Modding the Asus 701 (Eee)

After spending several evenings exploring the motherboard of my Asus 701 (Eee) for USB signals and 5V (off in standby) here’s what I’ve discovered.

There’s a 5V trace (off in standby) that’s available without draining current from the existing USB connectors – take a look at the picture above, snapped with my Sony Ericsson K850i (then scaled to 640×480 and annotated).

There are 8 USB ports provided by the Intel chipset:
– 3 are the existing USB connectors
– 1 is used by the SDHC/MMC card reader
– 1 is used by the webcam
– 2 are used by the mini PCIe card slots (1 for each)
– 1 is still unknown (debug connector, perhaps?)

I damaged a USB Bluetooth module while looking for USB signals on the debug connector – doh! Consider this a warning :)

The MDC card slot does not have USB signals available, but both mini PCIe card slots do…

The Atheros mini PCIe wireless card does not appear to use USB signals (only PCIe signals):

These USB signals are available even when the Atheros mini PCIe wireless card is installed and working, along with another 5V trace (off in standby):

Inserting a Novatel mini PCIe EVDO card into the empty mini PCIe card slot disabled the built-in SSD – as a result, my Eee was unable to boot! I think this mini PCIe card slot is designed for an optional SSD that replaces the built-in SSD…

The Novatel mini PCIe EVDO card does not appear to use PCIe signals (only USB signals), so I think there’s a detection pin on the empty mini PCIe card slot such that the built-in SSD is disabled when a mini PCIe card is inserted.

But, without a mini PCIe card inserted, the USB signals are available, along with a 3.3V trace (off in standby):

That’s it… Enjoy hacking your Eee :) Of course, I’m not responsible if you damage anything!

For more information, visit the Eee user forums. Thanks to user “tristand” for validating some of this information.

Update: I’ve since added Bluetooth to my Eee.


47 Responses to Modding the Asus 701 (Eee)

  1. […] propose sur cette page de suivre ses pérégrinations en matières de modifications du EEE. Pour ce faire, elle a passé […]

  2. Have you dissected the battery case? I’m very curious to see how the insides look, and if there are any hacks that could be made there…

  3. exouy says:

    How do you look for usb signals? I’ve been trying to hook up a notebook’s fingerprint sensor hat I think uses USB signals but can’t figure out. I would realy apreciate your help

  4. jkOnTheRun says:

    What every hacker needs to know about the Eee PC

    If you’re planning to mod or hack an Asus Eee PC, you’ll want to bookmark this page now. It’s tnkgrl’s all-inclusive modding information on the unit, which frankly looks a little bare. Not the information mind you, the small notebook is what I mean…

  5. ipstacks says:

    The main bus of this platform seems to be usb. The surf versions without the webcam would allow another devices to be installed (since the webcam takes one of the usb ports). No bluetooth is a bummer, seems like it would atleast be useful for a mouse AND not need a dongle.

  6. ipstacks says:

    @exouy prolly uses gpio?

  7. Jeremiah says:

    So what is this information good for again? Sorry for my naive-ness.

  8. memals says:

    Jeremiah: this is the begining

  9. exouy says:

    @ipstacks: how can I figure out if it’s gpio or usb?

    someone knows how looks like the gpio and the usb signals in a oscope?

  10. kg4jup says:

    So will an EVDO card work? Or maybe a USB EVDO modem?

  11. Sp3w says:

    […] Tracing the Eee Inserting a Novatel mini PCIe EVDO card into the empty mini PCIe card slot disabled the built-in SSD – as a result, my Eee was unable to boot! I think this mini PCIe card slot is designed for an optional SSD that replaces the built-in SSD… […]

  12. tanguy says:

    did you try to remove the wifi card and put your evdo modem in that slot to see if that works?

  13. EeePC終極改造

    這將是對EeePC做的最後一次改造,目的是把主版上mini PCI-e的USB訊號線接出來成為新的設備照例,因為我焊接功夫很差所以就不公開內部了…焊接位置可以參考下面幾篇,照片相當清楚:Internal USB gadg…

  14. Demitasse says:

    Excellent work.

    Did you happen to come across a +5 that turns on & off with the WIFI? I want to have my USB BT turn off when I turn off the WIFI when I’m on a plane.


  15. Alina says:

    How can I make such small connections at the Mini-PCI?

  16. Axel Lerda Olberg says:

    Hello … Thank you for the information that I will be very useful when I have my ASUS EEA PC 701 4GB, but all run the risk of damaging or ruining our E3 for irreparably. Excuse my ignorance, but on these modifications, my idea in the beginning was to replace the board of Atheros WiFi Mini PCI-E by Intel PRO WIRELESS 4965AGN, uses USB Is that the other does not use the Mini PCI-E?. If anyone of you I could presizar this information is what I infinitely thank. What I saw in the pictures to be more specific, noting that without the mass of the diagram. This surely is an ignorant question on my part, entiendamen. As English is not using the Google translator to translate this message, whether it is safe if found some grammatical mistake or expressions unusual. I promise to know a little more English next time. Jeje. Thanks. Greetings

  17. MoboHacko says:

    Assuming I can desolder the cpu… Will this mobo take a faster cpu?????

