iX104C4 rugged tablet PC

a local water company contacted me about some damage to the tablet they use with a ditchwitch ground penetrating radar similar to this setup here. said some soldering was needed on a part that had been previously repaired under warranty once before, but was no longer under warranty. we scheduled a time to meet and i picked up the device. i sometimes don’t know what i’m going to be looking at before i actually see it.

what i saw was the RJ-45 LAN connector housing had some loose – the internal connections were still there, although bent, but the ethernet cable would no longer stay connected.

this device is a ruggedized tablet PC for use in the field. originally came with windows XP tablet edition. but the equipment they use this with is highly specialized and getting additional life makes good business sense to keep this going and not have to invest in an entirely new system. it is called the iX104C4 by xploretech.com which is no longer a functional website and is redirected to zebra.com. i was told that time was of essence as that his guys much preferred the radar versus using push rods. so let’s get started.

i opened the device to take a deeper look and found that the RJ-45 was actually mounted on to a daughter board.

this made the access to repair a bit easier than removing the entire motherboard.

the previous repair attempt looked a bit janky. the comb had broken off and i actually was able to find it.

what we need to do is just replace the entire connector – not try to cobble together this broken one. so the first thing to do is remove the pins and clean up the old solder and get the holes open and ready for the new part to be soldered in.

i found the part on digikey with the same dimensions but without the shielding, so i will plan on reusing the shielding as it will help to better secure the jack against a future issue. i try to come out of a repair job with the repair being better than factory.

the area is now prepped and ready for the new part. i soldered in some metal braces that i will also solder to the shield to provide a good solid mount.

the nic is now mounted and soldered into place and the black plastic next to it is the plastic from the old nic.

i like to finish with a resin reinforcement, to leave it better than original. it’s a clear resin and if you look closely at the corners, you can see a buildup from the motherboard to the metal shield. i embed some beneath to provide a good stable footing foundation.

xploretech iX104C4 LAN NIC repair RJ-45 ditchwitch ground penetrating radar

device is all back together, ready to get back to the client for testing. i also changed out that nappy looking cord for the stylus. replaced it with some rugged paracord that looks way better.

UPDATE: got a reply back from the customer – “computer worked great this morning!!!”

thanks for looking over my shoulder on this repair. if you have any questions, or need a device looked at – let me know.

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