[tnkgrl] has concluded her Sony Vaio P by adding GSM support. We covered the switch to XP earlier, but this should work on Vista too. The Vaio P is sold in the US with support for Verizon’s EVDO wireless broadband, but it uses the same hardware as the European model that uses GSM. This is possible because of the the Qualcomm Gobi radio module. To get GSM support, you trick the VZAccess Manager into loading a different firmware than the stock EVDO. The difficult part is that the Vaio P doesn’t come with a SIM card slot, so you’ll have to solder in your own. When you’ve got the computer reassembled, just change VZAccess Manager to use your carrier.
UPDATE: Wired has an article on the Gobi chipset.
[tnkgrl] is back with part three of her Acer Aspire One hacking. This time she’s adding in 3G. You may look at the picture the above and think, “Cake. She just plugged the card in”. No, the Acer doesn’t ship with the mini-PCIe slot or the SIM card holder. First you have to solder a right angle mini-PCIe connector to the board pads and bridge two others to provide power. The SIM holder was another problem. She wasn’t able to find a pin compatible one. The one she installed is mounted to a riser so she could change the wiring order (let her know if you can find the correct part). This mod definitely requires some good soldering skills and she warns that even she managed to destroy a SIM in the process.
The Dell Mini 9 is another netbook that doesn’t have the appropriate connectors soldered on board, but JKK has a work-around. You need a 3G modem that has the SIM card on board. You plug it into the WiFi slot after taping over a few pins and then use a USB WiFi card instead.
Our friend [tnkgrl] has successfully added HSDPA to a Vulcan Flipstart. The Flipstart is a palmtop Windows machine with 1.1GHz Pentium M, 512MB RAM, 30GB hard drive, and an EVDO option. Before starting, you need to come up with a mini-PCI Express HSDPA card. Instead of trying for a random bare mini-PCIe card on eBay, she purchased an unlocked AT&T Sierra Wireless Aircard 875U USB dongle. Inside of the dongle is a battery, SIM slot, and a mini-PCI Express card. The Flipstart lid comes off with just a few screws and the card drops into place. Even though the antenna isn’t tuned for all the possible bands you should still get good signal most of the time. The best part of this mod is that it doesn’t require any obvious modification, so your warranty will be intact… as far as anyone can tell. Embedded below is the video of the easy swap. In the past, she added HSDPA to the OQO 02, which definitely takes a lot more work.
Continue reading “Flipstart HSDPA mod”