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G4 Cube Alternate Touch Power Button

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G4 Cube Alternate Touch Power Button

This is my alternate method to power on/off a cube with a finger in proximity to the top, but does NOT replicate the LED power indicator.

I have seen the Hackintosh mods for the original touch button, but of the three I have tried, I could get none of them to work. I also tried several makes and models of touch sensors (arduino, adafruit, knockoffs), but none would work through the thick upper acrylic case. This lead me to search for other options.

Rather than capacitive, I started looking into Infra Red options. My first find was a door exit release that really works well, is isolated by a relay, and has a nice dual color button. The only drawback is the 12v power required, but I also found a 5v step-up device to run it off of the 5v standby power. But the button is also large, too large to fit into the sensor hole without modification. Back to the search.





I then found smaller IR distance sensors, most for hobby/robot type projects like Arduino or Raspberry Pi type applications. I acquired several and finalized on one with adjustable sensitivity, the right size, and the correct logical output to power on a motherboard (TTL Low on output pin). It goes by many names like "FC-51", "flying-fish", or "IR Optical Avoidance Sensor." Maybe there is a better one out there, but I have not found it yet.



The FC-51 works pretty well from a breadboard, so let's get it mounted into a cube and see how it performs. All components are on a single side of circuit board. The original has the two IR LEDs (IR emitter and IR detector) facing out a long end. If we place it in a cube as-is, the IR LEDs point sideways and the potentiometer may be too thick for your motherboard configuration (some motherboards have ram or power at the edge of the board where it would bump into the sensor).



To make the IR sensor fit better, I moved the IR LEDs and potentiometer to the other side of the circuit board. The screws for the original sensor are a bit wide and actually touch both of the surface mount LEDs on the circuit board. There is a potential to short things out, so a non-conducting washer should be used. I also moved one of the surface mount LEDs further away by adjusting it with a soldering iron.





The IR sensor LEDs final placement (soldered flush to the circuit board) is near the center of the power switch.



The top inner cube plate needs a notch to make room for the potentiometer, now accessible from the top to make adjustments.



Now the IR LEDs are pretty tall, and will impede the final placement of the inner cube into the outer shell, so I ground them off with a rotary tool and a grinding/cutting disc. This removes the focused lens of the LED and makes them a little less sensitive, which I think was needed. After the shortening of the LEDs, everything is flush without the black/white cube sensor disc.







Wiring is GND->MBPower-, Out->MBPower+, VCC->5v Standby.

This IR sensor cannot penetrate the thin top plastic membrane, so I was forced to cut a hole under the power switch. This membrane is rather tough, and a brand new Xacto blade still did not cut it smoothly by hand, so next time I will try a different method.





Since this is IR, there is a potential to be affected by other IR emitters. An example is an Apple remote, that when within 12 inches will activate the power switch. This does leave the cube top in a "not so original" condition, but restores the functionality of a "touch sensor," but not the power light. Many of my cubes have a different flavor than original, so the hole will hopefully be less noticeable on modded cases.



I hope this provides some useful information.
 
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neilhart

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G4 Cube Alternate Touch Power Button

This is my alternate method to power on/off a cube with a finger in proximity to the top, but does NOT replicate the LED power indicator.
Thank you for sharing your mod and photos of your collection of cubes.

Good moding,
neil
 
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Hi u/phunguss , thank you for all you've done on G4 Cube modding! Your cubes have been such a good help and inspiration in my mod build.

I'm exactly at the point where I'm installing the touch sensor and want to add to your post. If you prefer me to make my own I will delete and create a new thread. I figure if people search for alternate G4 Cube touch sensors they will get this info too.

The touch button I purchased was "5PCS Heltec Automation Capacitance Touch Switch Module/Capacitive Siwitch Sensor button with Green Light" from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0756CF972/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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It seemed perfect because it would glow green when on. When connected to 5v standby power and a grounding wire it completes the circuit and will turn on and off with a touch! Hooray! However to get it to signal to the motherboard that it is on I purchased a Low Signal Relay. Al of this is above my head and I followed the instructions from this thread:

The relay I purchased was "ProTechTrader 5vdc (5 Volt DC) Relay - DPDT PCB 8-Pin Mount - Non-Latching Non-Polarized Electronic Low Signal High Sensitivity Relay Module for DIY Electronics and Arduino" also off of Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CP1XYKS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
405228
405229


Technically I have yet to get the entire thing to work properly though. So far I can get it to power on every other ON touch. Meaning the touch sensor light goes 1 on, 2 off, 3 on and the computer actually turns on. If anyone knows their way around relays i would appreciate any guidance.

Moreover, and to the point of the thread, does the touch sensor work? Well, Yes, but actually No. It works when out in the open, and even works through the plastic Lucite of the G4 Cube shell. But it does NOT penetrate the gray plastic AND the clear plastic. Leaving me the option that if I want a touch sensor I'll have to cut a hole under the button icon like Phunguss did above. Phunguss do you have any advice for me? Any progress or other touch sensor for me to try?
 
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**UPDATE** to v1.2 Sense and power LED working


v1.2: illumination mod

v1.1: the first mod post here (above)

v1.0: the original sensor


The original sensor comes with two SMT LEDs that are both green. Relocating them is a bit tricky and ugly. The best route would be to design a completely new board, but not really worth my time right now. So, I will use the not-so-appealing method of hot glue to get the job done. It is ugly, but will be inside the case and hopefully not visible.


The original sensor has one LED on always (to show power) and one led to show sensor activation. I will relocate these to be top facing through the power hole cutout.


Step 1: We have to add a 4th pin to the 3pin sensor. There is a spot on the board we can isolate by cutting a couple existing traces and still leave copper on the board to hold the pin in place. This pin will be connected to the 'power led' on the motherboard to show us when the system is powered on. Cut traces shown on top and bottom of the board and drill a small hole for the new pin.





Step 2: Remove the existing Surface Mount LEDs and solder some spare wire to them. I used solid core CAT 5e cable, but should probably use some smaller 24-28ga wire. I messed up the solder pad on one of my LEDs, so I grabbed a red donor from different sensor board.



Step 3: Hot glue those LEDs in place around the IR emitter and sensor, then bend the wires back to the original LED pads and solder in place. The positive side of the 'always on' LED gets soldered to our new pin which connects to the motherboard LED. Hot glue also works as a nice insulator so we don't short anything out.





Step 4: install in the top plate, connect wires to the motherboard power switch, motherboard LED indicator, and 5v standby.





It now works like this:
a: power off


b: red LED senses


c: power on


d: red LED senses when on (to turn off)


The breadboard and side LED are just to verify it is working prior to installation in the cube.
 
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