Posts Tagged ‘Aspire One’

Aspire One 9 Cell vs 6 Cell

backshotlg

The 9-cell battery I ordered came in recently and I figured I’d do a write-up on it, since there wasn’t much out there when I was researching these and kinda bit the bullet on it.

I bought the battery from an Ebay seller called Everwaypower in Shenzen, china for $55.88.  Shipping was free but took about 10 days to arrive.

The package was completely coated with packing tape and once I deciphered the box style I managed to cut the seams open.  Inside was the battery, extremely well packaged in cut foam and anti-static bag.

package1package2

The battery was easy to install, as all the Aspire One batteries are considered universal (for the most part).  Unfortunately this 9-cell doesn’t meet flush with the seam of the bezel like the stock 6-cell does.  I also noticed that I could force the battery out of the lock, so don’t trust your battery to stay in if you hang onto the battery like a handle and swing it around (no sane person would do this but I’ve abused the hell out of my netbook and can attest to the stability of things).  This may be due to this series of battery being ‘optimized’ for the AoA (8.9″) series of Aspire1′s so if you shop around then you can potentially expect a better experience.

6-cell being flush with the bezel9-cell and it's offset with the bezel

I’ve also included shots of the size difference.  Some of the older 9-cells I’ve seen had the cells stacked in a linear fashion, but this battery had them in an L formation, so it’s more compact (than older 9-cells).

6cell side9cell side

Despite noted flaws this battery does hold up to the kind of quality I would expect for anything I’d affix to my netbook.

The battery is advertised as a brand new 7200mAh capacity battery.  As anyone should know, this manufactured capacity is not the true capacity, so I did some analysis with a program called Battery Care to learn more about my batteries.

This program reads capacity in mWh (miliWatts per hour) as compared to the standard miliAmperes per hour, so I’ll just use mWh for the rest of this writeup for sake of ease.

The ‘designed’ capacity of this particular 9-cell was 73260mWh; it’s actual capacity is 71817mWh, which equates to a very low wear level (the designed capacity is like a theoretical maximum, where the actual capacity goes down as the battery is worn) which is expected as it’s a new battery.

Battery Care isn’t very good at reporting accurate ‘time remaining’ calculations very frequently, but based on my tests the 9-cell lasts about 7 hours.  This should shock you as this is barely over what’s advertised as the battery life of the 6-cell, but keep in mind I’m now running Windows 7, with a lot of intensive processes (firefox / thunderbird / utorrent / gmabooster / dashboard widgets / full screen brightness / max wifi) so you have to consider this.  If you ran your netbook with the intentions of saving battery life then you should see some serious time clocks.  Contrast this with my previous 6-cell that now only gives me about 4 hours of life (50461mWh), and things make sense.

The lesson here is that my disregard for battery life and the use of windows 7 is costs me a great deal of battery life, however by using a 9-cell I can compensate for every watt of power consumed…

So to wrap things up:

Stock 6-Cell Rated Capacity: appx. 52,000 mWh Minimal Wear Actual Capacity: 50,461 mWh Windows 7 (heavy load) Time: appx. 4 Hours Cost: about $30 difference between 3 and 6 cell retail
Aftermarket 9-Cell Rated Capacity: 73,260 mWh Minimal Wear Actual Capacity: 71817 mWh Windows 7 (heavy load) Time: appx. 7 Hours Cost: $50 – $60 shipped from China

Overall, this is a helluva deal if you can score it for as cheap as I did.  It takes a bit longer to ship from China but the quality is still good and assuming you don’t get a dud (as is known to happen with aftermarket batteries) then you will notice a difference.  There are the obvious flaws with using aftermarket products, like how the battery doesn’t fit flush with the bezel, but it does fit and lock in place (although it can be forced out).  Hopefully this helps those out there considering buying a 9-cell battery to more effectively weigh the pros and cons of owning one, at least for this model and style of battery.  I know there are other styles out there so I can’t assure you that you will have the same experience, but I encourage you to take the jump as you do get a performance gain.

