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ThinkPad W510 RAM Memory Upgrade / Installation

Having read a thread in the ThinkPad W Series board about members' difficulties installing RAM in RAM slot 2 under the W510 keyboard, I decided to take a look and try to find a suitable method which might work for all without having to remove any more hardware than absolutely necessary.


It will be necessary to remove the RAM cover on the bottom of the system and the keyboard in order to access all of the RAM slots. How to do this can be seen in the Hardware Maintainance Manual on pages 87 and 91 of the pdf respectively, or in the videos at lenovoservicetraining.com. (If you experience difficulties removing the keyboard; please see the note under the bottom right picture).


Depending on how many RAM modules are being added to the system it's important to note which slots they need to be inserted into. I'm missing out the explanation; it can be found in the Lenovo Community Forum knowledgebase; Optimizing memory in W510 - which slots to use.


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The RAM slots on the underside of the W510; slots 1 & 3. Slot 1 is on the left side leaving it not difficult to guess where slot 3 is.

The RAM slots underneath the keyboard of the W510; slots 0 & 2. Slot 0 is the upper slot as seeing it from this view leaving it not dif....... slot 2.


There are two things to note here, one is raised in the discussion thread I previously linked to, the other isn't; in the picture on the right you can see the metal shield which causes the problem regarding inserting RAM into slot 2. The other problem is clear to see in the picture on the left, but as yet to my knowledge hasn't caused problems; there are stickers hanging over slot 1. The danger here is if you were to catch the sticker and fold it into the slot when inserting RAM this would cause the RAM not to be recognised by the system or provoke an error at boot. Even brushing the contacts of the RAM against the sticky glue on the stickers whilst inserting it could be cause for a bad contact when it's inserted and possibly also lead to errors / problems.


I'd previously upgraded W510 systems for customers so I knew that inserting RAM into slot 2 can indeed be a little tricky. I decided to take a good look and think my way through to finding a simple method which would lighten the task. With the W510 open in front of me and observing the close proximity of the metal shield to the RAM slot, I felt it would probably be easier to manage if I used my left hand and insert the RAM by carefully positioning it by moving it from the rear of the W510 forwards, under the metal shield and just pop it into the slot. A no go because a) I'm not left handed and therefore found it extremely awkward and b) my own fingers got in the way.


Fingers getting in the way and not being left handed was not going to work. And then the first idea hit me :idea: As I'm not left handed I needed to turn the system around and try it from behind. Yes it was "more comfortable" as using my left hand, but my own fingers were still getting in the way. Then the second idea hit me :idea: I needed to get my "special tools" out and put them to use. I use my "special tools" when I mostly have to do delicate work like levering a thin LED display from it's housing; fingers are too fat and clumsy and metal tools can scratch and cause damage.


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My "special tools" are lollipop sticks. Soft wood, non conducting and can't do any damage to other components. I'll admit that in their "natural" state they didn't grip the RAM module as well as I would have liked, next time I'll probably wrap the ends with insulation tape to improve the grip on the module. It was still a bit of a fiddle, but I got there.

In the picture on the left you can see I was able to position the module, no fat fingers getting in the way. It also makes the placement a little easier if you can pull the clasp of the upper memory slot, the one to the rear of the W510, a bit out of the way; this allows for a little bit more room to manouvre.


After getting the module into the correct position it was just a case of pressing it securely into it's slot and pressing it down to lock it into place - mission accomplished.


Some extra points to note which I've archived in my grey cells for the next time I need to add / upgrade an W510;


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As previously mentioned; when inserting RAM into slot 1 make sure you get those stickers out of the way, the potential for something spoiling the contacts on the module are high. I just folded them back with my thumb ensuring they were clear of the upper side of the slot.

If the keyboard doesn't seem to want to budge at all, even though you have removed the necessary screws, take a look along the back of it paying special attention to the area behind the power and ThinkVantage buttons. It may have popped up a little preventing it from sliding backwards. All you need to do is push the rear of the keyboard back down under the bezel, another job for the lolipop sticks.


I guess it just leaves me to say; if I find an even easier solution; I'll let you know. And to ask that if you have / discover an even easier solution to please let me know. :D

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PulloSagata On 2015-03-14, 6:41 AM

That's awesome, but it's so much easier to do on the W541. You don't have to take the keyboard apart lol.

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