Massive but Cheap Pismo Hack Ideas: Internal USB 2.0?

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unknown1's picture
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While I am waiting for a hard drive to get my Pismo going again I have been thinking of some hacks that would be interesting without costing too much.

There are a lot of little ones I've thought of:
Changing sleep light to white (to match the more modern Macs)
Adding a hard drive light (sorely missing on Macs)
Moving the headphone and microphone ports to the front, below the trackpad
Adding a switch to disable sleep on close (for playing mp3's, etc.)
Lighted back IO panel
Keyboard light at top of screen (like some ThinkPads); etc.

More adventurous ones:
Lighted keyboard
Replace motherboard with one from a MacBook!?! (Yes, I know this one is wild!)
Replace trackpad with larger USB one from a late model MacBook or Pro

I think the most interesting one is internal USB 2:
I was perusing the eeePC hack sites and it is amazing what these guys manage to squeeze inside these things! The main thing the eeePC has that a Pismo doesn't is USB 2.0.

How about removing the AirPort slot (and modem if necessary), replacing the single slot PC Card cage with a dual slot one from a Wallstreet and using the top slot for a $10 USB 2.0 card cut down to fit inside the chassis? This would leave an open PC Card slot for future use and the USB 2.0 could then be wired into the existing USB ports in the back, maybe add one on the side between the PC Card slot and the left battery (where the modem card sits) and use one of those micro USB hubs to have some available for internal use.

Possible uses: Internal Airport Extreme (802.11n using modified existing AirPort antenna); Bluetooth (current adapters are about $2 and one cm square!), internal webcam, GPS, maybe wireless USB (when it gets more popular), etc.

From prices I've seen on ebay I could probably do the USB, 802.11n, Bluetooth and webcam mods for less than $100 in parts (802.11n is the most expensive part at about half that cost)

I know a Pismo is now the trailing edge of modern technology and about the minimum to keep up with the modern web but I've got three, I might as well do something interesting with them, right?

Now; The THREE BIG QUESTIONS:
Is internal USB 2 a reasonable possibility?
Can a Wallstreet PC Card Cage be fitted to a Pismo motherboard?
Does anyone have a spare Pismo motherboard cheap I can use for hack practice?

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Russell - Unknown1 - Idaho USA
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unknown1's picture
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Quiet Here except for the Apple II guys...

So, has any of this ever been tried on a Pismo before or am I imagineering uncharted territory?

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Russell - Unknown1 - Idaho USA
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Joined: Jun 4 2004
Posts: 8
same thoughts here w/ PDQ

Hi!

I also had some of these wild ideas. The main difference is that I have a PDQ (upgrade of the Wallstreet). 333MHz G3 w/ 320MB isn't the sharepest tool in the sheed but the casing is one of the best in PB line-up. Main problem is that PDQ hasn't got USB ports. So I'm also wondering is there a way and if the PCMCIA USB card works with OS9

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unknown1's picture
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USB cards work with OS 9 But....

Only at USB 1.1 speeds. I don't remember which version of OS X began supporting USB 2 but it works great on my PC Card with OS 10.3.9.

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Russell - Unknown1 - Idaho USA
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Jon's picture
Jon
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Use a USB 2.0 card in a CardB

Use a USB 2.0 card in a CardBus slot and you should get USB 2.0 speeds in a supported OS. Getting the USB ports "internal" would probably be more work that it's worth, as one of the card slots would have to be given up for it anyway. Would you be willing to plug in a WiFi card everytime you wanted to use it? Would that be any easier than plugging in the USB 2.0 card when you want it? Wink I think the trade off of AirPort vs USB 2.0 built-in leans to AP, in general.

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gsmcten's picture
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"Pismo" Hacks...

Unknown1,

I like your ideas, but I am attempting the same USB type stuff with a 5300cs. I just ordered a PCMCIA Card from Sonnet for that purpose. I looked at several other sights, but Sonnet was the only place I could find one for a Mac.

Good Luck and Happy Holidays Smile

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unknown1's picture
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Re: Two PCMCIA Cards in a Pismo

Jon wrote:

Use a USB 2.0 card in a CardBus slot and you should get USB 2.0 speeds in a supported OS. Getting the USB ports "internal" would probably be more work that it's worth, as one of the card slots would have to be given up for it anyway. Would you be willing to plug in a WiFi card everytime you wanted to use it? Would that be any easier than plugging in the USB 2.0 card when you want it? Wink I think the trade off of AirPort vs USB 2.0 built-in leans to AP, in general.

I was just thinking if the Pismo would accept a two slot PCMCIA cage (like a Wallstreet, which as far as I can see uses a totally different plug in on the logic board), get rid of the 16 bit Airport slot and then use one of the two available slots for the USB, the other open for future use.

I guess it depends on the PCMCIA controller chip used in the Pismo and then finding the right two-card cage to put in there. Not a very likely scenario.

Just musing it over is all...

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Russell - Unknown1 - Idaho USA
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alk
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This is a bit of a zombie

This is a bit of a zombie thread, but... Huh?

1) USB requires CardBus slots
2) PowerBook 5300 doesn't support CardBus

And complicating matters more, Sonnet doesn't offer a CardBus USB card...

If you haven't already ordered that card from wherever you were planning to order, you should probably reconsider.

Peace,
Drew

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unknown1's picture
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3400 Cardbus

Yes, I believe the 3400 is the earliest to support Cardbus. It had a Cardbus compatible controller but the slot is not really Cardbus so there is some modification needed for using Cardbus cards.

Search for "Powerbook 3400 Cardbus". I have limited time before I have to get off this computer...

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Russell - Unknown1 - Idaho USA
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