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DIY TF101 Keyboard Dock barrel style charger connector MOD

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By DevCake, Senior Member on 11th June 2011, 08:36 PM
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Warning . This DIY is not for the inexperienced. If you have never disassembled a laptop( and get it back together working) or worked with custom DC power applications you'll want to follow the "do not try this at home" rule. It will require some fabrication skills as well, drilling and making brackets. Once I have this perfected I'll be offering a send in MOD service.

First I need to get a Dock, I have to keep mine intact as I use it daily with my demos and android integration services. If you want yours modded for free let me know. I will guarantee you will get yours back either in the condition it was sent or working with the MOD.

For the modders following along, assumed steps.

1. Remove feet from bottom of dock. Guessing assembly screws are there.
2. Disassemble dock and look for space somewhere along the edge to add a small barrel adapter.
3. Find power leads to the battery and solder extension wires.
4. Test that extension takes charge and that factory connector still works to charge
5. Fabricate bracket for connector
6. Drill edge of case to expose connector.

Let's hope it is this simple. =]
12th June 2011, 08:43 AM |#2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevCake

Warning . This DIY is not for the inexperienced. If you have never disassembled a laptop( and get it back together working) or worked with custom DC power applications you'll want to follow the "do not try this at home" rule. It will require some fabrication skills as well, drilling and making brackets. Once I have this perfected I'll be offering a send in MOD service.

First I need to get a Dock, I have to keep mine intact as I use it daily with my demos and android integration services. If you want yours modded for free let me know. I will guarantee you will get yours back either in the condition it was sent or working with the MOD.

For the modders following along, assumed steps.

1. Remove feet from bottom of dock. Guessing assembly screws are there.
2. Disassemble dock and look for space somewhere along the edge to add a small barrel adapter.
3. Find power leads to the battery and solder extension wires.
4. Test that extension takes charge and that factory connector still works to charge
5. Fabricate bracket for connector
6. Drill edge of case to expose connector.

Let's hope it is this simple. =]

This is a dang good idea...I should have thought of this earlier! Looking at the dock, it looks like the bezel is clipped in as well. Also, the "clamp" part of the dock has some screws in it. Mechanism might be a little bit more complicated but hopefully not. You're going to need an awfully thing barrel connector to make this work. The Bezel is about the same thickness as the TF's bezel.

verkion
12th June 2011, 02:37 PM |#3  
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It is an excellent idea!

But I'm thinking. If you can do this on the dock, couldn't you also do it on the TF itself?

glg
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12th June 2011, 03:05 PM |#4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glgehman

It is an excellent idea!

But I'm thinking. If you can do this on the dock, couldn't you also do it on the TF itself?

glg

I'm sure there will be no room in the tab to do it, would be great if you could though!
13th June 2011, 08:26 PM |#5  
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Think I am going to try this mod. Ordered 2nd dock. If I go over-my-head I will contact DevCake for help.

The issue with barrel plug on TF tablet is what to do when dock is attached?

The advantage of barrel plug on dock is charging both dock and tablet, eliminating the need for any proprietary 40 pin cable (because doc has its own), and if you want to screw around the dock costs less (still $150USD is a lot, but less compared to a spare $40USD charger). Still need to consider what to do if barrel plug charging and something plugs into 40pin connector.

I also plan to put in a slide switch to disconnect the dock battery from the tablet entirely to save juice when shut down. E.g. reports of doc losing power when attached. This could extend the stand-by life of the dock for a week or more.

Once the thing is opened up, it might be a good time to discuss placements. Everyone has different and great ideas. I have a digital caliper to measure stuff.
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14th June 2011, 07:56 PM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Smith42

Think I am going to try this mod. Ordered 2nd dock. If I go over-my-head I will contact DevCake for help.

The issue with barrel plug on TF tablet is what to do when dock is attached?

The advantage of barrel plug on dock is charging both dock and tablet, eliminating the need for any proprietary 40 pin cable (because doc has its own), and if you want to screw around the dock costs less (still $150USD is a lot, but less compared to a spare $40USD charger). Still need to consider what to do if barrel plug charging and something plugs into 40pin connector.

I also plan to put in a slide switch to disconnect the dock battery from the tablet entirely to save juice when shut down. E.g. reports of doc losing power when attached. This could extend the stand-by life of the dock for a week or more.

Once the thing is opened up, it might be a good time to discuss placements. Everyone has different and great ideas. I have a digital caliper to measure stuff.

Go for it Bob,

I don't think installing the barrel connector on the Tablet is a good idea either.

I wouldn't place the connector on the front so the sides IMO are the best location but that will become clear when we see the innards.

The addition of the 40 pin connector while the barrel connector is charging is a big part of the mod. Bridging the power over to the barrel puts both power sources in parallel and this can be bad. When you attach 2 power sources in parallel that are of different voltage the voltage actually will travel to the lower voltage supply source and overload it. Remember any PC USB is 5V, not the 12 or 15 you will supply to the barrel so if the barrel is connected to the charger and the 40 pin is connected to the charger you will send more voltage back to the PC and BOOM! The universe will implode upon itself =/.

So how do we address the possibility of multiple power sources? either with a switch or an additional circuit that shuts one off when it see voltage from the other. The 3rd option is to disconnect power from the 40 pin which IMO is not an option, you want to keep that intact.

