Friday, June 21, 2013

Sega Genesis Cartridge USB Hub Hack

Here are some photos from my most recent project. I decided to put a powered USB hub inside of a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive cartridge. It will mainly be used as an accessory for my Raspberry Pi (which is also inside of a Genesis cartridge).  I had a cartridge left over from that project and an ugly powered USB hub, so I figured that it would be fun to put the hub in the other cartridge.  Also, the hub has a 2.6A power supply, so I'll probably use the hub to power the Pi and cut down on extra power cables.
Mockups and measurements of the original Dynex USB hub.
A picture of the actual board inside of the Dynex USB hub.  It is about 65.2mm wide.
The board fit almost perfectly between the two screw holes.  I had to grind off about a millimeter on the inside edge of each screw support.
I marked the ports with an x-acto knife and ground the plastic off to fit the hub inside.
Here is a closeup of the grinding that was done.  it's not pretty, but it was effective.
An image of the hub inside its new home.  The hub probably feels like a hermit crab.
Using equal parts precision measurement and random guessing, I ground holes into the back of the cartridge to expose the top two USB ports.
A first look at the two halves together.  The space for the actual cartridge meant that I only needed to grind one half of the opening.
Now that I know the board fits, it's time to use some sugru to keep it in place!  One 5 gram package should do the job nicely.
Here is an image with the board held in place by sugru.
I went to the local hardware store to replace the 4.5mm security bit that comes standard on the cartridge with a plain Phillips screw.  I'm probably not going to be a hand model in the near future.
The screws cost me a whopping 8 cents each.  If the helpful person at the store is to be believed, they are #4 sheet metal screws, 1/4 inch long, with a combo pan head.
A closeup with the screws in place.
Verifying that the board still fits with the sugru in place.  Luckily, it fits like a glove.
The USB ports stick out of the back of the cartridge a couple millimeters, but that doesn't bother me, as long as it still fits in the case........
Hooray!  The cartridge still fits into the original case!
I haven't updated the artwork on the case or cartridge, because it's fun to open the case up to show that these two random football games are much more than meets the eye.

A tip of the hat to +Morgan Burton at Retro Reused for giving me the idea of putting the USB hub in a cartridge.  Thanks!

Many thanks go to the Appleton Makerspace, who provided all of the grinding tools and workbench space to me.  It allowed me to finish the entire project during one evening at the space!