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> Internal USB Hub
Zero Cool
Posted: Nov 19 2009, 11:27 AM
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Ever need more Internal USB ports than your motherboard has? ever try finding a Internal USB hub? I can tell you they don't exist and if you do find the one industrial version it is very expensive! If your handy with a soldering iron. I can tell you how I modified one to work!

I went to Microcenter and shopped all the USB hub devices i could find. I settled on the SIIG as it had a nice clear photo of the circuit board on the box and the 3.5" mounting frame looked like it would work the best. the $30 price tag was frustrating but it seemed to be the best option.

I Wish I had taken pictures.... At the back of the PCB there is a floppy drive type power plug and a square USB port. what you can't see real clear is that right next to that USB plug is a spot for a dual row USB header just like on your MB!!! they just didn't put the header in! More on this later.

after a little bit of googling, I found the USB pinout:

USB uses 4 wires.

Pin Name Cable color Description
1 VCC Red +5 VDC
2 D- White Data -
3 D+ Green Data +
4 GND Black Ground

and I noticed that my MB has this same pin configuration. but each Dual row header is actually 2 USB ports side by side. In my Zalman HD160XT case I had a USB for the touch screen, USB for the front panel controls, USB for the Media Card reader, and a dual row plug for the two front USB ports and my MB only had two internal dual row ports leaving one thing disconnected.

So I removed the PCB from the SIIG USB hub frame and removed 3 of the 4 front USB jacks. In there place I soldered in some right angle single row headers I purchase from my local electronics shop. be very carefull doing this as the circuit board traces are VERY VERY thing and VERY easily damaged. With the right angle headers in place. the internal single row USB cables plug right in and even fit through the USB port holes on the plastic 3.5" mounting frame!

The tricky part is that once you get the headers into place. you have no way of knowing which is pin one. From the pin outs we know that the outside pins are +5V and ground. So i powered the USB hub up and used my meter on the two outside pins to figure out which is +. If you are looking into the port holes on the hub. IE from the front. the +5V is on the left and ground on the right. But i highly recommend you check for yourself first!!!

You can then mount the frame backwards internally in your case with the USB ports facing into your computer so you can connect your devices. In my case I mounted the Hub below the CD rom which is a useless space in the HD160XT case anyway.

For the input side of the hub you can buy a pre-made square USB to header plug and your done. or you can do it the hard way like i did and remove the square USB plug and solder a wire directly to the board that already has the header on the other end. and in fact the mounting holes for the square USB port make nice strain relief holes for putting a zip tie to clamp the cable down to. again looking at the pinout from and using my meter on the removed square USB plug i was able to determine which pin what which.

Or, remember that dual row header they didn't install? you can simply install a dual row header and use a standard dual row to dual row cable internal USB cable!! but that then takes up two internal USB ports on your MB when it only connects to one.

Everything worked great when done. its mounted in my case out of the way. I was able to route the cables to the hub neatly and to windows it is seamless. I was able to plug in the touchpanel and USB hub to one dual port on my MB and the front two USB ports to the second dual port on the MB and the front panel buttons, and media bay to the USB hub with ports to spare!

Total project cost was under $35 and no cables running out the back of my case using up external ports!

Now if i could just figure out how to get that pesky 15pin VGA cable to work internally.......

Best of luck

Zero Cool
Posted: Nov 19 2009, 11:32 AM
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One more good site for info to check out:

PLEASE check your MB manual for the CORRECT USB pinout of your MB. connecting the pins wrong can cause damage! make sure you know what your doing BEFORE doing it!

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