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I swapped my Kindle's 3G module for a WiFi module

No, I don't have enough yet from messing around with my Kindle, and I haven't given up on getting that thing online. This time, I took the 3G module out and put an old WiFi module in.

Last time, I wrote how I swapped the SIM card of my old Kindle DX in an attempt to give that old thing full internet access, as Amazon's default SIM card gives me access to Amazon's servers only. This time, I thought I do things a bit more drastically and swap the whole 3G module for a WiFi module, and see if that works.

I'm not going to explain again how to open a Kindle DX, I think I did a pretty good job in my previous blog post, so head over there if you want those instructions.

The 3G module has a pretty common connector that looks very similar to that of a WiFi module, although I am well aware that just because it looks similar, it doesn't actually have to be. My fellow computer geeks will recognise the connector as similar to an early version mSATA connector, but the two are not interchangeable. So it's still just a gamble. But one in which the damage can easily be undone if I lose this gamble, so off I go.

The wifi module was donated by an old mini-laptop I bought about ten years ago and is no longer in use apart from sometimes some testing if I really need a 32-bit system for it. It has since been replaced by a machine that in turn got replaced before it was replaced by the laptop I have now. Fun fact: all four machines are still in my possession because tossing things is something I have yet to learn.

Thing is though, the wifi module is significantly smaller than the 3G module and hence I cannot screw it onto the motherboard like it's supposed to. No worries, though. From the years of living in squats, I have learned the value of duct tape. A bit of that can stick the module at its place. Time to turn on the Kindle and test it!

The Kindle turned on, and at first it even seemed to work, with the menu showing the option to turn on wireless. However, when turned on, it looks like it's looking for a network but it doesn't actually do anything.

And that's not surprising, because I haven't yet told it what network to connect to. But oddly enough, when I open the Kindle settings, the network isn't an option. There is no way for me to indicate what network to connect to. I start to wonder if "Turn Wireless On" is perhaps a default option that is always there, whether the Kindle actually has wireless or not.

Opening a Terminal on my Kindle (that doesn't allow me to take screenshots, annoyingly enough) confirms my suspicion: the WiFi adapter isn't recognised. The most logical explanation is that the old Linux kernel that is loaded onto the Kindle, doesn't have the correct kernel modules for this WiFi adapter. Luckily, I could find them on the internet, so I will try installing those later and then try again to get this WiFi module online. But it'll be for another day, because it's already late and I want to go to bed.

Last modified: 11 May 2021 23:35:01.
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