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Modding Modding my keyboard

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Devrethman, 12 Jan 2008.

  1. Devrethman

    Devrethman New Member

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    Welcome everyone, to my first worklog! Today and tomorrow, I'm going to attempt to mod a network switch and a USB hub into my Unicomp Customizer 104 keyboard. The USB hub because I miss the two USB ports that my dead G15 had. I'm going to 1-up logitech and use USB2.0 (instead of 1.1) and add an extra port (4 port hub, one port goes to the keyboard itself, the other 3 go out the back). The network hub because I don't like having tons of little boxes and such on my desk, and because I take my computer to friends' houses a lot, and most people don't keep a network hub just sitting around, so if I don't remember to bring one, I don't get network (I don't have a wireless card).

    Without further ado, let's get to the work... logging... Also, I apologize about the on-camera flash, but at the moment I have no idea where the tripod is, and it was evening when I started, so no sunlight.

    Here's the victim:
    [​IMG]
    It's held together by bolts that are sunk WAY deep in little holes on the bottom:
    [​IMG]
    After about half an hour of going through every ratchet set in our house, to no avail (all the ratchets where either too big to get all the way down the hole or too small to fit over the bolts), I finally managed to get them out with a needle nose pliers.
    Following that, I had the keyboard in two pieces on the floor Thankfully, the people who made it used this neat little metal sheet to put all the keys on, It's kind of curved, comes out very easily, and has a bunch of space behind and underneath it, exactly what I need.
    [​IMG]
    Here comes our next victim: A trendNet 8 port ethernet switch! Please ignore the huge black shadow on the bottom of the picture, it's definitely not me being too lazy to crop out the shadow cast by the camera lens on the flash. There's probably ninjas hiding in it.
    [​IMG]
    A couple screws later:
    [​IMG]

    I had originally toyed with the idea of trying to power the switch and the hub with power from the USB, but decided that was a bad idea because a) I don't know how much power USB can deliver, and I'm pretty sure it's not enough. b) I don't want to deal with voltage regulators and that sort of thing, as USB power is 12V (or something) and the adapter for the switch was 7.5V, which USB definitely is not. Therefore I needed some sort of power, and I wanted it to be someting standard, because I always loose wall transformers, and I'm going to have 2 powered devices (which unfortunately take different voltages)in the keyboard, and having two seperate power cords for it is kind of silly. I decided to go with the standard ATX power connector, because cords for it are everywhere, and I had an inline transformer that went to a broken external hard drive that just happened to have the male end of such a power connector that could be easily cannibalized.
    [​IMG]

    This thing was completely devoid of screws or anything that could be taken out without considerable force. I tried prying at the little indent that went around it that looked like where the two pieces snapped together, and got nowhere. I then turned to the modder's best friend and soon had a hole through which I could stick a big flat screwdriver to get the casing open.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    After a bit of prying and a minor hand injury it was apart:
    [​IMG]
    I then desoldered the actual power connector off of it, and then went back to working on the network switch itself. I forgot to take a picture of the connector itself, but I've got one with it in later, so if you can't wait, just scroll down. The switch fit almost perfectly in the space below the keyboard assembly and the bottom of the keyboard casing:
    [​IMG]
    However, the row of indicator lights was JUST too tall for the casing to close again properly, so I'd have to take them off and hope that just the "light emitting" part is used and not the "diode" part, because soldering 16 diodes back on in place of them would be a major pain. However, my solder sucker died sometime in between the last time I used it and now, so that'll have to wait until tomorrow when I can hopefully get a new one, because there's no way I'm taking it all off with solder wick.
    [​IMG]
    There's a couple pins on the left that I tried to desolder with the wick, but got nowhere.
    So I went back to the power stuff. I had the ATX power connector, but since that was going to be on back of the keyboard I needed to fit the wall transformers for the hub and switch inside the keyboard. This is the wall transformer for the network switch:
    [​IMG]
    It proved even more difficult to get apart than the one for the external hard disk I used to get the power connector from, and I actually ended up going most of the way around it with the dremel, at this point I was pretty worried that I had hacked through a capacitor or something with the dremel and that it wouldn't work:
    [​IMG]
    I then took off the gimpy wires that had been used to attach the circuit board in the transformer to the wall outlet prongs and added a longer one, because extra wire's easy to deal with, a lack thereof is not. I took the power socket off of the network switch, and soldered the wire from the transformer directly onto it (after checking that I was doing the right ones 3 times with a multimeter :D), and this is my progress at the moment. I tested the network switch in its new configuration, and it works.
    [​IMG]
    Hopefully, I can finish it tomorrow :thumb:
    Critiques/etc on the mod/worklog would be appreciated, especially on the latter, because I've done a bit of modding before, but no worklogging.

    edit: fixed a broken image.
     
    Last edited: 13 Jan 2008
  2. Azayles

    Azayles Member

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    Network switch in a keyboard: that's novel, not something i've seen before, good idea though :) If you wanted to make the PSU for the network switch smaller, I reckon (and i'd put money on this) you could use an L7809CV voltage regulator and get nine volts from the twelve from the USB hub. that's over voltage for the network stwitch, but i reckon it'd work anyway. anyway, keep up the good work, mod's looking good, worklog's looking good too :D excellent stuff :thumb:

    Chris
     
  3. GiGo

    GiGo was once a nerd.....

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    Interesting idea for a mod, the only problem I can see is why you would want all those cables sticking out of your keyboard, I hate having anything sticking out the back of mine.

    Looks good so far, be interesting to see the finished product.

    Regards
    GiGo
     
  4. Glider

    Glider /dev/null

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    Good thing you didn't hook it up to the USB power, any quick google will tell you that it's 5V/500mA...
     
  5. [MadMan]

    [MadMan] New Member

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    heh, i swiched to wireless kb 2 years ago because the single wire from kb was driving me crazy, now , you would have usb and network hub + cables there. omg

    anyway, its interesting idea, but i would rather go with integrating that stuff into computer case. Thats what will i do with my server ;)
     
  6. Devrethman

    Devrethman New Member

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    @glider: Yeah, I would have googled it before I tried actually doing it (I would have had to to see what pins to connect it to), and found it wouldn't work out.

    @azayles: the USB hub's power adapter only gives 5v, so I could probably get a 5v regulator and power the hub off the network switch's transformer, which might end up happening because I'm not sure there's enough space to fit both transformers.

    @GiGo,MadMan: Wires don't bother me, I've always got tons of wires running everywhere, but I hate having tons of little boxes (like hubs and switches and such), it seems to make all the wires look so much more disorganized. I don't normally move my keyboard around much, it just sits on my desk (You could probably superglue it down and it'd take me a week to notice), so having a bunch of wires coming out the back shouldn't be a problem.
     
  7. _-..zKiLLA..-_

    _-..zKiLLA..-_ Member

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    thats pretty cool dude.

    about the wires. u can just get some loom that people use for makin there PSU wires look nice. but you'll need alot of it. just an idea
     

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