Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Take a cordless drill to your Mobile PC

The Drill!
(so my SMA adapter fits in!)

Today was a bit of fun and again I wanted to make sure you were all a part of it. If there is one device I have a lot of experience with that is the Samsung Q1U; and if there are three things I really like upgrading on this machine they are as follows: 

  1. Upgrade the RAM to 2GB (it's DDR2 SO-Dimm, 667MHz)

  2. Install a mini PCI-express 3G modem (for HSDPA and GPS function)

  3. Replace the spinning IDE drive with a SSD drive instead!
Given I was uprgading all three in one machine I thought I'd share a photo or two. I know one of the most popular videos I did was "How to upgrade your Samsung Q1U to 2GB RAM" so I imagine this blog post will entice many DIY geeks out there. 

Installing the RAM is easy and the SSD a piece of cake too (just watch the orientation of the pins on the ribbon cable and be very gentle with the latches holding the ribbon cables in place). The SSD I used is GMonster 1.8" ZIF drive with built-in 64MB SDRAM by PhotoFast! It is super fast and one I recommend highly. The Modem I am using lately is the Huawei EM770W (but often I use the Sierra Wireless MC8790 too). The Huawei is the same one found in most Viliv S5 and X70 and has voice support (!!!), quad band 3G and GPS.

One important and still relatively unknown step is how to get best connectivity out of a newly installed modem (especially a hacked up version like this). I had to go through many antenna, and many setups to get this right but I can report that this way works well! All you need is a U.FL to SMA adapter (U.FL = little dicky bit which connects to modem main) and (SMA = the gold threaded part which the antenna screws onto). You'll soon learn however that the SMA part does not fit into most holes on a computer...that's where the Power Drill comes into play!!!

The external antenna I choose is a high band passive antenna which supports Quad Band and is absolutely the trick! Sticks out a little but man is it worth it when you get full strength most anywhere a phone does! 


U.FL to SMA adapter and external 3G antenna

RAM upgraded, 128GB SSD drive and Huawei EM770W modem

Doing this stuff makes me realise how "un-fun" the iPad will be. With all its finished bits there is nothing left for us to explore or expand on! Well done Apple.


Artizan007 said...

You cannot compare Apple iPad with the Samsung... at least Samsung has a operating system, expandable memory RAM, USB ports and more - the iPad is not an UMPC it is a glorified ebook reader, and entertainment unit with thousands of apps and good for just about that. :)

Hugo Ortega said...

Regrettably for Apple they can definitely be compared for two reasons: 1. they are both considered mobile computers; 2. they both fall in at similar price points. When people are in the market they will first decide with their heart, then their head, then their wallet. Ultimately for some the heart will win (mostly Mac Fan Boys will relate to this) and for some the head (and this will take into account ports and other bits) and for some their wallet (and for these people the lowest cost will win).

I'm very much 60% heart, 30% head and 10% wallet when it comes to my buying choices.

With regards to my final comment on this post...it was coming from a geek-ish heart mostly! :-)

JYC said...

I think I have been a fan of your blog since I also bought a Samsung Q1U. Thanks for all the goodies!

How good is the GPS functionality after you have installed the Huawei or Sierra? Does it work flawlessly like a portable navigation system now?

Also wondering if the power consumption change much after the installation?

Hugo Ortega said...


Thanks for the feedback and kind words! :-)

GPS using the modem is still a little touch-and-go. We are working mostly on making sure the GPS antenna is the right one. I will post something more in the coming weeks but for now I can report the COM port is accessible (essential for GPS software to work) and the signal is enough to talk to the satellites. Let me expedite a review and I will get you another post up soon.

Are you thinking of putting it in the Samsung?

Thanks Hugo!