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.

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