If you are the owner of a Compaq nx9010 and you do prefer to not having to use almost all of its screws to install a Mini PCI WLAN antenna, then this article shows how you can install an antenna. Externally, out-of-the-box.
Always using a hard, smooth surface will be an implied requirement. The method is not restricted to a Compaq nx9010.
First, please make sure there's enough free space underneath the nx9010 laptop or notebook. The picture above shows a Compaq nx9010 with an installed antenna, so it shouldn't be a tight fit and it shouldn't be that easy to see something sticking out.
Tape is required. If you do not want to damage your Compaq nx9010, then buy an extra Mini PCI cover. Use this spare cover, and optionally look for possible damages caused by removing the tape if you'd ever want to sell your old Compaq nx9010 without an installed WLAN antenna.
Next you do have to damage the MiciPCI cover you're going to use. Drill a small hole or cut off a small corner of the cover. Get rid of all possible sharp edges to not damage the wires, tape or desktop. A small drilled hole may look better than cutting. Of source the minimum size of any type of hole has to match the size of the connector or wires of the WLAN antenna.
Finally guide the wires through the holes, attach both connecters of the antenna to the Mini PCI WLAN adapter, and use tape to attach the antenna wires. Optionally you can try to make sure that the receiving bit of the antenna is located as close as possible to your wireless access point. Try to not cover openings and screws with the tape.
This article assumes the use of the Hardware Maintenance Manual (62P9631.PDF, the section Removing and replacing a FRU) and an IBM ThinkPad T23 without a built-in antenna. Stop before it gets too hard. Below is the full procedure. The method is not restricted to IBM ThinkPad T23s. With an IBM ThinkPad X20 it can be even easier, because less parts will have to be removed:
- Remove the battery pack (1010)
- Remove the backup battery (1020)
- Remove the hard-disk drive (1030)
- Install the Mini PCI adapter (1050)
Near the Mini PCI adapter there's a tiny hole for the antenna wires. Don't use it right now, but remember where it is. The following steps should provide access to the other end of this hole:
- Remove the Ultrabay 2000 device (1070)
- Remove the keyboard (1080)
- Remove the keyboard CRU insulator (1090)
It may be possible to skip the last step(s), if you have another way to insert antenna wires in the hole. Now, after having removed the keyboard CRU insulator (1090), you should be able to see the tiny hole, so stop as soon as possible. Read this whole article before you continue:
- Remove the hinge cover (1100)
- Remove the keyboard bezel (1110)
- Remove the fan assembly, one screw only (1120)
Do not complete the removal the fan assembly. If you can move the bracket of the first step of section 1120, then you'll already have easy access to the tiny hole near the fan.
Back to the future. Try to avoid long antenna cables inside your laptop or notebook, if possible:
- Insert the connectors and cables in the hole
- Connect the connectors to your Mini PCI WLAN adapter
- Make sure you can still close the Mini WPC cover
- Install the fan assembly, one screw only (1120)
- Install the keyboard bezel (1110)
- Install the hinge cover (1100)
Now insert the antenna and cables inside your laptop or notebook. Do or do not use the PC Card or PCMCIA slots. Do not block the keyboard connector, and so on. Try to avoid using the area on top of devices. Basicly you can wrap the cables around the keyboard connector, mainly under the keyboard CRU insulator (1090).
Insert one business end of the antenna somewehere under the large mouse buttons, and the other one somewhere under the place where your right wrist would be while typing. Make sure the mouse buttons will still work.
Do not squeeze cables, do not block the fan, and try to avoid the use of tape. Next the keyboard CRU insulator (1090) will be installed again. This part should fit without applying force, and you should be able to see an unblocked keyboard connector:
- Install the keyboard CRU insulator (1090)
- Install the keyboard (1080)
- Install the Ultrabay 2000 device (1070)
- Install the Mini PCI adapter, cover only (1050)
If an initial test was scheduled, then this is a right moment. If you are using PC Card or PCMCIA devices, then make sure the slots are still free. Is the keyboard installed perfectly straight? Doesn't the fan hit a wire? If something is not right, then perhaps you'll have to go back to the step after installing the hinge cover.
- Install the hard-disk drive (1030)
- Install the backup battery (1020)
- Install the battery pack (1010)