Dell Venue 8 Pro - links on USB & Power

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cx1

Senior Member
Aug 14, 2007
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XTCrefugee

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2006
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The USB hub mod looks very doable, petergunn posted some videos in that thread which show it step by step and you can pick up the hub (or one very like it) on eBay for less than £2. I ordered one a few days ago to try it myself.

The internal USB mod is a different matter, the soldering points involved look very small. I bought the 64GB model, so coupled with a 64GB SDXC I'm not going to be running low on space any time soon unless I really load the thing up with movies or games.

I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the device though. Bay trails are the first Atom chips Intel will be using the Pentium brand for (for laptop/desktop models) and you can see why. Performance-wise it feels like a huge jump from cedar/clover trail. I've installed a bunch of games on it (inc. Blood Bowl and SC2:Heart of the Swarm) and it plays them well, even on around medium settings. Windows 8.1 is a different matter though, I've already hit several annoyances.
 

cx1

Senior Member
Aug 14, 2007
211
46
I ended up getting a more expensive but similar hub. The cheap ones seem to be sold out everywhere unless they are shipping from China and I didn't feel like waiting for weeks.

I picked my Dell up as an open box at Micro Center for $139. I don't even know why it was so cheap. It looked like it was never out of the box. I couldn't be happier with the tablet especially for the price. Not as elegant a device as my RT but so much more useful.
 

XTCrefugee

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2006
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I ended up getting a more expensive but similar hub. The cheap ones seem to be sold out everywhere unless they are shipping from China and I didn't feel like waiting for weeks.

If your soldering skills are as bad as mine, that was probably a good idea. Mine arrived today, and the 'mini' ones on eBay from Hong Kong are very small inside, with much smaller pads than the ones successfully modified by the guys over on tablet PC review. I attempted the mod today but something must have gone wrong as all I got was "unrecognised device" when plugging it in. In the end I gave up on that and just went for the simpler option (see attachment) and made an adapter from some spare bits and pieces.

It's worth noting that there are a few caveats though, these are mentioned on the thread but quite a few pages in. Firstly, it will only trickle charge while connected to another device, not fast charge (you can verify this by checking in the Dell diagnostics, accessible by holding volume up and the power button when switching on). In practice, this means the battery level should remain around the same if the tablet is on. I think this explains why there is no official docking station for the 8 Pro from Dell as it wouldn't be practical to charge it like this for everyday use. Secondly, you're going to need more power than the Dell 10 watt charger can provide if you want to charge the tablet and run power hungry devices like external hard drives - if I connect my external Western Digital drive to my adapter, it works but the tablet stops charging entirely. A solution is to use a powered hub (or if you're doing the hub mod, attach a second charger to the hub's power connector).

I'm really jealous of the prices the 8 Pro seems to be going for in the US, it's a steal as those. In the UK, I got my 64GB model for £279 which is around $458 USD. That's still cheaper than the official Dell UK price, believe it or not!

-edit-
Forget what I wrote about trickle charging, it turns out this was due to insufficient wire thickness. Something to watch out for when modifying your hub though. My tablet is now properly charging when connected to my external hard drive, no powered hub needed :)
 

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XTCrefugee

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2006
244
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Not USB related, but another mod of sorts (firmware) has been mentioned over on tablet PC review. V3D says it's possible to downgrade to BIOS A03 (with the advanced eMMC/SD speed settings) but keep A04's embedded controller update that fixed the low charge problem:
I just downloaded [A03] right from Dell & used the command /writeromfile to extract the BIOS rom then used AFUWIN from AMI's site to flash the Main bios image & NVRAM. [...]
I don't recommend using DDR50 on the MicroSD card slot, From my benchmark testing I found it had no effect on the speed & others have reported the MicroSD card to becomes unstable, randomly dismounting at times.
I'll be giving it a go myself tomorrow.

-edit-
Confirmed as working, use the AptioV version of afuwin.
 
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