Do you have an older IBM ThinkPad laptop that came without internal wireless card and wireless antennas but has a slot for the wireless card on the bottom? Now you can upgrade your laptop by installing internal wireless card and antennas yourself using these instructions. UPDATE: the link has been removed because it’s dead. For the laptop disassembly you can use instructions in the service manual. You’ll find the link at the end of this post.
In this project we added an internal wireless adapter to a Thinkpad a31. This is possible since it shares the chassis of the Thinkpad A31p which included internal wireless and bluetooth, at the time, cost about $1000 more.
This guide was made for an IBM ThinkPad A31 laptop but should work for some other ThinkPads too.
First of all make sure your laptop has a slot for the wireless card, otherwise installing antennas is absolutely pointless. Usually you can access this slot from the bottom of the laptop. The wireless card slot looks similar to a memory slot.
this projects uses one:
- Dell Truemobile miniPCI 1400
- IBM replacement a31 antenna system
Installing internal wireless card into a ThinkPad laptop will require the following steps:
1. Removing and taking apart the laptop display panel.
2. Routing wireless antenna cables inside the display panel.
3. Removing the laptop top cover.
4. Routing antenna cables under the top cover.
5. Installing wireless card and connecting antennas.
Although this may appear to be a guide, this project takes the life of your laptop into your own hands. You basically take the laptop into about 50 pieces, some of which are only held together by plastic snaps. you are responsible for your actions.
You can find step-by-step laptop disassembly instruction in the IBM hardware maintenance manuals