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IBM R50 Docking Station Mod

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  • IBM R50 Docking Station Mod

    Hi all! I thought I would let you all know what I'm up to with my car PC as this is my first install and I'm documenting every step as I go.

    Firstly, I decided on using a IBM R51 Laptop as it was lying around unused and had a port replicator with it. So I've set about designing my system around this.

    I saw that everyone else was soldering some wires and an external momentary switch onto the power button of their port reps so I thought I would do the same, but instead I installed a connector into the chassis of the port rep. This allows me to easily remove the port rep from the car and use it elsewhere if needed. I used an RCA socket as it was the best panel mount socket type I could find at the local store but it works really well, except I didnt line up the drill too well and its a little off center but it is insulated from the chassis, in case anyone is wondering (please excuse the blurry pics and the bad soldering job)
    Attached Files

  • #2
    BTW this Port Replicator can be used on any of the IBM A30, X30, T30-40 and R30-50 series laptops so I would imagine that you could use my pics as a guide for soldering the switch with other IBM port reps too.


    • #3

      thanks for sharing your solution! I'm going to try this on my t42 port replicator.


      • #4
        I did the exact same thing with mine r51 docking station. I just used a jack from RadioShack and a momentary switch on the dash.

        I also mounted my dock to a piece of wood and mounted the whole shebang in a plastic gun case that with the rear cut out. The case has foam in the top and holds the lappie safely in the dock and protects the carputer from things banging around in the trunk.


        • #5
          Yeah I'm trying to figure out how I'm gonna mount the thing in my boot. Have you got any pics of your setup Thefdog?


          • #6

            I just wanted to give a special thanks to assault for posting this mod with pics. After butchering my last port replicator, I decided to give it one more shot using a brand new port replicator. Thanks to the pics it now works like a champ.

            I looked at three different docking stations, the port replicator II, the mini dock, and the dock II. I believe that the port replicator II is the best one to use because of the wattage requirements. I'm using a car inverter to power my laptop so to be safe I used the port replicator II. If anyone has used the other port replicators with success, please give feedback.


            • #7
              Other IBM docks

              I'll post some pics tomorrow of my install. It seems to work pretty well, just takes a little more space in the trunk than I'd like.

              I've also got the Think Pad Dock II. However, it takes standard 110V power cord input, as the power supply is built in, and I am not using an inverter in my setup. I wanted this one because it has an extra drive bay and a PCI card slot.

              I pulled out the internal power supply and began some trial and error to figure out what voltages go where, but eventually gave up. If anyone else has gotten this to work, please post, as I would love the added features of this dock.

              Cheers, Marc


              • #8
                docking station

                I have one of the dock II as well. I thought it would be an easier install in the car, since it doesn't have that extra box to hide. But when I looked at the extra power draw, I decided to just stick with the basic port replicator II which seems to draw the least amount of wattage.

                The drawbacks are of course the ones you mentioned plus the port replicator II only has one usb port as opposed to four on the dock II. I had to use a usb port hub to connect all my peripherals.

                If you can get the dock II to work in your car let me know. My carputer sits underneath my passenger seat so when I test fitted the dock II it didn't fit as well as the port replicator II because the dock II is longer because of the extra dvd drive.


                • #9
                  I just got the port replicator II for my T41! I was thinking of mounting the replicator on a piece of wood in the trunk so it will stay in the car, and install/remove the laptop at the start and end of each day.

                  How do you find the plastic clips on the replicator holding up to the bumps of the road? I would assume it wasn't meant to hold the laptop in place in turns and driving down less-than-perfect roads.


                  • #10

                    I leave my laptop in the car all the time, although I do wonder if it will be able to survive the harsh summer weather coming soon. Mine is setup under the passenger seat with the cables running under the center console.

                    How well your laptop handles the bumps will depend on what kind of car you have. I have an evo with stock suspension, so bumps are a way of life for my car. They will get worse if I get coilovers unfortunately. Occasionally my screen will lose the signal from the laptop if I go over a big bump like railroad tracks. I'll usually have to undock and redock the laptop. Your T41 should have the hard drive shock sensor, whereby if it detects too much movement it will lock the hard drive for protection. Sometimes it works okay but on first bootup it would lock my road runner up while it is in the middle of playing a song so I ended up shutting it off.


                    • #11
                      I use to run a old Dell latitude xpi in a large dock under my honda driver's seat. the key item was a small foam pad under the dock to help reduce some of the road bumps. I re-used some soft gray foam that I usually found at work to pack harddrives or PCI cards.

                      Also note that port replicators with PCI slots draw more power and usually require 90W or more to run....when a laptop power is usually 45w. found that one out the hard way.
                      "If it works this good why F with it?" -KMFDM "Intro"

                      Strive for ethical wardriving:

                      My CarCPUs: v1 - 2000 | v2 - 2004
                      Mp3Car Meets:


                      • #12
                        Mine seems to handle the bumps quite well, I havent had an issue yet and the port replicator keeps the laptop attached really well.
                        I have actually tried to force a laptop off one of these port reps by hand, when the release button was broken, and it was almost impossible to get it off.


                        • #13
                          I'm planning to use the T41 & port replicator with a Lind Electronics Thinkpad adapter. ( They're definately expensive but the build quality is excellent. You should be able to find some on eBay or at city auctions as they're frequently used on police vehicles.

                          I've used iGo Everywhere and Kensington 120w adapters, and I'd say the iGo is a larger brick but is more durable in a car environment where connectors get stressed by pulling, crushing, throwing onto the backseat of the car, etc. Sadly that broke and I got the Kensington adapter... great little thing, but I'm afraid that one day I'm going to bend one of the pins on their proprietary connector and ruin it. The Lind adapter (while it's only car/air) has locking barrel connectors that stay on.

                          Assault: how did you get the top off the port replicator? I've unscrewed the bottom screws but I still can't pop the top off?


                          • #14
                            The rear end of the top plate is clipped onto the back of the port rep (where all the connectors are) so you have to grab the small ledge that hangs over at the back and pry it out and up and it should pop off. The front edge of the top plate is hooked under the bottom plate so once the rear of the top plate is pryed loose it should come off. Oh also you need to move the laptop hooks in the middle so they release the top plate too, but you'll see once you pry the top off at the rear.


                            • #15
                              I just got a dock for my sony vaio but I don't think I can use it. The laptop doesn't lock in anywhere, it just sits on top. If I hit a big bump the thing looses connection and my laptop freezes.
                              The other issue is the usb ports don't seem to stay connected. Before when I resumed from standby the sound card would already be working. Now it takes like 10 seconds before it's connected again. So it seems like all the usb ports are being disconnected when the laptop goes in to standby.
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