Revive A Sony Vaio P-Series With KiCad’s Background Bitmaps

You might remember that KiCad 7 came out this February, with a multitude of wonderful features. One of them was particularly exciting to see, and the KiCad newsletter even had an animated GIF to properly demo it – a feature called “Background Bitmaps”, which is the ability to add existing board images into your board editor, both front and back, and switch between them as you design the board. With it, you can draw traces, recreate the outline and place connectors over these images, giving you a way to quickly to reproduce everything on an existing PCB! I’ve seen some friends of mine use this feature, and recently, I’ve had a project come up that’s a perfect excuse for me to try it.

By [Yoggy], CC-BY-2.0
Back in 2020, I managed to get a Sony Vaio P from a flea market, for about 20€. It’s a beloved tiny laptop from 2009, now a collectors item, and we’ve covered a few hacks with it! The price was this wonderful only because it was not fit for regular flea market customers – it was in bad condition, with the original DC jack lost and replaced by some Molex-like power connector, no hard drive, and no battery in sight.

In short, something worth selling to a known tinkerer like me, but not particularly interesting otherwise. Nevertheless, about half a year later, when I fed it the desired 10.5 V from a lab PSU and gave the power button a few chances, it eventually booted up and shown me the BIOS menu on the screen! I’ve disassembled and reassembled it a few times, replaced the DC jack with an original one from a different Vaio ultrabook I happened to have parts from, and decided to try to bring it back to original condition.

Continue reading “Revive A Sony Vaio P-Series With KiCad’s Background Bitmaps”

Vaio P HSDPA Mod


[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.

VAIO P XP Install


Sony recently started to shipping the VAIO P don’t-call-it-a-netbook netbook. It comes stock with 2GB of RAM, which means it’s not eligible for Microsoft’s XP ultra low cost pc licensing. Hackers wanting to exorcise Vista have run into a few issues. After doing her unboxing photoshoot, [tnkgrl] wrote a guide for replacing Vista with XP on the Vaio P. She used the Universal Extractor to pop open the driver downloads and remove the Vista check. This got the WWAN radio and GPS working in XP. The only casualty was the volume and mute buttons are no longer working. You can see an annotated image verifying all the components here.