I bought this wireless adapter on eBay for $30 instead of the normal $100 you would spend at any retailer. The reason? Somebody managed to cut the USB connector off of the wireless adapter. I had previously fixed this adapter by simply soldering a new USB connector on to what was left of the very short wire protruding from the wireless adapter. However my solder job was rather poor due to the fact that the amount of wire I had to work with was very short.
After some use my solder job failed. So, I decided it was time to open up the case and see what I had to work with. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found, lets get that case open.
Step 1: Tools/Material You Will Need
Knife (to score/pry open the case of your wireless adapter)
(2) small straight blade screw drivers
A USB cable to sacrifice
String or super glue
Microsoft does not want you to open the case of your wireless adapter, so this is going to be a hard job…
Step 2: Open the Case
This is a hard job that will take time and a lot of carefulness. There are NO screws holding the case together. It is merely plastic melded together. Begin on the short end of the adapter near to the antenna. Insert your knife into the crack that is around the adapter, and begin prying it apart. This will not be easy, be careful not to slip and cut yourself. Also, be careful not to put your knife very far through the case because there are electronics inside that you do not want to harm.
You may have to pry all around until you find a weak spot that will pop open. (on the one I did, the top side of the adapter opened the easiest) Once you have one area open use your two screw drivers to pry along the outer edge, insert one and twist it to lift the top, then insert the other and twist it, continue this all the way around until you have the top piece separated from the bottom. The inside should look like the second picture below.
Step 3: Remove the Antenna
This is the easiest part of the job. The antenna wire is not soldered to the board, there is a small connector that can be lifted or gently pried off. Use your fingers, or something that will not scratch the circuit board (don’t pry it with your screwdriver). Once the connector is disconnected, lift the antenna and set it aside.
Step 4: Remove the Circuit Board
Gently remove the Circuit board and flip it over, to reveal the most amazing fact. The USB cable is not soldered to the board it is just connected with a standard type “mini-B” USB connector.
From here you have a choice to make, will you solder on to the wire you now have to work with or will you buy a new USB cable and just plug it in. Before you decide, notice that the USB cable is slightly special in that there is no bulky plastic around the wire. The wire goes directly from cable to the USB end, this is necessary because there is no room between the female connector on the board and the board itself.
Step 5: Solder Together Your Wires
I chose to solder a new USB cable onto the existing USB cable.
I know that Microsoft and Apple are such good friends, so I cut the end off of a damaged iPod cable I had lying around and soldered it onto the original wire.
I recommend practicing soldering USB wire on something that does not matter, before you work on your project where it really matters. You can find many tutorials about how to solder if you do a Google search.
Step 6: Put It Back Together
Now put it all back together reverse of the order you took it apart.
-Put the board back into the bottom side of the case, routing the new wire out, via the same way that the old one went out.
-Slide the antenna back into its spot and gently reconnect the antenna wire to the board.
-reattach the top of the case in whatever manner you deem best.
I wanted to be able to get mine apart again easily, so I just wrapped some string tightly around the case. I also used the string to hold the cable in place to keep it from being pulled on since there is no “stopper” on the cable to hold it in place.
I would think that if you want yours to look more professional, that you could sand the edges of your case (before you put the circuit board back in) and then super glue the top back on once you have all the guts back in working order.