Here I describe how to remove the useless smartcard reader in my T61 and exchange it for an cardbus / expresscard slot combo. It is not intended for the weak souls out there since the Thinkpad will be fully disassembled.

Read this first!

First of all - WARNING ! - If you are not experienced in computer assembly, you can easily convert your Thinkpad into a brick. You may also loose your warranty.

Before and after disassembly

My Thinkpad is a T61 14” Wide-Screen (Model Nr. 7663-13G) but it should apply for other models as well. Fist step is to contact the hardware maintenance manuals and part lists on the Lenovo Website. In my case, I needed two parts:

  • PC Card/ExpressCard slots bezel assembly:  42W2510
  • PC Card/ExpressCard slot: 42X3827 (42W3436 is the new part no., thx Mikka)

I got them for ~ 15€ including shipping.

Exchange parts, slot and bezel.

Preparations

Here’s a short checklist before start:

  • are the exchange parts ready?
  • hardware maintenance manual at hand? (online or printed)
  • I recommend to have some plates at hand, to collect parts at various steps.

Exchange Procedure

I will briefly describe the exchange procedure with some pictures to get an impression on dimension of this procedure. Assume about 3 hours for this procedure. Follow the steps of disassembly in the hardware maintenance manual. Store the parts on the plates makes it easier to reassemble your Thinkpad.

First remove the cover and the keyboard. This is a view on the interior after the removal. You will need to remove several cables so take pictures to reorder them appropriately afterwards.

Next step is the removal of wireless and modem card. You can keep them connected if you handle them carefully in further procedures. Also remove the batteries which will cause the loss of all bios settings as well.

Removing the fan unit involves some steps and dosed leverage. It can be removed after the display as well.

 

In the next picture, the display has been removed. It’s held by screws from top and downside. Remove the display connector with care as it seems to be a bit more fragile than the smaller ones.  

Here the body has been removed to access the screws under the baseframe.

Finally take out the mainboard out of the baseframe and replace the smartcard reader unit. Although contrary statement in the hardware maintenance manual, the processor unit needs not to be removed in my T61.

Here’s the replaced bezel unit. Assembly of the spring is pretty simple according to the following picture.

Good luck on reassembly of your T61.