Inside an Airport Extreme Card

I’m piecing together a wireless notebook computer for my wife (her first!), and so far it comprises an iBook from Cort with a crashed hard drive, a Toshiba drive from Jeremy, and a refurbished Airport Extreme card from Apple. Silly eBayers take note: You can get the card straight from Apple for only $29 plus shipping; and the shipping from Apple is only $4, not $9.99.

Cort had cannibalized the Airport card out of the iBook to trade for a dead card in another machine, so the iBook came without any wireless. Jeremy had a dead Airport card that he offered me, and I figured I’d at least see whether I could revive it. It didn’t even show up in System Profiler, so I didn’t expect much likelihood of success, but it was worth a quick look for loose connections.

It turns out I was extremely unlikely to have been able to find anything that I could fix, and indeed I didn’t, so I ordered the refurb card tonight. But since I can’t find any pictures online of the inside of an Airport Extreme card, I thought I might as well post what I took.

The top and bottom plates of the card are spot-welded together along the edges, so the first step was filing out the welds with a rat-tail file. After that, there were still some tabs to pry out before it could be opened, but they were fairly easy.

And that’s what there is. Nothing in there really subject to stress from normal use or jostling. I looked it over with a magnifying glass anyway, but nothing leaped out at me. I’m guessing the Broadcom chip bit the dust, for no reason I’ll ever know.

I’m fascinated by the tiny capacitors. I measured them at about 20 x 40 mils, which makes them 0402 packages.

The caps on the back side are even smaller (and harder to measure accurately). I came up with about 10 x about 20 mils, which is 0201. Good lands, those are small.

Now I want an excuse to try to solder one. ;-)

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