The other day I was surfing around on the net on my new Acer Aspire One and found the coolest hack for it over at Tnkgrl’s Website this hack was aimed at one of the few Achilles heels of the Acer Aspire One “no Bluetooth.” Now, granted it is easier than ever to get Bluetooth working on a laptop with Bluetooth dongles getting smaller and smaller however if you want to keep the exterior of your laptop clear of debris and use a mouse or perhaps tether with your cell phone you need to find another way. This is where the following hack comes in to play!
**Warning! The following WILL void your warranty. Proceed at your own risk. If you break your laptop it is not my fault. Nuff said…**
So this hack basically involves popping open your laptop, soldering a few wires to a 5V connector and a ground and then hooking into the unused USB leads on either of the internal mini PCIe connectors inside of the laptop to add an internal USB device “of your choosing” inside of the laptop. The USB Bluetooth adapter that I chose was the Kensington Micro USB Bluetooth adapter for a few reasons:
- It is tiny only taking up a very small amount of space inside of the laptop case allowing for placement anywhere within the laptop.
- It is Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR which is the fastest and newest version of Bluetooth available
- it is a class 2 (10meter) device which means it’s power draw will be minimal verses the class 1 (100 meter) devices.
- This Bluetooth adapter is $23.00 USD at Best Buy and as I am impatient I did not want to have to wait for delivery before I did this mod.
The install I found on Tnkgrl’s site served as the inspiration for my hack which uses the USB leads on the empty unused mini PCIe solder pads the reason I did this is:
- It is a larger target to hit. I was scared to death to try my luck right up next to the connector for my wireless card which I cannot be without.
- it puts my connection next to the access panel on the bottom of the Acer One (explained later)
This installation uses the power from a nearby USB port on the far left side of the laptop. This USB lead is +5 and allows me to once again hit a bigger target than the one provided for in the Tnkgrl’s awesome and skillful hack. (To be that steady!) I will try to provide pictures however the ones at tnkgrl’s site show pretty clearly how to best connect to the power on the device.
!Update! After reading the comment from tnkgrl i have changed my plans and re routed the power connections to the locations that she describes in her hack. please read her comment below for the reasons for the change.
As you can see i have attached the Power and ground to the same locations used in tnkgrl’s mod.
This is a close up of the solder points i used for the power connections.
I then routed the wires to the other side of the mother board for attachment to the female USB connector.
The jewel of this install is in the use of an old USB extension cable to create an internal port which makes it a bit more future proof I can upgrade the module at any point by simply connecting a new device also the placement on the bottom side allows me to position the female USB connector directly under the access panel for easy access without dis-assembly of the laptop. I cut away all of the plastic from the USB cable and stripped off the outer wire casing. It was necessary for it to fit in the cramped area below the door the only suggestion that I would add is that you add some epoxy on the motherboard where you make the connection so as to keep the wires in place after you get done soldering.
You can see that the tiny Bluetooth adapter easily fits inside the compartment on the bottom of the Acer One.
You can see here in the blown up image that the entire assembly fits well also if you look directly below the USB dongle you can see the solder locations for the USB+ and USB- located on the unused mini PCIe solder pads. the solder points you want are #36 and #38
That is pretty much it.
TIP! While you have the device apart you might as well go ahead and install some extra memory the max this thing can handle is 1.5 GB of DDR2 PC5300 533 MHz RAM if you are willing to integrate a Bluetooth module into this thing you will probably want to spend the $15.00 USD it costs to purchase the extra ram and there is not going to be a better time than right now to install it! (What the heck! You have already voided your warranty anyway!)
Well that’s it enjoy your mouse and keyboard with no dongles and tether away!
Happy Hacking! 😛