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External Enclosure Controller PCB

Heffo

New member
I am getting hold of a few chips to put together a controller board for an external enclosure.
Since there are people who would like to mount CFA635 displays externally, I thought I would post my design & construction progress here.

The controller will provide the following features...
  • USB2 4 port self-powered hub connecting to the host PC.
  • USB2 SATA controller for a hard drive hard-wired on the PCB to internal USB hub Port 1
  • Internal USB connection for a CFA635 display in the front of the enclosure on USB hub Port 2
  • 2x external USB ports on the back of the enclosure
  • Small Cooling Fan to keep system cool.
  • 12v/5v/3.3v power regulation for USB Hub/HDD/CFA635/External USB Devices

External Controller - Block Diagram


I will design a custom enclosure for the unit, since modifying an existing enclosure to accomodate the PCB, HDD and custom control PCB will be next to impossible.

There is a local engineering company I use on the very odd occasion when I need some laser cutting done, so I am thinking of designing an enclosure out of thin sheet metal and folding it up.

As I progress further along, I'll post more details here.
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Heffo

New member
At this point in time, I got no idea. The PCB will be the most expensive part, followed by the USB hub chip and the SATA bridge chip which I hope to get a few of each chip as free samples.

Lets just say for the prototype it'll be rather expensive.
 

Heffo

New member
I have spent some time getting hold of some product samples of the USB hub chip and the SATA to USB bridge chip. This in itself is pretty good, trying to pick up a couple of these off Ebay or other such places is a practical impossibility.

The USB hub chip is pretty straightforward, the chip, a crystal, (quite) a few capacitors for decoupling and a couple of support chips.

The SATA to USB2 bridge is the pain in the behind of this whole exercise. I would like to have shared schematic diagrams and PCB layouts aswell as an explanation into how the thing works, but in order to get hold of the datasheet for the chip I needed to sign an NDA with Oxford Semiconductor, which rules out any schematics or PCB layouts! The funny thing is, I could order product samples and whole trays of chips (at a rather reasonable price too) without an NDA, but the instructions on how to use them I had to sign for!
 

CF Tech

Administrator
Cool you are making progress


I realize you are trying to do something more elegant . . . but have you just considered getting the PCB from a small travel USB hub and the PCB from a USB > SATA drive enclosure, and hacking those together? :)
 

Heffo

New member
I realize you are trying to do something more elegant . . . but have you just considered getting the PCB from a small travel USB hub and the PCB from a USB > SATA drive enclosure, and hacking those together? :)
Well, that would be a cheaper and easier, but where's the fun in that!
For me, it's not so much an exercise of having a nifty integrated external device, but having a nifty external device that I designed and built.
 
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