[SOLVED] Antenna wires impossible to connect

Balrog49

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Dec 6, 2015
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I just pulled a problematic Killer 1535 card out of my Dell XPS-15 9650. When I disconnected the antenna wires, one terminal socket lost its outer ring and the other came completely off the card. What terrific manufacturing quality! No wonder it kept dropping connections. When I tried to connect an Intel 8265 card, the antenna terminals wouldn't stay on no matter what I did. I ultimately broke the outer ring on one of the sockets on the card by squeezing too hard. Does anyone know why this happened and how to address the problem?
 

Balrog49

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Dec 6, 2015
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Correct but less than helpful. I'm now convinced that the first Intel 8265 wireless card I bought was counterfeit or defective. Fortunately I was able to return it. The second 8265 card I bought has antenna posts that are the right size and shape.

Unfortunately, my attempts to connect the antenna wires to the counterfeit card damaged one of the caps. The new card, however, came with external antennae so I was able to cut and splice one of those caps onto the wire in the laptop. This required stripping and twisting hair-thin coaxial antenna wires, then adjusting my soldering jig to hold them close enough to solder. Even being quite myopic, I needed a loupe to see what I was doing. Amazingly, it worked.

I have, however, ordered a new antenna for my XPS-15 and will install that when it arrives. By watching YouTube videos I learned that detaching the display from an XPS-15 9560 is relatively easy compared to earlier XPS-15 models. Once the display is off, removing the antenna cover and replacing the antenna appears to be quite easy as well.

What astonishes me about this series of events is what seems to me an incredibly stupid engineering decision to reduce the size of antenna wire caps and posts down to the point of absurdity. The ones in older laptops didn't take up a significantly larger space and are infinitely easier to connect and disconnect. I would really like to meet whoever made the decision to shrink them. Something I learned very early in my software development career that also applies to hardware is:

IF IT'S NOT BROKEN DON'T FIX IT!
 

Balrog49

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Dec 6, 2015
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I thought replacing the item fixed your problem? I'm not sure how that could be deemed less than helpful, what other solution did you find??
It seems that replacing the antenna on a Dell XPS-15 95xx requires permanently prying apart and damaging the side of the laptop along the bottom of the screen. My laptop is now ugly and not something I'd ever want to use in public.

Not only is the antenna cover not designed to be opened, the antenna assembly is held in by screws that have to be removed at a 45 degree angle. The incompetent moron who wrote the Dell service manual for the XPS-15 doesn't mention any of that. Having been a technical writer for 31 years, I'm particularly offended by the fact that technical writers who don't actually do what they're writing about get paid real, spendable money for writing fiction.

In retrospect, a heat gun may have made the job of prying apart the antenna assembly easier by making it more flexible. I should have known that because a heat gun is necessary in order to pry up the corners of the screen bezel on an old XPS-15Z, which is glued to the screen assembly. There's no other way to access the screws that hold the screen into the case.
 
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