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Cube Switch Modding

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minihack said:
cj73 said:
So I made the mistake of bridging the 5v connection on the picoPSU to the capacitor directly above it. I've having a very difficult time getting them separated. Does anyone know if these connections were supposed to be bridged to begin with?

Would someone be willing to do a quick check w a multimeter? I don't want to fry my motherboard when I attempt to power this on.

Gulp. Not good.

I'm not sure that my old Pico does have a cap above the 5v connection. Do some googgling for images of your pico and see what you can find. It is tricky soldering and if you are not directly using the pico (I mean if you are using an extender) then tapping into the purple wire itself is the easiest way to get the connection. Another option is to solder your wire to a small rigid pin and try and shove that down the connection hole on the pico to wedge it in place.


If you think you have bridged a pin by mistake then I strongly advise getting a solder sucker or trying some of that solder wicking stuff that will help you to de-solder the area.

You could also try, if you have just made a slight bridge, using a sharp knife to cut the solder connection that you made by mistake but do check under a magnifying glass and make sure you really have cut the bridge properly before turning on.

I will put a warning about this in the first post.....

Edit: Was it this Pico and capacitor? If so, then unless it is a huge amount of solder then you may have success with a craft knife....if it is a big blob then go for the sucker (!).
picoPSU-120-big1.jpg
Hope it turns out okay for you. Let us know.

Turns out this wasn't as bad as I expected. It was a Pico-Psu 150xt, and I bridged the 5v standby pad with the capacitor directly above it. I spent a long time trying to desolder the bridge using a vacuum and wick with no luck. Even though there was no visible solder the ohmmeter was saying they were bridged.

Then I remembered, it's a 5v standby, meaning it's going to output 5v even if it is not attached to the motherboard. I figured I'd wire it up without the mobo, measure the voltage, and worse case scenario it would give me a bad read and I'd have to buy a new Psu.

To my excitement, it read exactly what it was supposed to - 5v. No damage done. It turns out, on my Psu at least, those two points are bridged internally anyway. Lucky me!

I went on to fully assemble my i3 cube for the first time. Everything works great - including the proximity switch and the LED. :)

Thanks so much for your helpful post!
 
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cj73 said:
Turns out this wasn't as bad as I expected. It was a Pico-Psu 150xt, and I bridged the 5v standby pad with the capacitor directly above it. I spent a long time trying to desolder the bridge using a vacuum and wick with no luck. Even though there was no visible solder the ohmmeter was saying they were bridged.

Then I remembered, it's a 5v standby, meaning it's going to output 5v even if it is not attached to the motherboard. I figured I'd wire it up without the mobo, measure the voltage, and worse case scenario it would give me a bad read and I'd have to buy a new Psu.

To my excitement, it read exactly what it was supposed to - 5v. No damage done. It turns out, on my Psu at least, those two points are bridged internally anyway. Lucky me!

I went on to fully assemble my i3 cube for the first time. Everything works great - including the proximity switch and the LED. :)

Thanks so much for your helpful post!

:thumbup:

That's great. If you took some pictures of the Cube it'd be great to see the finished result.
 
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Hi Rick,
If there is a 5v standby voltage on the board then the proximity switch part of the circuit will work. If you look at the Intel documentation you should be able to find the right output trace.
For the LED mod, that can be worked around by using the power LED signal directly across the LED and (so I'm told) cutting the other traces to the LED.
 
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I have been trying to do this mod with my project, but seeing the fact that I am using a Mac Mini inside of a cube I have no way to get 5v stand by. Does the LED mod work without power?
 
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You MUST have a 5v standby signal for the Cube switch to work at all. There is a workaround for that if you absolutely have no such signal, but it is complicated.

I did this when I originally made my first Mini in a Cube mod. Basically I bought the lowest powered picopsu with a wide input voltage range (the Mac Mini I had was type that ran off 19v I think) and wired it up to the power supply input from the Mac Mini....and hey presto you end up with a small internal power supply that has a 5v stand by.

To power on the pico psu then when the actual mac mini turned on (so I could use it to actually power some peripherals) I used a convenient source of 5v from the mini which is 5v ONLY when the Mini is on (e.g. the 5v to the internal SATA drive) to trigger a solid state relay to make that produce a "zero" voltage when the Mini powers on.....this zero voltage then is used to provide the "Power_on" signal that the PicoPSU needs.

I know it sounds complicated but it is not really if you have some electronics know how. I'll see if I can find the photos and the description.

