DongleHider+ - Multiple dongles and a normal USB A socket

I’ve finished my first Framework-focussed hardware project: The DongleHider+!

It’s an expansion card that acts like a normal USB A expansion card, but can hide up to 2-3 dongles inside at the same time!

You can find all information on the project’s GitHub repo or the Mastodon thread for a more behind-the-scenes look.

I need to use the Logitech Unifying dongle for my MX Master 3, as using Bluetooth introduces too much latency, which slows me down noticeably. But I disliked the dongle always sticking out and blocking a precious expansion card slot.

I tried leaving the dongle intact and fitting a USB socket inside, but this was simply not possible with the constraint of keeping the external dimensions of a normal expansion card.
So I chose to option to skin and solder the dongle(s) permanently. (They’re only a few bucks used anyways ^^")

I don’t plan to sell them right now, sorry.
You can find everything you need to build it yourself in the GitHub repo.
If you feel you lack the required skills, maybe ask around in your friend circle or look for a local hacker-/makerspace.

(There also appears to be a similar project in this forum that traded the form factor for a USB socket)

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Very nice! Great that you have pads for a second internal dongle.

Very clean implementation.

If u2 is a 3.3v ldo, you may want to consider powering the receiver from that, in my testing on my integrated unifying mod for the t480s I found powering it with 3.3 to use a little more than half the power with no perceived loss in functionality.

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u2 is ESD protection.

Well then the 3.3v trick is out I guess.

Congrats on making it to TomsHardware frontpages. Really cool project here, I’ll probably try making one myself at some point if I can source the components!

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Does anyone know if you could purchase a usb A expansion card and swap out the PCB with one of these? It would be nice to have a nice professional casing instead of a 3d printed one. Also not sure how the partially metal casing would affect the signal either.

Here is another media article:

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The metal casing should have a very negative effect on connectivity, if not completely prevent it. For 3D printing you should look into resin printing as it looks more like a custom molded part, rather than a prototype. That said resin is usually more expensive, so it’s solemnly used for prototyping.

On a different note:
I would be interested if the dongle works on the newer Intel FW13 models as they only sport USB4 ports. If not revising would make a lot of sense, if it does I don’t see many people having a problem with this solution.

Looking into making a batch for me and maybe a few to hand out, as making only 1 is nearly the same cost as making a few.

The project looks dope and exactly what I was looking for.
Great work.

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I would be very interested in purchasing a complete item. I have a resin printer and could print the cases if you have the 3d file for the case. I’d be more than happy to print a few and send some to you.

USB4 is backwards compatible all the way down to usb1.0(well the usb3+ and usb2- backwards compatibility works by basically having a usb2 port taped to your 3+ port but it’s required by the spec and followed by virtually everyone).

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‘* The only issue I’ve found is when the card is plugged into one of the USB4 ports of an AMD Framework (13+16) and you connect a USB 3 device. Then the internal USB 2 dongle stops working.
This doesn’t happen on the other, non-USB4 expansion card slots or with USB 2 devices.’
This is an exert from the linked mastodon thread. Tested on AMD FW13 and FW16.

@tripplehelix I’ll look into it during this week. Can’t make any promises as my week rn is pretty full already. JLPCB takes 30€ for 10 assembled PCBs w/o the USB C and A ports. So 5€ for the materials with shipping per PCB is what I’m assuming, maybe more, haven’t checked Mouser pricing. Still even with shipping from me should remain pretty cheap.
Based in Germany for reference. Dunno if Shipping the 3D parts internationally would make sense if you’re not based in Europe.

I see, may be linked to the re-drivers on those too. You probably should not use a usb-e card in these, with or without a dingle in there because of the redriver sleeping issue, and it’s a waste anyway.

does this have any effect on battery life? Also would anyone be willing to build this for me?

I’m in the UK, so that really depends. I know in the past shipping to Germany was a disaster with most stuff ending up stuck in customs. But I would still purchase a board!

Customs is annoying, true. Still shipping cost to UK should be reasonable. Haven’t ordered anything since the Brexit though, so unsure about the current situation. It will probably be cheaper to have some made locally. I know a few people with a printer, so I will probably pay for materials and a couple quid extra to make up for time invested.

I’ll try to be quick about making a few. I’ll update you when there’s any news. If all goes well I am thinking about developing my own, we’ll see.

Hello, i am in Germany too and ordered in UK.
I had to pay tax, to the shipping Provider.
I am also Interested in 2 or 3 Cards. I also know some 3D Printer Owners so I maybe didn’t need a case.

I’d love a few of these boards (located in NL) as the logitech-dongle is the one thing always sticking out of the laptop, and I love the design.

I would love to combine this with a Yubikey 5 Nano and a logitech dongle. Sizewise it should fit.

I would need around 5 assembled boards (located in CH). I can print the casings on my own and would have to integrate the metal contact for the Yubikey anyway.

A shared production/assembly run would be awesome, given that we find a way to distribute them in Europe.

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