Saturday, January 8, 2011

PROJECT: Tabletbook

Ok, I know that recently I said I wanted to find a new case for my EEE 901, and I hate to switch plans, but I am. I thought alot about it, especially the dimensions, and just how a 12" x 9" x 1" is actually more the size of a laptop than anything which is rather pointless, especially since with school starting soon, I definitely am going to need a computing device, one that has a screen.

A good while ago, I saw some sweet mods floating around the eeeuser forums, and the one that struck me as being not only awesome but easy is "Just Another Tablet" by McG. He essentially took a 701 and turned it into a tablet, touch screen and everything. And I want to do the same with my 901.

Stage 0: Taking it apart
I had almost completely taken it apart earlier with the exception of the wifi cables. They were trapped underneath the foil and I didn't know the ramifications of removing them. After reading McG's thread, I realized it would be fine. So I ripped off not only the wires but also the foil as well. Now everything that can come off my EEE....well, can come off. The mic, webcam, everything.

I needed to test it and make sure that it worked (the "DO NOT TOUCH" tape really freaks me out), so I hooked it up and tried a good ol' booterup. For some reason, I installed some weird version of WinXP and it had had trouble booting up in the past, but this time, I left the room and came back to find a familiar Windows XP setting on the screen. After figuring out several new pieces of information -like why the wifi wasn't working (it was turned off) and that you can rotate the screen 90/270 degrees, making it vertical- I got excited: this might work.

Stage 1: Acquiring the tools
Thankfully, I'm not going to have to solder anything or hopefully spend a ton of money. But by the guide, I think I do need the following:
  • High temperature double sided tape
  • Kapton
  • Fabric tape
  • Epoxy
  • Xacto knife
I need to promise myself that I will try to power it on while closed before getting these tools, because if I try to squeeze things together without them, I could end out scrapping the whole project. Hopefully I can score all this stuff for ~$25.

Stage 2: Get it to close
For some reason, his 701 looks like it has alot more room than my 901, I guess just from how things are placed. I figure the best approach to take at this is to divide it up into two: bottom and top. Now the bottom and top bevel fit fine together without the mobo and screen, so if I can just keep the mobo level with the bottom bevel and the screen level with the top bevel, I'll be solid. This might just take some manuevering.
The Top:
    • Basically just sanding down whatever plastic gets in the way. I also need to figure out what I'm going to use to do that.
    • He doesn't show it, but the screen has a metal frame around it and since it will be upside down, the frame might end out getting in the way, so I might just cut it off, especially since I don't think there will be any holes for screws to go in after sanding them all down.
  • Overall, the screen itself is 5mm, and I estimate the top bevel to be around 8mm. I think it's definitely possible, hopefully with some room to spare.
The Bottom:
    • I need to move the bluetooth, or at least remove the foam underneath it. The cord is hella short though, so it might be tricky.
    • I might need to move the mobo battery. Shouldn't be that hard.
    • I might need to move the speakers. At this point they look like they'll be out of the way and I hope I don't have to, but I guess I could hack them up and move them.
    • I might need to lose the pads on top of the USB and Ethernet ports. They're there to elevate the heatsink, but I need that extra space. But I don't want to cause a short somehow.
    • And lastly, I might need to snap off these prongs on the heatsink. As far as I know, the shape of the heatsink doesn't matter, and those dumb prongs just stick up and get in the way.
  • The bottom is more tricky because you're not dealing with plastic, you're dealing with components, and you can't sand those down. It will probably be the deal breaker.
This is going to be the tricky part. If I can nail this, I'm in. Of course, I'll need to get it closed, but without powering it on, because there's no point in taping things up when I'm going to....

Stage 3: Install the touch screen
What would a tablet be without one? Actually, this seems like it will be the easiest part. There's a reasonably priced one at DealExtreme for $52.70 and I found a guide on how to install it. The only reason I save this for last is because it's $50, and it's 1mm thick. That doesn't sound like alot, but it bumps the screen from 5mm up to 6mm, so if I get it all together and it just barely fits, I might not have enough room for the touch screen.

I might end out just buying it beforehand. I don't want to cut into the bevel until I'm sure what I'm dealing with, and I need to cut into the bevel to get an idea of if everything will fit.


Anyway, that's it. I'm pretty excited about it. Hopefully I can get this done before school kicks my butt.
-Bry
PS - Why has no one thought of Tabletbook? It flows, it contains all but one letter of both words....I dunno. Why keep calling them "hybrids" or using a slash? Just call them Tabletbooks.

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