Friday, June 17, 2005

My First Hardware Hack

Some people hack their Mac. Or Playstation, or XBox. I never hacked any hardware and I don't enjoy soldering: I'm more of a software person. But tonight I did my first 'hardware hack'.

A couple of weeks ago I splashed water all over my laptop. I completely disassembled it and let it dry for a couple of weeks. And - hurrah - my laptop was unscathed, or so I thought. The PC-Card socket didn't work anymore, nor did my Wifi PC-card. As a replacement, I ordered an Intel 2200BG mini-PCI Wifi card, because my laptop (Toshiba A30) has a mini-PCI slot with built-in antenna.

When I put the card in the socket, connected the antenna and installed the drivers, it didn't work. The hardware switch on the side of the laptop did not help. Through Google I learned about pin 11 and 13: I put tape on those pins and yes!, it worked. A tiny piece of plastic just saved me €185. Toshiba sells their own mini-PCI card for €215, while the Intel card costs €29. And I thought software had good profit margins...


Blogger Grauw said...


Hardware be cool!

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - Can you show me how the antennae are installed in your laptop - mine does not have antennae, and I wish to install them. Are you able to take photographs and publish?

10:47 AM  
Blogger Jep Castelein said...

I don't really know where the antenna is: I just see two mini connectors close to the mini-PCI slot. I think te antenna is around the display.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Domicien said...

As a person with first hand experience screwing with Toshiba laptops ( I just took mine to the middle of the desert and shot it with my M4) my first piece of advice is just carve a small hole out of the laptop case and duck tape the antenna down. Installing or removing an antenna requires removal of all the panels on the bottom, removing the keyboard, and opening the e monitor casing... JUST BUY AN EXTERNAL KIT!

3:43 PM  

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