as I was saying yesterday in my not-so-sexy "Erasing logos/texts printed on plastic encasings"
thread I have been working on a hardware & software project for the last few months, which will be opensourced as soon as deemed finished, and probably previewed here first. This project is related to USB stuff, and as such, required me to look for the smallest USB 2.0 hub model I could find. I needed, once gutted, the connector-less PCB to have the smallest dimensions possible.
So I turned to eBay, obviously, and started searching for the smallest 2 or 4 (2 is all I really need)
ports USB 2.0 hubs I could I find. First I got a 2 ports model from some seller, "USB square Mirror Hub" 99% similar to the one below
. Gutted it (sorry, no pr0n pics for this one )
and it had a proper chip, a capacitor, quartz & other smc's. Tested it and confirmed USB 2.0 speeds.
Problem was that PCB was still too large for me, maybe 4x4 or 5x5cm and had soldered connectors. Second problem was that although it performed as announced I couldn't source more of them. And again, desoldering connectors is annoying.Mine was almost identical to this one except the 2 connectors were each on one side and it had no AC input plug
So I built my first working prototype with that one and confirmed the concept, though looking like something out of McGyver, worked. Set out to find even smaller ones, maybe ones with connectors on wires so it'd be easy to desolder to make a neatier V2.0.
What follows (sorry about hi-res pics, right click "View Image")
are the 3 consecutive models
I bought during the last 4 or 5 weeks off eBay. All were announced as USB 2.0, all were outrageously cheap USB 1.0 crap
, just check out the abismal PCB assembly, wires & solder quality on the picture. None had any (save for 1 or 2 resistors)
smcs other than the black "IC" blob. The big "spider" one had its 4 downstream ports sharing solder points on the PCB. That's worst one as far assembly goes. All of them brought up the "Your device can perform faster" pop-up in Win7 & performed identically bad on Ubuntu as well, no matter wether connected on back or front connectors of the desktop & laptop i have.
Boxed (the last one didn't have any packaging & I just dumped the casing)
Gutted :So there you have it, be wary of supposedly USB 2.0 stuff from China and don't buy those unless you don't mind USB 1.0 speeds!!!
I am also waiting for another model announced as a "Mini + 3 USB charger/data USB 2.0 cable", should arrive soon, will gut it & post the pic here.
Up to now the above spider one is the most promising I've sourced for modding as there are no connectors on the PCB and it is really small. I *hope* it is of acceptable quality & speed. I'm tired of ordering, waiting 2 weeks, confirming it is indeed false advertising, filing a complaint, ordering, waiting etc...
Lastly this model from "Dtec" doesn't look so bad, but upstream connector is soldered on the PCB ; I am still looking for a source outside of Alibaba (minimum order 100pc)
. It is on sale at brando.com but at 12 or 14$ +p&s it's too much for my planned production budget.
Will eventually find one, gut it and post its entrails here as well.
If known brands made micro-hubs I would have bought a Logitech or Belkin or Verbatim one but I couldn't find any sufficiently compact models from those manufacturers.
So there you have it, my first small in-progress contribution to hackaday, here's to hoping some of you find this info useful!
Cheers & happy hacking!
EDIT 1 : See post below, the White version of the "Man Hub" is confirmed USB 2.0 so aim for that one. It lights up with a blue led instead of a green one for the black.