Even though I extirpated it from my OLPC laptop and yeah, I poked a little fun at it in Phase I, I really love the design of the XO's soft green keyboard. There's no Caps Lock key, which is brilliant, it gives you access to all kinds of useful (and fun) extended characters, and the Sugar interface keys simply look cool. I will probably have mine framed, now that I'm not using it.
This part of the project is relatively benign compared with Phase I; there's no dremeling, no squeezing of parts together, just a little solder that should be pretty easy to undo later if you really need to. That said, you have to be very careful in this phase for other reasons: this time, you're working with the heart of your XO laptop. It would be very easy to cause a short circuit with some stray strands of wire or to melt a PC board with the soldering iron if you're not careful. One worry I didn't have going into this was that I might bump the clock backup battery. I should have been worried about it! Turns out that Firmware version q2d06 will never boot again if the clock battery is dislodged while you're poking around in your XO, so upgrade to q2d07 before proceeding! Thanks, eden!
Things you'll need:
1. A jeweler's large phillips screwdriver (hopefully you haven't lost yours since Phase I)
2. The needliest needle-nosed pliers you can find
3. A pair of wire cutters or very small tin snips
4. A wire stripper set one notch below "angel hair"
5. A pair of scissors
6. A multimeter or a battery soldered to two wires and an LED, for continuity testing
7. One piece of cellophane tape (sorry cello fans)
8. A soldering iron
9. Solder (preferably lead-free)
10. Something to block the USB port your new keyboard will now permanently occupy, or a good memory for which port never, ever to use again
11. An OLPC XO laptop, preferably one that has an unsightly USB cable hanging out the back
Step 1: Skull Saw, Nurse
You're trying to get to the USB ports, which are at the back of the XO's "head." Unfortunately, you can't just pop the back off and start digging, because the screws that keep the back panel from falling off are underneath the LCD. Follow the instructions through the third page. When I got to the LCD, I just removed it from the machine and set it aside on my desk on some of these things for safekeeping while I did the rest of the work.
Once you get the back cover off, though, you'll see that the geeks at OLPC must have wanted you to hack your XO this way; one of the USB ports is not like the others -- instead of being mounted perpendicularly to the motherboard, it's flat along it, which means that the pins are all visible and practically screaming out to be soldered to something: a hub? a 3G modem? Maybe my next project should be an internal USB aquarium...