Friday, February 22, 2013

How to add Bluetooth to Toshiba R705

If you own a Toshiba Portege R705, you know that it does not come with a built-in bluetooth. If you search Toshiba forums, most people would recommend buying a USB bluetooth plug.

This is not our way. Toshiba laptops, and especially the higher-end ones like the Portege series, have one of the best designs in the industry. I'll show you how to take advantage of that great design and add a bluetooth module to R705.

First, you need to purchase the actual module. That's probably the hardest part of the project, since there are not so many of them currently on eBay. To be specific, you need part number PA3814U-1BTM or BTU1040-D4 made by Broadcom.

Make sure it comes with a 6-wire connector. Here is what it looks like superimposed to the motherboard connector. The bluetooth circuit board is only a bit bigger than a quarter.

Next, if the module does not come with an antenna, you will need to get one. That's an easy buy. There is plenty of those on eBay at any given time. The antenna is a thin screened wire minimum 10-15 inches long with a gold-plated connector on one side. For this particular application it does not matter what is on the other side of the antenna.

Disclaimer. Everything that is said and explained in this article, is for information purposes only. While this method worked for my laptop, I am not responsible for any damage to any equipment intentionally or unintentionally done by you or anyone else.

Step 1.
Remove the metal screening from the end of the antenna wire which is opposite to the gold-plated connector. I only removed about 1.5 inches of the screening, leaving the plastic insulation covering the central wire.
I then rolled a small piece of Scotch sticky tape around the remaining piece of metal screen, to insulate the remaining metal "hairs".
This is how the antenna wire looks before wrapping in Scotch tape.

Step 2.
Unclip the right plastic silver-plated hinge cover, the one with the hole. This will greatly improve access to the screen hinge. We will later insert antenna wire into the hinge opening.

Remove the back (bottom) panel. There are screws of 3 or 4 different sizes holding the back panel. You will need to remove the small docking connector cover. You will also have to remove the memory cover to reach one of the F4 screws underneath it. Check out a quick video illustrating the back cover removal .

After the back panel is removed, it might be a good idea to disconnect the hard drive at this point, since it's not fastened to anything and may fall out when you move the assembly.

Step 3.

Try to pass the antenna wire carefully through the clips so it is not pinched or jammed. See the picture:
 Push the taped end of the wire into the screen hinge opening, same way as other wires go. Don't force it too much. If it jams, pull it back out and try again. It should go inside relatively freely, until about 2 inches of the wire is inside the screen. Ideally, it would be nice to open the screen panel and properly arrange the antenna inside the screen assembly, but it worked for me without removing the screen panel.

You may ask a question why we need to push the wire into the screen. The answer is simple. The screen is the only part of the laptop covered with plastic. All other parts are made from magnesium alloy or other metal, which insulates radio frequencies, and would prevent the antenna from sending and receiving RF signal.

Step 4.
Plug the antenna into the bluetooth module, and plug the module's 6-pin connector into the white plastic connector on the motherboard. The 6-pin connector should go flat side up, wires down.

Step 5.
Place the bluetooth module inside the computer body so it does not jam against any parts, and allows for sufficient air go through all parts of the body. Make sure none of its exposed metal connectors touches any alloy or metal parts inside the computer body or wiring.
Make sure the antenna wire is not jammed or pinched by other parts inside the assembly.

I used sticky tape to affix the module to the side of the DVD drive.

This is the overall view of the entire assembly, with the re-connected hard drive, bluetooth module and the antenna installed.

Step 6.
Now the easiest part. Download a driver from Toshiba web site.
Go to, select one of the Portege R700 (not 705!) and download the Bluetooth Stack driver for your operating system. I picked R700-S1310, and for my Windows 7 64-bit this one worked perfectly:
The setup program will make your computer reboot a couple of times, and after it's all done, you have a working bluetooth in your laptop!