Archive for June 24th, 2013

UD3 and UD5 Dual Core and a nice hidden hardware extension feature…

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Hello Folks,

very often Hardware Vendors announce features… If they have it or not.

IGEL is different, they build in a new feature and do not mention it anywhere incl. the hardware documentation!

If you open a UD5 and/or a UD3 and you look under/at the place where the smart card reader is mounted you will see a small slot where something can be mounted. You will not find it in “any” documentation, manual or product description but what is it? Quite simple:

It’s a not restricted (UD5=Half Size/UD3=Full Size)┬áMini PCI Express Slot (very common in Laptops/Ultrabooks)

Why is this intresting? This provides a new way to extend the device and there are a couple of extensions possible:

WiFi Card (you need seperate Antennas which can be mounted outside the metal case)
WiFi / Bluetooth combinations for Windows based Thin Clients (external Antennas required)
Storage Controllers
LTE/UMTS Moduls
Internal SSD HDD (yes, without an extra controller) and more…

When i first saw this slot i was not sure if this one is locked thru the (UEFI) BIOS and no one could provide me any details: so i ordered some Mini PCI Express Cards for my tests.

Until now i’ve tested a WIFI Modul from Atheros (B/G/N) and a WIFI/Bluetooth Modul coming from Ralink: Both worked without any issue and can be fully used. Remember, the IGEL Linux can not handle Bluetooth but Windows will do.

Advantage:

Very good way to extend the device without any external hardware.

Disadvantage:

I’ve no idea if this will have some impact on the warranty for the UD3.
Not mentioned in any documentation.. So it might be not supported in general.
Not in the manuals also mean: maybe gone with future board revisions.

Important: It’s a half size Mini PCI Express Slot, full size do not fit without an extra adapter! Do not use Wireless Cards without an antenna (pigtail) or an antenna mounted in the metal case, this mostly destroys the Radio component at the modul after some time. Needed Antennas can be ordered very cheap at EBay or good IT Shops. Test always in advance!

I did not test internal Mini PCI Express SSD’s, they are high expensive and this was to much for a “just for fun” test.

There will be some pictures available in the next days.

Cheers

Michael