Monday, March 01, 2010

How to upgrade Fujitsu T900 or T5010 Tablet PC to embedded 3G

One of the joys of having so many computers go past my hands is that I get to tinker and tamper with them till I get them right. If there is one scenario I love the most then it would have to be integrating 3G (HSDPA) into a device that does not have it out of the box.


I have been using Fujitsu Tablet PCs as my “main machine” for some time. To name just a few, I've owned a T4010 which lead to T4210, T2010, T2020, T4020, T5010 and now T900! So out of all the Tablets I own, and Ultra Mobile PC, I still come back to the Fujitsus as my preferred primary device. The main reason is build quality!

Recently the T900 was announced in Australia and to my distaste I was told that there would not be an embedded 3G SKU in the line-up. This caused me to crack out the screwdriver and hit Google for answers. But with no-one in the world posting anything about embedding 3G inside the T900 (or T5010 - mentioned here as they use the same motherboard inside) I felt duty called!

So here it is:
  1. Open the pack plate on the Fujitsu T5010/T900 and (with the front of the machine oriented to you) look for the top left corner of the unit. You are looking for an elongated bit of PCB.
  2. Unscrew the two black screws which hold down the host-PCB and remove it. (FUJITUSU PART #CP378152-XX)
  3. Now place your new PCB (FUJITUSU PART #CP378152-XX) back in the computer (ensuring the power connector is orientated properly). Place back the 2x black screws
  4. Now insert your modem of choice (Architecture: mini-PCI Express)
  5. Connect the black antenna to U.FL connector labbeled "main" and RED to AUX connector on modem.
  6. Insert a SIM card.
  7. Close the machine up
  8. Boot.
  9. Install the appropriate firmware/driver for your card
  10. Surf!
I know these are over simplified instructions so if you need clarification (or proper detailed instructions) please let me know. Ultimately I wanted to showcase how some hunting and gathering can lead to the right part numbers for the right job! I sourced the Tablet in Australia, the replacement PCB in Germany and the antenna in China! It proves that where there is a will there is always a way an importer! LOL!

Here are some images to assist:


Hole where the PCB will be removed from, and added to.
NB. The two antennas on the right are to plug into the modem as per instructions above.
The long white connector is the power connector used to power the PCB.



TOP: new PCB with SIM slot inside
BOTTOM: non-3G PCB with no SIM slot!
NB. The white connector on the left is for power
and is obviously found on both PCBs



TOP: rear view of SIM slot and full view of mini-PCI express slot
BOTTOM: no mini-PCI express slot or SIM slot! (SAD LITTLE bit of PCB!)



An example of two modems you might use:


I hope this helps at least one person out there. It changed my life radically having 3G embedded in my Tablets; so much so that I would never buy a device without it!

9 comments:

Eddi said...

ah, dude i just bought a t900 and really want 3g installed. But im not a computer whiz and scared to try this myself.

Is it possible for you to import the exact same parts you have for me and send them to my house?? ofcourse ill pay you for all of it.

Anyway, please email me @ exhe1@student.monash.edu

Hugo Ortega said...

Congrats Eddi. Absolutley I can help. :-) Will send you an email now.

Stanislav said...

thanks for the post - this is exctly I have been looking for since the last 3 months. I have purchased T900 without 3G and and wanted to upgrade. Could you please post or email me links for sourcing of components? Also, how did you assemble antenna? I guess it was some internal type?

you cam mail me at shutar@volny.cz

Hugo Gaston Ortega said...

Hey Stanislav! Thank you for the comment. Regrettably I still don't have the T900 working on 3G the way I want but I think it is a BIOS thing. I am just waiting on a GOBI chip to arrive so I can do some final testing and will then let you know ASAP as it should be here next week. So far everything works as far as the hardware is concerned but the software is a little unstable. I am reverting to the preferred HSDPA chip (gobi) and will let you know if it goes well and will shoot you an email. No problem!

Stanislav said...

Hi Hugo, I was looking for some hints for upgrading T900 since March. Could you please post or email me links for parts sourcing, and also some more hints regarding antenna - what type, how to place it. This might be a tricky part.

Thanks a lot.

shutar@volny.cz

Hugo Gaston Ortega said...

Hi mate!

The antenna is the tricky one but once all the parts are togther it is very simple. The hardest bit, i.e. the research and velopment costs, of making this right was the toughest as I had to play around with many antennas and many options to get it right. Ultimately you can have the internal antenna, with less signal but still OK, or I prefer the external antenna with much better respsone but a little uglier. :-)

Like I asis above, once I am happy the solution is right I'll bundle it up as a kit with instruciotns so it saves you many hours of stuffing around. :-)

Andrew said...

Hi,

Guess I'm already the 3rd guy to seek help from you, Hugo. You did great by helping clueless guys upgrade our T900s.

Now I'm starting to wonder why Fujitsu all around the world are simply not importing those units with embedded 3G.

And that was a simple and clear instructions that you wrote. Well-done!! The only thing that's missing were the part numbers. I found the following part from also a German supplier:

Fujitsu Siemens SUB BOARD, UMTS/USB für Lifebook T 5010 (CP378153-XX)

The number looks a little different from what you mentioned in your post so I've put off the purchase for the time being.

Have also gotten a Sierra MC8790 as you mentioned off eBay.

Could you confirm the part number that is compatible to T900? In addition, would appreciate if you could advise me whether we need to replace the slot cover so that the interiors of the notebook won't be exposed after we installed the new PCB board?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day!!

Kind Regards,
Andrew

K J said...

Hi i bought a t900 without 3g and your instructions are making me very excited about having a 3g enabled tablet, if you could just send me the detailed instructions to way_landr@yahoo.com

Thanks!!

Hugo Gaston Ortega said...

Hi KJ!

Firstly thank you for your email!
Secondly, and regrettably, Fujitsu has discontinued the parts you'll need. I've tried repeatedly to source them again but I they can't be found.

This means I won't be able to help you. So sorry mate. Stay well and stay in touch.