I’m a big fan of the lightweight Panasonic ultraportable laptops. The is small but still usable. The offers a full 1400×1050 screen, built-in DVD-RW drive, and long battery life in a 3 pound package. As a FreeBSD developer, I also find the BIOS in the Panasonic and Lenovo/IBM laptops are mostly compliant, meaning suspend/resume and power management work fine. Recently, I upgraded the hard drive on my CF-Y4.
I found that these (another ) for the CF-Y2 are mostly accurate. However, there are a few caveats I wanted to note for others with the R/W/T/Y series laptops.
First, all the notes about 3.3 volt logic versus 5 volt logic for the hard drive no longer apply. The Toshiba hard drive that came in my Y4 uses 5 volt logic, along with 5 volt motor supply. In fact, the pins are tied together internally. It was straightforward to swap in a with no clipping pins necessary. This may apply to the newer R-series as well, though I haven’t verified it. If in doubt, use an ohmmeter to verify no resistance between on the stock hard drive.
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Next, heed the warnings about stripping the top two large hinge screws. They screw directly into plastic, while the other two hinge screws have a steel sleeve. Use a good jeweler’s screwdriver for the small screws.
You don’t need to remove the two screws that hold the VGA connector to the case. When removing the keyboard, pry smoothly in multiple places but don’t be afraid to put a little effort into it. The glue used to hold it down is surprisingly strong.
Be sure you removed all the small screws from the bottom, of course, otherwise it won’t pop out. Be sure to clean the CPU’s heat sink connection carefully and use some when reassembling. These laptops have no fan (awesome!) but that means it’s critical to make a good connection between the CPU and the keyboard heat sink area. Also, don’t forget the GPU, which sinks heat through the bottom of the motherboard. I cut a small piece of plastic to use as a spreader to eliminate any bubbles. I also put a thin amount of paste along other parts of the internal skeleton where it touches the keyboard.
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Once you reassemble the case, monitor the system temperature for a while to be sure you didn’t make a mistake. I found my temperature actually dropped compared to the factory thermal paste. No problems with the hard drive yet. It’s a little louder than the old Toshiba but not too loud. I have a feeling from the reviews that some bad batches may have gone out, so you’ll either get one that works or fails pretty quickly it seems. I think these days even reliable manufacturers have that issue.
The max it can be upgraded easily to is 1.5 GB. It has 512 MB soldered onto the motherboard and a socket that takes either a 512 or 1 GB upgrade. It is proprietary though, so you need a specific model of RAM. The 512 MB upgrade is named CF-BAV0512U (Kingston KTP-BAV4/512), and the 1 GB is CF-BAV1024U (Kingston KTP-BAV4/1G).
You should be able to find these online many places. The 512 MB upgrade is about $35 if you look around, I recommend.
The 1 GB part was like $175 and seems rarer, so I didn’t bother. Comment by — April 18, 2008 @. The battery part number for the Y4 is CF-VZSU41.
It is 7.4V, 7.65 Ah capacity. The same physical form factor is used for the Y2 and Y3 (but not the Y5 or later), so they probably should work as well. No guarantees though. The Y2 battery is the same voltage, but has a lower capacity (CF-VZSU27, 7 Ah). You can use almost any AC adapter. I’ve reused one from a Thinkpad before.
It has to be 16V and at least 2.5A output (higher is ok for the latter number). The connector is positive (+) tip. I’m currently using a thin Japanese model (CF-AA1625A). Comment by — July 18, 2009 @. Thanks for a very informative site!
I have a Y5 and want to upgrade to a larger hard drive, but until I saw your post I wasn’t sure this was OK. Fortunately it looks like it’s much easier to swap in a Y5. I’m looking at a 320Gb WD HDD now, very similar to the 250Gb you installed; the reviews I’ve seen agree with what you’ve posted—a good drive but you see a fair # of failures too.
I’ve read elsewhere that there are sometimes issues with bigger HDDs e.g. You can’t put more than around 130(?)Gb on because the BIOS/XP can’t recognize past a certain size limit and you get failure messages etc., which partitioning may or may not fix— can you tell me if the Y4/Y5 is OK in this regard? Thanks for any advice you might have! Comment by Harry — September 24, 2009 @.
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