G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards...

Posted by: tedj

G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/02/06 12:26 PM

Okay, my first posting. like the site! I need some help!

Here's what I've done to put a Buffalo "Airstation" card (WLI-PCM-L11GP) into my g3 ibook/500:

1.) I took out the metal guard from over the ram, under the keyboard and airport slot. The latter seems merely to be an inverted pc card slot.(?)

2.) I then cut off the very end of the plastic on the airport card, being careful not to melt the logic board inside.

3.) I installed it. It was recognized immediately, without the need for any special drivers or pref pane to administer it. It works because it uses the Lucent chipset, which was all the original Apple airport card was.

The problem: there is no room for the antenna to plug in-- it butts up against the keyboard ribbons, which are relatively fragile, and have no other place to go. There may be close to 2mm at most. The plug on the antenna is a good 6mm at least.

Without the antenna, the reception is garbage-- only useful for connecting to my mini, within three or four feet or so. If the antenna could be replaced with one that had a smaller connector, I'd be set. If there were a smaller card, perhaps........

Here is the card's specs:
http://www.buffalotech.com/wireless/products/airstation/WLIPCML11GP.html

Solution? : All the plug in is doing is creating a good connection between the card and antenna. If I was to cut it off, and solder the wire directly to the airport card's plug, would this work????

Really, the original Apple cards are now going for close to half of what the machine itself is worth.

Thoughts? Questions? Manifestos?

Post edited by: tedj, at: 2006/01/02 20:39
Posted by: JediJoker7169

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/02/06 01:07 PM

tedj wrote:
Quote:
I took out the metal guard from over the ram, under the keyboard and airport slot. The latter seems merely to be an inverted pc card slot.(?)

It's a mini PCI card slot, I believe. Compare an MSI Wireless-G Notebook Adapter to an AirPort Extreme Card.
Posted by: TCPMeta

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/02/06 01:37 PM

Take off the metal sheilding off of the card and hardwire the antena on if youplan to keep the card installed ofr the rest of the iBook's life.
Posted by: tedj

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/02/06 03:22 PM

good thinking.
Has anyone else done this sort of thing?

Here's a pic. Sorry, my camera-phone skills are not so good...

Post edited by: tedj, at: 2006/01/02 23:36

Post edited by: tedj, at: 2006/01/02 23:37
Posted by: maestro

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/02/06 03:33 PM

Good idea. Be careful solder the plug. Make sure to do a mod guide.

-maestro
Posted by: TCPMeta

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/02/06 05:32 PM

It's very simple. I did it once with my old cellphone. Just use a grinder of some sort and grind the soder iron tip to a fine point if you have too.
Posted by: tedj

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/02/06 06:00 PM

Okay, so I took the plastic shielding off the airport card. Now:

1.) should I solder the wire into the plug, or just beyond, where the plug is soldered onto the board?

2.) Is there just one wire, or two, for the antenna? that is, the plug has a pin inside, and also the copper "plugging" part. are they one?

thanks
Posted by: Antonio

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/03/06 02:45 AM

Wow. this is similar to what I posted a few weeks ago about installing a Linksys G card into my Pismo's Airport slot ( it's recognised as Airport Extreme ).
This certainly answers a question or two.

Thanks much for that. It seems like a few folks here knew... and I wish they would have mentioned it in the other thread.

I'm also going to mod my Pismo's Airport Antenna for better reception.
Either way, it will be better than the card's reception affixed to its stock antenna. It's pretty bad.

As for sharpening the iron, I find a Dremel works really well.
And I'll be putting together a guide for the Pismo.
Posted by: TCPMeta

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/03/06 04:07 AM

Well theres one way of doing this. Unsoder the antena connection and strip the antena's wire and just put it though the card where you took off the antena connection and soder it. Not sure on how many wires it is. You'll find out when you strip the wire.

Another way is desoder the antena connection and soder some fine grade wire in it's place and soder the antena's connection onto the new wire then you can simple plug in the antena so the card is still removeable.

If you can post or email some pics of the airport card around the antena connection. Both sides of the board that is. Then we can help you a bit better on this.
Posted by: mordaskyt

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/03/06 08:23 AM

Antonio, Are you saying you were successful in installing that g card in your old airport slot?? thats big news, I would love to uprade the card in my jukebox. Let us know how you did it!!!!
Posted by: Waragainstsleep

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/03/06 11:05 AM

Yes, this is very interesting.

