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Low-Profile Mod: Part 4 of 5 - USB

Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:17 pm

In this set of tutorials, I am showing how to de-solder connectors on the Raspberry Pi to make it thinner. Inside the original case, it was too thick to fit in my pocket. But not for long!

For me, USB is the most serious connector to change. I am using my Raspberry Pi as an USB-WiFi FTP server, ... 36&t=31543. I need both USB ports to work perfectly for this project to succeed!

1. Practice de-soldering on a USB hub.
This is where I got my spare USB female connectors! It was also good preparation for this project.

2. Cover the Raspberry Pi in duct tape.
It shields the other connectors from flux or drips of solder. I have dripped solder onto the duct tape before, which would have been much more serious if it had touched a chip!

3. Test the pinout of USB on the Raspberry Pi board.
Wait, why is everything shorted out? Probably for the same reason as Ethernet. There is no way to know that your connections are not shorted out after it is soldered in place. Be sure to test your cables at every stage along the way!

4. Prepare your USB connectors.
The colour code is standard, according to the pinout I used. Check that none of your connectors are shorting out with the ones next to them.

5. Use heat-shrink tubing to insulate between the USB wires.
This is easier than insulation tape in small places like this! It is also a bit heat-resistant, so I just used my soldering iron to shrink it instead of a hairdryer.

7. Use pliers to loosen the USB connector shield.
The shield pins are designed to hold the connector in place, and do not want to come loose. Bend them straight with pliers, and they will come out of the hole more easily.

8. De-solder the USB connector.
Be patient! Hold the USB connector on the other side with your fingers. That's right, you're melting solder on one side, and holding it with your fingers on the other. If the shield gets too hot, the USB chip might get too hot too. Fingers are a good way to warn you of this. Just be patient, and you can gently pull it off eventually!

9. Place the USB connectors one at a time, and solder them in place.
Make sure your wires are the same length, and don't leave too much bare wire at the end - just enough to fit through the board holes without shorting out.

10. The two USB connectors are now fitted! Test them.
Test it before removing all the duct tape, because it's easier to fix it now. Thankfully, this worked first time for me.

11. You now have 2 floating USB connectors!

All of the large connectors are now removed from your Raspberry Pi, so you can see if it will fit inside your new pocket-sized case! Mine did, thankfully. I can even fit my USB-WiFi adaptor inside the case, attached to one of the floating USB ports, occupying the space that the Ethernet connector took up.


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Re: Low-Profile Mod: Part 4 of 5 - USB

Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:38 pm

great job but i don't like to see all that wires, i think that it would look nicer if all of the connectors ad the same connection as the ethernet port.
ps. you could post all the process in one single topic instead of 4

Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:16 am

Re: Low-Profile Mod: Part 4 of 5 - USB

Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:45 pm

magno23: The wires are necessary for the case mod that you will see at the end of this process. I'm re-using an existing case, and need to place my USB on the opposite side to the Ethernet, and not extending past the Raspberry Pi PCB.

As for making a large number of topics - perhaps you're right. I wondered whether it would annoy people. But each connector had to be replaced individually, and some case mods might not require all of them to be changed. I could merge the AV jack into a single thread though, I suppose, if a moderator tells me that it's better to do so that way.


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Re: Low-Profile Mod: Part 4 of 5 - USB

Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:06 pm

Amazing tutorials. I've been thinking of doing something like this for a while, to make a much more portable computer system from the pi.

Do you have a blog you could put them all together in? I think it would be a really useful to keep them all in one place.
dan3008 wrote:Pays your money, takes your choice

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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:34 pm

Re: Low-Profile Mod: Part 4 of 5 - USB

Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:40 pm

Did you have 5v on the usb that you've modify? i had 2 try on this with 2 different rpi3 b+ but i don't have any work, it doesn't work at all , i'm trying to connect a usb port like yours to a 7 inch hdmi display but it won't switch on, could you help me in some way please? :roll:

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