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Netbook 802.11 Wlan mod

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1 Netbook 802.11 Wlan mod on Tue 23 Nov 2010 - 23:25


I decided to mod the wireless usb card on the netbook, mostly for better signal and also longer battery life.

1st step is to remove it from its original spot underneath, where it burns your knee mostly.

Next you have 2 choices, keep it in the netbook, or remove it altogether.
One of the better places for it would be in the lid on the right like the pic below if you are going to keep it in the netbook.
Of course you would need 4 longer wires to extend it to the original solder spots on the bottom right of the pic.

I decided to remove it altogether, so I harvested the usb connector from a broken bluetooth dongle and soldered onto the wireless card.
Take plenty of pics before you begin, so that you DONT reverse the + and - polarity. In my RT2070 the red +ve was on the right when looking at the IC side.

So basically I have a usb wireless dongle that I can also use on my desktop with the Ralink RT2870 drivers of course.
The WinXP drivers are available from the Ralink website here... USB (RT2870 /RT2770 /RT307X /RT2070 /RT3572/3370/8070).
They also have Linux and Mac drivers for these cards, what a bonus. Smile

What is the difference with the new setup, well you wont believe it but doing nothing with the wireless card just on or off, ( doesn't make a difference because the software doesn't shut off power to the card), the current draw was 0.55Amps before I did these mods.
Now with wireless enabled (usb dongle inserted) the draw is about 0.5A, a little bit better because its cooler.

But with the dongle out and wireless disabled the current draw is only about 0.36A.

In conclusion Ive voided any warranty/guarantee on this netbook, but it runs much cooler and longer too, and the nice thing is that the driver is already on the netbook, so theres no installing issues. Smile

Being carefull observing voltage polarity when modding the wireless card will lead to a happy ending.

When I popped the RT2070 dongle into my WinXP desktop, hardware device manager reports a whopping 450mA draw from the usb port.
Whether the RT2070 is on the netbook or on the desktop it seems to get very hot on the Ralink IC, I decided to check and see if something needs to be done about it, checking with a probe showed 59 degrees C, yep some mods needed here. Smile

So what I did was smear some thermal compound on the IC and cable tie a small bit of heatsink to the IC.
The heatsink was sanded with 600grit wet/dry sandpaper to be sure it was perfectly flat, and on the bottom of the circuit board I put a piece of rubber to protect any small components there.

While all these mods may seem very "over the top" I imagine a cooler IC will live a longer life and draw less power too.

Last edited by blujeenz on Fri 26 Nov 2010 - 21:22; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : new usb dongle mods)

2 Re: Netbook 802.11 Wlan mod on Wed 24 Nov 2010 - 10:51


Great work.

3 Re: Netbook 802.11 Wlan mod on Wed 24 Nov 2010 - 13:00


Your comments on these devices got me started, but I could'nt find all of them to quote. Smile

4 Re: Netbook 802.11 Wlan mod on Wed 24 Nov 2010 - 14:09


I was thinking of similar mod to just make a switch in between wifi and USB connection(disconnect GND) so I can disable it when not needed as power saving is not enabled in software. Still hoping to find software fix before hardware mod Smile

5 Re: Netbook 802.11 Wlan mod on Fri 4 Feb 2011 - 6:24


That's pretty wicked there man, now I can at least get some use out of this netbook's parts, and I agree the IC gets way to hot, I was thinking of modding a fan into this nb somehow and somewhere. May do that in a week or two.

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