Dongle Hider

I saw a comment that people want to hide their Logitech Unifying dongle (and other random small easy to lose dongles. Tried a design with a standard USB-A 2.0 socket recessed inside. Not enough room for another connector to expand outward sadly.

It will need some improvement, the socket is probably too high. I’d replace it with a laptop usb-a socket that sits dropped into the board. If you have a suggestion for a part, let me know!

13 Likes

It would be completely out of official USB spec, but as this board will be secure in a little box and ideally only plugged in once, you could ditch the USB-A host connector entirely and shape the edge of the circuit board to be the inner section of the host connector. This would be a friction fit where you jam the circuit board into the device connector. I have seen lots of products with the device side of the connection but never anything with the host side.

Cons:

  • Circuit board thickness would be functional so you would have to make sure you could get very specific thickness.
  • Maybe need to put a soldered but unpopulated pad on the other side of the board to connect to GND
  • Hacky / Use at own risk?
  • Device now in line with circuit board not above

Pros:

  • Best part is no part
  • More space
5 Likes

Just spotted this post after writing up about my results doing the same thing. I even tried measuring out using this type of connector:

Still doesn’t fit! Looks like the only way is to crack the dongle open and press the dongle PCB’s USB pads directly onto surface contacts.

5 Likes

@Ecca

Nice find. I had no idea these existed. Just got some from Amazon.
Surely these would be small enough to fit a Logitech receiver?

Will break out the callipers when they arrive (Don’t have my framework yet to do a fit test).

1 Like

My idea is to find some SMD spring contacts we can solder on the board and then use the board as the mechanical, like you @Brendan_Seabrook suggested.

The other route is just buy the unifying receivers and indeed crack them open and solder them to the board. Might be cheap enough, the receivers are about 15-20 euro per unit. That will also probably give you the option to make a USB hub inside and add an external USB-A or C port, or an SD slot or whatever.

What other tiny dongles would people want? My guess it’s mainly the unifying receiver by Logitech.

1 Like

@Brendan_Seabrook The plastic enclosure on the Unifying Receiver is too thick to fit. It would only be small enough if the PCB by itself was put inside.

@Sebastian_Oort Yes, surface contacts and a retaining clip is one of the options I was talking about on my own post before I saw this thread. I think that is the way to go if Logitech or any other mouse manufacturer are all unwilling to license.

There are also flash drives that have the same form factor as the Logitech unifying receiver.

@Edward_Gray yeah but there are already storage modules for sale from frame.work, so i’m not really interested in that part. But yeah it could be used for that.

@Ecca i have a spare unifying receiver laying around, when i get back to the project i’ll have a look what can be done in terms of fitting it intact in the frame.work enclosure.

I use one of those little flash drives as a music source in my car. Another contains reference documents for cameras and other goodies, that I may want to move around with. All find ways that work for us.

Just a note about the logitech unifying dongle. I have the Pico version which is tiny.

It has a visible circuit board that forms the contacts and holds the parts. It seems to be sitting in a plastic piece which provides the spacing for the USB-A connector.

On the underside of the unit is a seam to slide on the front cover. Yes glue seems to be involved, but I am going to try and get it apart to see if it can be tucked into a module.

Logitech USB Unifying Receiver, 2.4 GHz

Managed to fit the cracked open dongle with the same type of connector I posted a picture of earlier. Easiest way was to bend out the interlocking metal seam using a stiff razor to loosen the plastic endpiece. The plastic piece can then be pulled off relatively easily.

Just wanted to check if it physically worked, so I melted some PLA to hold it in place and put some tape over it. It successfully connects, so at the very least it seems feasible.

9 Likes

I just received my adapters and I am heading down a similar route.

2 Likes

Reviving an old thread, but I did end up building one of these for the Logitech Unifying Receiver. Also works with some cheap dollar store wireless mouse I had too.

Used the same mini USB-A to C adapters linked above, and modified the 3D printable expansion card design to hold the adapter and stripped down USB dongle. I can provide the step file if anyone is interested


FrameworkModule v6.stl (326.0 KB)

16 Likes

I used the STL file from @Avendor and the USB-C to USB-A adapters (different Amazon link) was able to use it for my own Logitech Unifying Receiver.
A few notes on that.
I used the “micro” version of the Unify Receiver as the standard or older model did not clear the backstop built into the model @Avendor posted… at least not without taking the plastic off the end.
I was able to use the standard micro receiver and just sand the plastic flush with the metal for a decent fit. I added a very small bit of rubber between the receiver and the backstop and it works perfect.
Here is the Amazon link for the in-stock converter:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078N1TWG8/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i_HAMZ12V2VF6Q0FBKE


4 Likes

@Greg_Smith1

My Unifying Receiver is one of the older ones, so it likely has a bigger PCB.

If you’d like I can upload the step files which can be modified in something like Fusion 360 so you don’t need the piece of rubber holding it in. My measurements weren’t incredibly precise to begin with. For example the side blocks aren’t close enough to the USB housing so there may be a little bit of play in there but should be enough to keep it straight so the USB-C connector goes in and out without problems.

I have had mine as shown in my post plugged into my Framework since I posted it and its been great!

2 Likes

That looks great. I don’t have a 3d printer but what about a version with an adjustable end-stop? If I knew I could adjust it for the length of my dongle, I would pay for something like this. For now I’m using one of those chenyang mini adapters with no cover on the expansion bay, and it’s fine enough, but having a clean external line would be nice.

@Shark_Sandwich - love the handle! “They can’t print that, can they?”

1 Like

@Shark_Sandwich I have been thinking about something “adjustable” but the only things I can come up with are setting the stop further back, and including printable wedges at 1mm adjustments that would attach at the screw posts. It wouldn’t be a great solution in my opinion as it can create a lot of wasted material in the print process. However, I would love to hear other possible solutions.

Only way I can think of doing an adjustable version would be with some kind of a spring as a tensioner. I kinda got lucky with my initial measurements. The one I posted was my 2nd or 3rd attempt. And actually if one were to look at the model carefully the back panel isn’t flush on one side. Maybe that can be a project for a weekend coming up - improve and refine the design.

Here is my best first idea for adjustable stops. The slots and cross piece could be made completely straight, but then the cross piece would have to have added thickness to avoid deformation by the plug pressure when being inserted. My idea is to angle the side supports, so that imparts an angle on the cross piece, turning it into a sort of leaf spring, and thus resisting the back-pressure from insertion.

There is probably some sweet spot between material density, wall thickness, and slot angle, which would work for 3d printed plastic. It could also be possible to use a metal cross piece that is simply cut from existing spring or hardened steel stock.

7 Likes