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PS3 Upgrade Project: 2 USB Ports >>> 5 USB Ports!


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#1 Doppelgangergang

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:10 AM

Hey everyone. Sorry for not being active in this forum. College got me tied up and so on which limited my selection of sites to visit. Anyway, I'd like to share what I did to my PS3 about a month ago. It still works to this day. :)

What I basically did is I took it apart to add 3 Extra USB Ports at the back. This is so that the PS3 doesn't have USB cords permanently dangling at the front of the console for a USB hub to add the PSEye and Wireless Keyboard.

This is a completely LEGIT project. No Software Hacking is done so there is no anti-piracy measures bypassed or games can be cheated. The only modifications done is completely hardware. This is no different than fixing your own YLoD or fixing your own BD Drive.

This isn't a newbie friendly project, unfortunately. This involves taking a knife to your PS3's circuitboard and if you cut the wrong traces, it's toast. Do not attempt unless you know you can do it, and neither me or the staff of PSGL is responsible if you try this yourself and it didn't end well!


PROJECT START

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Here are the photos of three components. The one on the left is a 12V to 5V voltage converter. This powers the USB Hub and three devices connected to the 3 new USB Ports. Why go all the trouble of converting 12V to 5V when there's a perfectly good source of 5V where the USB Ports are?

Simple: That 5V source is most likely designed to handle one USB device (500mA) and, at the worst case scenario, drawing 2.1 Amps @ 5V (4 devices @ 500mA each + USB Hub Logic at 100mA) may cause that USB Port to burn out. So this circuit board hooks up to the PS3's power supply to convert it's generous 12V rails to 5V. The converter can handle up to 4 Amps if I remember right, so the rear ports get huge margins to support what power-hungry devices that get plugged in.

The two circuit boards are 4-port USB hubs, with the covers and ports desoldered and disassembled to the bare minimum. Why two? Well, I thought it was a good idea to have a backup USB Hub just in case one didn't work out. Spare Parts are nice to have.

(Spoiler Alert: The USB Hub on the right burned up when I got my wires crossed. Yay spare parts!)

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Using my metal cutters, I snipped off the really thick metal wires connecting the AC Input to the power supply, then extracted the power switch. This was quite difficult because the metal wires were hard, like two-and-a-half times thick as the aluminum they use for a can of cola. You really have ton use extra force to snip the wires.

Anyway, here's a photo of the now-extracted power switch.

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Three USB Ports were test-fitted on the now-vacant hole where the power switch used to sit. It fits rather loosely, so I decided to bend a black paperclip into a rectangle to narrow down the hole.

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Construction of the USB Ports was pretty straightforward.

First, I took a piece of perfboard and cut it down to size. I then took three USB sockets (salvaged from the USB hubs) and poked the connector points through the perfboard's holes.

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After that, the Power connections (+5V and GND) were tied together. These will be soon directly connected to the 5V Voltage Converter. This powers the USB devices plugged into the ports.

(Yes, I know that there's rules on Client-Host Negotiation before Amperage to each port is applied, but I opted for direct connect instead to reduce complexity, and those rules were mostly ignored by "dumb" devices such as USB lights and USB fans. The USB hub has zero capabilities to distribute allotted amps anyway, and feeds 5V power as a straight rail to all 4 ports.)

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Here are the Twisted Pair wires individually connected to each and every USB port. Six individual wires then go to the USB Hub, which is shown later.

Twisted Pair is used for the USB Data lines as the USB Spec recommends Twisted Pair to reduce electrical interference. This is especially important as there will be high-power AC voltage going through that AC Socket, and can interfere with straight-run wiring.

Also shown here is the new thick power wires going to the Power Supply. (Black)

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Once the install has been made, each conection is tested with a multimeter.

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Then after the Multimeter Test, it is hooked up to a computer and then a file is copied back and forth to check if it's working..

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After all checks pass, it is reinstalled in the PS3.

#2 Doppelgangergang

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:11 AM

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Power Wires are then soldered to the new AC Input lines (to replace the cut ones) and then heatshrunk for insulation.

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See those two tiny tiny tiny traces on the circuit board? Those I had to sever. That's a 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil, and that pencil lead is only half a millimeter thick!!

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The severing is done, and two Twisted Pairs are connected. The brown pair connects to the USB Hub circuit board. The Green Pair goes from the USB Hub circuit board. This allows the PS3 to recognize as if the USB hub is inserted to one of it's front USB Port, and the USB device plugged into the modded port to be recognized as if it was plugged into the said USB hub.

Blobs of hot glue relieve tension and stress from the solder points, because ripping those traces is easy because they are only a couple of millimeters wide.

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The power supply sprouts a new wire. If you look closely, a Black alligator clip connects to a screwhead to the left of the motherboard, and a Red Alligator clip connects to the new wire (look at the bottom right of the photo).

This is a modification that splices a connection to the PSU's generous 12V rails.

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And a multimeter confirms clean solid 12V is coming out of the new wire!

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The 12V to 5V power converter is stuck in a small gap just below the power supply.

It's input is connected to the 12V power rail I spliced off the Power Supply.

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The Power Supply is reinstalled.

And a few minutes of game testing (actually, it took an hour, lol) confirms that I didn't break anything on my PS3.

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Hello World!

After Game Testing, the USB hub is connected to power, and the brown wire from the PS3's Circuit Board is connected to the Hub Input.

The Green Wire from the PS3's Board (which connects to the right USB Port) is then connected to the hub. A controller is connected to modded front port.

The PS3 is powered on and two Red Lights appear on the USB Hub circuit board! It confirms Power, Input and Output 1 is fully working!

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And now, here it comes!

After front port success, I decided to attach two controllers (left, right) and a small Wireless Keyboard dongle for testing (middle).

The three pairs of wires were connected from the back to the hub and....

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#3 Doppelgangergang

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:12 AM

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It Works!!!!

All 5 lights are working! Input, Output 1, 2, 3 and 4 all working!

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A look of the three, new and fully functioning ports!

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A piece of foam insulates the backside to prevent shorting.

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And all the wiring is triple-checked and packed in. PS3 is then reassembled.

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PROJECT COMPLETE.

Can you see the PS3 Eye, 80GB USB Hard Disk and Wireless Keyboard dongle inserted? Of course not, it's now at the back! Clean setup and install!


This was a fun challenging project to do, and gives great functionality to my PS3 and improvements in wire cleanliness.

#4 The_Evil_Banana

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:53 PM

Nicely done tutorial! +1 Now if only I had the guts to open up my ps3 and and cut/solder it haha I really hope they decide to put more usb slots in the future though.




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