EDIT: The photo shows the kind of thing I mean and the pdf is a hard copy of an old website page I made (now no longer on the web). Basically the black and white leads take zero and + volts from the Mac Mini brick and they are then converted to standard ATX signals by the picopsu. The Pico is attached to a small ATX extension so I can take signals from it for a small little electric circuit on the piece of "breadboard". One of the flying leads comes from a 5v mini source (SATA on or USB sig or something) and provides the + supply to a relay coil, the other side of the relay coil is tied to zero. The switch outputs from the relay are one terminal at zero always and the other is at a floating voltage until the relay switches on....

The sequence of events then is:

The Pico PSU will provide the 5v standby voltage whenever the Mac Mini is plugged into the mains.
The standby voltage powers the proximity switch.
When the switch registers a finger there, it turns on the Mac Mini.
When the Mac Min turns on, it will then generate 5v on the USB line, or SATA line or whatever you are using to trip the relay.
When the 5v signal arrives at the relay, the relay activates and closes the output switch.
The output switch provides then zero volts to the "Power_On" signal of the PicoPSU.
And the PicoPSU turns on and then is available to provide all your nice ATX voltages to any peripherals you want.
Note: Because all this is getting power from the Mac Mini external brick (this was an old mini) you MUST pay attention to how much headroom in Watts your external supply can generate. For one of the new minis with on board supply this method could still be used I expect, but would need to be adapted.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009A89K18/?tag=tonymacx86-21
 

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Hi minihack,

My mobo doesn't have a 5v standby signal so I'm considering the pico psu route for the cube switch.

I have several doubts about the procedure to follow :

-How do I wire up the pico psu to the power supply input? (I have a 19 V External Power Supply laptop type). Is there some kind of "plug splitter" that I can use?

-If all that I need from the pico psu is the 5v standby then I don't really have to power the pico on. Am I right?

Hope my questions make sense , my electronics knowledge is fairly basic :crazy:


Cheers

F.
 
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Hi minihack,

My mobo doesn't have a 5v standby signal so I'm considering the pico psu route for the cube switch.

I have several doubts about the procedure to follow :

-How do I wire up the pico psu to the power supply input? (I have a 19 V External Power Supply laptop type). Is there some kind of "plug splitter" that I can use?

-If all that I need from the pico psu is the 5v standby then I don't really have to power the pico on. Am I right?

Hope my questions make sense , my electronics knowledge is fairly basic :crazy:


Cheers

F.

Hi,
Yes I guess you are right. If you don't have a 5v standby anywhere (really read ALL of the documentation for your board to check that there is not such a voltage somewhere - it may be called something else maybe on a "Universal Solutions header"??
Anyway, if there is not a 5v standby type voltage then just hook up a pico to the 19v input and leave it always in standby. All should work fine. If the 19v is fixed to a case plug then tap the voltage off there and insulate well.
If you can't get to that, then see if you can find a power splitter for the 19v supply before it connects to the computer. For my Mac Mini mod years ago I did the heart stopping thing of trying to get around the fact that Apple has tiny connectors to the motherboard and not wanting to kludge the power lead itself and so I soldered a connection direct to the mobo - that is very much a method of last resort, not recommended, and can end in a lot of tears - so only do it if you are prepared for killing your computer.
 
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Hi,
Thanks for your quick reply!
The only reference to a 5V Standby signal is regarding a +5 V Standby Power Indicator LED
and there is no Custom Solution Header like in bigger mobos, this one is just 4" X 4" so I guess Intel had to sacrifice it.

nuc mobo.jpg
I'll try to find the power splitter , if it exists it will be the easiest way.

Thanks again for your help and inspiration!
F.
 
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Hi,
Thanks for your quick reply!
The only reference to a 5V Standby signal is regarding a +5 V Standby Power Indicator LED
and there is no Custom Solution Header like in bigger mobos, this one is just 4" X 4" so I guess Intel had to sacrifice it.

View attachment 50653
I'll try to find the power splitter , if it exists it will be the easiest way.

Thanks again for your help and inspiration!
F.
I am assuming the above picture is a NUC. If so search the documentation for "Internal Power", according to what I read the board has an internal power supply header, which can be used instead of the external power socket. This is normally for use when the board is housed with an internal PSU.

So this header should have that the same 19v (from your external PSU) present on this connector. Then all you need is a dc-dc converter. The PicoPSU will do the job if you already have it, but the are simpler lower power that just provide a single output voltage, there are also cheaper, and smaller than the PicoPSU.

Hope this helps
 
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