Thursday, 28 April 2011

Tablet Internal Bluetooth

When I had the tablet PC apart I noticed that the camera had just 4 wires coming out of it, so it was probably USB. A bit of investigation showed the three USB connections (camera, internal wi-fi and the USB socket) all going back to one chip on the board, clearly a USB hub of some sort.

Anyway, the camera was a bit pants and I thought it would be much cooler to have internal Bluetooth, especially now I am playing about with the Google App Inventor's Bluetooth functions.

I disassembled a USB Bluetooth adaptor and made a test connection to try it out in place of the camera. First time out it didn't work, but reversing the D+ and D- USB connections did the trick and it worked. For some odd reason the camera module had these connections reversed although every other USB module I've seen including the wi-fi one in the tablet seems to follow the standard USB wiring conventions.

All I need to do now is tidy the wiring up by removing the USB plug from the Bluetooth module and soldering the wires directly to the board and then spot glue it into the case where the camera was.

In the photo above, the wi-fi is the module smack in the middle and my Bluetooth adaption is the one on the left sitting upright on top of the battery compartment.

Friday, 22 April 2011


DOS running 'live' on a netbook. I upgraded the RAM on this original Acer A110 from 512Mb to 1Gb using a RAM module I got from another kind donor and am waiting on parts from China to do a cheapo upgrade of the 8Gb solid-state HDD to an 80Gb SATA one extracted from a laptop that had been run over by a car (I kid thee not, actually run over... by a car). Anyway in the meantime I've been trying different Linux distros, Android and even DOS on it and DOS is actually pretty cool, especially FreeDOS and FreeGEM.

Taking the tablet! - WORKING

I bought this Android tablet from a mate for £20. I think it was a warranty return or something he got on eBay. Anyway, it worked for about a week and then just quit and it looks like the power board or maybe the inverter for the screen has gone wonky because there is a buzzing sound when you try and power it up. That said, after just a week I was hooked! I was able to plug a 3G dongle in and surf the web from anywhere, just like rich people do with iPads (!) and Bluetooth worked out-of-the-box with a £1 dongle from... PoundWorld. What really got me excited was when I got my first app working on it. Okay so it was only the tutorial app from Google App Inventor and admittedly it was just a photo of a cat that purred when you touched it, but it worked. Now App Inventor includes libraries for Bluetooth and USB communications so if I could get this thing working again it would be the dashboard car console to kill for, for £20!

UPDATE - THE TABLET IS WORKING AGAIN!!! I took it apart on 24/04/11 and made sure all the connectors were sound and it booted up again. Then I turned the camera round (it was upside down for some reason) and have fixed the speakers, which also didn't work.