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Old 09-19-2010, 10:00 PM   #1
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Default Laptop USB Mod - Advice Appreciated

Here's my situation. My laptop only has 3 usb ports, one of which is an esata / usb. I am in a situation where that just is not enough. I could get a usb hub and carry all that crap around with me, but that is just not fun. So maybe someone here can tell me if my idea will work.

I want to get a 1 to 3 usb hub and take the PC board out of its case. I then wanna cut open the cable, and sodder in INSIDE the laptop to one of the usb connectors. At that point, I want to remove the usb adapters on the devices and sodder (internally, after removing cases etc to minimize space usage) my GPS reciever, My magicjack, and my bluetooth adapter. Essentially, this would (in theory) be the same as having it all plugged in externally. would this work or no?
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Laptop USB Mod - Advice Appreciated

It could work, but you need to be sure that one usb port can power all three devices. Space will be pretty tight as well, so make sure it all fits before soldering anything.

Also, you could (depending on the shape of the motherboard) use a 1 to 4 usb hub, then put an extension cable cut to length where the port used to be, so you don't have a non-functioning usb port on your laptop. Again, be sure there is enough current if you go this route.

Another thing worth investigating: Your laptop's PSU should have a 5v output. If you tapped into this, you could potentially use a powered USB hub, preventing current issues.


I really like the idea, and I have actually thought about doing it myself on my iBook G4, but I couldn't find any room inside the case.

I really hope you know what you are doing, because this will void your warranty and has the potential to do a lot of damage if done incorrectly.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Laptop USB Mod - Advice Appreciated

Thanks for the swift reply. Couple questions on that note. How would I tap into that power supply? I've never thought of that and would like to be sure that I'm doing it correctly. And I plan on testing it on a junker before I put it in my good toshiba lol.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Laptop USB Mod - Advice Appreciated

Quote:
Originally Posted by CorySCline View Post
Thanks for the swift reply. Couple questions on that note. How would I tap into that power supply? I've never thought of that and would like to be sure that I'm doing it correctly. And I plan on testing it on a junker before I put it in my good toshiba lol.
Well you would have to find the output wires for the power supply, then use a multimeter to identify the +5v and a ground. Then you would have to either strip the wires and solder yours into it, without interrupting the original wire, or you could force a thin wire into the plug , making a connection. Then wire these into a powered USB hub (you will need to find one that operates on 5v via a wall transformer) and you should be good to go. Testing this beforehand is a really good idea because you could identify how much current it will draw, and be sure that the PSU can supply it.


EDIT: There is a good chance that the laptop's power supply is built into the motherboard on a newer laptop. In this case, you would just have to find the first +5v solder point and a ground, then solder the wires onto them.
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