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How to increase capacity of drive from 32 to 256 GB for Asus E200H laptop

Level of difficultyEasy
Reading time5 min
Views861
Original author: ZhksB

Introduction

Hi Everyone.

Recently I got Asus E200H laptop, which I would like to use as a portable computer to work with a high-precision equipment.

The appearance of E200H laptop with installed Linux Mint
The appearance of E200H laptop with installed Linux Mint

In the figure below we can see the parameters of the laptop dumped with the CPU-Z utility.

Parameters of Asus E200H in CPU-Z
Parameters of Asus E200H in CPU-Z

The device is equipped with 4-core processor from Intel with a frequency of 1680 MHz and 4 GB of RAM, i.e. it is comparable to Raspberry PI by the characteristics, but it is placed in a netbook housing with a screen and keyboard.

This netbook is equipped with Windows 10 by default. However, there is one interesting point: the size of the drive is 32 GB. This amount is enough to install Windows 10. But as soon as the computer connects to the Internet, the upgrade procedure occurs, which often occupies all of 32 GB. As a consequence, OS completely hangs, it can neither update nor roll back. As a result, the laptop is not operational.

I tried to install Windows 7 with disabled updates. If the driver package for USB3 and SSD is integrated into the OS image in advance, the OS is successfully installed. However, it is crashed during the laptop startup.

For this reason, I have installed Linux Mint. If we list the drives, we will see the following image:

zhksb@zhksb-laptop:~$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
tmpfs           381M  1,8M  379M   1% /run
/dev/mmcblk1p2   29G   12G   15G  45% /
tmpfs           1,9G     0  1,9G   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           5,0M  4,0K  5,0M   1% /run/lock
/dev/mmcblk1p1  511M  6,1M  505M   2% /boot/efi
tmpfs           381M  112K  381M   1% /run/user/1000

As we can see, even using Mint with a lightweight Xfce desktop, it requires minimum of 12 GB of space, which is 45% of the available capacity of drive.

If we try to check the speed of the drive, we will see the following results:

zhksb@zhksb-laptop:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/mmcblk1p2

/dev/mmcblk1p2:
 Timing cached reads:   2624 MB in  1.99 seconds = 1316.06 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads: 428 MB in  3.01 seconds = 142.42 MB/sec

In general, I didn't want to throw the device away. I decided to make some experiments with it and after to share the results at Habr. Thus, the purpose of this article is to replace the default drive with a more capacious one and to test the upgraded laptop.

Experimental part

The first thing we need to do is to find out what drive is installed by default. For this, I carefully disassembled the netbook with a plastic card and began searching for a drive.

Disassembled Asus E200H
Disassembled Asus E200H

On the back side of the motherboard the following candidate was found. I removed the label and found a chip model:

Identification of capacitor chip
Identification of capacitor chip

This is a 32 GB KLMBG2JENB chip with eMMC 5.1 standard from Samsung. There is a datasheet for this chip. The interesting for us piece of information from datasheet is provided in the table below.

Capacities

eMMC Part ID

Power System

Package size

Pin Configuration

16 GB

KLMAG1JENB-B041

Interface power:
VDD (1.70V ~ 1.95V or
2.7V ~ 3.6V)

Memory power:
VDDF (2.7V ~ 3.6V)

11.5mm x 13mm x 0.8mm

153FBGA

32 GB

KLMBG2JENB-B041

11.5mm x 13mm x 1.0mm

64 GB

KLMCG4JENB-B041

11.5mm x 13mm x 1.0mm

128 GB

KLMDG8JENB-B041

11.5mm x 13mm x 1.2mm

As we can see, there are chips with capacity up to 128 GB in the series. The only thing they differ is the height of the chip case, which is in our case uncritical.

I tried to buy a 128 GB chip, but failed to do it. At the same time I came across similar chips from Kingston and it was possible to purchase them. I found the datasheet for them, the outlines are presented below.

