Neoware CA19: Modifications 




Adding Two USB Ports

The CA19 has an internal header that supports two additional USB ports. This modification describes how to fit these two sockets on the rear panel. It assumes that the parallel port is of no interest to you and can be sacrificed.

Having decided to do this it took me less than half an hour to do. You'll need a screwdriver, small pair of pliers (or a 5mm socket), small hacksaw and/or stanley knife and a file and/or grinder.

USB Back Plate You will also need one of those USB-header-to-two-socket-backplate things (see photo left). You may have one lying around from an old computer or they can be found on eBay for less than £2.

USB Back Plate Undo the four screws holding the sockets to the back plate and put the backplate on one side. You'll need to reuse two of the mounting screws when you come to fix the modified sockets to the back panel of the CA19.

Note: With the one I used here the nuts on the back of the sockets are captive in the rubber moulding. I have another example where they aren't. I that case you'll have to keep track of the nuts!

USB Back Plate Open the CA19. Looking at the back you can see that the parallel port socket is connected by a ribbon cable to the motherboard. Using a pair of pliers or a 5mm socket undo the two nuts on the back panel that hold the socket in place. Remove the socket and unplug its cable from the mother board.

CA19 Back Panel with no parallel port This leaves the space into which we want to fit our our new USB sockets.

USB sockets minus one lug Returning to the cable with the two sockets, using a hacksaw or a sharp knife, carefully trim one lug off each USB socket.

At this stage, if you place them side-by-side, you'll find that they are too wide for the space available. You now need to slowly trim off surface material from the mating surfaces to move them closer together. Do this using the tool of your choice. I initially used a grinder and then finished off with a file.

Checking spacing of USB sockets However you need to make sure that you don't end up with them too close together so that you can't use both at once. I ensured I didn't remove too much by putting a pen drive in each and made sure that I ended up with a tiny bit of clearance between them.

Also it's worth checking the distance between the two mounting holes. The parallel socket I removed had its mounting holes on 47mm centres. My replacement version ended up on 49mm centres. The small difference is no problem as the grey material around the USB sockets is flexible and easily flexes slightly to accommodate the 1mm offset each end.

Glued USB sockets

When you're happy with them glue the two together. (I used some UHU glue I had to hand). A rubber band helps hold them together whilst the glue sets.

Closeup USB sockets

One final bit of cutting-away is required. When fitted, one of the leads is very close to a capacitor. You need to trim away the 'collar' around the cable where it emerges from the socket moulding in order to get it to clear the capacitor.

Closeup USB sockets

After that you can fit the combined socket to the rear panel and plug the cable into the header.

The finished article:

CA19 finished USB modification CA19 finished USB modification


Any comments? email me.    Last update November 2012