  18. Nick says: has some walkthroughs for installing different OSs on the EEE

  19. […] this baby. I have to thank my fellow blogger Kevin Tofel (JKOnTheRun) for pointing me to tnkgrl and her blog posts about hardware hacking. Her information is fantastic and any Eee enthusiast should subscribe. I don’t know if I have […]

  20. […] on the heels of her Asus EEE PC Bluetooth hack from last week, tnkgrl has posted up a run-down of mainboard of her EEE… a great guide for any hardware hackers eyeing the little Asus for […]

  21. Twitchie says:

    Thanks tnkgrl for the writeups – thanks to you, I now have 2 additional usb ports in my (missing) cardslot (7B unit with the connector missing).

    I took 2 surface mount usb connectors and soldered them into a small proto-board, then I hot glued the board onto the motherboard to secure it. It ‘almost’ fits – the access door touches it and bulges ever so slightly. It’s not enough for me to worry about though.

    Thanks again

  22. john says:

    in the pic, she shows “usb+” and “usb-“. are these power connectors or data connectors? also, where would you ground the sockets?

  23. mini PCI-e拉出的USB, part2

    我看是改造上癮了…[ICON35]之前成功的把mini PCI-e的USB訊號拉出來,並且加裝了一個16G隨身碟之後無事用了一陣子,不過看到一些論壇裡的改造報告又忍不住手癢,所以這次就找了第二個mini PCI-e槽(…

  24. […] installato anche un modem GPRS/UMTS/HSDPA all’interno. Praticamente tutti i mod sfruttano la scoperta di tnkgrl dell’esistenza di pin USB utilizzabili dentro il case, quindi richiedono di saldare alcuni […]

  25. […] Technologies Driver Download Page EEE PC Internal Mods Guide Eee PC Internal Upgrades – ivc wiki Modding the Asus 701 Eee Asus Eee PC Hacks Asus Eee PC […]

  26. nabil says:

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  27. eyetyrant says:

    I <3 u………………………………… u kick A$$

  28. […] official: upgrading the Asus Eee PC memory keeps warranty intact – Link Asus Eee PC trace hunting – Link Asus 16 GB dan bluethoot modif – Link atau lihat forumnya – Link atau blog modifannya – Link […]

  29. usb Dani says:

    Great for my Eee – I will try it.

  30. art says:

    >Novatel mini PCIe EVDO card
    Did you try to replace Wi-Fi by evdo? Does it works?

  31. tnkgrl says:

    @art yes it works, especially if you install proper antennae.

  32. […] while back I read about a geek hacking her asus eee pc so she could install a couple of USB items inside the shell of the machine. It just hit me how nice it would be if there was a standard internal USB form factor for laptops. […]

  33. mike says:

    hi, i have an eeepc 701 with the atheros wifi card, can this wifi card be replaced with an intel 3945 mini pci card? i keep seeing references to people replacing them with the 11n card which is intel, i have tried to replace it but the bios doesnt recognise the card….. is there any way of installing this?, the app i need to run has to see an intel 3945….


  34. strider_mt2k says:

    What a great resource!
    This site has made for some great reading and has given me some ideas I’m going to try to carry over to my Dell Inspiron Mini 9 when it arrives.

    Great stuff!

  35. […] all’interno del portatile, sfruttando una porta usb). Ho ocntrollato, ecco il link per il 701 Link Per il modulo 3G bisogna vedere, si tratta si saldare una porta mini-PCI sulla mainboard del […]

  36. […] dank aan tnkgrl voor deze nuttige informatie. CommentSubscribe You may also like… Asus niet langer marktleider […]

  37. Faust says:

    Does anyone know a reputable and dependable site to get some of those surface USB’s so I can mod my 701?

    I just picked up a touch screen kit off of ebay and would still like to drop in a couple more USB’s. I really dont care about battery drain I just want some novice modder add-on options.

  38. Ashman says:

    Is it possible that the keyboard or touchpad are using the unknown USB port?

    Seems like everything else is USB, why not those?

  39. Rita Vock says:

    Ausgezeichnete Gestaltung

  40. sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  41. Wai says:

    I just bought a asus eeepc4g. I only interest to if I could upgrade it to 16gb hard drive instead of 4gb. I will be happy. I know almost nothing about electronics, but I can do soldering. Much appreciate for all detail instruction with detail pictures.
    I am happy with my eeepc4g except it is now only 4gb hard drive. I don’t mind to take risk to mod it to 16 gb hard drive.

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