  • Pros
    • About 150% more charge time
    • More real estate on the back for pirate stickers
    • Priced about the same as any of this model’s 3 or 6 cell
  • Cons
    • Can’t buy stock, so you gotta spend extra money to get one
    • Big and heavy
    • Might not fit flush with bezel
    • Takes a little longer to charge (obviously)
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Tutorial: How to add an external antenna to an Acer Aspire One D150 (for 802.11N / XSpan support)

If you’re looking to get some serious wireless performance out of your netbook (this tut is for the Aspire One D150, but the general principle is the same for all of them) then you might consider adding an external RP-SMA jack + antenna to it.  A subtle addition is adding 802.11 N support.  Read my previous posts on the topic for more on that.  I positioned the antenna mount in place of the Kensington Lock, so if you can’t afford to sac your KLock then you may want to look for an alternate location (I found this to be the best location, imo).

Antenna Mod - Full

This is a very simple mod to do; you need:

  • Standard philips screwdriver
  • Thin, flat yet stiff tool (xacto knife, razor blade, thin jewlers screwdriver, etc) to pop the keyboard (very tight)
  • Dremel Tool, small drill or similar device for tooling plastic
  • U.FL pigtail to RP-SMA Male cable; mine was 12″ but I think 6″ should do; you want a nut / lock washers too
    • Optional: RP-SMA Male – Female Right angle adapter for a better antenna placement across the back
  • RP-SMA antenna – whatever works for you
    • Optional: 802.11N Mini-Pci card – refer to previous posts on topic

Start by gutting the netbook and unscrewing everything you see.

Antenna Mod - Step 1 (alt)

Use your flat tool to pop off the keyboard.  There is one spring-loaded tab above the F8 key that needs to be depressed; the remaining tabs are on the sides and are part of the bezel.  This is challenging if you are unfamiliar with the process – be gentile but don’t be afraid to use some force to pop the keyboard out.  You may want to use more than one tool to assist in getting under the keyboard to pop it off.  Disconnect all the ribbon cables you see and unscrew the bezel.  Pop her off.

Antenna Mod - Step 2

Here is an exposure of the right side – the yellow tape is the backside of the PCI slot; that is where your cable needs to end.  Notice the black and white cable running from said location up to the right joint – right next to the KLock.  These are the existing antenna wires.  Leave them alone – no reason to remove them.

Antenna Mod - Step 3-1

Locate the Kensington Lock here.  It’s attached to the case with 2 plastic mushroom plugs.  These are not intended to be removed, so you will need to tool them off.  They go without much of a fight or mess.

Antenna Mod - Step 3-2

Note the bit I used on my Dremel Tool – very nice for this application (it’s a drum cutting bit of sorts).

Antenna Mod - Step 4

Next you need to tool a larger hole in the side of the case for the SMA mount.  Take your time and be gentile – I emphasized on the right (short) side of the hole, and the remainder space was completely covered with my small washer – it works seamlessly.

Antenna Mod - Step 5

Mount the SMA adapter in the hole.  This can get tricky depending on how your cable was made because the hinge mount passes under where the lead is still fixed in place.  Don’t jerk your lead around or you may disconnect the wire from the jack.  You should unscrew the hinges and place the jack in the hole, then gently return the hinges to their mounts.  It may take some troubleshooting skills to get it to work, but it’s not difficult by any means.

Antenna Mod - Step 6

Now you just route your new antenna wire on with the other 2, return everything to normal (take your time) and plug your antenna into a U.FL jack on your card.  If you went with a .11N card, you need all 3 antennas; I used the far #3 plug for the external ant.  I don’t know the mechanics but it should work in any configuration.  G card users can just leave one of their antennas free and should be fine – if you ever intend to upgrade to N in the future you are now N capable!

Antenna Mod - Step 7

I can’t attest to the performance gain from just replacing an internal antenna with an external one, but if you used an N card with a compatible N router (I went with XSpan .11N 2.0) then I can confirm a working (theoretical) 300 Mbps wireless connection.  To top it off, I’m using Madwifi drivers and can confirm their functionality as well.

XSpan Screen

Thanks for following this development – comments are welcome.

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Aspire One D150 Hack – Project: Net-War-Book (First Post!!)

As my first post for this site I wanted something good and something that wouldn’t completely alienate me from the rest of the world (being an Anarcho-Capitalist I spend most of my social networking time writing about economics, and people are either extremely impressed, or more likely just get pissed and block me).

