The Inspiron series of Dell laptops has a mini PCI port on the bottom side of the case that is used for a wireless networking card. Over time, it's possible for the card to malfunction, or you may want to upgrade the existing card to a newer model for faster data transfer speeds. Swapping out the old wireless card with a new unit is a simple matter of finding and removing the appropriate cover piece.
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Things you need
- Phillips screwdriver
- Wireless mini PCI card
Open the Inspiron's "Start" menu and choose "Shut Down." Unplug the AC power cable and then close the display screen.
Flip the Inspiron over and set it down on a stable work surface. Push in the release button located below the battery and then slide the button to the right. Remove the battery from the Inspiron's battery bay.
Locate the black plastic wireless card cover at the left edge of the case. Remove the two screws locking the cover to the case with a Phillips screwdriver.
Place your fingernails underneath the edge of the cover and lift it upward. Set the cover aside. Remove the screw holding the current wireless card to the Inspiron laptop's motherboard.
Lift off the two antenna cables connected to the metal ports on the side of the wireless card. Pull the card out of the Dell laptop. Position the new wireless mini PCI card onto the motherboard and replace the screw.
Place the antenna cables onto the metal ports on the side of the new wireless card. Replace the plastic cover and its two screws.
Tips and warnings
- Certain Inspiron models use two plastic locking latches instead of a screw to hold the wireless card to the motherboard. To unlock the card, slide the latches apart with your fingers until the card pops up.
- Wireless mini PCI cards for your Dell Inspiron model can be found on Web pages that provide replacement computer components.
- The new wireless card, as well as any other parts inside your Dell Inspiron, can be damaged or completely ruined when they are exposed to static electricity. You can prevent any static electricity from discharging through your hands to the card by grabbing a metal object connected to the floor prior to opening the laptop's case.
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