Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Pics Of Bezel Mod

As I mentioned earlier I am adding 4 switches to the bezel, Power, WWAN, WLAN, and Bluetooth. The first picture is the two outside switches, as you can see I had to glue on some shims to level the board. The middle 2 switches go where the camera used to be and already have a little platform molded in.

Nothing fancy here, just thin PCB material with pads cut with a dremel

Here they are in place, I haven't soldered the middle 2 switches, I'll do that after I drill the holes in the bezel. The outside switches can be slide independently for final alignment. The extra pads I cut are in case I want to mount a power LED


Finally the bezel, I have the opening filed to just about the right size, I just need to knock down some slight high spots and make a groove for the flatcable so it doesn't get pinched. You can see I'm about ready to drill my holes
In a couple of more days I should have the bezel ready for preliminary testing of the touchscreen, then labeling and painting. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Modifying The Screen and Bezel

Here are a few progress pictures. The first shows the before and after views of the back of the LCD and the wiring harness

The original

Here is the modified LCD and wiring

I undid the shielding around the LCD wiring and pulled back the wiring for the digital mic and the webcam. The webcam wiring will eventually go to a stripped down wireless mouse USB dongle so I can use A1ctl to turn it off and on.Then I just folded the flat part of the harness back on itself and secured with some foil tape.

Next up is the back half of the screen casing, first the original


Here is the partially modified case

 As you can see I've removed both the WWAN antennas  since I'll be running the inputs to the modem and GPS to separate jacks for my external antennas and I need the space to add some switches. Also removed is the webcam which is space I'd like to use for switches also. The WLAN antennas were swapped side for side and the wiriing rerouted down the opposite side. Next comes the fun part, finding tactile switches with the right heights so plunger/button top sits even with the top of the bezel.

Here is the bezel, I've taped it off so I have an idea of how much I need to file off and something to go by to keep it all neat, straight, and square. I haven't got too much left to take off

Hopefully in a couple of days I'll have some more photos documenting the addition of the 4 switches and my way of making them look professionally done.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Preliminary Teardown And Planning

Well after week and a half fighting software trying to get my new motherboard, processor and video working with Windows and even worse getting a 64 bit Linux Studio back up and running I've finally gotten into the hardware part of this project. The good news is the hinges and screen case are symmetrical and all you have to do is unbolt them at the hinge and swap them and it folds down perfectly into a tablet. Swapping sides for the wiring harness wasn't a problem either since I was removing the webcam and the microphone both of which I'll use in other projects. BTW the microphone is truly a digital unit (It has a nano technology 1-bit A/D converter built into the electret element, very cool) and I was surprised to see this relatively new technology filter down into the low end market so quickly. The bad news is since there is no touchscreen kit made for my model (AO531h) the closest was one was for a D150 so as I suspected a little soldering would be necessary, no big deal. The problem is the 531's are a slimline model and everything is packed in pretty tight including the LCD screen. The touchscreen I'm using is simply too thick and you can't get the bezel to snap down over it like on other models. I used a rigid one made by Hoda but the flexible models may be thinner and fit (If anyone knows chime in please). So i have to file the bezel opening down about a 1/16" on all sides. I have other work I need to do to the bezel too like add 4 switches for Power, WLAN, WWAN/GPS and Bluetooth. so I can power down unneeded devices to conserve power and I also want to paint the bezel flat black so it doesn't reflect when I'm navigating the river at night.

Anyways here are a few photos that show the insides and also how the hinges make it the perfect candidate for making into a tablet. Having to take a little off around the bezel is a piece of cake compared to having to cut a new hole in the back of the case like I've seen some guys do to make a tablet PC from a netbook.



I'll post some photos of the mods I'm doing to the bezel and display wiring in the next day or two and explain some of the mods I'll be doing like moving several switches to the front panel, adding Bluetooth, adding SMA jacks for the WWAN and GPS external antennas.