Making an Internal USB Hub

Introduction

On the front of my computer I have a 2 port USB front panel and a USB flash card reader. Unfortunately I only have 2 free USB headers on the motherboard. In the past this meant that only one of the two USB ports worked (and I could never remember which one).

While fixing another problem inside the computer I saw the cheap USB hub sitting next to the computer and thought "Why not use that to get more ports?"  Half an hour of soldering later I had an ugly, but functional solution.

DISCLAIMER

This project involves soldering and modifying electronics. Do not attempt it unless you know what you are doing. I take no responsibility for this.

Materials

What I Did

Note: Click on pictures for a larger version.

  1. Take the hub apart and discard the case.

    Disassembled Hub

  2. Unsolder the USB connectors and solder the headers on. It may be easiest to cut off the connectors and then remove the pins one at a time. The pin spacing is a little off (Probably metric) but it fits. If you want you can leave some normal USB connectors on.

    Modified Hub

  3. Mount the hub in a convenient place using whatever hardware (or duct tape) you can find. It this case I bolted it to a spare hole in the drive bay slide rail.

    Hub mounted to drive bay slide rail

  4. Hook up the cables. If your device uses a standard USB connector I hope you left a socket. The USB B to female header cable came with the flash card reader for internal mounting. Red wire goes to the left.

    Mess o' Wires

    5. Connect the hub to motherboard. Note that the hub cable has changed colour. I tried to replace the USB connector with a plug to go directly to the motherboard. It was a failure since I didn't have the right part. After replacing the cable I decided to use an old USB port from an AT style case. You could also route the cable outside the case to a USB port.

    Please excuse the messy computer

    And you are now done. It doesn't look great from the inside.

    Even more mess

    But it looks great from the outside

    Computer


    Copyright 2007 Shawn D'Alimonte. Please do not post this to other sites or link directly to the images.