When I got the email from Mal from Manchester I decided to add yet another tab (this one) rather than tack it on to the stuff in 'using'. I subsequently heard from Alex and Dan who also decided to add a second ethernet port to their Z90D7s. You'll find their take on the necessary metal bashing below.
In March 2021 I heard from Jacek from Poland. He had been investigating how easy it was to utilise the PCIe connector used by the 'E' version of the hardware. You'll find his contribution here..
In May 2017 I heard from Mal from Manchester:
I had a project to build a pfsense router and after reading up on all the different options and comparing to what was available on eBay, I bought a Wyse thin client. The z90d7 worked great for me, low power usage and a 64 bit powerful CPU. I managed to add a Hard Disk and a mini PCI-e ethernet module. I had to hack the back panel to get this to fit. Luckily the panel is easily removed, but I wish I taped up the painted side as I scratched it when making the ethernet cut out.
The Hard Disk was attached to the second sata port and, I took 5V from the USB header. My box didn't have a SATA DOM.
The network card was from China and cost £7. This had the same Realtek chip as the on-board ethernet so I knew it would work.
Pfsense is working great, although I'll probably swap out the Hard Disk for a USB flash drive as I can't find a way to get the Hard Disk to spin down. I'm using the nanobsd version which only needs the drive at boot. There is a power recovery option in the BIOS which should be enabled so that the device boots automatically upon power up.
Having seen what Mal had done I went looking on eBay. This is the sort of thing he used.
I noticed there were some dual-port ones available as well, but they're not cheap items (at least the ones I found weren't).
This is Mal's Z90 with hard disk and ethernet port fitted.
This is the rear view of Mal's Z90 showing how he fitted the ethernet port.
A close-up of the added ethernet socket.
In July 2020 I heard from Alex who also saw the Zx0D as a suitable base for a pfsense router. Like Mal he used a mini PCIe ethernet adaptor sourced from AliExpress. Here's his approach to adding the second ethernet port.
He mounted his additional LAN port by soldering it on top of the existing ethernet port. I guess for those without a soldering iron (or powerful enough soldering iron) a modern adhesive would work equally as well.
Here's a view of the backpanel of the Z90D7 after making the cutout for the new ethernet port.
October 2020 brought an email from Dan. He had a variant of the Z90D7 which was fitted with legacy ports (PS/2, serial, parallel) which effectively leave no extra space on the back panel. His approach was to ditch the parallel port to create the necessary space for the new ethernet port.
He used a nibbling tool to open out the parallel port mounting hole at one end. He also had to nibble away at the mounting plate so that it would clear the adjacent USB ports. You can see this in the photos below which show the modifications and the final result.
Any comments? email me. Added May 2017 Last update October 2020