Swapping Out Eee PC BGA Chip For 1.6 GHz Upgrade

Personally we find this Ball-Grid Array chip-swap rather horrifying. But if you want to beef up the processor on your 701 Eee PC this is what you’ll need to go through. Not only did [Red Fathom] upgrade to a 1.6 GHz chip, but he managed to get the computer to boot up with the new hardware in place.

BGAs are notoriously hard to solder. This hack pulls it off using just a hot air gun. [Red Fathom] heats the board from the underside until the solder melts and he can pluck off the old chip. He then uses a solder braid and iron to remove extra solder from the footprint. After a little cleanup with a cotton swab and some flux he plops in an Intel Pentium M LV 778. It doesn’t look like he added any solder after the cleaning process. Perhaps he’s relying on the small amount left on the tinned pads of the board?

After the break you can see the soldering process and a video of the new processor booting Xandros.

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Recovering A Corrupted EEE PC BIOS

recovering_eeepc_bios

[Jeremy] had an ASUS EEE PC 1000HE netbook on his hands which had succumbed to a corrupted BIOS. In most situations, people replace a motherboard when the BIOS is damaged beyond repair, but considering the price of motherboards, especially those built for portable devices, he simply refused to go that route.

Instead, he took it apart and did a little investigation to find out what SPI flash chip ASUS used in the netbook. With that information in hand, he put together an SPI flash programmer using a breadboard and a DLP-USB1232H USB to UART module. He couldn’t program the flash chip in-circuit, so he had to desolder it and deadbugged it onto his programmer. Using a few Linux-based flashing tools, he was able to reprogram the chip with a functioning BIOS in short order, saving him from a costly motherboard replacement.

While some motherboard manufacturers have built in secondary BIOS chips to prevent the need for this sort of recovery, it’s nice to know that the process is relatively straightforward, provided you have some basic soldering and Linux skills.

This also isn’t the first time we’ve seen someone recover an EEE PC from the brink – if you’re looking for an Arduino-based alternative, be sure to check this out.

Eee PC Bios Resurrection

flashsolderedtoboard

Hot on the heels of our post about reading passwords from EEPROM, [n0th1n6] tipped us off about a similar hack used to resurrect an Eee PC from a bad bios flash. After discovering that a factory repair for a dead bios costs about $200, [CutenaCute_7] took on the challenge herself. She disassembled the computer and desoldered the bios chip from the board. After writing a program to flash the chip using C#, she temporarily soldered jumpers to make sure the flash worked. Looks like this is a zero cost hack, plus the time savings from not having to ship her computer somewhere. Bravo.

Eee PC NAS

eeePC NAS

Hack a Day reader [The_Glu] shared with us a project of his. He used an Eee PC 701 he had lying around with a broken LCD, along with three 1TB SATA drives to create a custom NAS server for his house. The server features a number of other interesting components, including USB2SATA converters to connect the hard drives, as well as a 2 line LCD to display RAID information and server status. The entire  project is wrapped up in a custom made Plexiglas enclosure with case fans to keep the whole thing cool. While this may not be the first Eee PC NAS, or the fastest, this is a wonderful way to repurpose a broken netbook. We also love the idea of netbooks being used more and more in projects like these as the first generation reaches its end of usefulness age. More pictures after the break.

Thanks [The_Glu]

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Eee PC Tablet Build


OCAU member [Bismar] was in the market for an e-book reader, but all of his commercial options were too expensive. He decided to build one himself, and what he came up with is the Tabeee MK1, an e-book reader made from a 7″ Eee PC, a touchscreen, and a custom case.

The project is far from completion, still in the midst of its first objective: building the case. [Bismar] cut an old Lian Li case for the aluminum base, then made sure the motherboard from the Eee fit properly. The next major step was bending and cutting an acrylic sheet to form the exterior of the case. He hit a few snags bending the sheet, but forum members offered some ideas on how to do this effectively. The project is still rolling along, and we’ll be sure to show you the Tabeee MK1 when it is finished.

Eee PC 900 Touchscreen


Jkkmobile has just posted their touchscreen hack for an Eee PC 900, and it looks great. Installation of this kit is pretty easy, just fit the panel to the screen, connect the controller to the USB lines, close it up, calibrate it, and you’re done. The controller board is placed on top of the WiFi card. Jkkmobile has informed us of touchscreens for older Eee PCs before, but this is one of the first we’ve seen for a 900+ model. The post lists a few sources for touchscreen kits, but no word on which one they used.