Adding an internal USB Port

Adding an internal USB Port

usbheaderstartThe Antec Fusion case that i currently use as my HTPC comes with many laudable features, however I found myself quickly running out of USB ports.  Rather than sully the elegant front panel with a USB memory stick permanently sticking out, I decided to produce an internal USB port to house the stick.

{include_content_item 45}Looking inside the Antec Fusion case, you can see that it has female connectors which attach to the USB  risers on the motherboard.  USB risers on motherboards tend to come in 9 pin connectors.  Each USB port requires 4 connectors, 5v, USB-, USB+ and Gnd.  Therefore from a 9 pin USB header you get enough pins for 2 USB ports, with a pin left over.

 

The leftover pin is for shield ground.  ie The shield is the foil or stranded cable ground shield that protects the usb cable from outside interferance.  It is not absoutely required for the USB to function,

 

Looking inside the Antec Case, it has 2 USB connectors, 1 double row female connector, and 1 single row connector.  The Double row connector is for the two USB ports that reside on the front of the case, the single row header is connected to the VFD and volume control on the front of the machine.  As my motherboard has two 9 pin headers (4 USB ports), and the Antec Fusion Case is using 3 of the available USB headers from the motherboard, that leaves me one.  This is the header that I used to create my internal USB port.

 

usb_headerpartsParts:

 

1 5x2 Female Connector

1 USB Socket

8 Header pins

 

All of the parts came from my parts bin, I have quite a few of all of these components in there.

 

I could have attached the USB panel socket to the female connector with cable.  This would mean I could place my internal USB socket anywhere I wished within the machine.

 

I decided though that the motherboard headers themselves were in an ideal position already for my internal USB socket.  So I decided to forgo a cable and solder the USB panel connector directly onto the female 10 pin connector.

 

usbfempinout
2 things make this easy.  Firstly the distance between the pins on my USB panel connector are the same as the distance of the pins on the female connector.  So they line up... Bonus.  Secondly.  The pin assignment on both run in the same order.  Double bonus.

 

pinsprepared
The next thing to do then is to prepare the pins for the female 10 pin connector.  As standard these pins are designed to crimp onto wire.  The pins have two sets of lugs on them, and with the lugs open, they will not fit into the terminal housing.  In preperation I bent the lugs with a pair of needle nosed pliars

 

The larger lugs on the end of the terminal pins were left with a small gap so that I could insert the pins on the USB panel header into the pin.

 

usbwithpins
I then offered the pins one by one to the USB panel sockets pins and soldered them in place.  A good tip here is to solder the first in place, then test fit it into the crimp terminal pin housing.  This is because the terminal housing has a set of clips that hold the pins in place.  If the crimp pin is soldered too close to the body of the USB panel socket, the pins will not enter the terminal housing far enough to engage the plastic clips.

 

I then snipped off the two clasps on the USB panel header to neaten the job off.

 

dscn0840
Once the crimp terminal pins were soldered in place, its a simple job to then insert the USB panel socket into the crimp terminal housing.

 

Its ok now to pack up the soldering iron for another day.  The rest of the construction is easy.

 

I took the single crimp terminal housing from the Antec Case.

 

singleusbheadclips
Turning it over you can see the plastic clips that hold in the crimp terminal pins.

 

Using a sharp implement, I gently pried open the four plastic clips and removed the terminal housing from the cable.

 

headerpins
What are left are 4 terminal pins.

 

The pins matched my 10 pin terminal housing.

 

usbheaderinplace
The final part of the modification is to insert them into the 10 pin terminal housing in the correct order.

 

Then I inserted my new 10 pin crimp housing into the motherboard,

 

You can see the Super Talent Pico C 4GB memory stick now in its final position inside the Antec Fusion Case.  My motherboard happens to have it's USB headers on the outside edge of the board, so the memory stick sits in an idea position.

 

Powering the PC up, the USB stick was available.  All that i had to do was enable the ready-boost feature and I was good to go.

 

This is an easy modification, you are not limited to just one device here, it would be easy to wire in a usb hub here if you needed more devices connected.