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iPad 3G/4G Mod

Discussion in 'iPad Hacking' started by Allswell, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. Allswell
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    Allswell iPF Noob

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    I have all the parts but I am not an experienced modder when it comes to physically taking apart a mobile device and using its internal components to modify a iPad to have connectivity say through the Sprint / Clearwire network. Any takers? I have to assume its as simple as adding a chipset, but my better judgement says its more than that......
  2. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    Your better judgement is correct. The 'schematic' for the iPad - essentially the components that it contains and how they are interconnected - is a closely guarded secret. The boards are multi-layer PCBs (printed circuit boards) employing SMT (surface mount technology) ICs (integrated circuits). A move from the existing chipset to a 4G chipset would require a completely new PCB because it would not be practical to remove the existing ICs. These are fixed to the PCB using a matrix of pins on the underside of the IC - a ball-grid array (BGA) - which are soldered to the PCB using low-melting-point solder. To remove the ICs requires specialist infra-red equipment that I assume you do not have access to. Furthermore, even if you could remove the existing 3G chipset, the 4G chipset would be physically and electronically incompatible with the existing PCB so, as I mentioned earlier, a completely new PCB would be required. A further problem is that 4G operates on a different frequency to 3G and the iPad's 3G antenna is 'tuned' to the 3G and not the 4G frequency.

    Bottom line - don't even think about it....

    If you want to see an interesting tear-down of the iPad and details of the 3G electronics, go to the iFixit website where they have done a very comprehensive teardown and subjective analysis of the iPad's design.

    Tim
  3. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    As Tim says. It's a no go. That's not just an engineering problem. Even if you could get the chipset installed the OS will never accept a new chipset it was not designed for. The OS is pretty secure and you can't simply go throwing in new components. Sorry :(
  4. graywolf
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    graywolf iPad Super Guru

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    Removing surface mount ICs is REALLY hard and time consuming. You have to have a steady hand and have to be able to know how much pulling pressure is too much so you don't rip off the solder pads on the PCB. Not to mention access to a heat gun or infared system like Tim mentioned. Trust me, I repair Nintendo DS, DSLite, and DSi. I have done many fuse, inductor, and CPU replacements.

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