Strange hardware issue with my CF-52 - Wireless present but not working?

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by headagainstwall, May 17, 2009.

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  1. headagainstwall

    headagainstwall Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've never had a problem like this before and I would like to start this off by saying that I've been working with Toughbooks for quite a while and this issue is not related to drivers or inane software issues. Rather, it has to do with the fact that a CF-52CCABVBE I recently purchased has a wifi and bluetooth module but for some reason they do not appear in the BIOS.

    Ok, so it all started off when I bought this item on the cheap because it had a BIOS password on it. The CF-52 would still boot up fine without an issue but the seller sold it with the comment "has no wireless" and obviously it looked like the wifi adapter had been disabled in the BIOS because it simply did not appear in the device manager. I also opened up the L-shaped wifi hatch at the bottom to make sure a wifi module was actually installed.

    So now, after I cracked the supervisor password and managed to get into the BIOS, I discovered that the wireless adapter wasnt even listed in the Advanced section where it should normally appear ! I really dont get it!?!

    The only two possibilities I can think of are as follows:
    1) This particular CF-52 has a special BIOS installed that disables the wifi/bluetooth adapter (I would appreciate it if CF-52 owners on here could tell me their BIOS version number so I can see if mine is somehow different to the norm)
    2) The mainboard has a hidden jumper that I have not yet discovered that could re-enable my wifi card. A CF-52 Service Manual would be immensely useful if someone on here could share it with me.

    Any help would be much appreciated. I know the CF-52 is a pretty unusual Toughbook compared to the CF-18s, 29s, 19s and 30s that I deal with on a daily basis but I'm sure someone on this forum can help me out !
     
  2. onirakkiss

    onirakkiss Notebook Deity

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    I don't know, if normally the wifi should be visible in the BIOS on the CF52. But on my CF18 and CF29 i had to tape one pin from the NOT ORIGINAL PCI-Card to make it work. I believe it was pin20. There was a description from JB007, how to do this.
     
  3. Alex

    Alex Super Moderator

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    This may be too simple
    Check if you have the hardware wi-fi switch on
    Check on the taskbar if there is a software switch

    Alex
     
  4. Rob

    Rob Toughbook Aficionado

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    The hardware wifi switch on this model is a little hidden behind the handle...
     
  5. headagainstwall

    headagainstwall Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you for the help guys but I think I am perfectly capable of finding a switch or operating a switch for that matter.

    Like I said, this not a problem that tech support in India could solve (ie. "have you plugged it in?"), its rather the fact that the original wireless card - not an aftermarket card - is not recognized by the BIOS because the CF-52 either has a special BIOS version that disables the wireless card or because there is a hidden jumper on the mainboard somewhere that I have yet to find.

    Does anyone have access to a CF-52 Service Manual ?
    I have taken apart pretty much every Toughbook there is but I would like to save myself the trouble of looking for a jumper that may not exist.
     
  6. Rob

    Rob Toughbook Aficionado

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  7. headagainstwall

    headagainstwall Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thats interesting, thank you. I will try that, however I dont have much hope it'll work since my problem is not enabling the wireless card - which seems to be the problem with non-OEM cards - but rather making it appear in the BIOS at all. My next step, if I dont get a Service Manual, would be to test different PCI-e cards from other computers to see if any of them get recognized.

    Also, I'm getting another CF-52MK1L so I can check if the BIOS is of a special revision that disables the wireless.
     
  8. Toughbook

    Toughbook Drop and Give Me 20!

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    Are you 100% sure that the wifi should appear in the BIOS? I have no idea since I deal with fully rugged models only. But I have seen some models of laptops with no wifi in the BIOS.

    You may also try uninstalling all the other COM ports.

    I don't think you said whether you installed the OS or just used it as is after getting access to the BIOS. It may need a reformat.

    I would definitely test another wifi card to see if you can make it work.
     
  9. headagainstwall

    headagainstwall Notebook Enthusiast

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    Sofar I have not been able to solve the problem but I do now know that the BIOS is a special version that disables the WiFi and Bluetooth. Additionally, this BIOS makes both devices disappear in the BIOS. When I go into the Panasonic PC Information Viewer in XP or Vista it tells me that the Wireless card and Bluetooth are set to "Disabled" but then I go into the BIOS they dont appear at all.

    I will try JB007Rules suggestion to try and override the internal power switch that turns the wifi card on and off so hopefully I can at least get the WiFi card to work even if it is disabled in the BIOS.
     
  10. Silver Trooper

    Silver Trooper Notebook Deity

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    What is the model number of yours?
     
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