I intent to use another NIC through a usb port. I want to be able to physically plug/unplug it. Is this possible? References on how to do this for a beginner are much appreciated.

  • Depending on the time frame of your project there appears to be a new model 2 coming with a processor upgrade (it will use the same chip as the Pi 3) but will leave off the WiFi and Bluetooth. hackaday.com/2016/11/21/… Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 11:00
  • How about just removing the antenna? That will reduce the wifi range by at least 10 x, which might be enough for you. You could do this with a plumber's soldering iron and steady hands. see pictures here
    – tomnexus
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 12:37
  • The new version of the PI 2 now has the same chip as the PI 3 so it looks like a PI 3 without WiFi and Bluetooth, to me.
    – PaulF8080
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 14:24

1 Answer 1


It's possible, but not something I'd like to try without a really good reflow oven, 20 Pis I planned on throwing out anyway, and the assistance of someone with steadier hands. The parts involved are tiny surface mount things. You'd have to hot air or, more likely, oven the board in order to tweeze them off and clean up any soldery mess, and I can't find any references that would indicate the behaviour of the Pi afterwards. I would strongly discourage a beginner from making the attempt.

If you're looking to turn off the onboard Bluetooth and WiFi, there are some suggestions against jww's question here, including blacklisting the drivers and adding options to /boot/config.txt.

  • 3
    A hot air rework station for localized heating might be the best bet to remove the chip and adjacent passive parts (hoping those are related to the WiFi chip and nothing else). There is one noteworthy additional step and that's proper removal of solder leftovers and close inspection that no shorts exist at the landing pads after removing the components.
    – Ghanima
    Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 13:55
  • There are probably much easier ways to do this, such as cutting traces or drilling in the right spot to damage a chip.
    – fuzzyTew
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 11:35

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