I remember reading when Airport was new that it didn't use an ordinary PCMCIA slot. I had quite recently begun to suspect otherwise, since the original Airport basestations had a PCMCIA card in, not an airport. It was a Lucent or an Orinoco I think. Got one lying about somewhere.....
Whatever it was, it didn't show up as an airport card in my PowerBook though. I have seen others which do. My card may be a dead one though. The station it came from was faulty.
Posted by: Antonio

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/03/06 06:52 PM

mordaskyt wrote:
Quote:
Antonio, Are you saying you were successful in installing that g card in your old airport slot?? thats big news, I would love to uprade the card in my jukebox. Let us know how you did it!!!!



Not yet, but if what's been disussed here is true, it should work. The Airport connector in his iBook is the same as what's in the Pismo; they use the same Airport card, as do all the Airport v1 Macs.

My Linksys G card is also simply a PC card, so it ought to work. It's also recognised natively by OS X.

That leaves modding my Pismo Airport antenna for better reception, something I've always envied about the Clamshell ibooks, which had the best reception of any Apple laptop.

Having taken apart my Pismo's display housing, I can tell you the antenna is crap, but there is room in there for something better B)
Posted by: Antonio

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/03/06 07:04 PM

Waragainstsleep wrote:
Quote:
Yes, this is very interesting.

I remember reading when Airport was new that it didn't use an ordinary PCMCIA slot. I had quite recently begun to suspect otherwise, since the original Airport basestations had a PCMCIA card in, not an airport. It was a Lucent or an Orinoco I think. Got one lying about somewhere.....
Whatever it was, it didn't show up as an airport card in my PowerBook though. I have seen others which do. My card may be a dead one though. The station it came from was faulty.


Yes, it should show up as Airport.
On your 'Book, in X, you will see, first, the PC Card icon, and the drop-down menu will show BROADCOM, and next to that icon, of course, will be your Airport icon.

As aforementioned, G cards using the Broadcom chipset will be recognised as Airport Extreme cards.
This would be the only way of having internal Airport Extreme in Airport v1 Macs.
Posted by: tedj

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/03/06 07:48 PM

Antonio wrote:
Quote:
Having taken apart my Pismo's display housing, I can tell you the antenna is crap, but there is room in there for something better B)


Hmmmm. what would be even more interesting would be to mount a small antenna- a hinged one like on a dlink router--to the side of an ibook-- or, better yet, an Albook. That would make for some better reception.

Anyhoo, tomorrow I'm off to get a (rather cheap, I hope) soldering iron, and proceed, as TCPMeta suggested, to take off the card's plug, then to solder on the antenna itself. I'll take some pics all the way through.


thanks guys/girls.
Posted by: tedj

Re:G3 ibook mod to use generic PC airport cards... - 01/03/06 08:18 PM

Waragainstsleep wrote:
Quote:
I remember reading when Airport was new that it didn't use an ordinary PCMCIA slot. I had quite recently begun to suspect otherwise, since the original Airport basestations had a PCMCIA card in, not an airport. It was a Lucent or an Orinoco I think. Got one lying about somewhere.....
Whatever it was, it didn't show up as an airport card in my PowerBook though. I have seen others which do. My card may be a dead one though. The station it came from was faulty.



Yes indeed, I have an old graphite station, and I took it apart not too long ago. Here is, as far as I can gather, what's in what:

-Graphite: Lucent brand 11b card

-"Dual Ethernet"/Snow: Apple branded, Lucent made 11b card. This was modified (the end cut back) to fit in the new line of Ibooks and G3 Powerbooks.

-Then, they moved into the Extreme(g) series.

Having just taken apart the Buffalo card, I realize that most of the board which the plastic covers is unused, and is mostly needed, I suppose, so that the card doesn't just disappear into your PCMCIA slot, as its supposed to be used;) Thus, Apple just got Lucent to do away with it, and they put the newer model in both the portables and the Snow base stations.

One could imagine that there's quite a few g3 ibook users out there who have a Snow basestation, thinking the latter is completely useless and out of date...
Posted by: tedj

SUCCESS!!! - 01/07/06 08:17 PM

Well, despite some very sloppy soldering, I've completed the task. In the end, I took off the card's plug, and replaced it by soldering on two small wires, which in turn connected to the Ibook's antenna. I'm getting a solid connection to my Linksys router, four whole bars.

As this was my first time out, I'm quite pleased, even though the job was relatively poorly completed and probably fragile at best, maybe even temporary.

I'll be doing up a mod guide some time this week or next, hopefully, to be accompanied by some low-quality phone-cam pics. Perhaps some drawings? Interperative dance?