I also wanted a site more about technology and hacking (and pirating) than just about politics and economics.  So here this is.

I got a post-pre-order (fresh off the assembly line, but not fresh enough to get the ‘uber’ battery everyone was talking about) Acer Aspire One D150.

Aspire One D150 Open Top View

Aspire One D150 Open Top View

These bad boys use a 10″ ultra-unnecessarily-high-gloss screen, atom 1.6ghz, upgraded to 2gb ram, intel gma 950-ish video chip, gmaboosted to 400mhz, 120gb 7200rpm hdd with a mostly windows xp sp3 partition and an extra 20gb partitioned off for Ubuntu Netbook Remix as a backup / toy with OS (I appreciate linux for everything it’s worth and more, but I’m an IT professional and I need to use windows, since I’m still a Linux noob and need to have expert control of my OSes).

Now the main reason I got a netbook, the main reason why ANYBODY gets a netbook, is a 60/40 combo of portability / price.  On my shitty freelance budget, I can barely afford anything.  I also was using an Acer Aspire 9815whki before I got this netbook and if you google some pictures on that then you can only imagine the amazing feeling I had rush through me when I was able to pick my computer up and carry it with me all around the house – it is the greatest thing to someone who has been deprived of this his whole life.  I felt (still do) like someone who just upgraded from a bag phone to an iphone.

I recently caught some pics of the new Aspire One 571 and shat bricks.  I JUST bought this thing and it already feels ancient.  The new upgrade is atheistically exactly the same, but it comes with 720p support (higher resolution screen AND faster video processing) with it’s Quartics Q1721 card, it’s also got a 1.66ghz updated atom processor,  AND it’s got a prototype Vmedia blu-ray / umd hybrid thing that’s real cyberpunk looking but would probably flop and just add to the cost / take up space.  If they had a Vmedia burner… then I would go sell some organs for that baby, but until I get my hands on the minimum $500 it’s gonna cost, I’ll have to settle for my crappy (still awesome) D150.

Now on to my new project idea.

Inside the (currently) new aspire one, which unlike it’s 8.9″ ancestor has access panels, we get ONE slot for ram, which I’ve heard is hardware (or maybe bios) nerfed to an arbitrarily slow clockspeed, ONE sata drive slot, and ONE mini-pci slot in a cramped little space which is currently occupied by the wifi card – meaning unless we go for a 2-in-1 card then we NEED to leave it that way.

I saw some kits on ebay that are just an adapter that you can solder a simcard port into and enable 3G HSDPA for your netbook, but I not only don’t use a wireless carrier that uses sim cards (I use Alltel, which just got bought by Verizon), I’m not really interested in paying for an epic data plan that I would use as much as I use now.

Instead I decided I would hack my netbook a badass wireless card.

I caught a glimpse of this card, and I’m very excited.

It’s an Atheros AR5008E-3NX

This really gave me a nerd hardon:

Supported Data Rates
IEEE 802.11a 6 to 54 Mbps
IEEE 802.11b 1 to 11 Mbps
IEEE 802.11g 6 to 54 Mbps
XSPAN 6.5 to 300 Mbps 
IEEE WLAN Standard Over-the-Air (OTA) Estimates Media Access Control Layer, Service Access Point (MAC SAP) Estimates
802.11b 11 Mbps 5 Mbps
802.11g 54 Mbps 25 Mbps (when .11b is not present)
802.11a 54 Mbps 25 Mbps
802.11n 200+ Mbps 100 Mbps

XSPAN 300Mbps theoretical!!  FUCK YEAH!

I’m gonna do as much research on this XSPAN shit as I can.  I have a hacked Linksys router sporting DD-WRT but I’m gonna need an N router to get full service from this bad boy.  This sounds sweet.

Since this is a tri-antenna N card, I’m picking up some of this:

and I’m gonna hook up one of my ridiculous antennas from my desktop apartment wifi hacking days and mount it to my new net-war-book.

I’ll post back when I get more research done on XSPAN and get some parts and plan my surgery.

Thanks for reading the first post to this site – more to come, definitely.

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