Modding the Acer Aspire One – Bluetooth

August 14, 2008

Welcome to part 1 of a multi-part post on moddng the Acer Aspire One!

In this part, I demonstrate how to take the Aspire One apart, how to upgrade the RAM, and how to add internal USB Bluetooth…

Here’s a video and some pictures that cover the take apart and RAM upgrade process. Of course, I’m not responsible if you damage anything.

The internal USB Bluetooth mod is pretty much identical to the one I performed on my Asus 701 (Eee). It works without interfering with the built-in wireless or disabling any of the available USB ports. Use this post for reference.

Basically, I connected a micro USB Bluetooth module (Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR) to a 5V trace (off in standby), a nearby ground trace, and the USB signals (pins 36 & 38) available on the mini PCIe card slot occupied by the WiFi card. The Bluetooth module was stripped, wrapped in Kapton tape and installed under the palm rest.

In part 2, I’m going to show how to replace the SSD with a 1.8″ PATA hard drive and how to reassemble the Aspire One.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Cradlepoint PHS300 review

May 31, 2008

A few months ago I wrote about rocking a router in my pocket by running JoikuSpot to share HSDPA over WiFi on my Nokia N95-3

This solution works well enough, but only provides minimal control over routing and wireless setup. Furthermore, WiFi range is limited and battery drain is significant.

Enter the Cradlepoint PHS300, a battery/AC powered, pocketable, mobile wireless router designed to interface with a variety of USB 3G modems and phones.

The PHS300 is a black box resembling a 2.5″ hard drive enclosure, and is equipped with a USB port, a power connector, and power switch. The top features 3 status LEDs (power, 3G, & WiFi) and the bottom hides a Li-ion battery behind a removable cover (see my unboxing pictures).

Initial setup was as simple as inserting my AT&T SIM (MEdia Net data plan) into my Sierra Wireless AirCard 875U modem, plugging it into the USB port, and turning on the PSH300.

Within seconds, all 3 LEDs turned green and an additional WiFi network appeared. After connecting my computer to this WiFi network and opening my web browser, I was greeted with a login screen.

Once logged in (using the last 6 digits of the MAC address assigned to the PHS300), the web interface is similar to the one featured on most modern cable/DSL wireless routers. So I personalized the configuration, and I was immediately impressed with the routing features offered by the PHS300.

You see, before this review, I was thinking: “Why bother with a dedicated mobile wireless router when there’s software like JoikuSpot and WMWifiRouter?” Well now I know :)

The PHS300 supports PPP, DHCP, NAT with SPI, SSID enable/disable, Internet access control (services, URL, & MAC), 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK, UPnP, multiple and concurrent VPN pass-through sessions (IPSEC, L2TP, & PPTP)… Hmmm, that’s quite a mouthful!

Performance and stability are top notch. Battery life is about 2 hours, as advertised.

Of course, all this flexibility comes at a cost. The PHS300 is larger and heavier than most mobile devices, and still requires a 3G modem or phone to function. Together with my Sierra Wireless AirCard 875U, it makes for quite a bulky and unwieldy monster beast :)

So, what’s the verdict?

If you need basic mobile routing for personal use, or a truly pocketable solution, I suggest you pick software like JoikuSpot (especially if you own a compatible smartphone).

But if you need advanced mobile routing for a small group, or emergency routing for a small business. I highly recommend the PHS300.


Windows drivers for Apple USB Ethernet adapter

February 10, 2008

ListenĀ up, all you Boot Camp’in MacBook Air users… Can’t find Windows drivers for the Apple USB Ethernet adapter? Want to use use the adapter on another Windows machine? Are you crazy?

Fear not! I’ve hacked together some Windows drivers for the Apple USB Ethernet adapter. Simply download, unzip and when Windows asks for drivers, point it in the right direction.

Enjoy :)


Modding the Asus 701 (Eee) – Bluetooth

November 28, 2007

Last week I researched how to subvert the Asus 701 (Eee)!

Last year I documented adding internal USB Bluetooth to another sub-notebook…

Now I’ve combined the two – I’ve added internal USB Bluetooth to my Eee without interfering with the built-in wireless, using the empty mini PCIe card slot, or disabling any of the available USB ports :)

Read the rest of this entry »


Modding the Asus 701 (Eee)

November 20, 2007

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).

Read the rest of this entry »


OS X update adds Bluetooth PAN

March 15, 2007

On Tuesday, Apple released the Mac OS X 10.4.9 update, which (amongst other things) adds support for Bluetooth PAN! Strangely, this profile was missing from OS X, despite Apple traditionally leading Bluetooth support.

So why does this matter to me? Like most devices running Windows Mobile 5.0 with AKU3, my Samsung i607 (BlackJack) does not support Bluetooth DUN, so until this OS X update, I was forced to connect via USB…

I’m happy to report that Bluetooth PAN in OS X works flawlessly with my BlackJack.

On a related note, I was asked why I’ve not mentioned the BlackJack here recently. Well there’s really not much to report… I tweaked the device to be useful to me and I’ve been using it on and off ever since.

I have replaced Windows Live Search with the native Windows Mobile version of the Google Maps client.

I originally picked up the BlackJack because I was looking for a US-compatible HSDPA smartphone. It is a good device overall, and Windows Mobile is better than I expected. Nonetheless, I still prefer Symbian!


Internal USB Bluetooth mod

November 22, 2006

Flashback!

Last year I wrote an article about adding an internal USB Bluetooth module to my Averatec AV1050 sub-notebook and Hack-a-day picked up the story

Read the rest of this entry »