Contents:

A-Link WL54USB

Teardown

Chips

Power supply

Mechanical design

Linux support

Images

Conversion to 3.3V embeddable WLAN module

Related: Ralink 3071 wireless teardown

A-Link WL54USB

Teardown

Here is an A-Link WL54USB Wi-Fi dongle. It is very easy to open the case without any damage. Just press four latches by your nails, and the cover opens without any violence.

Chips

The device is based on Zydas ZD1211B and Airoha AL 2230 chips.

Power supply

The device is powered by 3.3V from the LDO linear regulator chip. Drop-out is much less than 0.1V. Choosing of linear regulator increased power consumption and emitted heat by 52%.

Mechanical design

It uses a cheap PCB trace antenna, but the PCB is ready for adding a RF connector (after removing of one to three parts near the antenna). Dimensions seems to be very near to the Hirose U.FL connector, but its data sheet does not recommend wires in the area of the connector as seen on this PCB.

Linux support

It works in Linux. However power saving seems to be not implement yet in the Linux driver yet (2009-09), so it is not a good candidate for a battery powered devices.

Images

A-Link WL54USB
A-Link WL54USB top part of PCB A-Link WL54USB bottom part of PCB

Conversion to 3.3V embeddable WLAN module

It's easily possible to convert it to 3.3V power by removing the regulator chip (the large four-pin case) and adding a wire strap between top and bottom pad of the regulator footprint. If you want to power it from an unregulated power supply, keep the regulator chip in place.

Image shows module before adding wire strap and soldering the cable.

A-Link WL54USB modified