If sending from outside of the UK, please declare the value as at least 150 GBP (do not declare lower than this), because that’s the price of this service. Also declare it as a “repair” or “sending for repair”; do not declare it as a sale, because RetroFreedom is not buying the machine from you (so it’s not a sale). When it’s shipped back, RetroFreedom will ensure that all the documentation is correct (for customs purposes)
The terms of service are very simple:
Send RetroFreedom any libreboot-supported system, and it will be flashed with Libreboot. If an HDD/SSD is present, we can install Trisquel 9 (with full disk encryption) or other GNU+Linux distro on it at no extra cost. If it’s a laptop, an Atheros AR5B95 wifi card will be installed, giving you fully libre WiFi support.
This page defines which systems are supported by Libreboot: https://libreboot.org/docs/hardware/
In addition to this, RetroFreedom will fully clean and refurbish your system, similarly to how the regularly sold laptops (on this website!) are refurbished.
If you purchase this service, please purchase it *once* per system. In other words, if you want 5 laptops flashed, purchase 5x quantity of this service. Instructions are provided at checkout, for payment. Make the payment, and then notify RetroFreedom that you have paid; RetroFreedom will provide you its address, so that you can send your system in for servicing!
X220/X230i/X230 Full HD Nitrocaster mod
If you send in the kit+screen (and laptop if not buying from our stock), RetroFreedom is proud to offer installation of the Nitrocaster Full HD kit for X220, X230 and X230i thinkpads. This kit adds a full HD 1080p IPS display to these thinkpads, after extensive hardware modification. More info about the service here:
We also provide Retroboot installs (e.g. X230, X230 FHD, T430, T440p)
Retroboot is a new project, started in early December 2020, with the first release made available on 28 December 2020. See:
For explanation of how this differs from Libreboot: https://retroboot.org/#how-is-retroboot-different-versus-libreboot
Customers regularly send us X220 and X230 thinkpads for flashing. We also occasionally receive T420. We are happy to flash coreboot on *any* system that it supports.
Retroboot provides an automated build system for auto-building coreboot ROM images with various payloads. If your board is not supported in Retroboot, it can very easily be added so long as coreboot supports it. We will add a config and whatever patches needed (for coreboot) and build a Retroboot ROM, based on coreboot. it will be tested, and your board will be fully documented on the Retroboot website!
If it has Intel ME, we will use the me_cleaner utility on it. This utility removes most of the code from Intel ME, including networking and AMT, leaving only a small binary blob that handles power management and a few other minor functions. This makes your machine more secure, since it removes the main security threat posed by the Intel ME.
More information about me_cleaner here (it is included in Retroboot by default):
NOTE: me_cleaner doesn’t totally remove Intel ME. On Libreboot laptops (e.g. X200/T400) the Intel ME is 100% removed from boot flash, and disabled entirely, because on those laptops the ME only handles AMT and TPM. On newer machines (e.g. X220/X230), the ME also handles power management and initialization of certain PCH-related functions. So on those later laptops, it is necessary to reverse engineer the ME and figure out a way to run free replacement code for it that will replicate the ME functions; this is not et achieved.
We obviously recommend that you send us a Libreboot-compatible system, or buy one of our pre-flashed Libreboot machines, but we understand that not everyone will want to use those machines, so for such people who want other coreboot machines we are happy to provide a “coreboot installation service”, to reduce the amount of proprietary software that you use.
The same 30 day guarantee and 2 year warranty is provided (see link at the top of every page on this website).
However, since this is a system you’re sending to us, the machine itself is excluded. In context of the warranty, what this means is that we will:
- Dump a full backup of the flash chip before installing coreboot/libreboot
- Supply a dump of this ROM for you (we will also keep a backup here, in our lab, during the 2 year warranty period, in case you lose your backup)
- We are not responsible for any bugs/issues in coreboot.
- If you are unhappy with coreboot/libreboot we will tell you how to re-flash the original firmware; if doing so is non-trivial and you wish us to do it, you can send your machine back and we will reverse the coreboot/libreboot installation at no extra cost to you. If you decide to reverse the libreboot/coreboot installation, we will refund to you the cost of the installation service entirely.
- If your hardware physically develops a fault, we will fix it for a fee, but it’s not covered under warranty which is why we charge a fee (e.g. if you need a screen replaced, we will charge for that). This is because we did not supply the hardware to you, we only provided coreboot/libreboot installation
- Full warranty provided for hardware that we *do* supply. For example, if you send a machine to us and also buy RAM/SSD, then a warranty is provided on the RAM/SSD you bought from us. We also install a libre AR5B95 wifi card into laptops, and that card is under warranty.
Therefore the warranty is more limited on installation service, compared to physical laptops and other products we sell on this website.
Free technical support is provided on all products/services purchased from RetroFreedom, and this includes the install service described on this page. In context of the install service, that means
In addition to the usual things (replace fan, keyboard, screen etc) we can also do component level board repair on most libreboot supported thinkpads, or on any machine where decent schematics and boardview is available online. This will be an extra fee for major repairs, at our discretion but for small/minor fixes we won’t charge anything. If the only thing needed is something cheap (e.g. new fan) we won’t charge anything extra.
We may or may not also perform repairs on whatever you send in. E.g. re-solder new USB ports, fix broken wifi switch, component level board repair (e.g. fix dead shorts and replace fuses, replace ICs if necessary). This is not promised. We ask that you not send in a machine that is too broken; if extensive repair is required on the board (e.g. liquid damage / corrosion on the board, dead shorts everywhere and multiple components on the board need replacing) we will charge a fee upwards of at least 100 GBP. For small repairs though, we will charge no service fee (but no new parts will be installed unless paid for to cover costs).
I, Leah Rowe, am a competent electronics person and quite good at board rework. My equipment is as follows:
- AOYUE hot air rework station (with controllable heat and air pressure, and several nozel tips)
- T12 soldering station by KSGER. With many tips available. The most common that I use are T12-D08 and T12-K but I also sometimes use hoof/chisel tips depending on the job
- ZD-915 solder extractor (often not needed for laptop repairs which normally use surface mount components. This is mostly used on old games consoles)
- I only use quality 60/40 or 63/37 leaded solder, with good rosin flux (pasta do lutowania by termopasty)
- Many more miscellaneous bits of equipment such as multimeter, oscilloscope
- The wires I use depend on the job, if modwires are needed