MS Surface Pro SSD Upgrade - My Experience and a Warning

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices & Gadgets' started by tlkudo, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. tlkudo

    tlkudo Junior Member

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    Well, I've somewhat successfully upgraded my 64GB Microsoft Surface Pro with a 240GB Intel 525 mSATA SSD. I can confirm that what's in there is an industry standard mSATA Micron C400 SSD, and that most likely, any mSATA SSD will work just fine.

    I do have a warning however - I don't see any way possible to disassemble the Surface without destroying the touchscreen functionality. The reason for this is because the touchscreen connectors are slim ribbon cables that are glued on two sides. The side with the actual connector is glued to the back of the display and has a weak adhesive. The connector contacts are made of a conductive powder, similar to a temporary trace made by a circuit pen. The back side of the touchscreen connector is glued onto the Surface case with the super sticky 'tar' like adhesive described in the ifixit teardown.

    The combination of the weak adhesive / powder contacts on the connector side and the strong adhesive on the back means that opening the Surface destroys the touchscreen connector by pulling it apart:
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxOahgsSm67zVlFvQy1xVkRDNG8/edit?usp=sharing

    A simple repair attempt using a conductive pen looked promising but was unsuccessful:
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxOahgsSm67zVXBrODdrTE9sYWs/edit?usp=sharing

    If you take a closer look at the ifixit teardown (step 6), you'll notice that one of their touchscreen connectors has been cut out (lower left) and the other is missing (lower right):
    http://guide-images.ifixit.net/igi/BYUkTQUNoFMDuhOJ.huge

    Their tablet was never meant to function again by appearances...

    The one positive note is that the stylus still works normally, so even though finger touches don't register the touchscreen is still usable via stylus.

    Here's one last picture showing 190GB free on my C: drive :)
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxOahgsSm67zOGFXZ1B6OXY1Ym8/edit?usp=sharing

    Definitely not a clear win though since the touchscreen is crippled. Any other thoughts out there on ways to revive the touch?
     
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  3. Canbacon

    Canbacon Senior member

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    Whoa, that sounds like an adventure and awesome to share your findings.

    For the conductive pen points, they look like they are overlapping with the next contact point.

    From what I can tell, if you even had a new ribbon connector, you would have to lift out the whole screen to attach it properly.
     
  4. tlkudo

    tlkudo Junior Member

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    Yeah, I took that picture while I was waiting for the conductive ink to dry. After it dried, I cleaned up the new 'contacts' and checked for continuity between adjacent points, everything seemed OK.

    I'm going try applying more pressure and re-assembling the touchscreen connectors again. After that I agree, it looks like my next step might be to try to remove the display from the touchscreen :oops:
     
  5. lopri

    lopri Elite Member

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    Holy kangaroo. Would a heat gun have been a help at all? You're a true geek in any case. :thumbsup:
     
  6. Drsignguy

    Drsignguy Platinum Member

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    They suggested a hair dryer or heat gun along with other tools to help with the dismantling. And if you were to add the total cost of the tools they suggest, it would add up to $90.45, not including tax :) http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+Pro+Teardown/12842/

    Pretty damn ballsy to attempt this especially after watching it! Congrats on your undertaking. :)

    BTW: How long did it take you tlkudo?
     
    #5 Drsignguy, Feb 17, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  7. Canbacon

    Canbacon Senior member

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  8. Drsignguy

    Drsignguy Platinum Member

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    Wow, crazy! It is a good read too. Plus if you read on, the other guy that tore his open had his own set of issues.
     
  9. John566

    John566 Junior Member

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    tlkudo,
    It sounds like between the two of us we'd have a fully functioning 256GB Surface Pro. :)

    I'm the guy from the thread over at tabletpcreview. I believe my Crucial M4 got locked and I will have to remove it to fix it. This seems to be a bug that other M4 owners have experienced. I will be getting a 525 tomorrow and will change it out.

    Can you please detail your cloning process? Most importantly, did you do the clone after you put the 525 in your Surface Pro. Thanks!

    I also wanted to mention that on mine the touch sensors did come up a bit but I was able to press them back and they seemed to stick in place. Microsoft sure didn't intend for this one to be opened. It's crazy how easy it is to pull those up.
     
  10. dagamer34

    dagamer34 Platinum Member

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    Listening to the latest AnandTech podcast, it seems that 20nm flash will make it such that Surface Pro 2 is likely to ship with 128GB and 256GB configurations without any significant price increase(though that doesn't really help you today though).
     
  11. Drsignguy

    Drsignguy Platinum Member

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    Welcome John566 to anandtech! Interesting read and a Gutsy project. ��
     
  12. John566

    John566 Junior Member

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    Thank you for the welcome Drsignguy. And, thanks to dagamer34 for the heads up that AnandTech has a podcast. How did I miss that one. I'm downloading the latest episode right now. Combining one of my favorite sites with a podcast makes me very happy.

    I'm getting ready to board a flight back home right now so tonight I will have all my tools and the new drive (Intel 525). I'm hopping to have it up and running before the sun rises.
     
  13. John566

    John566 Junior Member

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    I just wanted to mention that I switched out my Crucial M4 for an Intel 525. Everything is now working great and I have a fully functioning Surface Pro with a 240GB SSD.
     
  14. Drsignguy

    Drsignguy Platinum Member

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    Pretty nice. It sounds so easy but in reality.............:) So, how is the overall appearance of your device after you replaced the touch cover. Did you replace the tar like tape or did you clean it up. Also does your touch screen work after all said and done.
     
  15. Quad5Ny

    Quad5Ny Member

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    I can't tell if you ripped the pads off of the PCB, but if you didn't then get a no clean flux pen & thin (tin/lead) rosin core solder. Clean and tin the pads (tin them lightly), then heat through the top of the cables contact points to join the two.

    The worst thing that could happen is you melt the top of the cable. If that happens, just cover the melted bits with some 3 hour silicone caulk using your finger.
     
    #14 Quad5Ny, Feb 20, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013