, as also posted in this thread.
Thank you in advance! :)

Offline hanya

  • Posts: 100
  • Location: Japan
Re: Interfacing the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Thin Keyboard?
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 05 January 2019, 23:15:02 »
I've tried to find the information about the docking pogo pins between the tablet and the keyboard but I could not find any few years ago.

The tablet can be connected to a dock which has USB 3 port so the connection should be USB 3.
The tablet has 12 pads connected by pogo pins but the keyboard has only 6 pins.
According to the image [1], 6 pads from the left are used to connect between the tablet and the keyboard.
Disassembly information [2] tells us that, the connector of the tablet from the bottom [3], and from the top [4].
In [3], right most pin is connected to the shield copper maybe GND and 4th pin from the right has connection to the another side.
The 4th pin from the left in [4] has two capacitors, it might be VCC.
Additionally, we need to know at least USB+ and USB- pins but its not possible from the these pictures.
Even if these pins are swapped, the keyboard would not broke so we can know these pins later.
The problem is remaiend two pins. Not sure they are just NC or I2C like port to know what kind of device is connected to the tablet.
Even if the two pins are used for the later case, the keyboard might work without such communication, but I'm not sure now.

I thought this keyboard is expensive few years ago, but it looks cheaper than I think now a days.

[1]: http://ibmpc.jp/X1Tablet/x1t1_21.jpg
[2]: https://www.laptopmain.com/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-tablet-disassembly/
[3]: https://www.laptopmain.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Tablet-Disassembly-27.jpg
[4]: https://www.laptopmain.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Tablet-Disassembly-28.jpg
PFU HHKB JP, Sanwa MA-TB38 trackball

Offline dando

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  • Posts: 3
Re: Interfacing the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Thin Keyboard?
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 06 January 2019, 10:01:33 »
Dear hanya, thank you very much for your informative post! I came across this keyboard in a local classifieds website where it was listed for a relatively low price. Then I found out that the build and features shall be of high quality. It looks like currently it can be found used for around 40-60$ on various websites which seems reasonable to me, especially if it all works as expected.

Thanks again! I will try to find more about it and will post back if I find anything interesting. :)