THANK YOU!!! to all who've given their ten cents. Your help was appreciated.;)
Posted by: whitlock

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/07/06 08:28 PM

That's great to hear! I'm glad that the project turned out as you wished, though you should clean up the job(if possible) while you have the opportunity.
Posted by: maestro

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/07/06 08:56 PM

Good for you man, Yeah, solder those tiny wires is tough. You could put a small blob of epoxy on it to make it more secure. I gave you a karma point for having the balls and pulling it off.B)
-maestro
Posted by: anil8tor

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/08/06 04:02 AM

Impressive! Great job, looking forward to the guide!B)
Posted by: longbow

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/09/06 11:44 AM

That is pretty cool, after seeing this I got curious and decided to pop a lucent silver card I have for my lombard into my G4's airport slot. Worked right away showing up as an Airport card. I may need get another card for the G4 to keep...

While we are on the topic, is there any way I can get airport to recognize the lucent card on my lombard? I know it works in airport slots now but I don't like trying to find drivers to get it to work through pcmia. Am I just missing something very obvious here, or is it not going to happen?
Posted by: Waragainstsleep

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/09/06 02:55 PM

Its weird. There are som PCMCIA cards that show up as Airports on a Lombard. My Uncle has a Lucent card running in his. The Lucent I took from a graphite basestation doesn't show up in mine as Airport.

I fitted a Belkin card to another Lombard and that showed as Airport too.

Mine has a wireless driver installed already, which does recognise the Lucent. I wonder if this overrides Airport somehow. Did you have a 3rd party wireless driver installed before you tried the card?
Posted by: longbow

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/09/06 06:02 PM

I have tried both the drivers from http://www.wirelessdriver.sourcefourge.net and the one from IOxperts. The IOxperts driver works for the most part, but I don't like the idea of paying for something that only mostly works. I would really like it to run with the airport software, the laptop is going to a friend and I don't want to have to figure out what the issue is with a crappy driver every time there is a problem. *sigh* Anyways, I didn't really play with the card until after I had installed the drivers, but I just did a complete reinstall and it did not show up as an airport card when I put it in. I am running 10.3.9 with a few different versions of airport.

Does anyone know of any pcmcia cards that will for sure show up in a lombard as airport, or does it seem like it's luck of the draw?
Posted by: tedj

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/09/06 07:48 PM

I have a feeling you ought to update to 10.4.3 -- there may be support added that is not in 10.3.9. Can't hurt to try.
Posted by: whitlock

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/10/06 09:03 AM

I wish WirelessDriver was around when I needed it. I had to pay for OrangeWare's Wireless Driver 3 for my B&W machine. I don't regret it (very stable & easy to setup) though it's great that there is an Open Source driver in the wild.

I hope this doesn't seem alien to people that are familiar with this :blink:
Posted by: longbow

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/10/06 11:28 AM

Well unfourtanatly I just can't get WirelessDriver to work at all, I have tried the whole install uninstall reinstall technique theysay to try, I tried the terminal commands, I took of encryption of my wireless network while I installed. I have done everything I could think of to get it to work with no result. Also I don't have a tiger disc handy to see if that helps, maybe I will get one soon to try out.
Posted by: nhylo

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/25/06 11:02 PM

I have a lombard and a aerocard extreme from macsense and i'm getting airport bar at my topbar ! I was wonder how and finaly found you guys, let me tell you that before I connect the card I when to my software update because I never before have install airport (what for) but when I click on the window very fast I read that "this software update allow others card the use of airport or better use" in any case it is working automatic like eternet connection and before on 10.3 was a pain to connect and my lombard almost when in flames HOT.
NOW the problem I been looking for antenna because I have a bit of problem with resecion but my card do not have any connector and no body yet since to have nothing for the lombard, so I wonder maybe any of you have an idea of HOW! Because since to me (maybe Iam wrong if you stick an USB antena and your laptop do not have internal card how that it will help? I don't see how? Need help there too please i have place add in many forum include mac no luck yet but none of the other know that the cards are working and you do.
well thank you and i hope you can allow a new (5years) apple user in this forum.

nhylo
Posted by: Waragainstsleep

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/26/06 02:46 AM

Greetings nhylo! And welcome.

Can you tell me which chipset your card is using? (Go to system profiler, it might tell you there.) This is intriguing indeed.....
Posted by: maestro

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/26/06 06:19 AM

Welcome to MacMod!

-maestro
Posted by: longbow

Re:SUCCESS!!! - 01/26/06 11:54 AM

I am now updated completely to 10.4.4. Still nothing. nhylo what kind of lombard are you using, a 333 or a 400? Is THIS
the same kind of card that you have?