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IBM Embedded Security Subsystem

IBM UltraPort

The UltraPort is a tiny connector sitting at the top edge of the display. It was introduced by IBM with the T20 series and other models of that time, but only continued onto some models from the time of the A31p. With the T30 type models it has vanished completely again.

On the controller side the UltraPort is nothing but a USB 1.1 port, so all UltraPort devices are usable on other computers as USB devices as well.


There were 5 devices produced by IBM for this port:

Pin assignment

The following pin layout has been discovered through measuring the UltraPort of a ThinkPad X21. It is not very well tested, but worked well for the author of this information.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
GND 0 VCC VCC GND D+ D- GND .  ?  ?  ? 0 GND

Pin Name Description
1,5,8,13 GND Ground
2,12 0 probably not connected
3,4 VCC +5 V DC
6 D+ Data +
7 D- Data -
9,10,11 ? unidentified
. it is fastener not a pin

Modifying the UltraPort

As signal levels and protocol are the same as USB, it's possible to solder a USB connector to the UltraPort or directly connect a USB device to it (e.g. a Bluetooth stick, whose PCB fits perfectly behind the Thinkpad's LCD).

Linux Support

The UltraPort is recognised and driven by the kernels USB subsystem.

See the individual devices pages above for information on linux support for them.

Models featuring the UltraPort