HP T5540: Mods 




Adding a SATA port


All the emails about modifications that I've received have centered around adding a SATA port.

Right from the start Jem Atahan noted that, adjacent to the 44-pin IDE connector, the PCB had the tracking for a SATA port.

Obviously there are a number of ways you can approach how bring this into use - from finding the right socket to fit through to just soldering wires from a suitable cable/connector directly to the pads.

In May 2017 a quick search on eBay for connectors was not particularly successful. The ones I eventually found were not exactly 'search term' friendly (e.g. "MOLEX 87713-1001 RECEPTACLE, SMT, SATA").

Here in the UK Farnell would appear to be a suitable source for such sockets as they stock things like "3M 5622-1200-ML I/O Connector, 22 Contacts, Receptacle, SATA, Surface Mount, 5622 Series, PCB Mount" @ £2.16. However they do have a £3.95 handling charge for orders under £20 which pushes up the cost.

Back in 2011 Jem Atahan wrote:

"Now the hard bit. There are surface mount tabs for the SATA plug, but nothing connected. Me and my novice soldering skills have managed to attach a salvaged plug from another card, and if I can do it, anyone can.

I have cut a hole in the side of the USB recess above the new port and run the cable out to a 3.5" disk, but one could probably mount a 2.5" drive internally. I haven't connected the SATA power headers yet, but I'm willing to guess they work too. hdparm -t /dev/sda reports 100 MB/sec transfer rate out of the disk's cache, which is a damn sight better than USB, and the system boots and runs pretty snappily.

The picture of the motherboard shows my hacked on port before I smothered it with hot melt glue."

added sata port
The SATA data port fitted to the PCB.

It faces into the 'secure USB port area' of the hardware.

Later Danny in Holland emailed:

I just wanted to let you know that the power connector works. I stripped the ends of a SATA power cable and soldered it to the board.

In May 2017 I heard from David from Canada who had recently bought a number of t5145s and had also set about using the SATA port.
If you take out the logic board (it's on a tray so once the top cover and screws removed it slides out) you can easily solder a SATA connector. I found connectors on eBay. These were not exactly meant for this application but they work. You cut the plastic mount tabs off, and solder it standing up. This way you don't have to modify the case. Grab a few SATA to SATA power cables from a dead power supply and a regular SATA cable, and you can use a small SSD and keep it in the case. I had a few 4GB modules left over from a Dell Wyse ZX0.

The SATA socket that David found.

Designed for mounting horizontally on the board.

The modified socket mounted vertically by the IDE connector.

Note: As the two sockets are so close, depending on exactly how you engineer things, you may not be able to use the IDE socket after your mod.


Any comments? email me. Added November 2010    Last update May 2017