What Did I Break on My Laptop??

Today I decided to clean the dust in my laptop when I accidentally broke the cable connector off what I think is the Wifi/Bluetooth card. Not sure how I did it but think I might have bumped it with the back cover. If you look at the picture I'm pretty sure I ripped it clean off the solder point. However, upon turning on my laptop both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth worked. So I'm just wondering what exactly I broke and is it worth getting it repaired.

Was really worried that micro soldering work was needed, especially because of Sydney's lockdown. So lucky it still works.

Thanks,
A relieved chicken.

Comments

  • -2

    Network card. No soldering is needed as those leads should plug into the card.

    Edit: on second glance, it appears that the lead to your card was in fact soldered. The laptop network cards I've seen before have all been pluggable.

    • +9

      Those are pluggable, they just broke the plug lol.

      • Facepalm OP how did you manage that?!

        • +1

          That is going to be a BiT**** to solder back. Maybe just get a new card ?

  • +3

    I think they are both wifi antennas, so might have a weaker signal

    • +3

      Looks like “Main” broke clean, “Aux” is ok.

      OP, you clean the inside of your laptop??

      • +1

        Cleaning out the dust build up on fans every once in a while is a good idea.
        I wouldn't touch anything else unless there was dust build up and even then just use compressed air

  • -1

    If you google anatel:03878-16 you get several hits, one of which says (translated from Portugese)

    ANATEL Identifiers are unique authorization numbers assigned by Brazil's Agency of National Telecommunications (quite similar to the FCC in the USA). These device certifications exist to ensure consumer product quality and authorize operation at given frequencies and power outputs. For each rated device, you can find operating freuqncies, SAR levels, test reports, and user manuals for the devices. NumRFGCT: 826316

    so, at a guess, kusama and ascorbic may have it….note did NOT search exhaustively

    • +1

      Perhaps you were looking for this
      https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents...

      The Wifi module is Intel Wifi Dual BAnd AC 8265

      It's a very common part. Can buy on from computer shops for around $39 which comes in a PCIE riser card for desktop computers, but it can be slotted into M.2 slot in your laptop

      It seems that OP has managed to rip out the socket, if you look closely the socket is still attached to the dangling (loose) wire. Will need some soldering work to re-attach socket.

  • +1

    It's your WiFi adaptor.
    You will need to purchase a new one. +/- @ $30
    Just need to make sure you purchase the correct socket.

    You can try to solder, but you will prob find it pretty difficult on this one… You will need to try and solder from the underside, and it will be a super fine joint.
    Best to just save yourself the headache and buy a new one.

    • +6

      No option but to solder the broken connector. That's a soldered on card variant, not socketed thus not removable.

      OP: Any repair kiosk in mall or street shop can resolder the connector in 2 mins.

    • You will need to try and solder from the underside

      It looks like a surface mount connector to me; the required soldering will be on the top side.

  • +1

    BTW - it will still work as the 'main' connector is intact. However, you will have a reduction in performance.
    https://www.intel.com.au/content/www/au/en/support/articles/...

  • +2

    So if you can't solder it, then tape the wire down so that it at least sits on the right spot. and then put some foam over the top so when you close the case back down it is pressing firmly down on it. might be ok if you can get it in the right spot…

    if not you can get electrically conductive glue also.

    • So if you can't solder it, then tape the wire down so that it at least sits on the right spot. and then put some foam over the top so when you close the case back down it is pressing firmly down on it. might be ok if you can get it in the right spot…

      I wouldn't do that as the distance between the pads is really small, so if the top ground pad rotates or moves out of place, it can short the center pin to ground.

  • Wow looks like the card itself is soldered onto the board as well, so you can't replace it.

    USB wifi adapter might be the easiest/ cheapest solution.

    • +1

      I very much doubt it considering the PCB colour differences between motherboard and wifi card, and that there's a RF/heat shield covering up where the mini pci-e connector is.

      Replacing the wifi card is the cheapest option. They cost a few dollars on eBay and are easy to install (if the shield is easy to remove, which they should be by design).

      • +1

        I very much doubt it considering the PCB colour differences between motherboard and wifi card, and that there's a RF/heat shield covering up where the mini pci-e connector is.

        It is definitely soldered. If it used a slot it would need screws to hold it down. There are no contacts under the shield..

        • Thanks, I didn't know.

          Is the only way to replace it, to use a BGA soldering machine? Could hot air be used?

          • @studentl0an:

            Is the only way to replace it, to use a BGA soldering machine? Could hot air be used?

            You could heat it up from underneath with hot air. Just make sure you look out for other components that may fall off. :)

            In this case it's definitely much, much easier to resolder the U.FL connector. It'd literally take under a minute.

  • Was really worried that micro soldering work was neededWas really worried that micro soldering work was needed

    Definitely not micro soldering work, you can easily solder this your regular $15 soldering iron…

    • I wouldn't be doing this with a $15 soldering iron but yeah definitely doable with conventional soldering.

      • +2

        Using a soldering heat blower could work.

    • hmmmm :Note: This product is not intended to be used at a PCB level"

    • The joint is carrying 2.4 and 5.8GHz signals and not DC; I wouldn't use anything apart from proper solder in case the impedance changes. It's a really quick solder job, it'd be better to get it repaired properly at a phone repair place or by a handy friend.

  • +1

    Take it to the cellphone repair guys, and most will be able to fix it for $15.
    Take this as a lesson that fooling around inside your electronics is rarely as catastrophic as the manufacturers want you to think, and worth it to try upgrades and repairs yourself in the first instance!

  • +5

    LPT: You clean the inside of your computer with compressed air not a sledge hammer.

    • A relieved chicken.

      Sledge hammer force pecking.

  • Your wifi is still working because the auxiliary cable is still operational. You broke the main one, no issues there. It will still work fine, no need to worry.

  • As above; wireless NIC which is apparently soldered in:
    ( https://www.intel.com.au/content/www/au/en/products/sku/9415... )

    The antenna connector you've broken is for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; the other one does Wi-Fi only. It may be that one is 2.4GHz and the other one is 5GHz.
    ( https://community.intel.com/t5/Wireless/Connector-1-and-2-on... ).

    Wireless probably still works but not well (reduced speed and range because MIMO won't work properly) and BT doesn't work at all or with very very short range:
    ( https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000... )

    It should be straightforward for someone with surface mount soldering experience/equipment to repair by removing the male U.FL mount from the cable, and then soldering it (or a new one, they cost about $2 from element14) back on the card.
    ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirose_U.FL )

    Good luck!

    • It may be that one is 2.4GHz and the other one is 5GHz. ( https://community.intel.com/t5/Wireless/Connector-1-and-2-on... ).

      I would disregard that comment on their forum, based on my time working on the 802.11 standard.

      Wireless probably still works but not well (reduced speed and range because MIMO won't work properly) and BT doesn't work at all or with very very short range:( https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000... )

      I would say this will be closer to OPs experience, if he/she tries to use wifi outside home setup.

      The wifi card would continue to negotiate and likely to use 1x1 setup with the router to improve SNR and connection reliability , so the 5GHz Wifi 5 sync speed would max out to 433Mbps

      Onboard BT can be bypass with a USB dongle, if OP needs it

  • +1

    Cheap fix, just get a new mini pci-e wifi card for a few dollars on ebay.

    For a seamless transition you might want to get the same model card but almost any will work and should be plug and play.

  • Weirdly I have done the same thing last night when changing wifi cards. Now the gold ring from the wifi card is stuck on the antenna cables. Any ideas how to get them off? Otherwise will have to change the cables and the card. I tried searching but no results.

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