2010-08-18

I became very annoyed by the reoccurring disturbances to Internet connectivity by the overly sensitive master control for wireless radios switch of my ThinkPad X200 laptop. So I superglued it to ON position.

No help. The glitches were still there, shutting down WLAN randomly and whenever I pressed my palm against the palm rest. So it wasn't just me accidentally pushing the switch, although I admit doing that too. I endured the nasty Windows message boxes and WLAN dropouts for quite a long time, until I finally decided to get rid of the problem once and for all by electrically hard-wiring the switch to ON position. A very good decision, one which I should've made much earlier!

If you want to void the warranty and blah blah, either have a look at the ThinkPad X200 and X200s Hardware Maintenance Manual, or follow this pictorial guide:

## 18 thoughts on “Disabling the ThinkPad X200 master control for wireless radios switch”

1. Tien says:

Ugh! I have the exact same problem. But really, should we have to all that? I thought the hardware button would simplify things, not make them harder…

1. Olli Niemitalo says:

I think the switch should be better constructed and in a position that will not be touched accidentally, next to the power button for instance.

2. Gary says:

Thank you so much. It worked!!!!!!!!!!!

3. Greg says:

Thanks, worked great! On my version: 74542GU, there were some extra screws and screws of a different color than the ones in your pictures. Also, the switch removed looked a bit different, The jumper soldered in was the same, though. I think the switch just wore out. In Linux (Debian 6.0), you can “software” disable both bluetooth and wifi, so jumping it into the always on position is not such a big deal.

4. flomar says:

Thanks, this damn switch was pestering me everytime I accidentally touched it, as every light touch made it switch to OFF and switching it ON again always was a real pain. I already though about taping it off, you solution, ableit being more work, is much nicer!

1. Olli Niemitalo says:

Yep! And the tape might now even work in the long run, just like the glue didn’t in my case.

5. Hi,
Use the Hardware Maintenance Manual, nothing should go wrong if you stick to it.
That has nothing to do with warranty or somenthing else, its jut to protect you from ruining the case of your laptop.

6. Bleughh, what a pain in the arse! Thanks for posting this, I thought I’d do a quick google before delving into the iwlwifi bug tracker. I thought I might have subtly broken the modified BIOS I’d created (I wanted to use a 6300N card, but it wasn’t whitelisted).

The detailed pictures were helpful. When I desoldered my switch, I ripped up the right most pad. No wonder I’d been having trouble, I’m reasonably adept at soldering, I have managed to solder ~20 wires to TQFP footprint pads…

Needless to say, everything seems much more reliable.

7. Nice job. I recently acquired a Thinkpad T60, which also has a similar switch, but I have not yet detected any issues with it. Maybe you should have poked around to see if there’s a more accessible to solder the permanent connection (assuming the middle pin can be permanently tied to ground without issues, in case the switch would go over to the off position. Maybe there’s even a mod that can be done on the actual wi-fi card if the switch is routed all the way to the card.

As for your prying open of the wristrest, you’re doing it wrong! I needed to get into my wristrest compartment, in my case for a RAM upgrade, and I wanted to be careful so I checked the service manual. The recommended solution is to unscrew four screws, then put a flat object in one of two slots and pivot toward yourself. These slots are on my T60 situated below logo and alt keys, and below the right side of the space bar. The cover will then release on the side facing the keyboard, and pivot around the other side.

8. Matti Pajari says:

When I removed the switch by twisting it upwards, the middle contact tore off the mainboard pcb. I was lucky it was the middle one, so I could still solder the jump wire.

I would recommend removing the switch by heating it with soldering iron instead of twisting.

9. Luzi says:

Hi Olli
Thank you so much for this fix. I actually just did it on my X200s which has a very similar built, almost no difference.
Im not used to soldering, did it in my youth a bit, and the contacts are so near each other! First I got the the left and middle contact connected, aaahhhh!
But finally I succeeded.
Because I didnt read all the comments I had to reopen the wristrest to rescrew the two (in my case) screws to hold the main board.
I encourage everyone to do this maneuver, its after all not so difficult.
yours, LUzi

10. Ken says:

I was googling for a hard block = yes on my thinkpad x200 and for the life of me i can’t figure out how to turn the hard block to = no. I tried installing various distro of linux and win7 to no avail. Windows 7 says to turn the switch on. I believe my switch turn faulty after some prolong use or badly designed and engineered. I come to the conclusion that switch has has been stuck on the “off” position and switching to on does not put it back to “on” position. I’m going to tear down my x200 and see if that’s the case and do what you have done and permanently solder it on to on position :) Thanks for the help article! Cheers!

11. Ben says:

Hi. I figured before trying this fix I’d try WD40. I turned off the computer and removed the battery. I think carefully squirted some WD40 into the swtich. I vigourously moved it on/off/on/off etc maybe 50 times. I then repeated with more WD40 and more on/off/on/off. I let it dry overnight to be sure there’d be no problems.
I started it fine the next morning and the switch now functions perfectly. I have not had one problem with the wifi switching off since then (I did this about 6 months ago). Hopefully it’ll stay that way! Maybe worth a try before dismantling your computer!

12. HoNau says:

Hi. Thx for this instructions. At the end I had one screw left. But it works. :)

13. Passerby says:

Hello, thank you for the detailed post and guide. However to others here with a lack of ability in soldering I would like to let you know the issue seems to be due to some loosening in the underside of WiFi switch. I was able to make the switch a bit reinforced by removing the screw that holds the slide button down. Placing a piece of cardboard sourced from a lid of small USPS postal box in the spot. Then scoring a hole In the cardboard so I can screw the hardware switch back down on top of it. This makes the toggle quite stiff and honesly i can probably have used a thinner cardboard but it works. I can still also slide the hardware cutoff off if i so choose….of course as mentioned not as smoothly due to the stiffness…but I rarely ever need to do that.

14. Grendrick says:

The advice to remove the switch by pulling off can lead to tearing the pads off of the board.

Also, this solder can be done more easily and without the use of an additional wire. If you pull back the black covering of the mother board near the switch, you will see two small dots of solder just above the switch. These dots are just to the left of the C501 capacitor. The dots are less than a millimeter apart and can be easily joined with a single blob of solder. Joining the two dots with solder does the same thing as was done above with the wire.

15. Facundo Cañete says:

Thank you very much from ARGENTINA!! I´ve been dealing arround this issue since a while, now I´ll do the trick to solve it!!

16. I got it fixed! Never noticed that small switch under dirt at the bottom side of my machine, something like here. Yes, it was apparently a hard lock problem. Thank you for your general debugging instructions, learnt a ton. user25257 Sep 22 ’11 at 0:00