Introduction: Laptoprecycling-Bluetooth

About: I am an 21 years old mechatronics and I’m living in the north of Italy. My interests are working on electronics, playing computer and making instructables for you.
Maybe you have seen my instructable over recycling a webcam, otherwise you can view it here: Now it’s time for the next step, I’m going to recycle the Bluetooth Module.


A BT module from a laptop (mine is a BT-183)

A USB A male plug

A SMD 3.3V voltage regulator

Some solder


Super and hot glue

A head shrink tube


Soldering iron

A lighter or hot air gun

A razorblade

A small screwdriver

A pliers

Step 1: The Module

The first step if you are working with CMOS is to ground yourself, specifically if you have a carpet floor like I do. I use an antistatic wristband, but if you haven’t one you can also touch a radiator or a grounded case before you start working. OTHERVISE YOU MAY DEMAGE SOMETHING!!! The Bluetooth module has a plug with 10 pins. Now witch pin is for what? Our luck: at the backside of the module there are 4 solder pads for USB, so we don't need to get the pin out of the connector.

Step 2: Test Wiring

For the first test you will need an USB cord with striped wires, and an external power supply for the 3.3V, because USB works with 5V. Apply some solder to the solder pads. The pin out: USB_D- is DATA- who is the white wire of your USB cord, USB_D+ is DATA+, the green wire, GND is ground it get connected to the black wire of your cord and to the negative connector of the power supply. The last pin is 3V3, the letter V means volt, when it is written between the numbers it can be seen like a dot, so it means 3.3 Volt. You have to connect it to the positive connector of a 3.3V power supply, two 1.5V batteries in series will do the job too, the red wire of the USB cord is 5V, is not used right now.

If you plug it to your pc the pc should find a new hardware and will try to search and install the driver. It doesn't matter right now if it finds a driver, as long as it sees the adapter. If it doesn't notice that you connected a hardware, or he gives you the error message that he found a hardware who is probably damaged check your wiring, this error normally happens if you mix up the data+ and the data- line.

Step 3: The Final Plug

For the final wiring you need a 3.3V Voltage regulator like the 1117-3.3 (I got mine from a broken DVD drive). The easiest way to mound it to the module is to solder the output (the second pin) directly to the Bluetooth module 3V3 solder pad and make a bridge from the GND pad of the module to the first pin of the voltage regulator. Now you can add the red wire to the input pin of the regulator (last pin).What the regulator does is, it decrease the 5V to 3.3V (therefore it may get a little warm). Plug it again to your PC and check if the BT module is found. Now to the plug. Mine is from a cheap USB hub, were I replaced it with a female USB B plug. Take the razorblade and cut carefully at the side. The plastic isolation should come of and under there should be a metal box. It is made of two pieces: the body and a cover. The cover is only mounded to the body with two small nose. Bend them away and remove the cover. If you pull on the cable the plug should come apart and you will get a white or black plastic part with the contacts on. The connections of the cord and the contacts is covered with some rubber. After bending it a little bit I was able to de-solder the wires. Now you should have a plug like in picture10. Take some superglue and drop it into the 10pin connector of the BT module the USB plug should fit perfectly over the 10pin connector. It should look like in picture 11 . Now take the pliers and cut away the wires of the test plug that they fit perfectly to the correct pins on the new USB plug. Solder them to the right pins witch help of the pin out on picture12. If you like you can replace the original antenna (small blue box) with a larger one. Plug it to your pc and check the function for the last time.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

Stick a little electrical tape over the contacts to avoid a shortcut and push it back into the body of the USB plug. It will not get perfectly strait, because of the voltage regulator, but that should not be a big problem. I also add a small drop of solder between the body of the plug and the HF shield on the BT-module to stabilize it mechanical. The hole between the body and the back I filled up with some hot glue to give it some extra stability. Last step is to make a "case" with some shrink tube. Therefore you need a peace of shrink tube who is about a halve inch longer than the BT module. Put the shrink tube over the BT module and ad a small line of superglue to the end of the USB plug and fix there the shrink tube. After shrinking the tube with a lighter or a hot air gun it is finish and you can use it.

Step 5: ​Get the Right Driver

Before you can use it you have to get the right driver for your module. If you have windows vista and above the pc should find the correct driver automatically, you also don’t need an external software. If you use windows XP and earlier or the pc didn't found the correct driver you have to download it. The easiest way to do that is to navigate to the website of the manufacture of the laptop where the module is out (in my case ASUS), search in downloads for your model, set the correct OS, download the Bluetooth driver and install it. If the driver doesn't work correctly or it gives you an error like it only works on ASUS machines or something like that you can try to navigate to the device manager (My Computer, right-mouse button, properties, hardware, Device manager on XP / Computer, right-mouse button, properties, device manager on vista and above) There should be a yellow question mark or a Bluetooth symbol with a small yellow question mark. DoubleClick it and navigate to details and device Instance id. Now simply google what there is written behind the USB\ and you will find the correct driver. Don’t try to install software like driver whiz, because it mostly bring a lot of spam software to your pc and will not really help to find the driver. If you have still problems you can write it to the comments and I will try to help you. I don’t know how it works on MacOS and Linux, because I am a happy windows user :-) , but google is a very helpful website or you can post a comment and maybe a happy Mac or Linux user can help you to solve the problem.

Step 6: Use It

In my case there was a tool for windows XP included in the driver package to connect to your Bluetooth device like cellphones, headsets, mice and keyboards and send/receive files. In newer versions there is a build in tool, who allows you to do things like that.

Thanks for reading my second Laptop recycling project, more of it will come soon!