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  Toshiba Satellite M60...

[15 March 2023] I acquired one of these:

It's a 17" Toshiba Satellite M60-132 laptop running Windows XP, and I would go so far as to say that it's a (retro) gaming laptop since it has ATI Radeon 128MB graphics, larger screen, and up-rated audio.

My specimen is in a nice condition and while I'm not into gaming, the built-in speakers are, as far as laptops are concerned, nice for watching movies.

My version came to me with only 512MB DDR2 4200 RAM, but this can be upgraded to 2GB according to the specs. I have tried 4GB with 2 x 2GB DDR2 6400 but it failed to start up. I got it to start up with a 2GB and the 512MB module, but only 2GB was recognised by the BIOS. Perhaps 2 x 2GB DDR2 5300 modules will work. For now I have installed 2 x 1GB modules.

Hard Drive:
My version was supplied with a 60GB IDE hard drive. I have an IDE to CompactFlash card adapter which I have tried it with, but there is little performance improvement over a hard drive, and less capacity with my 8GB card.

The mouse pad doesn't work on mine; the function key works for it but still nothing. The battery also holds insufficient power to switch it on.

I'm contemplating what to do with the laptop. I have the original recovery discs.

- - - - -

[08 October 2023] I finally stopped procrastinating about the mouse pad issue and investigated it further. This involved dismantling the laptop.

  1. Remove the battery and press the power button to discharge any remaining power.
  2. Remove the RAM and Hard Drive/WiFi module covers, and remove the hard drive.
  3. Remove all screws from the base, including two shorter ones under where the battery sits and two hinge screws from the rear.
  4. Remove the DVD drive.
  5. The button panel clips in place. I first unclipped it from the hinges by poking a screwdriver in and carefully prying up. I then used a sewing pin and small precision screwdriver to prise the panel up from under each end of the panel where it meets the forward part, doing my best not to mar the plastic or break any clips.
  6. Remove the 4 screws holding the keyboard in place and remove the keyboard, detaching its cable. Also detach the mouse and button panel's cables.
  7. Detach the WiFi antenna cables and feed them up through the laptop and unroute them back to where they go into the screen panel.
  8. I unscrewed the screen's hinges and lifted them out from the base of the laptop and carefully laid it down flat.
  9. Further screws to be removed can now be found in the top panel (note the different lengths here).
  10. Using a plastic pry tool (or guitar pick/plectrum) I unclipped the top panel round its edges. I left the screen plugged in and instead carefully lifted the top panel up and and then laid it back on the screen, being careful with the screen cable.
  11. I now had access to the rear of the top panel to detach the mouse pad. There is also access now to the CMOS battery if you ever need to replace it.

The CMOS battery for visual reference, soldered in place.

The mouse pad is held in place with a metal bracket and it then essentially consists of two parts; the trackpad and button panel (the ribbon cable joining the two parts can be unplugged).

I couldn't find anything obviously wrong but I had found a replacement mousepad assembly on ebay and swapping in that solved my problem.

I took this opportunity to try and further fault-find the original mousepad and discovered where the main cable joins to the button board at least one of the contacts was detached. I carefully re-soldered it and got the mouse pad working, but it was still proving to be problematic, such as the system sometimes responding as if I'd right-clicked instead of left, or as it I'd held down the left button. Perhaps further attention to the soldering of that cable could have got things working perfectly (the buttons themselves seemed ok) but since I had a working component I didn't bother spending any more time here - the cable shouldn't have become detached in the first place and I put this problem down to a 18-year old manufacturing defect...

Incidentally, the original mouse button board was manufactured in Taiwan by 'ACCL', whereas the replacement had been made in China by 'HannStar'.

Problem area highlighted.

Final testing before reassembly.

Further notes about disassembly:

The screen's bezel is held in place by four screws, one in each corner under the little covers. It then needs to be unclipped with a pry tool.

To clean the CPU heatsink/fan or apply fresh thermal paste (and I think replace the power socket) would require removing the motherboard.

Final notes:

The main battery remains dead and no replacements are available. Rebuilding laptop battery packs might be something for me to consider.

I'm tempted to dual-boot this laptop with perhaps ArchLinux 32-bit.

More info was [here] until recently, but sadly is no longer, nor is it archived on WayBackMachine.

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