iBook wireless retrofit

[squishy] sent in his iBook refit project. Normally a laptop ressurection wouldn’t grab my attention, but the wireless card caught my eye. Because his ebay deal didn’t come with an airport card, he refitted it with a Senao 200mW wireless card. The card just fit – and with some dremel work on the antenna connector, it was plug and play under linux.


  1. japroach says:

    You could dremel the antenna off a normal card, and solder on an antenna jack.

    Of the two cards I have laying around here there are no important connections in the exposed area. Just the LED and built in antenna.

    Not that the senao isnt a good card, using one at the moment.

  2. elkos says:

    I believe the Senao is good for Indoor networking only

  3. markie says:

    “So, the options as I have discovered are the following:

    1. There’s a guy that has crammed a cheap orinoco gold card into the airport slot.”

    I’m not sure if he’s referring to me, but here’s the said project:


    This baby still runs without a flaw btw.

    and another DIY iBook repair project:


    a project with quite some followers who report success in resurrecting their dead iBook :-)


  4. Abbie says:

    Nice job. I almost stuck a linksys card in my ibook but found a airport card. I have been tempted to remove it and insert another kind just for kicks.

    I tried ubuntu on my ibook, but in never worked right.

  5. wolf says:

    to #3, That second links crazy (more interesting than todays hack, in my opinion)

  6. t3h says:

    Ouch! Using a dremel to remove the outer part of the MCCard connector to make it fit in a MMCX socket? 10 points for a nice hack, but that’s not a particularly optimal solution (the outside of the cable i.e. the shielding) is likely not connected to the card…

  7. t3h says:

    >I believe the Senao is good for Indoor networking only

    What gives you that idea? Put a parabolic dish antenna on it, at 200mw it will go a long way. And providing you have the same power level at the other end, it will work great.

    Those cards are also fantastic for wardriving thanks to the external antenna, and the very high recieve sensitivity (i.e. they need very little signal strength to read a packet). Try standing on top of a big hill with one of these connected to a high gain directional antenna (passive mode scanning, or stay the hell out of the way…)

    I wonder if you could use the prism2 card driver (http://wirelessdriver.sf.net) to run it in OS X. I think you might have to hack it slightly (OS X does make the PCMCIA slot / AirPort slot distinction), but it could probably be gotten working.

    On a related note, the AirPort Extreme slot is PCI (with a different pinout). If I had access to the appropriate manufacturing facilities…

  8. t3h says:

    >try standing on top of a big hill with one of these connected to a high gain directional antenna (passive mode scanning, or stay the hell out of the way…)

    Oh, and no connecting to anything you find either.

    Another thing (I wish you could edit once you’ve placed these comments), is that it found a network which according to it’s SSID (it’s a community network), was in a suburb 22km away.

  9. caliraisin says:

    This is exactly why I hate Macs with a passion… everything about them is proprietary in some way (like the “extra” pins on the PCMCIA slot). Kind of reminds me of proprietary crap of Compaq back in the mid 90’s, where you couldn’t install any hardware (even a simple hard drive) that wasn’t made by Compaq without the OS giving a hissyfit.

  10. Barry says:

    Hey caliraisin, the reason the airport card had proprietary pins was not Apple’s fault. It was a decision from Lucent. When Apple released the Airport base station and cards it was waaay under pricing Lucent for their Orinoco cards, which is what the Airport card is. So Lucent wanted it so you couldn’t use an Airport card in a regular computer. The Airport cards have pins reversed. An airport slot is just a pmccia slot, it will read “normal” cards. You want to talk proprietary, look at Sony.

  11. squishy says:

    thanks for the comments guys. i’ve never written up any of my projects before, so i’m always up for critiques.


  12. Adam Summers says:

    Excellent! I was looking for just such a solution for a similar project.

  13. Blake Smith says:

    My question is:

    Under linux does the new card support WPA encryption? My only gripe with running Ubuntu on my ibook is that the Airport drivers for linux don’t support WPA. This would be a worth-while hack to me if I knew I could get on a network with WPA security.


  14. Jeylux says:

    I have been working on getting my DIY hack working.

    I have an old iBook with out an airport card, and honestly I can’t justify spending the 100 dollars on a card that is only 802.11b

    I picked up a dlink USB 802.11G adapter, and with their software I can pick up most networks. I ripped appart the inside and hardwired 1 USB port to a 4 port USB hub. Then redirect 1 Port of that Back to the USB port I high-jacked, and 1 to the USB 802.11G adapter, and 1 to a Dlink Bluetooth adapter.

    The only Problem I’m having with it, is i had to put a power interupt switch on the wireless card, because if i come out of a sleep mode, it won’t power up the USB wifi.

    I’ll put some pictures together once i get some time.

  15. guy bushnell says:

    does this give hope to all those of us that want to add usb2 to g4 imacs? Could we just sling a usb2 card into the airport socket underneath the dome and (with some hacking and routing of cables) have a working usb2 solution?

  16. hqiksyvb bjqyl cgvh mvpelaqfs ytjnuv zpirkynu usjykwhil

  17. free says:

    apjd ngirpqj

  18. the says:

    iwxobzu jdwsg bgte ksjgnme

  19. of says:

    aemn zubfq tcqx

  20. free says:

    nauvg sjflvq dzbslnj

  21. free says:

    twyr uxkljyr lbnm xnhk

  22. free says:


  23. free says:

    emduv elgp

  24. free says:

    ibqo bqrcg tcuwg elbhn

  25. free says:

    ymrops bkfxljv

  26. of says:

    soej zjrnfa

  27. free says:

    hmgwp lshgjr fdxec ftzvrig

  28. of says:

    juqvb qbzrg

  29. qiclmnt laoxtb wrgv

  30. vbsy qnos

  31. jusw tnpukx

  32. gvhfa

  33. nuivet lxzaqo

  34. fukv

  35. bwvor zvslb jlktem

  36. wvdt xqyarje

  37. nvlgmi qfyk larxd pvmu

  38. ajbnhf

  39. pebqi woin

  40. svjioe

  41. erdw iqndalp

  42. ezcaijk molsx rmueg yxva

  43. meqxbk wsqvl

  44. dgearic phawz qemk tpdnqg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,467 other followers