modding: adding 3G to my Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet

Its been about a week or so with my Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet (TPT) and I must say that I am digging it.  The Pen/Stylus works pretty decent minus the lack of apps and Honeycomb is a nice upgrade from using Gingerbread on my previous Android tablet (Galaxy Tab).  However, one thing that I really missed on my ThinkPad Tablet when traveling was built-in 3G data.  I still believe that mobile internet on tablets is still the killer app.  Today, we’ll take a look at the guts of my ThinkPad Tablet and how one can add a 3G to it.  Keep reading for the photos, notes and links!

After realizing that the TPT had a sim card slot, I initially believed that all I needed was a sim card with a data plan.  However after some testing and reading up I found that Lenovo made the TPT’s 3G ready by including the Sim Card reader and 3G antenna and spot for the PCI-e WWAN modem.  The only thing lacking was the actual 3G modem itself.

Over on the Lenovo forum boards (original thread here), several brave early owners decided to try out a Gobi 3000 WWAN PCI-e modem card (Model# 0A36185, amazon link here) in the TPT and found that it worked beautifully with their AT&T sim card and TPT.  The models confirmed so far are the 1838 and 1839 series, they all have the necessary sim card slot, antenna built-in; they only require putting in a wan modem. :)

After ordering up a Gobi 3000 card (these are the same cards used in the Lenovo Thinkpad X220 and T420 series), I took the plunge and ripped apart my TPT.

Opening up the TPT is pretty easy, just need to remove the 4 buttons (they snap off) and then the 2 screws underneath.

Be sure to then push the power shutoff button located between the SD Card reader and Sim slot.

Next up, you will want to use a plastic case opening device (a screw driver or metal piece will most likely scratch it) to seperate the tablet in half.  There are tabs that push in, be careful though since you don’t want to ding it up. The best mod is one that doesn’t look like it’s been modded. :)

Once opened, all you have to do is located the PCI-e slot and put your card in and then hook up the antenna plugs to the card.

Note, you may want to power up your TPT before you close it up to be sure it recognizes the card.  Once you have the card installed and TPT powered up, go to Settings > Wireless and Mobile Network > Mobile Network Settings and then hit the Activate Device button at the bottom. Then choose your carrier (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and other are the options in the USA).  Once you choose the carrier, the TPT will install the appropriate WWAN driver for Android and once done, reboot your device.

Once you verify that your data works (given you have a AT&T Sim Card w/data sources, Verizon/Sprint i’m not sure since i do not user either), just snap together your tablet and the screws back in and snap on the buttons.

NOTE: be sure to make sure the LCD/Touchscreen cable is connected; it comes unhooked pretty easy once you open up the TPT.

About jimmyselix

geek, gamer, blogger/writer for tech-recipes.com, social media addict (@the_seamonkey)
This entry was posted in Android, Gadgets, Honeycomb, Launch, Lenovo, Modding, Tablets, Thinkpad Tablet and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to modding: adding 3G to my Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet

  1. George Harkins says:

    Hey! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the great work!

  2. dr4sail says:

    with doing all you did which is commendable. Did you negate the warranty on your computer

    • jimmyselix says:

      unfortunately i believe we did by opening it up. however, if its a clean enough mod, lenovo may not even be able to tell since i did not see any warranty voided stickers when i opened it.

  3. Pingback: quickie: video on adding 3G modem to a Thinkpad Tablet | Digital Tirades of an Early Adopter

  4. Eli says:

    Could be hard to find skilled people on this subject topic, you be understood as you understand exactly what you are referring to! Cheers

  5. andrej says:

    helo

    I have one question: I have lenovo tablet with 3g built in, and I have problem to switch to wifi, tablet find wifi conections for 2-3 seconds and thats it is, I have to reset it to factory default, after that is ewerything ok if I use only wifi, switching to 3g- bring problems oncemore….
    do you think that problem is in software?
    (sorry for my english)

    • jimmyselix says:

      do you have the same problems if you try to disable your mobile data? did you add the 3G card yourself too? if so, did you get the Gobi 3000 pci-e card? Let me know

      • andrej says:

        when I disable my mobil card and enable my wi fi I see for some time all wifi conections and after some seconds it is written that there is no wifi availibel and tablet begins to scan, and when I disable and enable my wifi card it is the same again….I see my wi fi but tablet wont conect.. I have built in my 3g from factory….

  6. Paul says:

    Wondering about your reference to a plastic case opener. Have never heard of such a thing – what is it?

    And….. would any PCI-e 3g modem work?

  7. Scott555 says:

    Awesome write-up. I am in the same boat as you…I thought I’ll I’d need was a sim card and some software revision to enable it for 3G. Guess I was wrong about that. Thanks for saving the guesswork.

    -Scott