Random Bits of Help

March 23, 2009

Add Internal Bluetooth to Acer Aspire One 10.1″ Laptop for Only $7.99

Filed under: Uncategorized — Funman1 @ 10:51 pm

 
Ok so I do all sorts of these things all the time, but never document them so I decided to start with this project.

 

 

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, SOME PICTURES ARE INCORRECT!!!
First off I went and purchased this from Fry’s Electronics, it’s a Bluethooth 2.0 USB Adapter. Cost was $7.99.
I choose this one because it looked VERY easy to solder and no disassembly needed to intergrate it into anything. It’s very flat too so I figured I could find room in the laptop somewhere for it.

 

Bluetooth Hummingbird Adapter from Frys

Bluetooth Hummingbird Adapter from Frys

 The only problem with this one was that the software on the CD that came with it was only a trial version of BlueSoleil so that was pretty lame! Even the setup guide that comes with it shows the full version! So I headed over to the Pirate Bay to get a newer working copy that should have come with the device in the first place.
So I installed the new version of BlueSoleil and plugged in the adapter to a regular USB port. Tested and everything worked fine.

Ok so I have to give mad props to TnkGrl; without those instructions I would not have known about the mini-PCIe port’s USB capabilites or how to get the keyboard out.
Check out this blog and video for some really good tips, and a video on removing the top of the laptop.
 http://tnkgrl.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/modding-the-acer-aspire-one-bluetooth/
The video shows you removing all the bottom screws (THIS IS NOT NEEDED FOR THIS MOD on the 10.1)
Also note there are no screws under the rubber feet on the 10.1 either, if you ever do decide to pull the motherboard completely out.

So that blog and video gave me a really good head start but lacked the pictures and explanations for the USB mod I wanted and needed.
This led me to go searching for documentation on USB data and mini PCIe Data ports, which I have included here for you.

I hope this will give you a better how to, especially for the 10.1 version of the Acer Aspire One
Thanks again TnkGrl for the inspiration and head start to pull this off!!!

Anyways, so now you should have removed your keyboard and top of your laptop.
I have the adapter shown in this picture to show the size of it compared to the laptop.
Yes it’s really that cheaply built that the connectors for the USB port are just right out there in the open on the bluetooth, this adapter has not been modified in ANYWAY (Yet)

Adapter Size

Adapter Size

 

Now I needed some wires to connect to it; I chose an old USB cable since it uses such a small AWG it’s perfect for tiny soldering.
 

Stripped USB Cable

Stripped USB Cable

Now I soldered this on to the adapter directly, THIS IS WHERE THE IMAGES GET TRICKY!
The image below is wired correctly! (According to USB standards)
But I will later reverse the White and Green due to an error when soldering to the laptop’s mini PCIe connector on the motherboard..

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OK So now we are ready to start soldering to the motherboard.
First I removed the connection wire to the Daughterboard, I found it always was in my way so I just unplugged it and tossed it asside.
I figured that the power for the existing USB ports would do just fine so I stole power from from one of them right off the daughterboard.
That board has a thin layer of Lacquer so you can’t solder to the contacts until you gently scrape off the clear coat over the solder joints.
Once I did that then I connected the Positive and Negative Power terminals.

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It’s important to note I did not connect the data wires to this port as that would disable the port for other uses.
So now our unit has power, and we just need to connect the two USB data wires to the mini-PCIe port.
I took apart the back of the computer and found that there are two of these mini-PCIe ports on this mother board one is for the wireless card bottom of the board, and the other is on the top side of the board unused. It’s my understanding you could connect to either one, but since I didn’t want to pull the whole motherboard out this was perfect, as you only need top access under the keyboard.

Here are the documents I used to figure out what and where to solder to what!

http://pinouts.ru/Slots/USB_pinout.shtml

usb

http://www.interfacebus.com/Mini_PCI_Express_Bus.html

mini-pcie

 Note: This pinout is upside down when you are looking at the laptop, so to speak, and this is where I got mixed up long enough to solder the green and white incorrectly.
DOUBLE & Triple check you work and then read the chart, count the pins and then check it again, before ever applying power!!!

ALSO NOTE: This is where I screwed up and connected the USB wires backwards to the mini PCIe connector, since it’s such a PITA to solder these tiny connections, it was easier to just resolder the wires on that bluetooth adapter than switch these tiny connections, so this is where I switched the Green and White on the USB adapter. And this was WHY.
If you connect to the mini PCIe Adapter correctly, then you won’t have to worry about this.
I also twisted the green and white wires since it was traveling several inches in the laptop unshielded.
 

Switched the green and white due to a mistake on the motherboard soldering job

 

Here is 2 pictures of the motherboard soldering to the mini PCIe card slot.
(REMEBER THESE ARE SOLDERED BACKWARDS (Green and White) IF YOU SOLDERED THE USB ADPTER CORRECTLY THESE COLORS SHOULD BE REVERESED!)
It should also be noted that I did not use any special solder or soldering iron, just a run of the mill soldering gun.
I do consider myself somewhat of a savant when it comes to soldering tiny things with regular tools though so your milage may vary.
I would rather do a bunch of old xbox D0 (D Zero) connections than these!!! So they can be tough with out the right tools, but this proves you don’t HAVE to have them.

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Motherboard image

 

So now we should have something like this..

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Now I just added some black tape to make sure these connections would be safe.
And then inserted the device into the laptop where it fit PERFECTLY!
(I also want to mention that I am aware that laptop plastic is shielded, but it did not seem to have any affect on this Bluetooth at all.)

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And finally with the Daughterboard connector back in place, ready for re-assembly!!!

120

 

UPDATE: I have beat my head against the wall trying to figure out why it was working intermintently.
I found that for some reason the USB or the MiniPCIe is holding the unit in a frozen state.
If you shutdown the laptop, then turn it back on  the bluetooth will not be recognised.
I found that you could power cycle the USB power to the device to reset it, and bring it up,
OR if while the laptop is off you remove the batter for a moment that would reset it too, so
you could pull the battery put it back on and boot it up and have it work corectly.

So I thought about using a switch or magnetics reed relay switch but I found the best solution I’m sticking with it
I found that if you turned off the bluetooth BEFORE you shutdown the laptop, it will boot up with it turned off
Then simply click on it and turn it on.

Presto no more problems, so now I only turn Bluetooth on when I really need it, and turn it off when I’m done before I shutdown the laptop.

(Which is prolly best for 2 reasons of better battery life and better security)
So that’s it, now go enjoy Bluetooth on your sweet 10.1 laptop!

I even tied my Wii controller to my laptop  as a mouse, and now use it for doing power presentations at work, it’s quite the conversation starter!

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