Original Airport card

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 67

Hello,
A bit surprised at how the original Airport cards seem to be gaining value in the E-bay market (I seem to recall them being at least 40 dollars cheaper even a year ago) I'm posting here in hopes of finding someone with a spare perhaps lying about they might be willing to sell. To be honest I'm trying to get ahold of one for my Mother as I'm building her an iBook for use in the city, and since she's not very hardware literate, I figured an internal based Card is the best option avalible. I've got all sorts of Duo components and the carcass of a 1400CS sitting about if that might defer some of the cost through trade, but realizing that's a long shot I'm looking to pay in the old green stuff via Paypal (maybe that makes it the old plastic or digital money?) Thanks!

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Joined: Mar 15 2005
Posts: 5
Grab ...

... a cheap lucent wavelan silver card from ebay or similar for around $20, strip of all its metal casing, scrap of its internal antenna, put it into the ibook´s airport slot, attach it to the antenna wire, close the keyboard again and be a happy airport user.

And if you reboot in OS 9 andget the apple airport 2.0.2 update, you can turn the silver card (40bit encryption) into a gold one (128bit) via a simple firmware upgrade.

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Joined: Mar 20 2005
Posts: 77
Airport card are cheap on eBay

I noticed that the internal airport cards have been going for $30-$35 here recently (in the last 3 weeks) I almost bought one to replace the card I removed from my G4 Powermac.

How cheap are you looking to go?

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 67
Airport cards

I imagine what you're seeing going for actual affordible prices are most likely the "Airport Extreme" cards which don't cost an arm and a leg or your firstborne to own. The original Airport cards however, which is the kind that's compatible with my iBook Clamshell (the original 300 Mhz) seem to suffer from what I'll call "Delusions of Grandure" havn't seen one for less then 80 bucks, but if you've seen em for 30-35 dollars, lemme know, I'm uncertain of my technical prowess in dismantling Orinoco Wavelan cards

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dankephoto's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 1900
AP card cost is higher than we'd like, but worth it

The reason AP cards still sell for so much is that they're worth it. Having a totally compatible wifi card internally makes things so much simpler.

Spend the $70 or $80 and be done with it. What's yer time (and yer Mom's time) worth? It's one thing to hack a PC card into something you will be using, but do you really want to inflict all those potential problems on your innocent (presumably ;D ) mother? Why ask for trouble with a machine someone else will be using?

dan k

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 67
70-80?

I know they're worth it, I've found most all apple equipment beats homebrew, and if it were 70-80 dollars, that'd be no problem. The Problem I've found is that it seems like everyone who's got the cards is selling them for 120-160 dollars (without the shipping charges added in, I've seen a lot of the same people using the "only 30.00 shipping!") I had kinda hoped for an alternative to that sorta fee, I'm working on a budget, and that'd blow it big time. My Ma on the other hand knows nothing about Macs, so I'd be doing all the maitnence work. If it's a matter of simply removing the casing and meshing it all under the keyboard, provided it worked flawlessly, that'd be my way of going, but I do agree with you, I just seem to be unable to find Airport cards that cost what I guess I felt they'd run for >.<

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Joined: Mar 15 2005
Posts: 5
The ...

... dismantling of a lucent wavelan card is not so hard to do. It´s just getting rid of the outer metal shielding, nothing more. Then you need to flatten or cut of the internal antennas of the card, so it will fit under the keyboard. There is a connector for the antenna, and done it is.

Yes, it´s a hack, but the hack could save you a hell of some money. And when it´s been put into the airport slot and the keyboard is closed, your mother will never ever get to see it nor feel the need to deal with it.

I could send you a picture of my modification.

dankephoto's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 1900
AP card prices are generally high, but . . .

a close watch on eBay regularly finds a number of BIN AP cards under the $80 pricepoint. Just check often and you will soon be rewarded with an affordable card. Tip - search for airport card -extr*, set for BIN only and sort by "lowest price first". At the price you want to pay they don't last long, so frequency of your search, as well as luck, will determine how soon you score.

Also, subscribe to dealmac.com's wireless network items feed, they've mentioned several $65 -$75 AP card sales recently.

BTW Fritz_Gribern, where in the world are you located?

dan k

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 67
E-bay

Dan,
thank's for the tip, I'll keep an eye open, if the hack's easy to do as well that'd be nice, but we'll have to see, since this is a christmas present for my Ma, it's not exactly due for a couple months, I just like having a finished product. As for where in the world, Peoria Illinois, to be more specific about 180 miles from Chicago if that helps any

-and in response to the hacked wireless card, a picture wouldn't hurt at all, I've done crazier, and if I can garner equal reliability and given the fact that I'm the only tech that's gonna be working with it, I don't mind less then perfect internals

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dankephoto's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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PCB scans

Well, if yer still thinking about a hack, take a look at my thread with some wifi card PCB scans.

dan k

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 67
Closure

I thought I'd give some closure to this little project of mine, and now that it's complete I feel pretty good.
-I decided to give the Hack option a chance, I know it's not pretty to look at, but if it works, why not? I ordered an ORiNOCO Gold card (two wire) and when it arrived, using your photos Dan (I appriciate em by the way, they did come in handy) I removed the external casing. Here's where it gets tricky; the internal space allocated for the Airport card is too small a set of dimensions to allow for the card to seat properly, so I went around it by loosing the top case plastics, removing the metallic padding strip from the top around the keyboard. Flexing the plastic slightly in the center, I slide the card between the plastic and the internal metalics, having already plugged the antenna into the antenna port, then I slid the Wi-Fi card in to where it belonged in the connection below the trackpad. I snugged the two top case screws up *they wont seat like they did, key is to not over torque them, it's all delicate stuff after all* and put the keyboard back on. The keyboard also flexes a slight bit, but it locks down otherwise without a hassle, the next step for me was the big test to say if there was a pay off. Sure enough, the ORiNOCO detected as an airport card without a hitch and I'm writing all of this from my project laptop. All in all, it was worth the 20 dollar gamble to avoid putting 150 dollars into a card. Let's hope it holds up well, if it does, I think it's a good enough addition to go out and modify my iMac's port! thanks for your help all!

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