My shiny new DIY edition arrived, and I thought I was following instructions correctly. The antenna connectors just didn’t want to connect to the wifi board terminals. I was pressing maybe a bit too gently at first, and kept incrementing up. Through the whole process, I couldn’t get the connectors to stick tightly enough to stay on through the process. After putting the wifi board under a magnifier, it looks like I damaged the board connectors. Damn. If I damaged those, what’s the likelihood that I damaged the wire terminations… I think I’m going to try for some pics to magnify.
@gjason and @randomuser I’m so embarrassed by this, and I do think it’s all my fault. Honestly, I have not bought a pre-build computer in decades. I just build my own, and I’ve worked with electronics from vacuum tubes through surface-mount technology. All I can do is express gratitude that the Framework is made for repair-ability.
@Stan_McIntosh It won’t be super difficult to replace the antennas if Framework will supply the parts.
Basically follow the display replacement guide, but after Step 7 those two black rectangles under the LCD are the antenna patches. Peel the old ones off, stick on the new ones, and re-route the wires.
The only issue is that since the antennas are stuck to the Top Cover and peeling them off usually curls or creases them, I’m not sure Framework will have any replacements readily available but definitely ask them!
@jeskihat, thank you very much! I’m so glad that I got a Framework, though what I did today is embarrassing. I do remember the last time I did something this stupid. I was trying to make a load resistor for a 1.5 kV power supply. I meant to grab a handful of 1 Mohm resistors (brown black green), but I rushed and grabbed some 15 ohm resistors (brown green black). Instant fireworks!
We’re working on getting antenna modules into stock. This is actually not one of the parts we anticipated needing at the outset, so we prioritized moving inventory of other modules like Displays and Input Covers first. We don’t like these tiny U.FL connectors either. It’s unfortunately something we’re stuck with for WiFi.
@nrp, Thank you so very much for your response. I tried replying from phone, but not sure if that made it through. One of the great things about the framework is that, when we make a mistake like this, finding replacement parts is easy. I found some thin replacement laptop antennas with pressure-sensitive adhesive and wiring, and they should arrive today. This is exactly why getting one of these laptops changed my mind about laptops!
You may just need a new wifi module, not an antenna. Inspect the wifi card and verify if both of the grounding rings are still there on the wifi card. It’s possible that one of the grounding rings has broken off into the wifi socket. If so, removing it by carefully hooking it out with a very fine needle. Note that the broken ring is so fine that it’s almost invisible, even with magnification.
@nrp, I tried responding the wrong way, and thank you so much for your message. Another community member suggested going to eBay for replacement laptop internal antennas, but there are plenty off of Amazon. A pair arrived yesterday, but family time was more important for the evening. Hoping to dive in tonight. Replacement network card should arrive this afternoon.
As for the connectors, these make sense. My favorite RF connectors (BNC, RCA, and SMA) wouldn’t make any sense in a laptop. (I’ve actually pumped almost 1 kW of RF through an RCA.) I’ll be less heavy-handed this time, and working under a magnifier will make more sense, too.
Unfortunately, these connectors are industry standard for WiFi modules laptops, mobiles, SBCs and so on. I had the same pain attaching antennas to WiFi M2 modules for my Nvidia Jetson Nanos in the past. And I had a nightmare replacing the module and antennas for my Dell XPS laptop( Dell even tracks serial number of the WiFi installed and blocks booting if they do not match). Although, somehow, I haven’t destroyed any single item yet.
P.S. Also, Frame.Work can potentially confirm( I hope ) – any modern existing M2-based laptop WiFi module should work. I mean you can install something 2-3 years old and reliable, 100% supported by Linux and any onther OS if you have the problem with the newest Intel WiFi chipset that Frame.Work is installing.