The Newton MessagePad 2000-series devices had a little known internal slot intended for an integrated modem card that was never made by Apple. PCMCIA WiFi cards of this era do not support modern WPA2 encryption. This site outlines a project to build a WiFi board for this never-used internal serial slot that works with modern WiFi networks.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

WiFi Board v1.1

I got the revised boards and finally found some time to assemble a board.  This board adds a logic inverter to fix the flow control, and removes some extra traces for an alternate reset circuit.

To assemble the board, I had a stencil made and used it to apply solder paste.  Then I placed the components using a very simple "pick and place" rig:
This jig was made from a piece of brass tube, a leur lock fitting, some tubing, and a 22ga blunt dispensing needle.   It was mounted in a cheap USB microscope holder (available on eBay or Amazon) and hooked to a vacuum pump that I already had.   There are many more complicated versions of this rig on the internet, but this simple setup worked fine for me.

Finally, I baked it in a toaster oven that I got for free at a garage sale, and a rocket scream reflow shield.

Everything works great.  I consider this project a success.  All thats left to do now is to 3D print a replacement for the plastic "plug" that covers the hole in the case.

Finally, a little application that uses the method mentioned in an earlier post to enable the board when the 'modem' port is opened: