After accumulating several upgrade components, I decided that I’d try to hack my Acer Aspire One tonight. As much as I like the laptop, it is definitely not user friendly for any upgrade. The ease of adding memory to the Dell mini 9 is amazing. The freakishly long process to upgrade the memory of the AAO is amazingly ridiculous.
Removing the screws on the bottom was easy, and I thought I was off to a good start. The keyboard came out pretty easily too. I opted for a screwdriver rather than a credit card as a video guide suggested, and I think I did OK not to scratch much. My warranty is way gone now, so scratches would merely be an aesthetic thing. The easiest thing to upgrade tonight was the wifi card. I bought a Dell 1390 card to replace the original card be/c I want to try to use OS X on the laptop, and there aren’t any drivers for the original card. The Dell card was not very expensive and extremely easy to remove, so I was pleased with that upgrade. I was able to remove everything necessary for the RAM upgrade without any problems either, and the laptop is showing 1536M, so the extra 1G of RAM is working too.
Thinking that I was making good progress, I decided that I would move on to the third upgrade, which was replacing the original 8G SSD with a 16G SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash card by way of a CF adapter. I knew I’d probably have to do some surgery on the inside casing to make it fit, and depending on how much cutting I do will also determine if I need to trim the CF adapter. Little did I know that I would have to begin the surgery early!
To gain access to the screw holding the original SSD card in place, you have to remove the board on the right side. Every single screw tonight came out easily except for this last stinking screw! Neither of my two phillips screwdrivers was able to turn that darn screw. Eventually, I pretty much ruined the head of the screw. So, I resorted to getting the dremel out to see if I could cut a notch in the top so that I could try a flathead screwdriver. Well, that didn’t go so well either since my cutting disk was too thick and the head of the screw was thin. I gave up on thinking that I could actually remove the screw, so I grinded down the head of the screw.
Let’s just say that my dremel skills aren’t the best … I ended up cutting part of the board around the screw. Rather than finishing off the screw with the dremel, I figured that what was left was thin enough to be removed with a knife. So, I pried the super thin remains of the screw head off. Even with the screw head completely off, the board didn’t want to come out. So, I put a conical grinding head on the dremel and slowly grinded the stub of the screw. Finally, I was able to lift out the board.
This is where I was thinking that my being stubborn and refusing to quit was probably not the smartest thing. After all, I was potentially killing my laptop just to gain an extra 8G of faster storage. Oh well, there as no sense in stopping at this point.
After connecting the adpater with the original ZIF cable, I reconnected enough of the laptop to let me turn it on again. Not being sure if I installed the ZIF cable properly, I thought I’d let the computer tell me if I was right or wrong. A red LED light on the adapter was on, so I figured that was a good sign that it was getting power properly. However, when I turned on the laptop and hit F2, it didn’t recognize the card. I flipped the ZIF cable over, and I tried it again, and that didn’t work either.
Just to make sure the laptop wasn’t dead, I tried the original SSD card, and it booted just fine into the normal deskotp. That was a relief!
Finding the ZIF cable that came with the adapter would definitely help. The cable wasn’t in the same basket where I kept the CF adapter, so I have no clue if I still have it =( If it doesn’t turn up, I will have to make another 20 mile trek to Fry’s or pay $8 to buy 10 cables on eBay. 40 miles round trip is almost 2 gallons of gas, but with the sub $2/gallon price of gas, I guess driving is still cheaper. Or perhaps I should buy the cables on eBay and sell the 7 I don’t need …
Oh well, at least this delay gives me time to backup the contents of the original SSD. I was just going to skip that process since I have very little on the drive. I suppose that’s the silver lining to this whole ordeal.