USB-A-ugment: USB-A port card with internal dongle port and addons

Finally, I can show an ambitious Expansion Card of mine, that I’ve already been using personally. It’s the USB-A card on steroids - designed to be compatible with it, but it can do so much more!

For a start, there’s an internal USB-A socket for your mouse receiver - you don’t even have to take it apart or solder onto the board, a receiver can plug right in and you can unplug it whenever you want. There’s also a USB-C pulldown switch - you can power the card off whenever you need, using i.e. the Framework screwdriver spudger side. And, it doesn’t extend beyond the feet in the Z direction. That’s not all, however!

There’s also a grid of pins that you can use for addons. I’ve made three addons - MicroSD reader, USB-C 2.0 host port, and USB-UART + EC debug cards, which plug onto the pins and extend from beyond the laptop. They can be used as standalone cards if you solder a USB-C plug on, too! Furthermore, it’s easy to design your own addons - the expansion are on 2.54mm grid, so you can just use a protoboard and add your own stuff. The addon cards are designed to lighten up my collection of dongles, so they’re more temporary additions you can plug in and out whenever you need one and avoid taking up a whole USB-C port. I will take pictures of these when I get home - forgot.

Oh, and this board is made to fit inside the stock USB-A Expansion shell, which it barely doesn’t - but it does fit if you trim the board a little bit; next PCB version will fix this. So, if you solder a mouse receiver to this card instead of the internal USB-A socket, you can also use it this card as the PCB for the stock USB-A card + mouse receiver inside!

At the moment, I don’t have a 3D printed shell design - yet ^^ I will put up a bounty on these forums in an hour or two - whoever designs a shell from the 3D printed files I’ll provide, will get this card and a full set of addons! If nobody can do that within a week, I’ll do it myself, just need to get to my Solidworks PC. When I have the shell, I’ll add it to the store - in the meantime, I’ll ship this card with extra threaded inserts so that you can get a shell printed on your own, and, personally, I run it shell-less at the moment - it is pretty sturdy on its own!

It’s a seriously featureful Expansion Card - I talk more about its capabilities in the Tindie listing, there’s a few more things I’ve managed to cram into it ^~^ Will open-source the design within a day, too, just need to clean up the repositories!


Seriously impressive how much you squeezed in there! I love tightly packed boards. Please post more pictures when you get a chance. The bottom of the boards and without the USB-A jack for the dongle.


Thank you! Under the USB-A socket, there’s a 12MHz crystal and two jumper 1206 components, and on the bottom of the board, there’s just the SO16 USB hub, 3.3V reg and a few more parts, so that there’s enough clearance between the card and the chassis. Here’s a quick pic of my current card as I use it, will come home and take a few more pics!


Thanks. Honestly, it’s just fun to see how things are packed into the space.


Wow this is super cool and super tiny! I could see you also maybe fitting one of these tiny ultra fit flash drives in there for a bit of extra disk capacity:


oh in that case, here’s the KiCad PCB files! The CH334 version is a bit more packed cuz the chip has more pins, and I even managed to fit an I2C EEPROM for hub ID there… except I wired SCL up to the wrong pin =D will fix that in v2!

oh absolutely, and seems like this one would sure fit in the receiver slot^^


that is amazingly ludicrous. i didn’t even know half the acronyms in the description, i think, amazing job, and sign me up for a fully built one (with a shell), I love this.


It looks great ! Can’t wait for a shell to be available so I can buy one


I’ll take 3 :smiley:

If someone hasn’t made a shell for it yet, I might give it a go, I’ll post what I come up with here.


Hey, has anyone received their dongle hider yet? I ordered mine months ago and all I’ve gotten is a tracking ID that hasn’t moved past shipped in months. (and yes, I reached out via Tindie before posting here, no response.)

If anyone has gotten one of these, does it fit in a framework USBA module? I’d love to have a dongle hider that sits flush, I don’t want this poking out of the bottom of my laptop.

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@lane_ftw I don’t have one, but the pictures look like it won’t fit in a normal shell.

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I’m in the same boat. I placed an order 140 days ago and haven’t received anything. I’ve reached out to Arya multiple times and was promised several times that the item would finally ship, but it never did. Unfortunately, my money is gone, so I hope others don’t fall victim to this scam. Be warned, and you can also check out my Tindie review for more details.


Totally forgot about this! I don’t even know how long it’s been since I’ve ordered. Who knows what happened.

Also ordered one a couple months ago. Haven’t been able to reach Arya at all during that time, just no response.

Hey yall, sorry for neglecting this thread. In short, the project became a perfect storm of issues for me, to the point I didn’t even get to open-sourcing the boards, not to mention sending 3D models to anyone. Between assembly problems (I hardly ever do dual-sided boards now but it was required here and brought some unfun things), a batch of packages going lost at the time beyond my allotted loss margin, as well as health and work problems I was going through in parallel, I got knocked out of the lane and burned out on it significantly.

Currently, the problem is that it’s seriously tricky to manufacture, and it didn’t help that I accidentally ordered a batch of USB3 connectors with flipped (reversed polarity) pinout, which I can’t yet manage to desolder from assembled boards without destroying the board. At the moment, I have a batch of unassembled v2 PCBs and enough components for everything, but assembling more than one card at a time is still tricky and can easily take up half a day, so I’m slowly chipping away at the backlog whenever I have a free moment, which, is not often lately.

That said, I’m working away at figuring this out. At the moment, I have a v3 version that I should be able to order mostly-assembled at JLC (sparing some easy through-hole stuff), skipping over the actually problematic parts and allowing me to finally scale this expansion card properly. I’m also reviewing my strategy for product releases to avoid such big failures in the future. At the moment, I’m holding off on releasing new products (currently, four in the pipeline, three of them Framework-related) until I fully resolve problems with this one.

Again, sorry for the lack of updates, I’m seriously bummed at how this went awry since the start, the burnout doesn’t help, and I hate commenting when I don’t have much hopeful to say. Despite that, I’m working away at it in background, and I aim to have production finally scaled up into more automated assembly in the middle of February! Until then, thank you for your patience. I will be contacting people individually as I untangle this mess, and, expect more fun updates than this soon^^


Well, better late than never with the update, and assuming others who have ordered eventually get theirs, I think the lessons learned with have been painful for you (and some folks here) and can be applied to future things.

So, don’t give up, keep pushing onward, and remember folks on a place like this would much rather hear “problems, X, Y, Z, uh…delayed” than nothing at all. Take a page from Framework and their great information sharing. So here’s hoping the future will turn into a better one for all of us!


Hey @Arya,
I ordered an USB-A-ugment (and an Altmode friend) a few days ago, before I read your reply here.
Just wanted to point out, I’m happy to wait for my order until the v3 boards are done, even if it takes a while. I’d highly prefer you not having to go through half a day of unneccesarily hard work.
Updates would be appreciated, if you have the spoons. No worries if not!

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