Internal powered USB 3.0 Hub via DMC [56k Warning]

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by TheReciever, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Good Evening ladies and gents,

    What I present to you today is a mod I have been thinking about for a while, while the Ranger was dead. Long ago I purchased an mpcie USB 3.0 adapter for the m4600 and sadly it would post. So, I set it aside for a while.

    After the Ranger died, I looked over the motherboard and long discounted the use of the mpcie USB adapter as there are physical impairments with USB cables from a mock up I made a while ago.

    Then I wanted to consolidate my drives into one system for travel and be able to leave behind my work horse, the m4600. So I took another look at this idea.

    So before committing to this, I tested it out. Testing things before cutting everything up is best if possible, saves a lot of hassle and its less deflating when it doesnt work out.

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    Surprisingly, it worked, booted right up and displayed my drive that was currently hooked up to the hub at the time. No issues with post, windows continued to boot right up.

    So the test worked, there was principle to the idea. Now on to random cables I thought I would need.

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    I ended up using just the bottom of the external caddie, and the male to female micro usb cable. Though I may still use the sata female to male extension cable for something later if I can figure out how to power a 3rd fan dedicated to the GPU.

    On to problem 1.

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    Now, I made the cuts already to the cable but this is another cable just to display what the issue was (retroactive guide lol) that the usb connector was simply too large, displaying the issue I had long known about. To remedy this, I needed to remove the housing and hope that the profile would be thin enough to not cause obstruction with the components of the motherboard.

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    Issue remedied. Also added a 0.5mm thermal pad just to remove possibility of a short circuit (metal close to motherboard)

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    More to follow in the next post. Reached attachment limit.
     
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  2. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Problem 2

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    This would need to be removed.

    Also figuring out a good spot for the USB 3.0 Hub.

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    I determined this to be the best location for the USB hub, however if you see the outline in the bottom of the image, it would conflict with the 5TB drive that normally occupies this space, so I need to create more space to house the Hub.

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    Yes, I am making cuts on a recycling can. I am a function over form kind of guy.

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    Now, naturally I had to cut out the obstruction in the center where the battery normally lays in order to house the HDD's I plan to plant here. That goes without saying. HOWEVER, considering you are weakening the integrity of the chassis, you must minimize this as much as possible. Thus, keeping that arm attached is a good idea, as there are a couple screws there to give the keyboard its integrity as well as pull everything together.

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    Couldnt quite get this focused for some reason, my nice camera is with my ex in korea, but for now the LG v20 has held up well enough. Anyways, this is just the same cut presented before but cleaned up and sanded down to prevent cuts of any kind.
     
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  3. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Now, this is what you will feed the hub's connector through, but its also what you will feed the supplement power into. You will need to reduce the cables profile just like you seen before with the USB to DMC spot. It will not be enough though, so you will need to reduce the obstruction as much as you're willing to. I think I only shaved off 2-3mm. This is the flipside of the picture before this in the previous post.

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    On to problem 3. Where to feed in the supplement power?

    I am not a great modder, I am just a laymen who can connect the dots. I then thought maybe I can feed the female end of the micro-usb cable into the kensington lock. As they were similar size. So I started making some cuts.

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    After that, I began to test fit some stuff.

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    Here is why I needed to shave down this obstruction a bit, you want to keep it as you have a screw placement there but reducing it wont hurt.

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    Then I figured out that the enclosures I bought were too wide, and two of them would be too tall. Not wanting to spend more money (as I am pinching pennies atm), I got a little....creative....to be shown later.

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  4. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    So, naturally, you need to reduce the micro usb connectors profile as much as possible.

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    Now you begin to put everything together and work out the details. I did this with my old dead motherboard, dont want to be testing anything with a live motherboard if you can avoid it. You will notice that the USB cable is cut, its impossible to cable manage in so tight a space, you will need to reduce the cable length. Find a location feel you are comfortable connecting the two wires.

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    I chose to do it in a area where it would be straight to minimize complications.

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    For the purposes of this cable, its sole purpose is to provide power, so you can cut out the data cables (as they are friggin tiny anyways) I highlighted the points of interest.

    At the end, the cable from the female end proved to be an obstruction and the keyboard wouldnt sit well. You will need to reduce the cables profile itself.

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    Also to note, I used shrink wrap my brother had, worked out nicely. Also the female connection of the supplement power was also reduced further to minimize obstruction.

    Next is more or less where I am calling it a day for now. As its been days without my Ranger. I will include the 5TB drive in time, but that will require cutting the USB cables you see here in the ODD bay. Also, two 9.5mm drives will be too tall for the battery bay. 1x 9.5mm and 1x7mm drive will work though as you see here. I used electronic tape to cover the pcb of the drive and then taped together with HVAC tape, as its adhesive is quite strong.

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  5. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    I like how I didnt need to make any cuts outside of the chassis, as I only have a dremel, and not very confident at making a clean cut. But here is where you plug in the supplement power, right next to the AC Adapter input.

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    And of course, its only a success if the drives show up right?

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    5 internal drives, with a 6th in the near future (once I replace the HDD interposer cable that seemed to die on me).

    ALSO if you make cuts to your chassis, dont bother blowing it out, DONT TAKE ANY CHANCES with metal shavings. Hose the chassis with water for a good while and air dry.

    What do you guys think? critiques or questions welcomed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  6. kaibsora

    kaibsora Notebook Consultant

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    Oof. Would give rep but I haven't been active too much. Awesome job on this, and I never knew what that port was until I saw this Keep up the good work mate
     
  7. kingofswag187

    kingofswag187 Notebook Deity

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    "Ask and you shall receive"
    I was expecting a lot of tape, glad to see there was some cutting involved
     
  8. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    This port is actually for Wireless HD, but some found some time ago that mpcie adapters work as well. After that it was off to the races for what you could do with it.

    Nah, the tape used was pretty minimal and just for the drives. I kept half the enclosure so that it wasnt metal sitting on metal or metal sitting on pcb

    I will need to cut down the wire for the USB cables but its a pain and I dont have an interposer cable right now anyways. Not sure if its simply too much draw for the interposer cable, the 5TB drive is 850ma vs 550ma for regular drives. I may just switch the 5TB drive to the USB hub and put a regular drive on the HDD interposer cable. They arent expensive, but im cheap.
     
  9. kingofswag187

    kingofswag187 Notebook Deity

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    Can't wait to do something similar, once I buy your board ofc....
     
  10. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Yeah I will probably use that and the next paycheck to just grab the 980m as Ill need a backup card later when I am testing the 1080.
     
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