I broke my screen on my CF-R1 -- again. Some old lady cut me off at spitting distance while I was on my (peddle) bike and I took a tumble. The CF-28 (fully rugged, unlike the merely semi-rugged, which isn't very rugged, but with this nasty rubber keyboard that hurts to type on) machine had two fussy PCMCIA slots that got worse and worse (dropping it, intentionally, probably didn't help matters). So, I decided to take it apart and try to fix it so I have something to take with me on this distressing close business trip.
To unbolt the PCMCIA card tray and unplug it from the motherboard (to inspect it for peeled off traces and the like), I had to completely remove the motherboad from the bottom of the machine. By the way, in most laptops, you undo some screws on the bottom to get the keyboard free, then you pry that off and undo some more screws to get either the bottom or more likely the top of the case free (after seeing to the case around the hinges). Not so with the CF-28. It isn't one large compartment . Well, okay, it's kind of one large compartment and one small compartment. The bottom just bolts right off, exposing the main board. The keyboard is removed completely independantly. The keyboard area is sealed, so if you get liquid all around your keyboard, it doesn't seep into anything. It just sits there in a nice little pool. Which is really awesome.
So, I pull the mainboard completely out, needing to get to the top of it to get to the screws that hold the PCMCIA tray to the bottom of the main board. Pulling it free, I flip it over a few times looking at it, studying it. Then I have this strange sensation. One moment, the PCMCIA tray has two slots. The next, it has only one. Oh, wait -- there's an extra PCMCIA slot hidden on the top of the mainboard aligned next to the other two. This sucker actually has *three* PCMCIA slots! And *two* mini-PCI slots! I was looking at some mini-PCI video cards that did dual-head. I could get this thing pushing five heads and stick three wireless cards in it. Okay, five heads doesn't really do much for mobility, but still. The upgrade possibilities for this thing are obscene. The whole unit is big, but the main board isn't, so I'm kind of surprised at all of the little goodies hidden on it.
So, the PCMCIA tray seems to be working, at least for the moment. Nothing obviously broken, so I tried to socket it in better and wiggle it a bit. Knocking on wood...