Bob if you frequent any DIY forums that deal with these kind of power MODS ask around about a circuit that will do this for you. You might want to start with RC forums, those guys know DC like no other. I'll start looking around but whatever we find needs to be small for sure.

Have you sourced some barrel connectors?
14th June 2011, 08:44 PM |#7  
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I would vote switch, just in case the circuit failed somehow. With a switch, you simply cant use both at the same time no matter what.
18th June 2011, 02:18 AM |#8  
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Good news.

I received my 2nd dock, and opened it. There are only two screws, under the rubber feet in the back by the hinge. These screws help support and hold the hinge in place. Run a plastic separator tool around the edge to open. I started in one back corner. It is tight in a few places. Do not bend the metal by the socket positions, where the metal is very thin and flexible. The front edge separates last (most difficult) using leverage of flapping open and closed the top/bottom pieces, and starting separation on one side.

I will post pictures soon. I took some and in the process of uploading. I have my digital caliper at the other office so measurements later.

There is a great position for a female socket for a barrel plug charger, behind the current charger and pointing to the back. It is between the hinge and a circuit board, so there is no leeway in width. The width is narrow, just under 5mm, so a socket needs to be thin. If we find a 4mm wide barrel socket, maybe 7mm or less high it should fit. Of course that makes a slim barrel.

UPDATE: On further consideration, we might trim up to 3-4mm of the hinge plate, giving up to 7-8mm square barrel socket.

The area between the battery (centered under the keyboard) and the back hinge is wide open. Literally room to drop in x4 sd cards end to end, and stack another row of x4 on top, with space left over. The entire space is about 5-10mm height. A switch can go anywhere in this area, mounted on the bottom face, which is protected by the protruding hinge.

I was thinking with all the USB ports, it might be worth considering loading up some internal USB devices later.
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18th June 2011, 03:39 AM |#9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Smith42

Good news.

I received my 2nd dock, and opened it. There are only two screws, under the rubber feet in the back by the hinge. These screws help support and hold the hinge in place. Run a plastic separator tool around the edge to open. I started in one back corner. It is tight in a few places. Do not bend the metal by the socket positions, where the metal is very thin and flexible. The front edge separates last (most difficult) using leverage of flapping open and closed the top/bottom pieces, and starting separation on one side.

I will post pictures soon. I took some and in the process of uploading. I have my digital caliper at the other office so measurements later.

There is a great position for a female socket for a barrel plug charger, behind the current charger and pointing to the back. It is between the hinge and a circuit board, so there is no leeway in width. The width is narrow, just under 5mm, so a socket needs to be thin. If we find a 4mm wide barrel socket, maybe 7mm or less high it should fit. Of course that makes a slim barrel.

UPDATE: On further consideration, we might trim up to 3-4mm of the hinge plate, giving up to 7-8mm square barrel socket.

The area between the battery (centered under the keyboard) and the back hinge is wide open. Literally room to drop in x4 sd cards end to end, and stack another row of x4 on top, with space left over. The entire space is about 5-10mm height. A switch can go anywhere in this area, mounted on the bottom face, which is protected by the protruding hinge.

I was thinking with all the USB ports, it might be worth considering loading up some internal USB devices later.

Nice!

Get some pics up !

One thing I would do is install another USB port and connect it directly to the battery so you can use the battery to charge other 5V devices without having to connect the TF.
18th June 2011, 03:56 AM |#10  
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I removed the circuit board, now, and pulled back some of the covering tape.

I will post pics tomorrow. Sorry. I want good sunlight of circuit board stuff, because I think that is where we will need to attach the barrel plug charger wires.

The charging socket on the dock has 20 solder points and it looks like up to 3? power lines (visual inspection). With my sub-mm solder iron I can attach wires to charge via a plug. At some point we will need to know at least the power positions on the cable/plug, especially the grounds.

I think we can simply cut into the x2 red and 2x black battery lines for a switch, or aux power. There are total 8 lines on battery, exactly like the tablet, and about 4 inches of exposed wires.
19th June 2011, 03:15 AM |#11  
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Full list of photos:

Plug showing depth behind battery & rubber spacer (7mm depth; 5.0mm battery, 2.0mm rubber spacer):



Circuit board removed showing full hinge (back left):


Full keyboard under side:


Full bottom of dock with keyboard removed (large space between battery and back hinge):


Closeup of back left hinge and charging port (4.75mm between circuit board and hinge metal, 8mm between circuit board and hex nut on hinge):


Opposite to left hinge on keyboard side:


Back left hinge and charging port:


Keyboard under side (right half keyboard):


Keyboard under side (middle keyboard):


Keyboard under side (left half keyboard, side with power plug):


Bottom of dock (middle):


Bottom of dock (left):


Bottom of dock (right):


Bottom of dock (middle):


Bottom of dock (left):


Full keyboard underside with touch pad:


Full bottom of dock with keyboard removed:


Bottom of dock (left side, with power plug):


Bottom of dock (right back side, with USB port, large space between battery and hinge):


Bottom of dock (left back side, with power plug):


Under side of keyboard:


Bottom of dock, with keyboard removed:
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