Dell Mini 9 Hardware and Upgrades Discuss Dell Mini 9 Hardware and Upgrades.

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grassle grassle is offline
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Smile More Space! (Relocating the touchscreen hub) - 09-23-2009, 05:15 PM

This mod puts the solderless touchscreen controller/usb hub out of the way. Of course the same technique can be used for any other small board, e.g. USB hub.

Here's the story. I wanted more space in the mini. Had that solderless touchscreen installed by previous owner. Neat job but blocked the WWAN bay.

Had the idea the hub could go under the palmrest if the Bluetooth module was moved. Tried the size, looked doable.

Bluetooth module relocation

I Removed BT module and its holders, and relocated a strip of shielding foil. Note that the BT module went as far as possible to the edge of the palm rest.

Edit: I also extended the BT cable to route it around the to-be-installed hub instead of across it.

The microphone cable had to make room and two of its holders were removed (I learned about this through a dent in the BT module's case, but BT still works fine).

Hub location

The hub was insulated on top and bottom with electric tape.

Routing the cables of the turned out to be a bit difficult. Original cables were slightly too thick even with the best attempt and made me feel unsure whether the thermal pads would still make good contact with palm rest and chips.

So I replaced the cables with thinner ones. With the new cables the mini closed nicely. Maybe it would have sufficed to strip the heat shrink tubing from the original ones?

Additionally removing the connectors gave more space around the hub. Soldering the cables here was a bit tricky, and it would have been useful to use colored leads.

Later I improved the routing.


The hub gets quite warm, and I could feel that on the palm rest. So I turned the hub over (microntrollers towards the mainboard) and insulated upper side with some plastic from an old AC adapter.

For later mods I wanted the cables to be easier to relocate (with this setup I would have to resolder them or cut off the big connectors to get them back through the whole in mainboard).

So I dremeled a small gap in the frame and routed the cable over the mainboard edge. If you try this make sure to protect the mini from the dust -- it's a metal frame and the dust makes those nice shortcuts that is soo loooooved by electrissssissisitzki!

The result

An awful lot of easily accessible space! Yay!

And the future...

There is some thinner space that can be similarly used under the left palmrest. East of the card reader, a small USB hub might just fit in. Test the hub first outside the Mini to see how hot the controller gets!

Mod on!
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yorgle yorgle is offline
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Default 09-24-2009, 01:02 AM

Excellent write up! It's great to see this level of modding still going on with the 9's.
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gospeed.racer gospeed.racer is offline
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Default 09-24-2009, 01:22 AM

good job, but you should loose the electrical tape and transparent tape! Look for "Kapton" tape, thats the orange colored stuff you see inside electronics. You can get it cheap off the 'bay. It is heat resistant, anti-static, and doesnt leave goop behind. You can literally use it to mask solder when doing fine work, it will not burn. Cool stuff! Makes it into a pro job

an example eBay auction
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bsoplinger1 bsoplinger1 is offline
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Default 09-24-2009, 02:09 AM also carries the tape in all sorts of widths. 25mm=1inch
SKU Width
05340 High Temperature Tape (12mm 200-C) $3.89
05368 High Temperature Tape (9mm 200-C) $3.28
05382 High Temperature Tape (6mm 200-C) $2.68
05442 High Temperature Tape (20mm 200-C) $5.33

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grassle grassle is offline
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Default 09-24-2009, 07:18 AM

Thanks to you both for the Kapton tip! Going to get some. The transparent film was meant for taking pictures and then I forgot about it. I'll have to open it again anyway ... am brooding over some ideas lol.
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palm rest, relocate hub, space, touchscreen hub

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