My first option was using the external USB Bluetooth adapter as is but it wasn’t very convenient. I decided to find a way to install this adapter inside the laptop.
Before I started hacking my laptop, I installed Bluetooth software and tested if the new adapter works fine. As you see on the picture below, the Bluetooth icon in the SysTray is active and the cell phone is detected.
For this modification you’ll need:
1. Laptop disassembly experience. Here are service manuals for some laptops.
2. Soldering skills and tools as I mentioned in the power jack repair post.
3. Inexpensive USB Bluetooth 2.0 adapter. I spent less than $8 for that thing and you can find it even cheaper.
This is only for experienced technicians. If you have no experience you can (and most likely will) damage your laptop. Proceed on your own risk!
This guide should works for all laptop brands: Toshiba, Dell, HP/Compaq, IBM, Lenovo, Gateway, etc… as long as you have enough space to mount the Bluetooth module inside the laptop.
OK, here’s how I did it.
First of all, I disassembled my laptop and found a place where I can install the Bluetooth adapter. In my guide I’m using a Toshiba Satellite A105 laptop. I found enough empty space in the top right corner of the laptop.
My idea was simple. Disassemble the Bluetooth adapter, remove the Bluetooth module and solder it to one of the USB ports. I decided to use one of the USB ports located in the lower right corner.
NOTE: After this modification is done, you will not be able to use that particular USB port with any other USB device, it will not work because it’s dedicated to the Bluetooth module. But I think it’s not a big deal because most laptops have 3-4 USB ports.
I found some thin wires laying around.
Make sure that wires are long enough for your project.
Now you’ll have to disassemble the adapter. I easily split the adapter case with a sharp knife and removed the Bluetooth module.
Unsolder the USB connector.
As you see on the picture below, the Bluetooth module easily fits into the empty place inside the laptop.
I soldered four wires to the Bluetooth module. I used terminals for the USB connector.
After that I soldered four wires to four contacts on the back of the USB connector. Be careful. Make sure all wires are connected correctly.
At the last step I installed the Bluetooth module into the place and routed wires from the module to the USB port. I had to reroute the wires a few times to make sure that I can install the top cover and it seats properly. I secured wires to the motherboard with electrical tape.
Finally, assembled the laptop and tested it. There is no on/off hardware switch for the Bluetooth module but I can turn it on and off through software.
The Bluetooth adapter has been installed INSIDE the laptop and works flawlessly!