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Thread: Hacksaw allows Orinoco Silver in iBook Clamshell

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    silicon valley, usa
    Posts
    461

    Arrow Hacksaw allows Orinoco Silver in iBook Clamshell

    So I got fed up with lack of wireless networking on my son's iBook SE Graphite. With an extra Orinoco Silver on hand, it was time for another hardware hacking session.

    This required heavy physical modification on both the card and the iBook, but it's clean and functional now that it's done. Inspired by a take apart guide posted on the web by a guy named Troy, I'm not going to repeat the clear and well-photographed instructions. They work. You remove the Orinoco casing and some parts from the iBook and voila!

    However, the article is not perfect. In addition to lots of needless cutting of metal parts, the original author Troy was unaware that he removed a heat sink to make room for the Orinoco card, thinking it was a simple structural piece. Here is the heat sink in question, cropped from his "after" photo of unused parts when the project was over.



    EDIT: I emailed Troy and he has updated his page with a warning. Cool.

    This next picture shows that the bottom of the heat sink has two square extrusions that fit nicely into cutouts in the RFI shielding. They make contact with the chips below, and are initially caked with thermal pads, which were removed before I took my photos. Perhaps Troy didn't recognize the thermal pads for what they are. Perhaps Troy's iBook didn't have any.



    I'm ashamed to report I didn't identify the chips below. My aging eyes could not read them without a magnifier, and I was too tired to find my glass at 1 AM. (My son doesn't let me mod his iBook when he's awake.)

    Yet Troy's iBook was functional, presumably in an ongoing manner. Apparently a heat sink is not critical to these chips as it is to a CPU or GPU. However, I'm still wary. The lifespan of the chips is reduced by 50% for every 10?C temperature increase. In other words, if these chips run 20 degrees hotter without the aluminum heatsink (a reasonable assumption), the iBook is likely to fail in one year if it would have otherwise lived another four years!

    To resolve this problem, I invoked my trusty hacksaw. (No problem is so large it cannot be solved by a hammer, hacksaw, and duct tape.) The aluminum was soft, and very accomodating. My first cut took me about 30 seconds, and the right hand chip was again protected, without interfering with the Orinoco card. The black covering on the square extrusion is a thermal transfer pad from another experiment.



    With the bar cut to provide only the right hand heat sink, the Orinoco could be installed, and slide under the modem. Note the Orinoco appears naked, but it's insulated in transparent plastic tape, because it's thinner than electrical tape.



    However, the left hand chip was nearly obscured by the Orinoco card. The original aluminum piece would have to be modded in height as well as width and depth. I was not ready for that kind of accuracy at 2AM. I reassembled the iBook ... um, only for testing purposes. I'll surely make a heat sink for the second chip on the left hand, Real Soon Now.

    Unfortunately I forgot something critically important. I had the iBook assembled before I realized that I could not re-install the iBook keyboard. The new Orinoco card obscured the keyboard ribbon cable receptable. There was absolutely zero access to install the keyboard with the Orinoco in place. The Orinoco fits too snugly to allow the ribbon connector to slide underneath and plug in.



    I had to disassemble the entire project, including removal of the Orinoco, to plug in the keyboard ribbon. Here's a shot of the properly assembled Orinoco-keyboard ribbon.



    I had to test the installation to be sure it was operational. I'm pleased to report the mod survived better than me. It was only two hours surfing before I collapsed from fatigue and weariness.
    haiku:
    I can't remember
    the last time I restarted
    I love OS X

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    silicon valley, usa
    Posts
    461

    Arrow re-visited a year later

    The idea of non-heat sinked chips was bothering me, so I eventually removed the RFI shielding to install a pair of 1"x1"x0.25" heat sinks, one on each of the chips below. I'm quite glad I did; one of them was the G3 CPU, which gets quite hot. REALLY REALLY quite hot.

    While I can admire the cleverness of Apple's industrial design, I have some measure of contempt for them shipping a product with heat sinks covering only 25% of these two chips in a non-ventillated enclosure. Such indifference to the components' thermal lifespan has the reek of planned obsolescence, a designed end-of-life for clamshell iBooks, which otherwise are the most longlived, sturdy, and repair-free laptops in Apple's entire portable history (according to MacinTouch's survey ).
    haiku:
    I can't remember
    the last time I restarted
    I love OS X

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