Make it a Tablet (A How To, or how I did it)

Discussion in 'Modding and Customization' started by SodaForJones, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. SodaForJones

    SodaForJones

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    After much of an exhaustive search on both this forum as well as around the interwebs I found that not once did anyone actually post a how to on making the AAO into a tablet. A lot of "look at this" but no "this is how." Well after 2 days worth of on and off again work and a lot of frustration I've turned my 8.9" ZG5 into a tablet. It might not look as good as its inspiration here: http://www.todoumpc.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=7237&PN=1
    but the write up is in English... and explained slightly better, only slightly.

    Alright well lets get started!

    Step 1: Already have a working/installed touchscreen. I purchased mine from DealExtreme here: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/wide-8-9-usb-touch-screen-film-makes-lcd-screens-touch-sensitive-15611 There are a plethora of walkthroughs on this forum on how to install it and get it working. I'm not gonna touch that here.

    Step 2: Gut it. Void what minuscule warranty you might have had left and disassemble it completely. Down to each individual board, cable and bezel. Your going to have to do some cutting of the interior screen bezel and the exterior screen case to flip the screen around and make the hinge's look "flush." As well as cut up the keyboard bezel (more on that later). That way you don't have any grotesque edges and sharp plastic trying to take out your delicate organs.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Step 3: Get rid of the hinges. Start with the interior screen bezel (the black one) make continual scoring cuts along the line at the bottom where it joins with the soft silicone bumper. Keep scoring until it becomes flexible then you can just bend and part. I found this to be a much better option then using my Dremel solely because I didn't want to risk cutting poorly and completely ruining the bezel. The softness of the plastic and the small line also would have made it difficult to do without completely eating the plastic into a blob of black sadness. (And while your at it remove that extra strong tiny magnet on the back right below the Acer logo so the computer doesn't think the lid is closed later on, I just dug it out with a knife.)
    [​IMG]

    Step 4: Cut up the outer bezel. This was surprisingly difficult and I did have to use my Dremel. I started with a score line (just to give a better base then Sharpie) and cut along a complementary line from the inner bezel. I was extremely scientific in my measurements.... What your looking for from this is the exterior hing piece (the lower part). This will be mated to the interior bezel later to give it a flush look.
    [​IMG]

    Step 5: Cut up the keyboard bezel. So much cutting but its fairly easy. The most nerve racking thing is pulling out the metal shielding, I was afraid of snapping the bezel in half. I ended up using a knife and poping the welded plastic holding it on off slowly then bending the metal out and away. Just go slow and it'll happen (Giggity). After that just cut around the bezel as close as you can to the screw studs on the palm rest side and as close to the touch pad as you can while completely cutting it off. (if you don't understand what I mean just look at the photos...I really couldn't think of a better way to explain it sorry :( ) Also disregard the bondo in the photos it was a whoops.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Step 6: Test fit and mounting. At this point you should be able to get a good idea of how everything is going to fit together so grab your screen and place it into your cut up bezel. Once you get an idea of where it should be make some mounts for it. I was at a loss of how to do this well so I just gave into the most simple solution I could see and reused the metal joints holding the screen to the top case from the original configuration. I used them like metal tabs by screwing them through the back side of the bezel securing the screen in place. This DID pierce the outside of the bezel (much to my chagrin) so I dremeled down the screws to make them as flush as I could. (if anyone had a better way of doing this I'd love to hear it now...after the fact). Also make sure you can still fit your camera and mic where they need to go. You'll notice they don't have anything to sit against. Well the keyboard bezel you cut up will act as a small back for them. I ended up using liberal amounts of hot glue to secure them into place in the end (don't do that until much later though!)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You'll notice in the photos I'd already started bondoing at this point. You don't have to start doing that until after you have everything test fitted. Which is what I should have done. But alas, hindsight.

    Step 7: Start fabrication. Now that you've test fit everything and know you've got the space inside the bezels and, hopefully, the ability to mount the screen start Bondoing. You don't have to use bondo, thats just what I had for the lowest cost (~$3). Start by sandwiching the black interior bezel for the LCD against the keyboard bezel and add the hinge section cut from the outer shell (the one with curving for the rounds, the interior hinge section I cut off I didn't use and discarded it). I realized I didn't take any good photos of the in process fabrication so look above at the test fit one to see some slight progress. It doesn't look great but after some good sanding it did come out to acceptable. I didn't fill in the unused screw holes around the bezel, I just ran out of time and forgot, you can do this and sand down the whole thing before you paint it or do whatever to it.

    Step 7.5: Relocate that power button while your bondo cures. Its not like your going to be opening this thing every time you want to turn it on. I moved my button to the Kensington lock slot on the side right below the place of the original power button. I had an extra switch in my bag of old electronics parts (I think I took it from a DVD player) that fit perfectly in the spot. I had to widen the slot slightly to accommodate the switches button but it fit amazingly well. I wired it up to the original switches socket seen below. *** the picture's actually inaccurate and I didn't retake the photo after I realized my mistake. I ended up remove the original button completely and soldered wire straight to the pads. You don't need all the pads soldered for the button to work only (from the photo) the ones with brown and blue wire coming from them. Solder wire to corresponding ends of the switch your using (diagonal not straight across) and test it. You can see in the second photo the switch poking out on the right hand side.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Step 8: Sanding and touch up. Depending on how long your bondo took to cure you can do some sanding/touch up work. Really just get it to where you like it. At this point do a few more test fits and actually put all the case parts together and make sure you don't have any fracture points in your bondo (I did :(). Then continue to touch up and sand until its where you want it. You can also tape off the various parts (camera lens, mic hole, etc) and paint it! I didn't do this I just don't have any place to paint, or money to spend on paint...

    Step 9: Put it together and test it. This takes some multihanded fanageling. Start to rebuild your AAO just like you would before normally (except with the mods obviously). I put my camera and mic in and hot glued them into place at this point just to get them out of the way. Plug everything in and test it out. This took me a few tries to get all the cables run correctly where they wouldn't have too much stress or be an a pinch point. I stuck my two wifi antenna pads right on to the back of the screen (using the original adhesive it was really really sticky). I'm sure there are some electronic gods out there screaming at me about it but I don't care. It works. Once your satisfied with your fitting start putting the screws back in. There shouldn't be ANY screws going into the front bezel, those sockets lead to nowhere. You should still screw in all the main and daughter boards to the bottom case, without those screwed in all that jazz is gonna be bouncing around in there. After everything is screwed in try it on!....I mean play with it! Hopefully everything should still be working like you want. If not...open it back up and check all your connections again until its spot on.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Good luck and may the force be with you.
     
    SodaForJones, Jan 31, 2011
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. SodaForJones

    donec

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    0
    That looks good and it was a great idea to post it. In the last picture it looks like you are using it as an eReader and I use my AAO ZG5 as an eReader without making it a tablet.
     
    donec, Jan 31, 2011
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. SodaForJones

    SodaForJones

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I did that originally, I just got tired of holding it open like a normal netbook turned sideways. It just felt like an awkward position especially with the people staring while telling me I was holding my laptop wrong. It was also really weird to use the touchscreen on it when it was a normal netbook, like trying to draw on a moving easel mounted to a stack of post-it notes...
     
    SodaForJones, Jan 31, 2011
    #3
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.