Product Part Number

NAND Density

Package

Operating voltage

EMMC64G-TY29-5B111

64GB

FBGA153

VCC=3.3V,
VCCQ=1.8V/3.3V

EMMC128-TY29-5B111

128GB

EMMC256-TY29-5B111

256GB

I compared the type of the case and the pinout using datasheets. We can see them in the figure below.

Comparison of the pinout of the chips from Samsung vs. Kingston
Comparison of the pinout of the chips from Samsung vs. Kingston

It is turned out that the pinout is the same. Despite the huge costs of about 50 Euros, I decided to risk for the experiment and ordered 256 GB chip from an American supplier.

The chip came in a huge vacuum-sealed anti-static package. After unboxing, it got one small chip.

The package for eMMC chip from Kingston
The package for eMMC chip from Kingston

The laptop board has a sufficient heat capacitance, so we need an additional heating from the bottom. I used a lab heater with a temperature limit of 150 degrees and a separate thermocouple. I set the bottom heating temperature at 110 degrees. Before the chip resoldering, I checked the whole system to ensure that there was no overheating or damage to the test PCB under the specified conditions. The test was successful.

The test of the bottom heater
The test of the bottom heater

The netbook board was extracted and put on the heater. Before heating the stickers were peeled off to avoid burning. The circuit board was wrapped with a heat-resistant tape to prevent the SMD components fly away with the flow of air from the heat gun. After warming the heater up to 100 degrees by the thermocouple, I added the flux for desoldering along the contour of IC and started the heating of the old chip with a desoldering gun at 380 degrees and with a small flow of air.

The preparation for chip desoldering
The preparation for chip desoldering

The chip did not give up in for a long time, so I had to raise the temperature up to 400 degrees. As a result, we have an old chip, and all of the pins at PCB, fortunately, remained in place. I added a new flux portion and gently removed the remaining solder from the board using a copper braiding. The residue of the flux after soldering was cleaned with a soaked with the flux remover cotton wool.

The prepared pad for new chip mounting
The prepared pad for new chip mounting

As a result, we have perfectly prepared socket for new IC soldering. I added a new flux portion, put the chip taking into account the IC key and warmed the board on the heater up to 100 degrees. Next, I soldered the chip at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. The temperature at the top was about 230 degrees. I didn’t see when the chip was soldered, I just waited for the board to cool down and made sure the chip was soldered.

The mounting of the new chip
The mounting of the new chip

After the board was completely cool, I removed the tape and washed the board from the remained flux.

The prepared board with the new chip from Kingston
The prepared board with the new chip from Kingston

At the end, I put the board back into a netbook.

Results

In this step we try to launch the laptop. It successfully turned on and immediately entered the BIOS, i.e. nothing is corrupted.

The launching of laptop after chip replacement
The launching of laptop after chip replacement

After, I tried to load Linux Mint using pen stick and checked the disk status.

zhksb@zhksb-laptop:~$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
tmpfs           381M  1,8M  379M   1% /run
/dev/mmcblk1p2  229G   11G  206G   5% /
tmpfs           1,9G     0  1,9G   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           5,0M  4,0K  5,0M   1% /run/lock
/dev/mmcblk1p1  511M  6,1M  505M   2% /boot/efi
tmpfs           381M  112K  381M   1% /run/user/1000

We see that instead of 29 GB there are 229 GB now, i.e. the upgrade was successful! Later I installed Mint on the drive and tested the speed of reading.

zhksb@zhksb-laptop:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/mmcblk1p2

/dev/mmcblk1p2: 
Timing cached reads:   2616 MB in  1.99 seconds = 1311.63 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 428 MB in  3.00 seconds = 142.60 MB/sec

It was almost the same.

Conclusions

In summary, it is possible to upgrade eMMC chips without any problems. However, this netbook uses UEFI, so the disk is only used as a drive. This trick will not work for smartphones because it is necessary to create the required disk partitions and burn the boot loader. Nevertheless, I consider the results of this experiment to be important and useful.

Thank you for attention!

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