Soldering a ExpressCard slot in a laptop motherboard

MarioTronic

Commendable
Apr 17, 2016
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1,510
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Hello,

I have a Toshiba Satellite L500-19p. It's motherboard is a LA-4981p and it doesn't has a ExpressCard slot.

I know that other models have ExpressCard slot (For example this motherboard has it)

So, my questions are the following:

1º Is possible solder a ExpressCard slot in the motherboard?
2º Will the laptop recognize it?
3º Where can I buy a ExpressCard slot?

There are pics of my mainboard:





Regards.

PD: I want have a ExpressCard slot because I want to install a USB 3.0 card.
 

Someone Somewhere

Dignified
Moderator
It's certainly much cheaper to build one PCB & BIOS and leave parts off, than to build two separate PCBs/BIOSes for the different market segments. They're almost certainly the same PCB (though OP's image is flipped vertically...), and OP's board definitely has the pads.

The problems I see are:
A) Getting the needed components - that big QFP next to the expresscard slot may have proprietary software on it, even if you can find the chip for sale.
B) Soldering it all on. Pretty small pin pitches.
C) Overcoming any software protection to stop people doing this. The manufacturer may have disabled and hidden the express card slot in the BIOS (even if the support is in there), and may prevent you flashing a BIOS from the version of the board with the slot (because different model number). This could mean grabbing a hex editor, and risking bricking your board.
 

hairystuff

Distinguished
Jul 15, 2009
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There is an additional controller chip and support components required for the Express Slot to function. So without the additional support electronics it will not work.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


No.
"Two capacitors and the metal part" ? No, it is a bit more involved than that.
Among other things, you also need the code in the BIOS that knows what to do with that port
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


I have in the past, but not currently.
Today? Swap the motherboard. Faster and cheaper.

Adding new functionality to a laptop motherboard, as the OP desires? Not a chance. That will not work.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


OK....in your opinion:
1. Looking at the pic of that motherboard, where would you "solder a ExpressCard slot" ? Specifically. Draw a red circle around the location.
2. In the existing code that lives in that motherboard, what code is there to recognize an ExpressCard slot?
 

Someone Somewhere

Dignified
Moderator
It's certainly much cheaper to build one PCB & BIOS and leave parts off, than to build two separate PCBs/BIOSes for the different market segments. They're almost certainly the same PCB (though OP's image is flipped vertically...), and OP's board definitely has the pads.

The problems I see are:
A) Getting the needed components - that big QFP next to the expresscard slot may have proprietary software on it, even if you can find the chip for sale.
B) Soldering it all on. Pretty small pin pitches.
C) Overcoming any software protection to stop people doing this. The manufacturer may have disabled and hidden the express card slot in the BIOS (even if the support is in there), and may prevent you flashing a BIOS from the version of the board with the slot (because different model number). This could mean grabbing a hex editor, and risking bricking your board.
 

jimmysmitty

Distinguished
Moderator
Oct 5, 2007
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The majority of people have no real world experience in repairing a circuit which is why replacing the parts is easier and cheaper to do than to try and fix something that is so much more complex.

The soldering it would require to do a job like this, since it would require the chip to support it, would be hard for the majority of people if not all people to do, I don't know anyone who can do precision soldering. Not to mention that if he just so happens to leave heat too long it could damage other layers of the motherboards PCB and break something else on the board.

PCBs are also getting more complex. My Asus 980Ti Strix has the smoothest PCB I have ever seen and the soldering is insane. I wouldn't even begin to attempt to try to replace a component on it and I have done that in the past. Hell I built circuits but I do not have the machines nor the money to invest in the machines required to solder properly for something like this.

Pretty much what Someone Somewhere said is what the guy would run into. I personally don't think it is worth the time or money to do.
 

MarioTronic

Commendable
Apr 17, 2016
2
0
1,510
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Thanks everyone for answer me. I tought that it would be a mad thing but, why not ask?

The ExpressCard would be installed where is a black plastic piece in the top-left corner (1st Photo)

Regards.
 
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